What's The Difference Between THC and CBD
THC vs CBD: Understanding the Difference
Not long ago, medical marijuana flower was the only option available for those looking for therapeutic relief with cannabis. In recent years, however, the variety of products derived from the Cannabis sativa plant has expanded dramatically. The primary distinction between these products is whether they are rich in CBD or THC.
This leaves patients wondering, what is the difference between THC and CBD?
What Are THC and CBD?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two primary cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids are the class of phytonutrients in cannabis largely responsible for its medicinal benefits. Cannabinoids interact with the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis plants are exceptionally cannabinoid-rich, with estimates of 100+ different cannabinoids found within. Cannabinoids - in addition to terpenes - are responsible for the different effects that certain strains will elicit.
Cannabis plants are separated into two categories: marijuana plants and hemp plants. To qualify as hemp, a cannabis plant must contain 0.3% THC or less. For this reason, medical marijuana products are made from marijuana plants, while most commercial CBD products are made from hemp plants.
CBD has gained widespread attention in the past couple of years, resulting in the 2018 Agricultural Farm Bill signed by President Trump that distinguished the legality between hemp and cannabis. With the passing of this bill, hemp officially became legal across the country while THC is still classified as a Schedule-1 drug by the DEA.
The Primary Difference Between CBD and THC Is Psychoactivity
THC elicits the “high” that people associate with marijuana. While many patients wish to avoid the psychotropic effects of THC, THC in itself has a variety of different symptomatic benefits for an array of medical conditions.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have this kind of psychotropic effect. This is why CBD’s legality has spread faster than that of THC-rich marijuana, and has become more widespread in the use and access of CBD products. It is important to note that while CBD has optimistic evidence thus far, commercial CBD up to this point has flown under regulatory scrutiny, and for this reason many CBD products currently available do not have proper oversight, testing, or even verification of the claims being made.
It’s important for patients to understand that both CBD and THC have unique benefits for human health. In fact, there is ample evidence that using these two compounds together may offer greater benefits than either one alone for many medical conditions as cannabinoids and terpenes have been shown to increase efficacy when used in synergy.
The Medicinal Benefits of CBD and THC
Every year the scientific community is learning more about how CBD and THC can improve patient health. Both compounds are being used by medical practitioners throughout much of the United States for treating a variety of conditions.
CBD is used to help with symptoms of:
Mental health conditions
THC can help those with:
Why Doctor’s Often Recommend Using CBD and THC Together
There are two primary reasons why many patients are instructed to use a combination of THC and CBD. The first has to do with efficacy and the second with limiting side effects.
1. CBD + THC and the Entourage Effect
Multiple studies have found that a combination of THC and CBD is more effective than using either cannabinoid on its own, including studies on intractable cancer pain and epilepsy. Additionally, there are other phytonutrients found in cannabis that appear to work synergistically with these two compounds. These studies suggest that the compounds in cannabis may offer more benefits to human health when used together rather than apart, an idea termed “the entourage effect.”
2. You Can Limit THC’s Euphoric Effects With CBD
Many patients who are first introduced to medical marijuana treatment are concerned about the psychotropic effects of THC. They don’t want to experience possible side effects like mental impairment and anxiety when going about their day. Fortunately, CBD has been shown to counteract much of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Because of the entourage effect and CBD’s ability to counteract the psychoactive side effects of THC, patients in states with medical marijuana are often instructed to use products that contain THC, CBD, and other phytonutrients instead of CBD-only products derived from hemp.
Finding the Right CBD:THC Ratio
To find the best CBD:THC ratio, work with your Arkansas Marijuana Card physician and your local dispensary. In Arkansas dispensaries, you can find a variety of cannabis products, including high-THC, high-CBD, and those with a more balanced ratio. This variety allows patients to find the ideal ratio of these two compounds for their personal needs.
At Arkansas Marijuana Card we are here to help make the process convenient and understandable with a dedicated Patient Support Center available for any questions or concerns. If you believe that you might qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Arkansas make sure to check out our "How to Qualify" page to read more on the process of obtaining an Arkansas medical marijuana card. You can schedule an evaluation with a certified medical marijuana doctor by calling us at (844-249-8714) or you can schedule an appointment online today.