Cannabis has become an American mainstay, as state after state continues to pass legislation allowing for the plant to be used for both medical and recreational purposes. With the surging popularity of this powerful herb, a lot of confusion is resulting. This is because, within the cannabis plant, there are dozens of alkaloids that are responsible for the pain-relieving, anxiolytic, and psychoactive effects.
Among them, THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD, or Cannabidiol, are the two major molecular compounds that do most of the heavy lifting. So, what’s the difference between CBD and THC, and why should cannabis users care?
One for the Mind, One for the Body
To help clear up some of this confusion, it helps to think of Cannabidiol (CBD) as being helpful for inflammation, anxiety, and, for some people, seizures. There are also reports that CBD can help with sleep. The main point to remember about CBD, though, is that it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. For that, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is needed.
THC is what makes cannabis users feel ‘high’, or ‘stoned’. This chemical is distinctly different from CBD in its effect on the body, as most users report THC giving them increased creativity, a sense of well-being, and other enhancements that are more specific to the mind and consciousness. So, think of CBD as presenting more of a benefit for the body, and THC presenting more of a benefit for the mind.
Another interesting thing to note about THC and CBD is that, with CBD, there appears to be no danger of overdosing. However, when too much THC has been ingested, users can feel very out of sorts, experiencing maladies like panic attacks, extreme anxiety, heart palpitations, increased heart rate, and more. This is why THC is much more tightly regulated, and CBD is not.
In fact, CBD and hemp flower (the source of most CBD products) are legal in all 50 United States. However, cannabis products that contain THC are still illegal in many places throughout the country.
The Rule: Start Low and Go Slow
Whether it’s CBD or THC you’re interested in trying, the rule to remember is to start low with the dose and go slow as you increase it. This is because everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s biochemistry is different. There’s no real way to determine how a chemical is going to affect you until you’ve dosed with it, so be careful!