The Difference between CBD and THC

Non-psychoactive CBD vs psychoactive THC

The difference between CBD and THC
There are many answers to the question: What is the difference between CBD and THC?

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

The difference between CBD and THC, primarily, is the fact that CBD (cannabidiol) is not psychoactive and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is.  This is an important distinction when it comes to differentiating hemp from marijuana.  That’s because hemp is rich in CBD and contains very little THC.  As a matter of fact, most hemp contains less than 1% THC.

However, some hemp plants can contain up to as much as 1.5% THC.  Having said that, hemp farmers actually engineer ‘industrial hemp’ to have 0.3% THC or less.  By definition, that’s the maximum amount of THC present in industrial hemp.  Notwithstanding, even in species of hemp in which the THC content is at about 1.5%, an individual would still be unable to experience the psychedelic effects of marijuana by ingesting hemp.  We have a post about the cannabis plant, What is Cannabis.  In another post, we also identified the differences between hemp and marijuana.

In study after study, scientists note that CBD does not negatively impact patients’ motor functions.  Furthermore, it does not cause drowsiness or have any other immediate mind-altering effect.  CBD does have a calming effect, but from a neurological standpoint – not from the result of the ‘head high’ associated with THC.

What is the difference between CBD and THC therapeutically?

Endocannabinoid professionals are learning that the difference between CBD and THC is the manner in which these compounds communicate with the endocannabinoid system.  Both THC and CBD work to not only stimulate healthy activity, but also inhibit activity that may lead to disease.  However, scientists are learning that CBD is much more effective for certain therapeutic goals than THC.

With studies concerning CBD therapy for glaucoma, for example, endocannabinoid professionals are researching ways in which CBD could enhance THC treatment for glaucoma.  In research on CBD and anorexia, oncologists are planning on combining CBD and THC therapy, as well.  They are focusing on cancer-induced anorexia.  They recognize that CBD not only offers a host of therapeutic benefits not offered by THC, but also does not counteract any of THC’s benefits such as having a more profound appetite.

Different cannabinoids trigger either the CB1 or CB2 receptor (or both).  Then, they determine the communication that will occur between the endocannabinoid system and different cellular and neurological functions.  Medical professionals are excited by CBD because of its therapeutic properties.  That’s coupled with the fact that it is non-psychoactive and, therefore, poses no risk for addiction.


Right now, legislators are focused on the issue of the differences between CBD and THC.  Currently, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) classifies marijuana and cannabis together.  That means that hemp is also included in that classification.  If it were accurate, that would be fine.  The reality is:  It isn’t accurate.  There are two things that are very inaccurate, as a matter of fact.

The DEA currently regards cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.  That means that the DEA has decided that cannabis has no medicinal benefits and a high potential for addiction.  Whether or not marijuana poses a potential for addiction is still up for debate.  What isn’t up for debate, however, is that there actually is accepted medical validity to THC, so – by rights – it shouldn’t be listed as a schedule 1 drug.

The point, though, is that neither of those requirements established by the DEA describe CBD…AT ALL.  There are many established medical benefits to CBD, and it does not pose a risk for addiction.  Conversely, scientists are conducting research using cannabinoids to combat addiction.

All in all, the government really needs to understand the difference between CBD and THC.

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