The Difference Between CBD and THCHyla Cass
We’re hearing more and more about CBD lately, and there is often confusion between CBD and marijuana. When I first heard about CBD, I thought it was just a different delivery system for THC, as a means of getting high. No judgment about that, but I didn’t really understand the health benefits of CBD until I investigated further. Then I discovered that they are quite different!
Both are derived from the cannabis plant which is bred along two different lines. Hemp has strong, tall, and narrow stalks for making rope, paper, and cloth – and now, CBD. The marijuana plant, on the other hand, is short with bushy leaves and has been bred to bear an abundance of flowers that yield THC. Hemp-derived CBD, by definition has a THC content of .3% or less. It’s far from enough to get you high.
While they are the two most abundant cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, THC is the one that has a psychoactive or euphoric effect, while CBD does not get you high.
CBD does, however, help you to feel good. It relieves anxiety and enhances mood, because of its actions on your chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters. Recreational marijuana, on the other hand, is bred to be high in THC, in order to get you as high as possible!
While THC and CBD share similarities, and both have medicinal effects, there are some key differences between the two compounds.
Hemp Oil Extract
You’ll see CBD referred to as Hemp Oil Extract, which is what we call ours because it’s not only CBD: it contains other cannabinoids, and a variety of healing compounds including terpenes such as beta caryophyllene, that have medicinal value in their own right. This produces the full entourage or synergistic effect.
CBD has been a great boon to my psychiatric practice, where I have often prescribed supplements that contain the precursors to the various neurotransmitters. CBD enhances and helps to balance them as needed, thereby balancing mood.
It has many other health benefits as described here.
In times past, when people smoked or ingested cannabis, the THC was counter- balanced by the naturally occurring higher CBD content. And we didn’t see a lot of the problems that we’re seeing now, where there can be minimal CBD in the product. Susceptible individuals,often upon having their first experience, get quite irritable, anxious, even paranoid and psychotic. They’re getting too high, too fast, and it’s not a good feeling. This is because the THC has facilitated the release of too much of the activating neurotransmitter, dopamine. There is not enough CBD in the plant that they’re smoking, or ingesting, to neutralize that powerful THC effect.
CBD to Treat THC Reaction:
We have an excellent natural treatment for this over-reaction to THC, namely CBD, which works fairly quickly to help neutralize it and bring them down. I far prefer that to their going to the emergency room and being injected with strong psychiatric medication, with its attendant side effects. It will subdue them, but it’s not addressing the problem at the root cause. The medication may be necessary in the short term, but not ongoing.
Longer-term, the individual will still need CBD to help rebalance their brain chemistry the duration depending on the person’s endocannabinoid level, and other metabolic factors.
The problem is, they are often prescribed psychotropic medication going forward, with all its pitfalls: side effects, brain changes, and difficulty getting off them. Often there is a downward spiral with the individual never recovering, since ongoing use of medication causes brain changes as well as dependency on it. These are often young people too, who may end up dropping out of school and having their entire lives go south, simply because of a bad experience with THC.
In functional medicine, we look for the root cause—restoring balance in the brain and not just treating symptoms. So treating these individuals with CBD, supplements, and psychotherapy can help bring them around, and they can go on to lead fulfilling lives.
At the end of the day, CBD and THC are both major constituent cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. You can get excellent medicinal results from CBD, without the THC, while THC does have some specific medical uses. You should be assessed individually before you decide on which is best for your needs. For THC use, ask a knowledgeable professional about the type, dose and delivery system of the product. It can legally be obtained only at a licensed dispensary while CBD is available freely from many retail sources. Choose carefully!