Cannabis, also known as marijuana is made up of various different components. In addition to the terpenoids and flavonoids that set strains apart, each cannabis plant also contains a wealth of cannabinoids. These are chemical compounds which can each give a range mental and physical effects, such as creating a “high” or “stoned” feeling, a general change in perception, heightened mood, and an increase in appetite when consumed by humans. Although there are over a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, the two most commonly used are THC and CBD. So what’s the difference between THC & CBD?
The main distinguishing factor is that THC is the sole psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. In other words, this is the chemical that is responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects which gives you an intoxicating effect- making you high. CBD on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, but it can give your body and mind a range of helpful medical benefits. It is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant and is an essential component of medical marijuana.
THC and CBD are both often extracted from marijuana in the use of various products, such as edibles, oils, topicals, and many more.
Both of these cannabinoids have their benefits and many users even prefer to use both at once. Using the two together can often give even more dynamic medical advantages, in addition to getting you high. However, it’s important to distinguish between THC and CBD so you can make the right buying decisions. Here’s our guide to THC vs CBD: what they are, how to use them, their effects, and what’s the difference.
What is THC?
THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the cannabinoid most often associated with marijuana as it is the one that makes you high. Those looking to get the euphoric, psychoactive effects of marijuana look for high-THC products. While most people simply vape or smoke strains of cannabis flower to use THC, it can also be used in other forms of marijuana such as oils, edibles, vape cartridges, and other various products.
Although it’s known for its psychoactive effects, THC also has a range of medical benefits. It’s particularly useful for pain relief, and can also help with inflammation, nausea, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, stress, and various other medical symptoms. This is why many people use marijuana for medical purposes.
THC makes its way into your bloodstream and attaches itself to Cannabinoid receptors that are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception to activate them which stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine. This causes various reactions in your body, such as improving your mood, relieving pain, and making you feel euphoric. On the downside, THC can occasionally have some negative side effects and some medical users prefer CBD because of this. However, for most users, it gives them a very satisfying experience.
Benefits of THC
Many people know THC for its recreational effects. It can quickly make you feel happy and euphoric with an all-over body high that’ll make you feel extremely blissful and relaxed. However, THC also has a range of benefits for your body and mind which make it useful for medical users.
One of the most useful and noticeable benefits is the pain relief given by THC. Many chronic pain patients report that medical marijuana helps alleviate pain and improve sleep. It’s particularly useful for conditions associated with chronic pain such as arthritis, MS, cancer, and fibromyalgia, but it can also come in handy for general pains and aches.
Aside from its analgesic effects, THC also helps with nausea and vomiting. Patients with many different conditions suffer from general dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. THC’s antiemetic effects can help reduce these symptoms and help patients feel better. One study found that THC-8, a less psychotropic form of THC, helped significantly reduce nausea and vomiting in child cancer patients.
THC can also have some astonishing effects on the brain. In addition to helping with neurological disorders, it may even help protect the brain against trauma and injury. A study found that patients who suffered from traumatic head injuries were 80% less likely to die if they had THC in their system.
THC is also known as one of the best sleep aids. Different studies have shown that THC reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. The relaxing effects of THC often result in users feeling sedated. Further, it can also reduce causes of insomnia such as anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. As such, those suffering from sleep issues will often find relief from THC.
THC can also be beneficial for your mental health. Many studies have shown that it can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and more severe disorders such as PTSD. The mentally relaxing effects can enhance your mood quickly and often clear away stress and anxiety- although higher doses may have the opposite effect.
There are many other benefits of THC- it can help fight against cancer, boost your appetite, heighten your senses, and help you relax in general. The psychoactive effects are often very enjoyable for recreational use, but the effects it has on your body and mind can also develop your health and well being.
How to Use THC
There are various unique ways to use THC. While using cannabis strains or concentrates will give you the effects of THC, there are now also many isolated THC products which grants alternative methods of consumption. Here are some of the best ways to use THC.
Flower – Also known as weed or bud, you can smoke or vape marijuana flower to achieve the effects of THC. The kind of effects you’ll obtain depends on the strain- indica is more relaxing, sativa is more stimulating, and hybrid strains offer a balance of both indica and sativa effects. Whether you choose to smoke out of a joint, use a bong or vape flower, the THC effects hit you fast and can last for a few hours.
Concentrates – Cannabis concentrates are compressed products derived from cannabis flower which have extra high levels of THC. They come in many different forms such as hash, budder, shatter, and wax. These have much stronger effects than regular weed and, as such, many users smoke them, vape them or even use a dab rig for even more powerful THC effects.
