CBD and Marijuana: Is Smoking CBD the Same As Smoking Weed?
There is a lot of information (or misinformation) regarding the use of CBD and marijuana, even after the legalization of marijuana consumption. Finally, learn the difference between smoking CBD and weed with this guide on CBD and marijuana.
Cannabis is a cannabinoid drug and its main contents include cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is psychoactive and CBD (cannabidiol), which is non-psychoactive. The various ways in which cannabis can be consumed include smoking, eating, and vaporizing.
The consumption of cannabis depends on the form in which it is in. In this case, we shall be looking into CBD oil and weed.
What is CBD Oil
CBD oil is concentrated liquid extracted from Cannabis sativa. This is considered to be medical marijuana and it is claimed that it can cure various ailments, cancer included. CBD does not give consumers a high as THC does.
CBD products can be possessed, sold and consumed legally. According to Forbes, it is estimated that by 2020, the CBD products are going to be a $2.2 billion industry . Although it is an industry with a growing demand, there is a need to attend to the growing concerns about its effects and to distinguish it from the other forms of marijuana.
Side Benefits of Smoking CBD
Although it has not been well researched or documented, it is claimed that CBD oil can cure various illnesses and provide relief when someone has certain conditions.
CBD oil has been used to provide relief from pain and acne and it has also been claimed to cure diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Patients with multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease also use it to combat the symptoms that occur due to the conditions.
In addition to this, CBD oil improves brain functions such as learning and memory. This is because CBD protects the hippocampus, the part of the brain which is responsible for such functions.
Some students have been reported to use CBD during the exam period to give them a good memory of what they have revised. Navigation is also improved by the use of CBD oil.
CBD helps to prevent brain-cell destruction. Therefore, it can be used to manage schizophrenia. Chronic pain management is another side benefit of CBD oil.
Epilepsy treatment is also proving to be promising when using CBD oil. The FDA has approved Epidiolex, a cannabis-based drug, to be used when treating two forms of epilepsy which are rare and severe.
This syndrome has been resistant to the other approved methods of treatment and they also have mixed success rates. CBD oil is also used to aid smokers when they would like to quit smoking. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety can also be managed by using CBD oil.
Benefits of THC
For you to understand Cannabis Sativa, which is commonly referred to as weed, you need to understand THC. THC is the main element that differentiates weed and CBD oil. Remember, the level of THC will determine the effect of cannabis.
The following are some of the benefits of THC:
THC is used to provide this medical benefit to many patients who have chronic pain. When consumed, THC blocks the pain signals from being conveyed to your brain.
Easing Nausea and Vomiting
Other types of medication have additional side effects which are severe. Therefore, THC offers a safer alternative to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Brain Cell Protection
Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of cannabis does not kill brain cells because THC is neuroprotectant. It instead protects your neuron system.
THC helps those suffering from sleep apnea and insomnia since it brings about relaxation and improved breathing.
Treatment of PTSD
Patients who suffer from PTSD have crippling moments and the symptoms affect their daily lives. The use of THC eases the symptoms which include anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, depression, and flashbacks.
Stimulation of Brain Growth
Just like CBD, THC is neuroprotectant. It stimulates brain growth and long-term learning ability.
Patients living with conditions such as dementia, hepatitis, eating disorders, and HIV suffer from loss of appetite. THC makes food to taste better and also stimulates hunger. The science behind hunger stimulation is because THC interacts with receptors in the hypothalamus that release the hunger stimulation hormone, ghrelin.
Enhancement of Senses
THC offers psychological relief and benefits. It has been known to enhance creativity and to enable the user to gain more personal insights.
The cannabis plant produces THC to protect itself from pathogens. Humans can also consume this to protect themselves. The psychoactive property in THC killed bacteria that other drugs such as antibiotics could not.
THC, just like other types of cannabinoids, is a potent antioxidant. It protects the body from oxidative stress-related damage, at both DNA and cellular level. Oxidative stress also leads to skin diseases and accelerated aging. This can be managed by the use of THC.
Various types of illnesses and conditions cause inflammation. Examples of such conditions include depression, chronic inflammation, and arthritis. Inflammation can be controlled by the use of both CBD and THC.
These cannabis compounds limit the production of cytokine and chemokine, which are the immune compounds which trigger inflammation.
Patients who have multiple sclerosis experience pain, cramping, and muscle spasticity should opt for CBD treatment. THC has muscle relaxant properties which can ease such conditions.
Cancer is becoming more prevalent worldwide. Since there is no cure, many patients can only manage it.
So far, it has been found that cannabis compounds have the potential capacity to fight cancer. It triggers the cancer cells to destruct and also starve the cells by cutting off their supply of food and oxygen. This is when the cannabinoid blocks the tumor from forming blood vessels.
Another anticancer effect that THC has is stopping the cancer cell from leaving a colony of cancer cells to form another one in another body area. This is proven to be effective on both humans and animals.
In case your pet dog is ailing, you can consider getting CBD for dogs with cancer . The organic oil extracted from marijuana helps you to maintain the vitality and health of your pet.
Similar to CBD, THC has anticonvulsant properties and has been successfully used to treat children with epilepsy by reducing the seizure attacks.
