Cannabis is made up of various different components. In addition to the terpenoids and flavonoids that set strains apart, each cannabis plant also contains a wealth of cannabinoids. These are chemical compounds which can each give a range of effects when consumed by humans. Although there are over a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, the two most commonly used are THC and CBD. So THC vs CBD: what’s the difference?
The main distinguishing factor is that THC is the sole psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. In other words, this is the chemical which gives you the intoxicating effects of marijuana- making you high. CBD is non-psychoactive, but it can give your body and mind a range of helpful medical benefits. Both THC and CBD are often extracted from marijuana for use in various products, such as oils, edibles, topicals, and more.
Both of these cannabinoids have their benefits and many users even prefer to use both at once. Using the two together can often give even more potent medical benefits, in addition to getting you high. However, it’s important to distinguish between THC and CBD so you can make the right buying choices. Here’s our guide to THC vs CBD: what they are, how to use them, their effects, and what’s the difference.
What is THC?
THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s the cannabinoid most often associated with cannabis as it’s the one that makes you high. Those looking to get the euphoric, psychoactive effects of marijuana look for high-THC products. While most people simply vape or smoke strains of cannabis flower to use THC, it can also be used in the form of marijuana oils, edibles, vape cartridges, and various other products.
Although it’s known for its psychoactive effects, THC also has a range of medical benefits. It’s particularly useful for pain relief, and can also help with inflammation, nausea, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, stress, and various other medical symptoms. This is why many people use marijuana for medical purposes.
THC makes its way into your bloodstream and attaches to cannabinoid receptors. It causes various reactions in your body, such as improving your mood, relieving pain, and making you feel euphoric. On the downside, THC can occasionally have some negative side effects and some medical users prefer CBD because of this. However, for most users, it gives them a very enjoyable experience.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It’s another one of the cannabinoids found in high amounts in cannabis plants. However, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not get you high. People use CBD for its medical qualities. It’s known to have various helpful effects on the body which makes it a very useful substance for those who need medical relief.
Research shows many users now use CBD for issues such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, migraines, and more. Many of the medical benefits are similar to THC. However, CBD is a much milder substance. It won’t get you high, it’s non-addictive, there’s no risk of an overdose, and side effects are rarely reported. Because of this, many people opt to use CBD products to help with their health issues.
CBD can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp plants. Many products across the world use hemp-based CBD for legal reasons. Both can give you the helpful effects of CBD, and you can find it in products such as CBD Oils, Tinctures, Edibles, Topicals, Vape Cartridges, and more.
Benefits of THC
Many people know THC for its recreational effects. It can quickly make you feel happy and euphoric with an all-over body high that’ll make you feel extremely blissful and relaxed. However, THC also has a range of benefits for your body and mind which make it useful for medical users.
One of the most useful and noticeable benefits is the pain relief given by THC. Many chronic pain patients report that medical marijuana helps reduce pain and improve sleep. It’s particularly useful for conditions associated with chronic pain such as arthritis, MS, cancer, and fibromyalgia, but it can also come in handy for general pains and aches.
In addition to its analgesic effects, THC also helps with nausea and vomiting. Patients with many different conditions suffer from general dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. THC’s antiemetic effects can help reduce these symptoms and help patients feel better. One study found that THC-8, a less psychotropic form of THC, helped significantly reduce nausea and vomiting in child cancer patients.
THC can also have some incredible effects on the brain. In addition to helping with neurological disorders, it may even help protect the brain against trauma and injury. A study found that patients who suffered from traumatic head injuries were 80% less likely to die if they had THC in their system.
THC is also known as one of the best sleep aids. Various studies have shown that THC reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. The relaxing effects of THC often result in users feeling sedated. It can also reduce causes of insomnia such as anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. As such, those suffering from sleep issues will often find relief from THC.
It can also be beneficial for your mental health. Some studies have found that THC can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and more severe disorders such as PTSD. The mentally relaxing effects can improve your mood fast and often take away stress and anxiety- although higher doses may have the opposite effect.
There are many other benefits of THC- it can help fight against cancer, improve your appetite, heighten your senses, and help you relax in general. The psychoactive effects are often very enjoyable for recreational use, but the effects it has on your body and mind can also improve your health and well being.
Benefits of CBD
Although CBD doesn’t get you high, it does have a wealth of medical benefits which make it highly beneficial to use. CBD is now commonly used by many medical cannabis patients to get relief for symptoms without any psychoactive side effects. Those who want the medical perks of cannabis without getting high often turn to CBD for these reasons.
Many studies have shown that CBD helps relieve pain and inflammation. Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects are helpful for all kinds of conditions. That includes everything from chronic pain conditions like arthritis and MS to general aches, strains, headaches, and migraines.
