Apr 8, 2021

CBD vs THC: What’s the Difference?

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You don’t have to be a cannabis expert to know that CBD and THC aren’t the same things. But do you know what makes them different? The consumer market for cannabis has grown rapidly alongside the expanding legalization of the product, and it’s time we start taking steps to educate ourselves on what we’re purchasing so we can better understand what products best suit our needs and have a firm grasp on our options. 

At Rair, our employees, who we call Guides, are helpful resources who can help you decide what you want. But if you’re ordering online or just looking to do a bit of research on your own, we’ve outlined the key differences in CBD and THC and their respective benefits so you can start learning more about cannabis.

Let’s start with the basics…

The cannabis plant has many different parts including the stem, flowers, and leaves, and each part of the flower serves its own purpose. If you look closely, you’ll see cannabis also has resinous glands called trichomes located on top of the buds and leaves, which produce a thick substance that is rich in flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes. 

When talking about CBD and THC, we must look to cannabinoids. In total, there are over 100 of these chemicals produced by cannabis, and both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are cannabinoids and have the same molecular structure as one another. Despite their molecular similarity, the two cannabinoids interact with our bodies in very different ways.

How do THC and CBD affect your body?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): This cannabinoid is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, and is responsible for making us feel “high.”

Here’s how it works: THC binds with our body’s cannabinoid receptors and sends messages to our body to feel a sense of euphoria, which is what we associate with feeling high. More specifically, it creates strong binds with the receptors in our brain that control our pain, mood, and feelings in general.

CBD (cannabidiol): Unlike THC, cannabidiol doesn’t give us the same feeling of high in our bodies. CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical that works with our bodies to promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Here’s how it works: CBD binds very weakly to the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies CB1 and CB2, but it strongly activates our serotonin receptor (5-HT1A) to promote anti-anxiety and anti-stress. Though CBD may contain small amounts of THC, there is not enough present to result in a psychoactive experience. Using CBD can help to reduce pain and anxiety, and help mitigate the sedative feelings of THC.

What are the health benefits of THC and CBD?

Both CBD and THC interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is “perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” Not only does it regulate our sleep, mood, and appetite, it also plays a key role in forming memories, and affects our reproduction and fertility. As a result, when CBD and THC interact with this system, these chemicals can influence our mood and body functions.

THC can help alleviate chronic pain and nausea and is a popular medicine for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. THC may be helpful for conditions like:

  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

CBD is more well-known for its health benefits, especially when talking about CBD oils. In addition to being studied to show antianxiety and antidepressant properties, CBD has the potential to help with sleep and general pain management. CBD can be used by some to alleviate symptoms associated with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Migraines

What’s the legality?

All forms of cannabis are illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which was passed in 1970. Though THC is still illegal under federal law, many states allow for medical marijuana, and a few, including Michigan, have made recreational marijuana legal for personal use. Right now, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, and 11 have legalized recreational marijuana. 

As for CBD, cannabidiol produced from the cannabis flower is illegal, but CBD derived from hemp or cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC, was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill and classified as an agricultural commodity. 

Keep in mind that the legality of  THC and CBD varies state by state, so if you want to know if your state allows the sale of either medical or recreational marijuana, you can check your state’s stance here.

In Michigan, the state Rair calls home, both medicinal and recreational cannabis are legal, which means you can use it however you choose. Our Rair Guides can help you pick your next purchase to best fit your needs, whether you’re looking for relaxation or a boost in creativity, or using marijuana as medicine.

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