Here's your guide to all things cannabis, including THC vs CBD, the difference between marijuana and hemp plants, and what cannabinoids really are. Hemp oil is hemp seed oil, CBD oil has the benefits you want, and marijuana is the plant that gets you high. We break it all down in a simple manner. In 2020, CBD versus THC is a hot topic. Both are natural compounds derived from the same plant– cannabis sativa. So whats the difference between CBD and THC?
What’s the Difference Between CBD, THC, Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp?
Your primer on all things cannabis, including how to make the most of the therapeutic benefits with or without the high.
Cannabis is still one of the buzziest wellness trends out there and it continues to gain momentum. Once associated with bongs and hacky sacks, cannabis has made its way into mainstream natural medicine — and for good reason. Research shows that cannabis has proved useful in helping with a series of neurological and mental health illnesses including epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety to name a few. It has also gained recognition for its pain relieving properties and has helped people with neuropathic pain as well as those will illnesses like arthritis. Not only that but pre-clinical trials have also proved its efficacy in preventing the spread of cancer.
CBD is hands down the most popular component of this herbal remedy. Largely because CBD doesn’t have a psychoactive component, which appeals to a range of enthusiasts — including those who aren’t trying to get high or who might have adverse reactions to THC (more on that later).
If you’re a CBD or THC rookie (and these acronyms are totally throwing you off), don’t worry: We’ve got a primer. Here are the basics. No bong required.
Cannabinoids (the compounds in cannabis plants)
Depending on the type of cannabinoid, it’s either a chemical compound in a plant or a neurotransmitter in your body (part of the endocannabinoid system).
“A cannabis plant has over 100 components,” says Perry Solomon, M.D., anesthesiologist, and former chief medical officer of HelloMD. “The primary [components] that people talk about are the active cannabinoids in the plant, known as phytocannabinoids. The other cannabinoids are endocannabinoids, which exist in your body.”
Yes, you have a system in your body to interact with cannabis! “The phytocannabinoids you’re used to hearing about are CBD and THC,” adds Dr. Solomon. Now let’s get to those.
CBD (short for “cannabidiol”)
A compound (phytocannabinoid) found in cannabis plants.
CBD is what touts the aforementioned benefits associated with mental health, neurological diseases, and other illnesses. The best part? It’s not addictive like some prescription medications can be.
The CBD compound can be put into oils and tinctures for sublingual (under-the-tongue) delivery, as well as in gummies, candies, and beverages for consumption. Looking for faster relief? Try vaporizing the oil. Some patients find that topical CBD products can provide anti-inflammatory relief for skin ailments — and there are studies that verify these claims.
“People are looking to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, but don’t want to experience high or psychoactive effect,” says Dr. Solomon. He did mention that CBD can be more effective when used with THC (more on that later). But on its own, it touts bonafide healing properties. (Here’s a full list of CBD’s proven health benefits.)
That being said, it does not work for everyone. Factors like your age, lifestyle, gender, and overall health will have an impact on how your body metabolites the compound. It’s also worth noting that CBD is not regulated by the FDA, which means there are no official dosage recommendations. So it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any kind of medication into your regimen, including natural, plant-based medicines. (See: Your Natural Supplements Could Be Messing with Your Prescription Meds)
THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol)
A compound (phytocannabinoid) found in cannabis plants, THC is known to treat a number of maladies and to be exceptionally effective. And yes, this is the stuff that gets you high.
“THC is commonly known and is helpful for pain relief, anxiety control, appetite stimulation, and insomnia,” says Dr. Tishler. “However, we’ve learned that THC does not work alone. Many of those chemical [compounds in marijuana] work together to produce the desired results. This is called the entourage effect.”
For example, CBD, though helpful on its own, works best with THC. Indeed, studies show the synergy of the compounds found in the entire plant deliver enhanced therapeutic effects versus when they’re used solo. While CBD is often used as an isolated extract, THC is more frequently used for therapy in its whole flower state (and not extracted).