CBD is also extremely beneficial for your mental health. For instance, a study found that using CBD can significantly help reduce anxiety and improve your sleep. It’s just as useful for depression- research shows CBD can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression and the beneficial effects last for a long time.
It’s also commonly used to help with epileptic seizures. Multiple clinical trials have shown that CBD can significantly reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic patients. It helps with various rare forms of epilepsy, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Patients find it easier to manage symptoms when using CBD.
CBD is also very helpful for your skin. Its antioxidant and antibacterial effects can help clear up skin imperfections and prevent skin problems. Research shows CBD is helpful for fighting against skin infections and conditions such as acne and dermatitis. It can even improve your skin and give it a more youthful appearance.
It also has anticancer properties, neuroprotective qualities, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and can even improve your mental function. Another key benefit is the fact that CBD is extremely safe to use with minimal side effects and no risk of addiction or overdose.
How to Use THC
There are many unique ways to use THC. While using cannabis strains or concentrates will give you the effects of THC, there are now also many isolated THC products which provide alternative methods of consumption. Here are some of the best ways to use THC.
Flower – Also known as weed or bud, you can smoke or vape marijuana flower to get the effects of THC. The kind of effects you’ll get depends on the strain- indica is more relaxing, sativa is more stimulating, and hybrid strains offer a balance of both indica and sativa effects. Whether you choose to smoke out of a joint, use a bong or vape flower, the THC effects hit you fast and can last for a few hours.
Concentrates – Cannabis concentrates are compressed products derived from cannabis flower which have extra high levels of THC. They come in many different forms such as hash, budder, shatter, and wax. These have much stronger effects than regular weed and, as such, many users smoke them, vape them or even use a dab rig for even more powerful THC effects.
Edibles – Marijuana edibles give you the most potent THC high. When you consume THC products in edible form, the THC is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. This is a stronger form of the chemical which gives you intense euphoric effects that can last for over eight hours. Edibles are also convenient and come in many tasty forms, such as gummies and chocolates.
Vape Products – Vape cartridges, oils, e-juices, and Juul pods can all be infused with THC. Vaping these THC oils will give you fast-acting effects in a flavorful and convenient form. You’ll need a vape pen or vaporizer to use them, but it’s a great way to enjoy the benefits of THC.
Other options include THC Oils which you apply under your tongue and THC Topicals which you apply directly to the skin. All of these methods have their uses and the choice comes down to your personal needs and preference. You can also use multiple products in conjunction safely.
How to Use CBD
Just like with THC, there are many different ways to use CBD. There are cannabis strains with high levels of CBD, but users who wish to avoid getting high will want to use products infused with CBD extracts. Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to using CBD. Here are a few of the best to choose from.
CBD Oil – CBD Oil, also known as CBD Tincture, CBD Drops or CBD Tears, is a popular way to take CBD thanks to its speed and convenience. You apply the drops of oil under your tongue and hold them there for a minute or two to absorb the cannabinoids into your system. It works within 20 minutes and gives you all of the beneficial effects of cannabidiol.
CBD Edibles – You can also get edibles with pure CBD and no THC. These are fantastic for those who want a healthy snack to help with pain relief, anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and more. Gummies and chocolate bars are the most popular kinds of edibles.
CBD Capsules – Alternatively, you can also simply swallow some CBD Capsules with some water. These work in the same way as edibles, giving you the effects of cannabidiol once your body digests them.
CBD Vape Products – You can also use CBD Vape Products such as CBD E-Juices, Vape-Oils, and Vape Cartridges. All you need to do is apply them to the chamber of your vape pen or vaporizer, heat them up, and inhale for fast-acting effects.
CBD Topicals – Topicals come in the form of skin products such as creams, lotions, and body sprays. You apply them directly to the skin to absorb the cannabidiol into your body. They don’t reach your bloodstream, but they can help with pain, inflammation, and skin infections.
THC vs CBD: Which is Better to Use?
With the differences between THC and CBD outlined, which is better to use? Both have a range of impressive medical qualities and both can be used in a variety of ways. But the choice depends on a few factors.
Users who want to get high should opt for THC. CBD is non-psychoactive and, while it can be relaxing to use, it won’t feel anything like the intoxicating effects of THC in marijuana. On the other hand, if you want the medical perks of cannabis without getting high, use CBD.
If you enjoy both, the best decision may depend on what you’re trying to treat. For instance, while both can help with anxiety, THC can worsen symptoms in some users whereas CBD can be used safely. THC has much stronger sedative effects for insomnia sufferers.
Sometimes, the best approach is to use a mix of both. A study on using cannabis for depression, stress, and anxiety found that using strains with high levels of both CBD and THC was helpful in many cases. You can also use Oils, Edibles, and other products with both cannabinoids.