Smoking marijuana is done mostly as a recreational activity. Unlike medical cannabis, it has no safe consumption level. There has always been a concern about the impact of smoking weed, especially with tobacco.
Effects of Smoking Weed
The immediate and short-term effects of smoking weed included increased appetite and sociability, feelings of excitement and relaxation and a visible effect of having a dry mouth and bloodshot eyes. The memory gets impaired and reflexes become slower and you may experience mild paranoia.
The frequency and quantity of weed smoked determine the extent of the long-term effects. The effects of heavy and regular consumption of weed include dependence on and tolerance to the effects of cannabis as well as reduced cognitive functioning. Since the breathing organs are used frequently, cannabis smokers may also experience asthma, bronchitis and sore throats.
If weed is smoked with tobacco, there is a risk of getting cancer. Some may be affected mentally by experiencing depression, anxiety and psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.
Cannabis and the Law
The law allows the use of medicinal cannabis, since it is not psychoactive, as discussed earlier. On the other hand, THC is psychoactive since it impairs the mental and motor abilities. You may get arrested if you are found to be driving under the influence of drugs.
While it may be legal to possess or smoke in designated areas, you will be putting yourself in a not so pleasant position with authorities if you are found smoking weed publicly. CBD is consumed in recommended doses whereas weed is consumed recreationally and depending on the tolerance, the user determines how much weed they shall smoke.
The side effects brought about by CBD oil provide medicinal pain relief and management, whereas, the psychoactive side effects brought by smoking weed may cause the smoker to harm themselves or others.
Cancer cells are killed by using CBD oil but smoking weed together with tobacco brings about the risk of getting cancer. Therefore, it can be concluded that CBD oil is more beneficial than smoking weed. You can also take caution and ensure that you do not purchase cancer treatments that are being sold illegally.
Since Smoking CBD Ain’t an Option for Your Dog, You Can Use CBD Oil Products
You probably first fell in love with your pet from the day it gave you puppy eyes. And now, you see their eyes looking less bright due to the pain they are experiencing. To help your dog to have a less painful experience when fighting cancer, you can get an organic, creative and reliable solution from Innovet.
If you’re pro-smoking, you can consider smoking CBD to capitalize on the health benefits it offers.
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CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Cannabis contains over 113 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two types of chemical compounds derived from cannabis. In recent years, interest has grown in the potential health effects and benefits of cannabis. Much of this interest has centered on these two cannabinoids.
This interest is likely to continue to grow as cannabis and marijuana products become legal in more states. A number of different products have emerged that contain CBD, THC, or both that are designed to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. In order to understand the side effects and potential benefits of these products, it is important to first understand the differences between CBD and THC.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, usually referred to as CBD, is the second most prevalent chemical compound found in cannabis. First discovered during the 1940s, CBD has recently become more popular as a natural treatment for a range of conditions. It can be derived from hemp or from marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD still contains trace amounts of THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain more.
What Is THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC activates the brain’s reward system by signaling the release of the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and pleasure. By triggering a higher-than-normal release of dopamine, THC causes people to experience feelings of euphoria. THC is often administered by smoking marijuana, but it can also be found as an ingredient in capsules, edibles, and oils.
CBD vs. THC: Key Differences
THC and CBD have an effect on the endocannabinoid system, a system that plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis. Researchers are still working to understand the ins and outs of this complex system, but they do know that it is associated with processes including memory, appetite, sleep, mood, and fertility.
While THC and CBD share similarities, there are some key differences between the two compounds.
Psychoactive (produces a high)
Sourced from marijuana
Non-psychoactive (does not produce a high)
Typically sourced from hemp
CBD and THC affect different receptors in the brain. Because of this, CBD typically does not have psychoactive effects—in other words, it won’t cause you to get high.
THC, on the other hand, does have psychoactive effects. It is the compound that produces the high that people associate with marijuana.
Both CBD and THC have a chemical structure that is similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that act in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells in the body. They play an important role in a wide range of functions including sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and the immune system.
CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, but there are differences in how these molecules are arranged that are responsible for the differing effects they have. By mimicking endocannabinoids, they bind with receptors and cause different effects in the body.
While CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana, it is often derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, on the other hand, is derived from marijuana.
CBD that comes from marijuana may contain more THC, which may not be ideal for people who are trying to avoid THC. Some CBD products that are produced from cannabis, for example, may contain more THC than the label suggests.
Potential Benefits of CBD and THC
While research on the potential health benefits of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids is still in the early stages, there is evidence that these substances may be helpful for conditions including:
- Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
- Opioid dependence
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep difficulties
- Movement disorders
While CBD and THC often have similar effects and are often used to treat many of the same ailments, there are some differences.
CBD is often used to alleviate symptoms associated with:
THC, which may be administered as medical marijuana, may be used to alleviate symptoms of a number of conditions. It may be helpful for conditions such as:
- Nausea; it may be helpful for alleviated nausea caused by cancer treatment
- Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches
- Poor appetite; including appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
While cannabis itself has not been FDA approved to treat any condition, there are a few drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contain CBD or THC.
