What Is The Difference Between CBD and THC

Updated on February 3, 2022

Medical science seems to be constantly evolving due to the demands of caring for patients with various illnesses. One area in medicine that shows this is the shift in treatment using the cannabis plant. In the beginning, modern science rejected the use of the cannabis plant for treating symptoms. But now there are studies that regard the cannabis plant as a possible source of cannabinoids that may help ease symptoms, especially in the area of chronic pain. The spotlight is on two cannabinoids namely CBD and THC.

What are CBD and THC?

You might be wondering what CBD and THC are. CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol which is a substance derived from the cannabis plant. THC is the acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol which can also be derived from the cannabis plant. 

The difference between these two cannabinoids is that THC is believed to cause that special “high” associated with marijuana use while CBD can only produce a general feeling of well-being.

Why Do People Get Confused About CBD and THC?

In the US, people sometimes have trouble getting their CBD supply because the cannabis plant is associated legally with marijuana which is still considered an illegal drug under federal law. Fortunately, the CBD that you find being sold is usually derived from hemp, not marijuana. Hemp is a relative of marijuana so not surprisingly people get confused by the two. THC, on the other hand, is closely associated with the so-called “medical marijuana” that some patients want to use to relieve their chronic pain. There seems to be more tolerance for the medical use of CBD among the public, compared to THC.

How Can CBD and THC Relieve Symptoms?

The use of both CBD and THC is part of the search for a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals because medical science doesn’t always offer a means to relieve symptoms of illnesses such as chronic pain. Take note that neither CBD or THC is known to eliminate such symptoms though the patient may get some relief from using either cannabinoid.

Can CBD and THC Heal Illnesses?

There seems to be some confusion about the efficacy of CBD and THC because some parties have made claims about their ability to “cure” illnesses (such as cancer). At this time, there are no known cures using CBD or THC. However, CBD or THC may relieve symptoms for illnesses on a case to case basis. There is only one FDA-approved drug named Epidiolex which contains CBD but it is only meant to treat a certain degree of rare childhood epilepsy. (Two known forms of this epilepsy are Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome). There are also some clinical trials being conducted to know more about the effectiveness of CBD as a medical treatment but nothing is conclusive yet.

Are There Side Effects Linked to CBD Use?

Yes, CBD is known to have some side effects such as:

  • Feeling drowsy
  • Low blood sugar
  • Feeling cranky
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

Are There Side Effects from THC Use?

Yes, THC can also cause some side effects including the following:

  • Memory
  • Balance
  • Feeling Drowsy
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Inability to focus on tasks

Where Can I Purchase CBD and THC Legally?

You can probably find many websites that claim to sell CBD to the public. The problem is that you cannot be sure that the website is a legitimate business, meaning they might take your money and disappear. You also cannot be certain that the CBD they will sell to you is an effective product, that it is sourced responsibly, or even that the volume in the container is accurately measured. The CBD sold to you might also be defective or expired. Those are the risks online. You will also need to check if delta 8 is legal in your state to see if you need a medical marijuana card or if you can purchase it for recreational use.

As for THC, you may have to wait until medical marijuana is legalized first before it is sold openly to the public.

Final Thoughts

Medical research is advancing regarding the use of CBD and THC to relieve symptoms of illnesses. Despite the side effects associated with either CBD or THC, research is ongoing anyway to find medically-acceptable, legal and ethical ways to administer these cannabinoids to patients (including creating drugs that have fast absorption characteristics). 

Remember that no one has a cure yet based on CBD or THC for any illness so don’t fall for false claims advertised online. If you have exhausted all means to relieve your symptoms and now want to try CBD or THC, talk to your doctor first about it. The use of CBD and THC should still remain on a case-to-case basis.

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