Edibles – Marijuana edibles provides you the most potent THC high. When you consume THC products in edible form, the THC is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. This is a stronger form of the chemical which gives you intense euphoric effects that can last for over eight hours. Edibles are also convenient and come in many tasty forms, such as chocolates and gummies.
Vape Products – Vape cartridges, oils, e-juices, and Juul pods can all be infused with THC. Vaping these THC oils will give you fast-acting effects in a flavorful and convenient form. You’ll need a vape pen or vaporizer to use them, but it’s a great way to enjoy the benefits of THC.
Other options include THC Oils which you apply under your tongue and THC Topicals which you apply directly to the skin. All of these methods have their uses and the choice comes down to your personal needs and preference. You can also use multiple products in conjunction safely.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It’s another one of the cannabinoids found in high amounts in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not get you high. People use CBD for its medical aspects that known to have various helpful effects on the body which makes it a very useful substance for those who need medical relief.
CBD can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp plants. Many products across the world use hemp-based CBD for legal reasons. Both can give you the helpful effects of CBD, and you can find it in products such as CBD Oils, Tinctures, Edibles, Topicals, Vape Cartridges, and more.
Benefits of CBD
Research shows many users now use CBD for issues such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, migraines, and more. Many of the medical benefits are similar to THC. However, CBD is a much milder substance. It won’t get you high, it’s non-addictive, there’s no risk of an overdose, and side effects are rarely reported. Thus, many people opt to use CBD products to help with their health concerns.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications.
CBD is also extremely beneficial for your mental health. For instance, a study found that using CBD can significantly help reduce anxiety and improve your sleep. Studies also shows that it rapidly reduces symptoms of depression and the beneficial effects last for a long time. CBD is also very helpful for your skin. It contains antioxidant and antibacterial effects can help clear up skin imperfections and prevent skin problems. CBD helps in fighting against skin infections and conditions such as acne and dermatitis. It can even improve your skin and give it a more youthful appearance.
It also has anticancer properties, neuroprotective qualities, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and can even improve your mental function. Another key benefit is the fact that CBD is extremely safe to use with minimal side effects and no risk of addiction or overdose.
How to Use CBD
Just like with THC, there are also many different ways to use CBD. There are cannabis strains with high levels of CBD, but users who wish to avoid getting high will opt to use products infused with CBD extracts. Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to using CBD. Here are a few of the best to choose from.
CBD Oil – CBD Oil, also known as CBD Tincture, CBD Drops or CBD Tears, is a popular way to take CBD due to its speed and convenience. You apply the drops of oil under your tongue and hold them there for a minute or two to absorb the cannabinoids into your system. It works within 20 minutes and gives you all of the beneficial effects of cannabidiol.
CBD Edibles – You can also get edibles with pure CBD and no THC. These are fantastic for those who want a healthy snack to help with pain relief, anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and more. Some of the most popular kinds of edibles are Gummies and Chocolate bars.
CBD Capsules – Alternatively, you can also simply swallow CBD Capsules with some water. These work in the same way as edibles, giving you the effects of cannabidiol once your body digests them.
CBD Vape Products – You can also use CBD Vape Products such as CBD E-Juices, Vape-Oils, and Vape Cartridges. All you need to do is apply them to the chamber of your vape pen or vaporizer, heat them up, and inhale for fast-acting effects.
CBD Topicals – Topicals come in the form of skin products such as creams, lotions, and body sprays. It can be directly applied to the skin in order for the cannabidiol to penetrate into your body. Although, they may not reach your bloodstream, but they can assist in relieving pain, inflammation, and skin infections.
Which is Better? THC vs CBD
With the differences between THC and CBD outlined, which is better to use? Both have a range of remarkable medical qualities and both can be used in a variety of ways. But the choice depends on a few factors.
Users who want to get high should opt for THC. CBD is non-psychoactive and, while it can be relaxing to use, it won’t feel anything like the intoxicating effects of THC in marijuana. However, if you want the medical perks of cannabis without getting high, use CBD.
If you enjoy both, the best decision may depend on what you’re trying to treat. For instance, while both can help with anxiety, THC can worsen symptoms in some users whereas CBD can be used safely. THC has much substantial sedative effects for insomnia sufferers.
Sometimes, the best approach is to use a mix of both. A study on using cannabis for depression, stress, and anxiety shows that using strains with high levels of both CBD and THC was helpful in many cases. You can also use Oils, Edibles, and other products with both cannabinoids.