- Epidiolex contains CBD and has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Marinol and Syndros are drugs that contain dronabinol, a synthetic THC. These drugs are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
- Cesamet contains nabilone, a synthetic substance that is similar to THC. This drug is used to treat weight loss and appetite problems associated with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS.
Side Effects of CBD and THC
Some research suggests that CBD and THC are generally safe and result in few side effects.
However, while these substances appear safe, that does not necessarily mean that you won’t experience some unwanted effects. Some adverse effects that have been reported include:
- Changes in mood and appetite
- Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
- Nausea and dizziness
THC use may also result in unpleasant side effects such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and memory loss.
Marijuana itself can have a number of short-term and long-term adverse effects, including impaired short-term memory, altered judgment, and impaired coordination. Research also suggests that marijuana can alter brain development and may lead to cognitive impairment.
NIDA also notes that THC alters how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex function. These areas of the brain are important in the formation of new memories and the ability to shift attention from one thing to the next. This not only affects a person’s ability to learn and form new memories, but it also makes it difficult for people to perform difficult tasks.
Legality of CBD and THC
When choosing products containing CBD or THC, it is also important to consider their legality. Both marijuana and THC are included in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means that they are not legal under federal law. As of July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted policies allowing medical marijuana and products containing THC to be prescribed by a doctor. Some states also allow recreational use of marijuana and THC-containing products.
Although CBD in certain forms is legal in most states, the specifics of the legality of any THC or CBD product can vary from one state to the next. Several states have also approved the use of marijuana and THC for recreational purposes.
Because the laws regarding the use of cannabis and cannabis products are rapidly changing, you should always check your state’s laws before using products containing CBD or THC.
How to Take CBD and THC
Both THC and CBD can be consumed in a number of different forms. THC may be consumed as marijuana by smoking, but a number of other cannabis products are also available including:
- Vape products
- Edibles including gummies and chocolates
- Beverages containing marijuana oil
Like THC, CBD can also be consumed in a number of different forms. CBD oils can be formulated for vaping, although there have been recent concerns about the health dangers posed by vaping.
It can also be added to lotions and salves to apply to skin. It is important to note that the effects of these topical products will be localized since they are not being ingested.
CBD can also be taken orally as a tincture, oil, capsule, or spray. Edible CBD products are also popular and include gummies, candies, and beverages.
When choosing CBD products, it is also important to consider its formulation. Isolate products contain only CBD. Broad-spectrum products contain other cannabinoids with the exception of THC, while full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
Which One Should You Take?
The product you choose may depend on the effects you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to reduce stress or sleep better, for example, CBD may provide benefits without the negative side effects associated with THC. THC might be a better choice for symptoms or conditions for which the substance has demonstrated benefits, such as tremors or poor appetite.
Some research suggests that the potential therapeutic effects of THC and CBD tend to be greater when the two cannabinoids are taken together at the same time. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
Taking CBD along with THC has also been shown to help reduce some of the unwanted effects that THC may have. For example, one study suggests that CBD may potentially reduce some of the negative cognitive effects of regular cannabis use. For example, people who use cannabis, particularly when it has high THC levels, may have a greater risk of experiencing psychiatric symptoms such as paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis. Studies have found, however, that CBD may help mitigate these effects.
One study found that CBD helped block some of the potential psychiatric effects of THC. The authors of the study suggest that such findings have important implications for the use of cannabis products. People who are prone to unwanted side effects, for example, may be able to still gain the potential health benefits by sticking to products that are low in THC and higher in CBD content.
It is also important to remember that CBD and THC work in a number of different areas of the brain and researchers do not yet fully understand the effects that these cannabinoids have, either alone or in conjunction with one another.
Some evidence suggests that the combined effects of CBD and THC may be dependent on dose. A 2019 study, for example, found that low doses of CBD actually played a role in amplifying the psychoactive effects of THC, while high doses of CBD reduced THC’s effects.
Drug Testing CBD or THC
Because THC is the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, it can be detected on most standard drug tests. CBD may be detectable as well, but many drug tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol.
However, many CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC. While these amounts are small, they may still be detectable if you are consuming large quantities of CBD or if the products you are using contain more THC than the packaging label claims.
Research has found, for example, that as many as 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and contain significantly more THC than labels suggest. Because of the lack of regulation of these products, it is difficult to know exactly how much THC you are actually getting.
Both THC and CBD are stored in body fat, which means that both can potentially be detected on drug tests for some time after you have stopped using them.
Before You Take CBD or THC
THC and CBD may also have an effect on some health conditions and can interact with certain medications, so you should always use caution before taking these products. These substances might impact how medications are metabolized by your body. They can also heighten feelings of anxiety in some cases.
Before choosing a THC or CBD product, it is important to check your state laws to ensure that these products are legal where you live. Federal law mandates that hemp-derived CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC, but even those trace amounts are still illegal in some states.
A Word From Verywell
Both THC and CBD may have a number of benefits, but you should always talk to your doctor first before you try any products containing these cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC hold promise for alleviating symptoms and even treating some medical and mental health conditions, but research in this area is still relatively new and further investigation is needed.