CBD vs THC: Differences, Benefits & Risks Explained

Aug 16, 2020

As CBD becomes more and more popular the market is predicted to reach around 1.8 billion dollars by 2022. With so many new people entering the world of CBD, one of the common questions they have is around the difference between CBD and THC. Although they are both cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, they do have distinct differences which will be explained within this post. Do they both make you high? Are they both illegal? Do they both have the same benefits? These are some of the many questions we’ll provide you with an answer to.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found within the cannabis and hemp plant. It is pulled from the plant through an extraction process leaving you with a highly concentrated CBD residue. CBD can be extracted through both the cannabis and hemp plants but once extracted must contain less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to remain in line with UK laws.

Once the CBD has been extracted from the cannabis plant it is mixed with a range of different products such as gummies, oils, gels and creams to create the final product. CBD is a relatively new product to enter the market and the full extent to its effects aren’t fully understood, but so far it has shown positive results for things such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and even chronic pain.

What Is THC?

THC, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Typically found more often in recreational cannabis use, it is responsible for the high feeling experienced by cannabis smokers. THC is the illegal part of cannabis due to its mind altering properties. Although THC is deemed illegal there are however still traces found within CBD. When CBD is produced there is usually a tiny trace of THC left in the final product.

This tiny trace has been recognised by the UK government and they have deemed that CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC in order to remain legal. 0.2% THC is a tiny amount and is nowhere near enough to give anyone a high feeling or even notice they’ve taken it.

Both compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have different effects on the body.

Are CBD and THC Both Psychoactive?

Although both CBD and THC have similar chemical compounds they do not have the same psychoactive effects. CBD binds with the cannabinoid receptors but does not produce any psychoactive effects. THC on the other hand attaches to the cannabinoid receptors and produces psychoactive effects by preventing natural chemicals from keeping the endocannabinoid system balanced.

Prolonged use of THC has been connected with long term negative psychiatric effects. Although there has not been enough research into THC’s long term effects its been deemed that it could cause psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. 

CBD vs THC Side Effects

CBD is well tolerated and is usually favoured by people due to its low chances of side effects. Many choose CBD to assist in helping things such as anxiety and depression as prescription drugs can often come alongside some unwanted side effects. That being said, CBD can display some side effects in different people. CBD’s side effects can include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

THC on the other hand is considered a bit more sinister in some respects. Although it hasn’t been clinically proven people believe long term exposure to THC psychoactive effects can result in psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar. Other side effects of THC include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Memory loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Coordination problems
  • Anxiety

It’s important to note that the THC content found in CBD products is an extremely low trace which is nowhere near enough for a human to become intoxicated by it. The main reason CBD products include this THC trace is due to its difficulty to fully remove. Under UK laws all CBD products sold within the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC in order to remain legal. All of the products sold at the CBD Planet UK meet these requirements and are displayed alongside reliable lab reports in order to detail exactly what each product contains.

CBD vs THC Drug Testing

When cannabinoids are consumed into the human body they are stored within the body’s natural fats. Due to the substances being stored here, they can show up on a drug test for several days or even weeks after you’ve consumed them. However, CBD isn’t looked for in most drug tests although THC is commonly checked for due to its illegal status. There are drug tests available on the market that are CBD sensitive, although this is not common.

This stresses the importance for buying CBD products from reputable companies and suppliers such as the CBD Planet UK. A high quality brand should display or be able to offer a 3rd party lab report alongside their products to prove its contents including its THC amount. 

Final Thoughts

We’ve established in this blog some of the many similarities and differences that THC and CBD have, and you’ll now have all the information you need to make the comparison of THC vs CBD. Whilst the two are similar in that they’re both cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system, there are some distinct differences such as their legality and ability to cause a high. A summary of the comparisons between the two cannabinoids can be found within the table below.

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