“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.
CBD is one of the many chemical compounds that is found in the cannabis plant—referred to as cannabis sativa. There are two primary parts of the plant that humans use. One is THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other is CBD. Though they’re from the same plant, THC and CBD are quite different from each other.
CBD Is Still an Unregulated Substance
Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.
She adds, “[Another difference is that] CBD is derived from hemp and has been classified as a legal substance. Hemp has <0.3% THC. Conversely, cannabis plants such as marijuana are grown to have much higher levels of THC and are still illegal according to the FDA, although individual states vary as to their use.”
CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.
Many known side effects of smoking marijuana exist, including the possibility of long-term lung damage and changes in mood. However, few studies exist on how edibles may impact brain growth and development, especially in adolescents and teens. Unfortunately, marijuana research in the United States is difficult to pursue due to federal regulations.
Notably, some marijuana edibles have several servings in them. For example, one bar of marijuana chocolate may have multiple 10 mg servings. If someone has a low marijuana tolerance and eats an entire bar of chocolate, they may experience unpleasant side effects, like:
Labeling requirements for marijuana edibles vary widely by state, leading to inconsistencies in how edibles are packaged and sold. Further, those attempting to make their own homemade edibles may accidentally overindulge due to the inconsistent potency of marijuana products. It is difficult to ensure a uniform consistency of marijuana throughout a product.
5. Inconsistent Regulations
Consuming marijuana edibles in combination with other drugs, particularly alcohol, is a bad idea. THC may worsen the effects of alcohol, increasing the likelihood that someone will participate in risky behaviors like drunk driving or binge drinking.
Compared to other ways of consuming marijuana, edibles are known for producing a delayed high. Further, they may be more discreetly consumed than marijuana from a blunt, vape pen or bong. Edibles are often broken down into four categories:
Weber Packaging. “Cannabis Labeling Requirements By State.” June 2018. Accessed December 9, 2020.
Extensive data is available documenting the increased side effects edible marijuana has compared to smoked marijuana. The reason for this discrepancy stems from how THC is metabolized. When marijuana is eaten, more THC makes it to the liver. The liver breaks it down into several byproducts, including 11-hydroxy-THC, which may be more psychoactive than THC itself.
‘The biggest difference between THC and CBD is there’s no high with CBD,’ Dr McCabe explains. ‘One of the biggest side effects or downfalls of THC for most people is there’s paranoia or a psychotic effect that can come with that. [CBD] allows the user to have the powerful benefits both can offer, but without the high.’
With THC-based edibles, this latency often results in that all-too-familiar trope: not feeling any effects, consuming more edibles, and accidentally overdosing. Nobody has ever died from overdosing on THC, but it’s possible to have a bad reaction and experience side effects like severe confusion, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and vomiting. That’s why you should always wait at least 24 hours before taking another dose.
🌿 The concentration and type of cannabinoids
As a rule of thumb, both CBD and THC edibles take between 30 and 60 minutes to kick in. However, this time period can vary depending on several different factors, such as:
The biggest difference between THC and CBD is there’s no high with CBD.
The effects of edibles can be felt longer than smoking or vaping marijuana, which is ideal for people who want lasting relief from symptoms without having to continually take doses throughout the day.