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CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

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Although THC is the most widely-used cannabinoid, CBD has garnered significant popularity over the last decade. Rising from a position of relative obscurity, CBD is now the focus of a multi-million dollar industry and has captured the interest of both big-name companies and emerging brands alike.

Despite being sourced from the same plant, THC and CBD each cater to a specific subset of user needs. While your preferences will largely dictate which cannabinoid is best suited for you, understanding the differences between CBD and THC can help inform your decision making and allow you to extract the maximum benefits from either cannabinoid. Let’s take a look at some important THC and CBD facts!

What is CBD? CBD vs. THC

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over a hundred naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants (cannabis sativa). The cannabinoid was discovered in 1940 by American chemist Roger Adams, and subsequent discoveries would establish stronger differences between the properties of CBD and THC. Today, CBD is largely regarded as the “non-psychoactive” component of cannabis and hemp, due to its non-inebriating nature and therapeutic benefits.

When ingested, CBD interacts with several key receptors in the body, including CB1, 5-HT1A, TRPV1, and GPR55. Users of CBD often report a range of benefits, including reduced pain, enhanced mood, lessened anxiety, and improved sleep. Unlike other comparable substances — including THC — CBD doesn’t cause fatigue or drowsiness at low-to-moderate doses and has no addictive potential, which makes the cannabinoid attractive to buyers.

The differences between CBD and THC also extend to how CBD is administered. CBD is most popular in its oil-based liquid form, which users drop under the tongue. By rapidly absorbing through the tissues of the mouth, CBD oil helps CBD to more quickly enter the bloodstream and begin interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

However, because CBD is fat soluble and can be added to various products, many buyers enjoy CBD in other forms, too. Other CBD products for sale include CBD edibles — commonly sold as gummy candies, beverages, and more — and CBD-infused products, such as skin lotions and vape pens.

Two blooming, green hemp bushes

What is THC? CBD vs. THC

Like CBD, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid present in hemp and cannabis plants. Although the molecular structures of THC and CBD are near-identical, the two cannabinoids are extremely different from a pharmacological perspective.

One of the most prominent differences between CBD and THC is how the cannabinoids interact with CB1 receptors in the body. THC binds directly with CB1 receptors at the orthosteric binding site, while CBD interacts with the same receptors at the allosteric binding site. These receptor interactions imbue both cannabinoids with many of the same benefits, including relief from pain and anxiety, improved sleep, and enhanced mood. However, THC’s interaction with CB1 receptors produces a notable “high” that can result in impairment and fatigue.

Due to the psychoactive differences between CBD and THC, most world governments regard each cannabinoid differently. THC is tightly regulated around the world, whereas consumers can freely purchase hemp-derived CBD in most countries without encountering legal trouble.

In general, most buyers consume THC by smoking or vaping cannabis, either as raw plant matter or as cannabis extract. It should be noted that because cannabis plant matter and oils contain naturally-occurring levels of THC, there’s no way for users to consume CBD from smoking cannabis plant matter without ingesting low levels of THC. That said, manufacturers do sell CBD-only vape cartridges and pens for those who prefer smoking as their route of ingestion.

Aside from the prevalence of smoking raw cannabis, the differences between CBD and THC product formats are minimal. Like CBD, THC is fat soluble, which allows manufacturers to create a variety of other THC-rich products, including edibles and lotions.

CBD vs. THC: Which Cannabinoid is Best for Me?

Although CBD and THC offer many identical benefits, it’s worth assessing your preferences to determine which cannabinoid is better-suited to your needs.

Side Effects & Therapeutic Value

As we’ve established, THC and CBD both offer therapeutic and recreational value. However, due to the differences between how CBD and THC interact with the body’s receptors, THC carries a greater risk of side effects. The most common THC side effects include:

  • Impaired memory
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Impaired coordination
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Slowed reaction times

In comparison to THC, the side effects of consuming low-to-moderate doses of CBD are much less severe. At higher doses, some users might experience fatigue or drowsiness, but in general, CBD can be used safely with few downsides.

That said, some users find that the efficacy of THC makes its side effects tolerable or even preferable. For instance, THC is generally more mood-elevating than CBD. In addition, THC is a known appetite enhancer, which can be advantageous for patients suffering from appetite loss. However, the same side effect can also be off-putting for buyers who are watching their weight.

Legality & Accessibility

Another area of difference between CBD and THC is the overall legality and accessibility of each cannabinoid. Because THC is stored in the body’s fat tissues, it can be detected by drug tests, even months after ingestion. In contrast, most drug screening tests don’t check for CBD, but if you consume a CBD product that contains trace amounts of THC, it’s possible that you’d test positive for THC.

As a result, if you’re regularly subjected to drug testing, a hemp-derived, THC-free CBD product is likely the obvious candidate in the battle of CBD vs. THC. However, if you’re in a position where you can freely consume THC without the risk of testing positive and/or losing your job, THC might be a more viable option.

Buy Premium-Grade CBD Oil at Kratora

At Kratora, we’ve been providing customers within the United States and abroad with all-natural ethnobotanical products since 2013. Our CBD oils are available in a range of mouth-watering flavors and are all guaranteed to be THC free.

Enjoy the benefits of CBD oil for stress relief and more — shop with us today to receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 PM EST Monday through Friday and 1 PM EST on Saturdays (excluding holidays).