“Start low and go slow” is the term you’ll hear from many doctors when it comes to medicinal THC. Because it’s a psychoactive compound, it can cause feelings of euphoria, a head high, and in some patients, anxiety. “Everyone’s reaction to THC is variable,” says Dr. Solomon. “A tiny bit of THC for one patient won’t make them feel anything, but another patient could have the same amount and have a psychoactive response.”
Laws are continuing to change but, currently, THC is legal (regardless of medical necessity) in 17 states. In 37 additional states, you can use THC with a doctor’s prescription. (Here’s a full map of every state’s cannabis rules.)
Cannabis (the umbrella term for marijuana or hemp)
A family (genus, if you want to get technical) of plants, comprising both marijuana plants and hemp plants, among others.
You’ll often hear a doctor use the term cannabis in lieu of more casual terms like pot, weed, etc. Using the term cannabis also potentially creates a softer barrier to entry for those who have been a bit apprehensive when it comes to using marijuana or hemp as part of a wellness routine. Just know, when someone says cannabis, they could be referencing either hemp or marijuana. Keep reading for the difference between those.
Marijuana (a high-THC variety of cannabis plant)
Specifically the cannabis sativa species; typically has high amounts of THC and moderate amounts of CBD, depending on the strain.
Stigmatized and outlawed for decades, marijuana receives a bad rap thanks to government efforts to crack down on its use. The truth is that the only potentially “negative” effect of consuming medicinal marijuana is intoxication, but for some patients, that’s a bonus. (Keep in mind: There aren’t enough long-term studies on marijuana to know if there are negative effects from prolonged use.) In certain cases, the relaxing effects of THC in marijuana can also alleviate anxiety.
However, smoking marijuana could have negative implications, as with all types of smoking (this is as opposed to consuming marijuana via an edible form or tincture). The smoke itself “contains a similar range of harmful chemicals” that could lead to respiratory disease, according to the University of Washington.
Side note: CBD is found in marijuana, but they’re not the same thing. If you’re interested in using CBD on its own, it can come from either a marijuana plant or a hemp plant (more on that, next).
If you want to use marijuana therapeutically, you’ll reap the benefits of the aforementioned entourage effect. Consult with your doctor (or any doctor you trust who’s versed in cannabis) to determine the right combination for your needs.
Hemp (a high-CBD variety of cannabis plant)
Hemp plants are high in CBD and low in THC (less than 0.3 percent); a chunk of commercial CBD on the market now comes from hemp because it’s super easy to grow (while marijuana needs to be grown in more controlled environments).
Despite the higher CBD ratio, hemp plants don’t typically yield tons of extractable CBD, so it takes a lot of hemp plants to create a CBD oil or tincture.
Keep in mind: Hemp oil doesn’t necessarily mean CBD oil. When shopping online, it’s important to know the difference. What’s even more important is to know where the hemp was grown. Dr. Solomon warns that this is imperative because since CBD is not regulated by the FDA, it could put your body at risk if it was derived from plants grown overseas.
“Hemp is a bioaccumulator,” he says. “People plant hemp to cleanse soil because it absorbs anything the soil has in it — toxins, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers. There is a lot of hemp that comes from overseas, and it may not be grown in a [safe or clean] way.” American-grown hemp-especially from states that produce both medically and recreationally legal cannabis tends to be safer because there are stricter standards, according to Consumer Reports.
He advises that when buying and using a hemp-derived product, to make sure the product has been “independently tested by a third-party lab,” and to “find the COA (certificate of analysis) on the company website,” to ensure you’re consuming a clean, safe product.
