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CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

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As the legal use of hemp and other cannabis products grows, consumers are becoming more curious about their options. This includes cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two natural compounds found in plants of the Cannabis genus.

CBD can be extracted from hemp or cannabis.

Hemp and cannabis come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Legal hemp must contain 0.3 percent THC or less. CBD is sold in the form of gels, gummies, oils, supplements, extracts, and more.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and more.

Both compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have very different effects.

Read on to learn more about these compounds. While they may have a lot in common, they have some key differences that determine how they’re used.

Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body.

Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s endocannabinoids. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors.

The interaction affects the release of neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells and have roles in pain, immune function, stress, and sleep, to name a few.

Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects. CBD is psychoactive, just not in the same manner as THC. It doesn’t produce the high associated with THC. CBD is shown to help with anxiety, depression, and seizures.

THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria.

CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. CBD needs THC to bind to the CB1 receptor and, in turn, can help reduce some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation.

In the United States, cannabis-related laws are evolving regularly. Technically, CBD is still considered a Schedule I drug under federal law.

Hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still classify CBD as a Schedule I drug.

However, 33 states plus Washington, D.C., have passed cannabis-related laws, making medical cannabis with high levels of THC legal. The cannabis may need to be prescribed by a licensed physician.

In addition, several states have made recreational use of cannabis and THC legal.

In states where cannabis is legal for recreational or medical purposes, you should be able to buy CBD.

Before you try to buy products with CBD or THC, it’s important to research your state’s laws.

If you possess cannabis-related products in a state where they’re illegal or don’t have a medical prescription in states where the products are legal for medical treatment, you could face legal penalties.

CBD and THC have many of the same medical benefits. They can provide relief from several of the same conditions. However, CBD doesn’t cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC. Some people may prefer to use CBD because of the lack of this side effect.

In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, the first prescription medication to contain CBD. It’s used to treat rare, difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy. (Epidiolex is not currently approved for any of the other conditions listed below.)

CBD is used to help with other various conditions, such as:

  • seizures
  • inflammation
  • pain
  • psychosis or mental disorders
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • nausea
  • migraine
  • depression
  • anxiety

THC is used to help with the following:

  • pain
  • muscle spasticity
  • glaucoma
  • insomnia
  • low appetite
  • nausea
  • anxiety

CBD is well tolerated, even in large doses. Research suggests any side effects that occur with CBD use are likely the result of drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and other medications you may be taking.

THC causes temporary side effects, such as:

  • increased heart rate
  • coordination problems
  • dry mouth
  • red eyes
  • slower reaction times
  • memory loss
  • anxiety

CBD’s side effects may include:

  • appetite changes
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea

These side effects are part of the compound’s psychoactive properties.

Neither compound is fatal.

However, high THC use may be connected to long-term negative psychiatric effects. This is especially true for adolescents who consume large amounts of THC, though there’s no conclusive evidence that using cannabis causes psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are stored in the body’s fat. They can show up on drug tests for several days or weeks after you use them.

Not every drug test will be able to detect CBD, but CBD-sensitive tests are available. Most standard drug tests will look for chemicals related to THC, so THC or marijuana use might show up on a screening.

Likewise, hemp can produce some THC in addition to CBD, so a test could be positive for THC even if you haven’t used it.

It’s important to note that products that claim to be THC-free may not be free of THC, so if you’re drug tested, you shouldn’t use any CBD or THC products.

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.

The average cannabis strain today contains about 12 percent THC. CBD oil may contain small amounts of THC because it’s present at low levels in the hemp plant. CBD can have no more than 0.3 percent THC to be legal at the federal level.

CBD and THC both have medical benefits. They’re also both considered safe, but consider the possibility of side effects and interactions with other drugs you’re taking. Talk with your doctor or a qualified cannabis or CBD clinician before use and if you have any questions.

Want to learn more about CBD? Click here for more product reviews, recipes, and research-based articles about CBD from Healthline.

Is illegal No (See below) Yes (See below)
Produces a high No Yes
Interacts with endocannabinoid system Yes Yes
Has side effects Some Psychoactive side effects
Shows on drug test Possibly Yes
Relieves pain Yes Yes
Reduces nausea Yes Yes
Eases migraine Yes Yes
Reduces anxiety Yes Yes
Eases depression Yes No
Decreases seizures Yes No
Is anti-inflammatory Yes Yes
Helps with insomnia Yes Yes
Helps with psychosis Yes No
Increases appetite No Yes
Is used for various other conditions Yes Yes

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between the different components of the cannabis plant, especially with current laws. We’ll take a look at two compounds, CBD vs. THC, and compare them on a number of different levels. Both may have benefits, but they differ despite having many similarities.

Why Should I Smoke CBD Flower?

Everyone wants to use CBD, but most people don’t know the right ways. Did you know, for instance, that CBD tinctures have very low bioavailability ? There’s nothing wrong with this product class, and we even offer a high-quality organic tincture here at Secret Nature. If you want a CBD product with a serious kick, however, even that potent tincture’s effects might be too mild.

