CBD vs THC: What is the difference?

By: Charlyn Martin Gardner for Purple Leaf Industries

           Cannabidiol, or CBD, is making its grand entrance in modern markets. It has made its home at the intersection of the plant based/herbal industry, the cannabis economy, and the growing anxiety relief market. Not to be confused with its better known cousin compound, THC, CBD focuses more on it’s healing properties rather than a traditional psychoactive feeling or “high”. CBD is hitting the shelves in retailers across the United States, and not just inside dispensaries. If your local grocery store doesn’t already have a designated CBD section, chances are there plans to make room it. 

          So what’s the difference? And how does the consumer benefit from these differences? To understand, let’s explore what exactly is CBD and THC.

THC & CBD Compound

           THC, the acronym for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the crystalline compound found in cannabis that gives a psycho active reaction to the user. It is often associated with the “high” feeling of euphoria. Typically, when the average consumer thinks of cannabis, they associate it with this compound. The higher the THC content of the product, the higher the psycho active reaction. Because of the similarity between THC and the brain chemical Anandamide, the body’s endocannabinoid system binds THC to its cannabinoid receptors just as it would with Anandamide. Anandamide is the brain chemical responsible for Runner’s High. This transmits signals to the neuro system affecting the parts of the brain involving stress, anxiety, euphoria, appetite, and anti-emetic relief. It is here in this chemical balancing act that modern medical cannabis stems from today.

 CBD, the acronym for Cannabidiol, is also a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis. However, it does not bind to cannabinoid receptors the way that THC does similarly to Anandamide. Rather, studies are suggesting that it while it balances the neurological system similarly, it does not create a psycho active reaction. In other words, the body processes all the benefits such as stress relief and anti-emetic help, but without the “high”. 

           CBD and THC, look and act very similar. However it is the slight difference in their chemical make up that allows for different benefits. They share the same molecular set up: C(21)H(30)O(2). They both weigh 314g/mol. However in this molecular formula, THC contains a cyclic ring whereas CBD is in the hydroxyl group. This subtle difference is what dictates whether or not the consumer feels high; without affecting the benefits.

What’s next for CBD?

           The next market CBD will make its way to is the beauty industry. With its toes already dipped into the anxiety economy, relaxing and self care is a beauty trend that CBD can support. CBD bath bombs, CBD cream – body butter, CBD body oil, and CBD soaking salts are a great way for you to dip your toes into this popular beauty trend. 

            CBD is here to stay and here to help. It is plant based, non psychoactive, and has all the magical benefits of THC without the hassle. Both CBD and THC have much to offer, medicinally and recreational. But unlike THC, CBD is a more manageable option for the masses. Look for CBD products in your local dispensaries, online retailers, and soon in stores near you. 






3 thoughts on “CBD vs THC: What is the difference?

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