Some brands willingly provide the COA so you can ensure you’re getting a safe (and potent) hemp- or marijuana-derived medicine. Leading the market is what’s considered the Maserati of CBD, Charlotte’s Web (CW) Hemp. Pricey but powerful, their oils are known for being effective and clean. If a gummy-vitamin style is more your speed, try Not Pot’s CBD gummies (a portion of the proceeds go to The Bail Project, an organization that works towards mitigating the effects of the criminalization of marijuana) or AUR Body’s sour watermelons which are an exact replica of Sour Patch Watermelon with CBD. If you’d rather try a beverage, try Recess’s superfood-powered, full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD sparkling waters for a La Croix-meets-CBD refreshment.
Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, & Marijuana, What is the Difference? [Explained]
We get from customers a common question: What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? What is the difference between CBD Oil and Marijuana? And lastly, what is the difference between Hemp oil and marijuana?
In short, hemp oil is essentially hemp seed oil derived from the crushing of hemp seeds. CBD oil is short for cannabidiol and is what you’re most likely interested in buying since it’s one of the many cannabinoids to have magnificent medicinal properties. Lastly, marijuana is the plant that produces a high potency of THC that people smoke or consume to feel “high” that CBD does not give.
Before we begin to explain the differences, first, we will break it down in depth to you what each of these is so you have an excellent idea of what they are before we dive in deeper. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil, which refers to hemp seed oil, is very different than its counterparts. Though it is derived from the same plant as CBD oil and marijuana, the nutritional and medicinal properties are significantly different. It has very little in common with CBD oil and marijuana. When purchasing hemp seed oil, be sure to buy it as a nutritional supplement and not because you expect the same therapeutic benefits as CBD oil or marijuana. Here’s how hemp seed oil is different:
- Hemp seed oil, unlike its counterparts, is derived from the seeds of hemp seeds through cold press technology.
- Hemp seed oil is a nutritional supplement as it is rich in omega fatty acids, fiber, and protein.
- Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD or THC and also has none of the benefits.
- Hemp seed oil is a popular additive in protein shakes, smoothies, and other recipes.
- Hemp seed oil can be topically used as a moisturizer.
Here is some insight into the nutritional values that it holds:
- Possibly the single most nutritionally complete food on earth
- It contains all essential amino acids
- 35% protein, as digestible edestin
- 35% oil, rich in essential fatty acids
- 75% Linoleic Acid
- 25% linolenic Acid
- 9% Gamma-Linolenic Acid
What is CBD Oil?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many powerful chemical compounds found primarily in the flowers and leaves of hemp used to extract the compound from the plant. This is the main and one of the many compounds known to help the mind and body in many wonderful ways.
CBD oil is the next best thing when you don’t have access to medicinal marijuana or aren’t comfortable using medicinal marijuana. That said, CBD oil has therapeutic benefits that stand on its own as well. Safe and suitable for everyday use, CBD oil is excellent to use as needed or as a daily supplement. Let’s look at some facts about CBD oil.
- CBD is extracted from the flowers and leaves of hemp.
- CBD can be derived from marijuana plants, but marijuana has extremely low traces of CBD
- CBD oil is known to have mood-regulating effects, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- CBD oil can be used by products like creams, concentrates, topicals, and oils.
- The difference between marijuana and CBD is the level of THC in the oil. CBD oils have to have less than .03% THC to be legal & sold.
- CBD oil is legal in all 50 states since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, or click here to read our summary on the 2018 Farm Bill.
Three Types of CBD Products
- Contains up to 0.3% THC
- It contains other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, & flavonoids
- It contains other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, & flavonoids
- White crystalline powder that is 98-99% pure CBD
- It does not contain any other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, & flavonoids.
To learn more in-depth, click this link to read our blog post on Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate.
Is Hemp Oil Same as CBD Oil?
Yes and no, because CBD oil is technically the oil from hemp, the real meaning behind “hemp oil” is another term for Hemp Seed Oil, which is the crushing of the seeds, as you read in the first section. CBD oil is the correct term for “hemp extract,” as it is the extract from hemp.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana, on the other hand, is a different plant itself from hemp. A marijuana plant is not the same as a hemp plant. Although they are in the same family and have similar traits, marijuana, on the other hand, contains high THC levels and very low levels of CBD (Hemp has high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC).
