CBD and THC: Similar and So Very Different
So, what is the difference between CBD and THC? THC is the one that gets you high. CBD is the one that doesn’t. Let’s start there.
There are more than 144 cannabinoid compounds in hemp and marijuana. CBD and THC are two of them.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that produces the marijuana “high.” It is heavily regulated by the U.S. government and restricted in most states.
CBD is no longer a controlled substance. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the cultivation of hemp and the production of CBD, it is now federally legal to buy and sell hemp-derived CBD nationwide. Your state’s laws may have restrictions, however.
A Brief History of Cannabinoids
American scientist Roger Adams is credited as first isolating CBD in 1942. Israeli scientist Dr. Robert Mechoulam and his research team isolated THC for the first time in 1964.
In the 1990s, scientists determined that cannabinoids interact with humans (and pets) via a complex network that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune systems, as well as many other organ systems.
This system is called the endocannabinoid system. The ECS exists throughout the bodies of humans and other animals, including birds, fish, and invertebrates such as leeches and nematodes.
Now for the Good Part
Both THC and CBD bind with a set of receptors within the ECS that regulate the nervous system. These receptors are known as “CB1” receptors, found abundantly in the brain, spinal cord and some peripheral organs.
Research indicates CB1 receptors play a role in regulating release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate. Put simply, CB1 receptors are interrupted by THC in a way that leads to the famous “high” for which marijuana and other cannabis plants with moderate to high levels of THC are known.
CBD has a different interaction with the ECS that doesn’t lead to a high. CBD interacts mainly with CB2—receptors found most abundantly in cells of the immune system, which includes the blood stream, liver and spleen. CB2 receptors also are present in the brain but in lower amounts than CB1.
Scientists know CB2 receptors work like a switch for intracellular processes regulating inflammation, cell survival and proliferation.
Hemp-derived products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are legal under federal law.
THC and CBD form naturally in both cannabis and hemp. In fact, the only discernible difference between cannabis and hemp is strictly a legal clarification: hemp, under federal law, is required to contain 0.3 percent or less THC. Otherwise, the plants are effectively the same species, with minimal variance in genetic and chemical makeup.
Up until late 2018, hemp cultivation—much like cannabis’ current status—was subject to a patchwork of state laws that described varying levels of legality for the crop.
Hemp received status as an agricultural commodity in the United States with passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 in December 2018. The law legalizes the plant and its derivatives, including CBD.
Legally, in the view of the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), CBD and products containing it cannot be touted as a treatment or medication for illnesses or disease. One CBD-based medication, however, has met the standards for approval by the FDA. Epidiolex received FDA approval in 2018 for treating two forms of severe epilepsy.
While we are currently not allowed to tout the benefits of CBD beyond calm, relaxation and recovery relief, as more study and research is done, those learnings will help us bring those benefits to light for everyone. The good news is that reputable companies like Lazarus Naturals make a wide range of products for you to choose from so you can find what works best for you.
How to choose high quality CBD tinctures and capsules
When choosing any CBD product, it’s important to research the company. At Lazarus Naturals, we do it all. From our farm to your front door, aside from the delivery truck. That’s how we are able to deliver consistent, high-quality and effective products. There’s no secret to our approach. From the organic hemp we farm to our ever-growing family of products, we focus on consistency and sustainability. As pioneers in the CBD industry, we’ve learned how to do things right and make it our mission to pass that on to you by keeping prices down and potency high.