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What is the difference between CBD and THC? A guide for the perplexed.


The difference between THC and CBD: The very basics

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are just two of the many useful cannabinoids (cannabis compounds) which we get from the cannabis plant. THC is the compound that is very psychoactive and is the cannabinoid that gives you the “high,” “stoned,” or intoxicated feeling. CBD, on the other hand, does not have a psychedelic or psychotropic effect like THC does; instead, it has more practical health benefits like helping with anxiety and sleep.

Both of these cannabinoids come from the Cannabis Sativa plant; however, CBD typically comes from a variation of this plant, which has been selectively bred for industrial purposes like making fibers, ropes, paper and is even used as a cotton substitute. Hemp is a versatile plant and differs from Cannabis Sativa in one crucial way: It has less than 0.3% THC content. This means you can’t get “high” from smoking it like you can from a typical cannabis plant. In addition, hemp plants are legal in all 50 US states, whereas ordinary Cannabis Sativa plants–” Marijuana” plants–are not. 

When we speak about the differences between THC and CBD, we are often talking about the differences between the chemical content of two plants of the same species. One was has had all of the naughty, psychedelic, and psychoactive “get-you-high” ingredients bred out of it (Hemp); the other has not (Marijuana).

What is THC, and what does it do?

THC is the psychotropic compound found in the flowers of the cannabis plant. In order for THC to be effective, a person must ingest this cannabinoid somehow–typically through smoking or eating. Once in the bloodstream, THC gives the user that famous “high” or “stoned” feeling which usually lasts for a few hours, depending on how much was consumed. It is useful to point out that THC is much safer than compounds like nicotine or morphine, and one would need to consume a great deal of THC to overdose. Equally good to know is that THC is not known to be wildly addictive and is not as addictive as nicotine, cocaine, or heroin, for example. On the whole, although THC is the psychoactive part of cannabis, and it remains an illegal substance in many US states, it is not an especially dangerous one.

What is CBD, and what is it good for?

CBD is a cannabinoid found in most cannabis Sativa plants. It is most abundant in the hemp variety of cannabis. Hemp and CBD, along with it, were made federally legal in December of 2018 with the caveat that Hemp plants must contain less than 0.3% THC to be classified as industrial hemp. Hemp oil CBD is usually taken orally, either by holding it under the tongue or in the form of a small confection like a gummy sweet or a cookie, for example, it is not usually smoked. 

CBD is a very useful compound which research is starting to explore more fully. It seems to have an excellent anti-inflammatory effect, works to help people experiencing sleep difficulties, boost appetite and help with pain, mood, and anxiety relief. Most importantly, it seems to have minimal potential for abuse and addiction, making it the proverbial belle of the modern pharmacological ball.

To sum up: The differences between CBD and THC

There may be more than a few differences between THC and CBD, but they do seem to occur in around equal amounts in the cannabis plant naturally. Humans have selectively bred cannabis to either be very high in THC (Marijuana) or very high in CBD (Hemp). It is the varying degree of combinations of the THC and CBD compounds that make for such a variety of strains in the recreational marijuana market. For CBD, however, it is the absence of the strongly psychotropic THC compound that may make it useful as a health supplement in the future.

To make Soulsome’s cold-pressed, raw hemp flower CBD oil, we only use hand-picked hemp flowers for their excellent cannabinoid profile and obvious lack of high THC content. This ensures that we can create a CBD oil that produces a full spectrum effect without making the user feel “spacey” or “high” and delivering the desired health benefits that CBD is becoming popular for.


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