- You may have heard of marijuana through terms such as weed, pot, dope, or cannabis.
- Marijuana has much higher THC levels, the psychoactive cannabinoid, and very low levels of CBD, hence why CBD oil is not extracted from marijuana.
- Marijuana can help with nausea, anxiety, soothe pain, and even prevent seizures, as well as other medicinal benefits.
- Marijuana is the plant that has been talked about so much in the past decade.
- Marijuana is the plant people smoke to get “high.”
- Marijuana is also widely known to be used by cancer patients.
Summary of the Difference Between Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, & Marijuana?
They are all completely different from each other, especially hemp seed oil from CBD oil & marijuana. They do have in common that they are in some shape derived from the same cannabis family.
Hemp Seed Oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp seeds through cold pressing them. CBD, a cannabinoid found both in hemp and marijuana but contains high levels in hemp and very low levels in marijuana, is derived from the leaves and flowers of hemp. Lastly, marijuana is just a plant that people smoke the flowers and leaves to get “high” because it contains high THC levels, the psychoactive cannabinoid.
CBD Oil Vs Weed
In 2020, CBD (cannabidiol) versus THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a hot topic. Both are natural compounds derived from the same plant– cannabis sativa. So what is the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD and THC are two of the most prominent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Both cannabis and hemp produce CBD and THC. However, cannabis has a higher concentration of THC. Hemp has a higher concentration of CBD.
CBD and THC have the same chemical makeup, 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference is that they don’t have the same chemical arrangement, and the body receives them as different compounds. These compounds bind to neurotransmitters in your brain and affect things like mood, pain, sleep, and memory.
The THC compound is the one known most famously for the high sensation you get from it, a psychoactive response. And in many states, it is still illegal.
CBD, alternatively, is considered a “non-psychoactive” compound, meaning that you do not get that high that we associate with THC. Although CBD legally may have trace amounts of THC up to .3%, it is not enough to result in a psychoactive response.
CBD is known to have many of the promising health benefits, minus the psychoactive side effects.
Both compounds communicate with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). According to Norml , the endocannabinoid system is, “perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” It plays a role in regulating many functions and processes, including, sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility.
Although they both interact with the ECS system, they have separate properties with different medicinal benefits.
There are many health benefits associated with taking CBD oil. CBD connects to your body’s cannabinoid receptors, and people report that CBD helps with complex problems like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer treatment. Others use it to treat more mild everyday issues like skin health, sleep, anxiety, general pain, and brain health.
There are many ways to take CBD. CBD is available in capsule or oil tinctures (like the ones you see here on our website), edibles, or you can even lather it on in cream form.
More than half of US states have made “medical marijuana” legal, which means in order to use it you must have a doctor’s prescription. The effects of THC have been known to offset many otherwise painful symptoms associated with chronic pain and nausea.
CBD rarely exhibits any noticeable side effects, even when taken in very large doses. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said in its research that, “CBD was tolerated in all patients, with no signs of toxicity or serious side effects.”
If side effects were detected, it was usually a result of CBD interacting with another drug the person took at the same time. Always consult a doctor, especially if you are considering taking CBD while taking other drugs.
THC, on the other hand, does have a few well-known side effects such as increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction time, and memory loss. These side effects are associated with the compound’s psychoactive properties.
Standard drug tests typically look for chemicals related to THC, so you can expect that THC would show up on a screen.
Does CBD contain THC?
The short answer is yes. CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, up to 0.3 percent. Although almost negligible and such a small amount would never be enough to cause any of the psychoactive side effects, it is still likely to show up on a drug test.
A Final Word
CBD and THC are derived from the same cannabis plant. But these two compounds have distinct properties that separate them from one another. THC is associated with the high feeling or psychoactive effects, and CBD is more well known for its health benefits. Before using either, be sure to check with your doctor and consider how these will affect other medications you are already taking.