In the world of cannabis wellness, there are plenty of acronyms to learn, from CBG (cannabigerol) to ECS (endocannabinoid system). But, by far the most talked-about cannabis components are CBD and THC; two compounds extracted from the plant that are frequently mentioned in the same breath, yet couldn’t be more different.
So, what sets them apart? Here’s everything you need to know about CBD vs. THC – from sources and legality to their purported benefits…
What is THC?
You already know that CBD – aka cannabidiol – is a famed compound derived from the hemp plant, most commonly from the Cannabis L. plant genus. It’s gained a reputation in the wellness world for triggering a balancing effect in your body, and there are bountiful ways you can try it, from dropping an oil to chewing fruity gummies.
But, what about THC? Otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, it’s also a component of the cannabis plant that’s proven to impact both mind and body. However, the type of plant it’s extracted from, its legality and its benefits set it apart from CBD in a wide array of ways. If you want to know the details, you’ve come to the right place.
What Are the Differences Between CBD and THC?
Where They Come From
While both CBD and THC are extracted from hemp or cannabis plants, the types of plants can differ. CBD, for example, is usually extracted from hemp that has been selected and cultivated for its rich CBD conten. These plants have very low levels of THC; perfect for those who want to reap CBD’s benefits without psychoactive effects. (But more on that later.)
However, if you do want a product with a higher level of THC, you would need to extract it from a particular cannabis plant that isn't hemp. That way, the compound will be more abundant in the flowers of the plant. The chemical make-up of CBD remains the same, no matter which plant it’s extracted from, but the presence of THC will alter the finished product.
It’s important to purchase CBD from reputable brands, as there is strict legislation around THC across the UK, Europe and the United States. In the UK, the regulation for the cultivation of hemp states that there must not be more than 0.2% THC present in the plant. This figure varies across Europe (it’s 0.6% in Italy and 0.2% in France), while the majority of the US has a 0.3% limit.
By the time a hemp extract is processed into a product – such as a CBD oil or gummy – the THC has usually been removed or reduced to legal levels. That's why it's important to choose a reputable CBD brand that provides a transparent view of the lab reports conducted on the products - this way, you can be sure that the THC has been completely removed. THC-free CBD (like ours) is legal in the UK, the US and most European countries.
One of the most talked about features of THC is its intoxicating properties. It’s the compound of the plant that’s widely associated with the ‘high’ you get from smoking or vaping cannabis. Because our CBD is THC-free, it’s entirely non-intoxicating, meaning you won’t get ‘high’ from a dropper of the CBD Oral Drops or the daily CBD Capsules.
One of the ways CBD and THC are believed to offer an effect or benefit is by interacting with your body’s built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for maintaining balance between different biological functions, and scientists believe it does so by sending soothing signals between receptors located in cells.
For example, if you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. When cortisol levels rise, the ECS releases naturally-occurring endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids rush to the right receptor in your body and bind to it, working to bring cortisol levels back down so you feel calm again.
Phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are thought to also bind to these receptors, creating a similar balancing effect within your body. However, while research on their individual benefits is still in its early stages, the purported uses of THC and CBD are quite different.
CBD has been linked to an easing of pain and inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis. One study found it may also help to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Meanwhile, a series of test tube experiments at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience saw it kill numerous strains of bacteria, indicating future research potential for using CBD as an antibiotic.
Meanwhile, THC, which is usually administered through medical cannabis, has also been used to alleviate symptoms of pain and inflammation. It’s also thought to improve poor appetite and keep nausea at bay, as well as making you feel drowsy so you can fall asleep quicker. This is quite different to CBD’s purported sleep-promoting properties, which focus more on balancing your sleep pattern vs. the lethargy often reported with THC.
How to Try CBD
Ready to try CBD for yourself? Our THC-free blends allow you to do it your way, whether you’re looking for a highly absorbent oil or a quick-to-take capsule. Our fast-acting formula, the Bright Days CBD Oil Drops, combines coconut oil and a citrusy flavour to make daily dosage a joy. Trust us: this is one supplement you’ll look forward to taking.
For pre-measured dosage, the CBD Capsules have got you covered. Take one quickly and discreetly – anytime, anywhere – the same way you might take a multivitamin. Soon, we’ll be offering even more ways to add CBD to your self-care routine, including CBD gummies and a bedtime oil. Watch this space.