By Max Bendis
One of our biggest responsibilities as a company is educating people on the facts about CBD. And one of the top misconceptions we run into is people thinking that CBD is the same as THC.
In reality, CBD and THC are two different cannabinoids that come from the same plant. Keep reading to learn more about the three main differences between these guys!
First, A Little Background
The word “cannabinoid” can sometimes throw people off, especially people who haven’t used cannabis products before, so let’s start there.
Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring chemicals found in plants that belong to the cannabis genus. Scientifically, both hemp and marijuana belong to this genus.
But because of the different regulations applied around these two plants, there’s a legal definition that everyone in the cannabis industry adheres to. To be considered hemp, the plant can contain no more than .03%THC (That’s basically nothing.) Anything over that limit would be regarded as marijuana from a legal standpoint.
So, when we’re sourcing our CBD, we make sure it comes from quality hemp and that all THC is removed through the extraction process.
Cannabinoids affect our bodies because they interact with our endocannabinoid system. It’s a network of protein receptors on each of our cells that interact with cannabinoids when they enter the body. Pretty crazy!
At this point, scientists have identified at least 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and CBD and THC are just two of them!
Chemical Structure & Psychoactivity
So now that we know a little about cannabinoids, let’s talk narrow in on CBD vs. THC. How are they chemically different?
Well, they’re actually pretty similar.
CBD and THC have nearly identical chemical structures— the only difference is in how the molecules are arranged! But that seemingly small difference has a huge effect when it comes to psychoactivity.
When a chemical is “psychoactive,” it means it changes a person’s mental state by affecting how the brain and nervous system work. It’s just a fancy word for getting high.
The main takeaway here is that, even though they’re very similar, THC is psychoactive, while CBD is not.
CBD won’t cause any of the sensations associated with a THC-induced high that you get from marijuana, such as grogginess, giggles, or paranoia.
Another significant difference between CBD and THC is that they are regulated differently by the government.
It’s a little complicated. So let me try to make it simple:
THC is still illegal at the federal level, though many states have legalized it for medical use, recreational use, or both. From the federal government’s perspective, THC falls into the same category as many dangerous drugs, which is why penalties for having it in states that haven’t yet legalized marijuana are still incredibly harsh.
CBD is legal at the federal level, but some states have imposed restrictions on it. Make sense?
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Here’s how CBD became legal recently:
The 2014 Farm Bill allowed U.S. citizens to begin importing hemp, which gave companies like ours a THC-free source of CBD to use in our products. (We used to import hemp from Switzerland before local sources of hemp became available.) That bill also allowed states to create pilot programs for growing hemp domestically, which got the industry up and running in some places, like Oregon!
Then, in 2018, the feds allowed hemp to be grown domestically in all 50 states. It was a big win, but we know more specific CBD regulations are in the works, especially for putting CBD into foods and beverages. And because things are still in flux, CBD markets vary from state to state.
We hope whatever regulations come will bring more clarity to both consumers and businesses.
Our Advice To You
We’ve come a long way on CBD, but there’s still a long road ahead. So we always recommend that people make sure they understand both the scientific and legal differences between CBD and THC.
One thing you can know for sure is that Ablis’ CBD products, whether it’s our craft beverages or our muscle rub or concentrate, will never contain any THC. We can promise you that.
Do you have more questions about the differences between CBD and THC? Hit us up!