In many respects, the cannabis industry is still quite new. It’s only natural that there’s still some lingering confusion about the varying products on the market. A lot of the uncertainty comes from a lack of understanding around differing phytocannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids are compounds created in the trichomes of a cannabis plant. There are currently 113 found phytocannabinoids within the Cannabis Sativa L plant.
When extracted and consumed, these cannabinoids interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) in a range of ways. THC is famous for its hallmark psychoactive effect. It’s the only phytocannabinoid with this capability – as far as we currently know.
But a recent survey indicated a significant number of participants didn’t know the difference between THC and CBD.
We’re here to help you better understand these two compounds and the current information science has dug up on both!
What is THC
THC –also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol– is the most well-known phytocannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. It’s the compound responsible for the euphoric psychoactive effects of marijuana.
This particular cannabinoid binds to ECS receptors concentrated in the brain and central nervous system to affect the consumer. It works in a similar fashion to anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid (naturally found in the body) tasked with managing appetite, mood, pain management, and more.
Once THC is bonded to a user’s receptors, the psychoactive effects take hold. The intensity and specific short-term effects are different depending on the person, dosage, and strain of marijuana. Generally, THC will induce relaxation, drowsiness, and elation. But some individuals will experience anxiety when they consume too much.
How is CBD Different From THC
Unlike its psychoactive counterpart, CBD does not carry any intoxicating effects. This is due to a number of factors from the nature of the compound itself to the extraction process of most CBD products.
How Both Phytocannabinoids Interact With the ECS
Both THC and CBD interact with our ECS to affect our bodies in varying ways.
CBD, on the other hand, is an antagonist. That means it acts as a sort of buffer to naturally inhibit agonists such as THC. Rather than directly interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS, CBD encourages the production of more endocannabinoids. It also acts to slow the breakdown of these cannabinoids so the body can use them for longer periods of time.
When the ratio between CBD and THC is well-balanced (CBD outweighs THC), even a CBD product with minimal amounts of THC in it won’t have an intoxicating effect. It is hypothesized that CBD may be a great option for those searching for relief from central nervous system and peripheral disorders due to its antagonist nature.
How CBD is Extracted
By and large, CBD is extracted from hemp cannabis plants specifically bred to yield high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (<0.3% in most cases). There are quite a few different processes used to extract CBD from hemp but all involve isolating a set of target phytocannabinoids.
Since hemp has such a low amount of THC, there are no intoxicating properties in CBD extracted from this plant. But it is still important to note some hemp-derived CBD products containing THC can potentially show up on a drug test.
There are some select CBD products that can indeed get you high. These products are extracted from the marijuana plant. The extraction process is not dissimilar to the hemp-derived CBD extraction process. The resulting products usually contain levels of THC ranging from 5% to 30%; enough to have an intoxicating effect.
As of now, only hemp-derived CBD is legal on a federal level. Although select states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, it is still not legal federally. This includes CBD products extracted from the marijuana plant. Any CBD containing THC levels above 0.3% is not legal to sell in all states.
This is the major difference between CBD and THC that you should be concerned about: CBD is federally legal and THC is not.
The Bottomline on CBD
Although CBD and THC are chemical cousins, they interact with our bodies in completely different ways. There is no fear of undesired intoxicating effects attached to hemp-derived CBD. Users can enjoy the calming effect of CBD in most states throughout the US as long as the THC levels are below 0.3%.
Are you ready to give CBD a try? At Peace River, we offer broad-spectrum CBD products. That means we create a CBD product that includes other beneficial phytocannabinoids and excludes THC to undetectable trace amounts. Not only can you still reach the coveted entourage effect, but you also won’t have to worry about potential issues with drug testing.