CBD flower, on the other hand, unlocks the potency of this cannabinoid to the maximum extent possible. Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the feeling of smoking cannabis without getting high? Learn all the reasons you should have started smoking CBD flower yesterday as we progress through this guide.

Benefits of Smoking CBD Flower

Inhaling substances into your lungs, called pulmonary administration , has long been understood to provide bioavailability on par with intravenous administration. It’s common sense, therefore, that inhaling CBD into your lungs would have a similarly enhanced effect versus oral ingestion.

Plus, smoking or vaping the whole hemp flower allows you to enjoy the full entourage of other plant oils that accompany CBD. It’s possible that CBD becomes weaker when stripped of its friends, and there’s no better way to get the cannabinoid party going than by flooding your system with clouds of combusted or vaporized organic Secret Nature flower.

Smoking CBD Flower Effects

  1. Smoking or vaping CBD flower has a much faster and more intense effect than other CBD administration methods.
  2. Effects of smoking CBD flower generally begin within 10 minutes and last approximately an hour.
  3. Smoking or vaping Secret Nature flower provides a fully non-intoxicating effect.
  4. Most users report mild effects as inhaled CBD flower works its way into their systems.
  5. Try supplementing smoking CBD flower with ingesting this cannabinoid orally or applying it topically.
  6. You don’t have to use rolling papers—tabletop vaporizers, bongs, and even CBD vape cartridges are all available.

What is the Entourage Effect?

Apart from CBD and THC, cannabis is also host to a variety of other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, and CBN. There’s very little we know about any of the cannabinoids, and research on fringe cannabis constituents is even rarer. It’s clear, however, that each cannabinoid has potent properties, and these hemp substances appear to work together in synergy.

For years, scientists considered the other cannabinoids and terpenes to be the “entourage” of THC, which was believed to be the main event. A more simple term, however, is “cannabinoid synergy,” which more clearly expresses the results of the entourage effect .

While it’s true that the existence of a widespread entourage effect throughout all cannabis constituents lacks solid evidence , it’s also clear that there’s plenty of reason to believe the cannabinoids modify each other’s effects. Initial evidence suggests, for instance, that CBD modifies the psychosis risk of THC , and the overall similarity between the cannabinoids and cannabis terpenes lends credence to the idea that these plant oils each affect one another through a complex neurochemical web.

Benefits of the Entourage Effect

It’s unclear whether the entourage effect truly exists, but it’s still reasonable to speculate on the potential implications of such a phenomenon. Based on the evidence that CBD modifies THC, it’s also possible to conclude that CBN, CBG, or THCV might, in turn, modify CBD. Adding small concentrations of other cannabinoids to your CBD intake could reasonably change your experience, and there’s no better way to find out than by puffing on delicious, organic Secret Nature CBD flower .

What are the Best CBD Flowers to Smoke?

It’s all up to your personal neurochemistry and taste buds, but there are a few clear winners among the Secret Nature CBD flower lineup. Time and again, customers choose the following three strains as their go-to CBD flower solutions of choice, and with packages as small as 1/8oz and as large as a full zip, you have your pick of ways to enjoy high-end CBD flower within your budget. Get ready to meet Mr. Rainbow, Papaya Nights, and Frosted Kush:

1. Mr. Rainbow

The first thing you’ll notice about Mr. Rainbow is the incredibly high CBD content, but the surprises don’t end there. Strong overtones of haze melt into cookie-dough sweetness as the first puffs of Mr. Rainbow waft their way into your lungs. Enjoy in a blunt or grind a bowl into your tabletop vaporizer to enjoy what 22.3% CBD bud truly feels like.

Flower Specs

Dank CBD Buds — From the moment you open the package and see the super cool can this flower comes in, you know it’s going to be good. Skunky with some slight floral notes on the nose. Tastes clean, smooth, and floral. no burn, which I LOVE. The effects are incredible.” – JoAnna

Best cbd I’ve ever found — I used to buy in-store. But now I only purchase from secret nature. Quality stuff!!” – Joshua P.

2. Papaya Nights

As a true sativa strain, Papaya Nights is a little bit lankier than some of its indica cousins. The light fruitiness of this strain is a delight to the nostrils from the moment you open your vacuum-sealed Secret Nature flower package, and you’ll love the sense of vibrance without the high that our perfectly-balanced Papaya Nights delivers every time.

Flower Specs

“This was my first time ordering from Secret Nature and I have to say that the Papaya Nights is pretty great. Smells great, tastes great, and makes me feel great. Looking forward to trying their Frosted Kush next!” – Tyler S.

In a word. fantastic — just the look of the tin that the flower is packaged in, instantly let me know I was dealing with a product of superior quality. When I peeled back the sealed metal lid. I was instantly hit with the bright fragrance of freshness and earthiness that is unmistakably really good “hemp flower”.” – Avin O.

3. Frosted Kush

Frosted Kush stands at the pinnacle of the Secret Nature lineup . It’s understandable that people want indica when it comes to CBD bud, and nothing truly says “indica” like kush. If you’re looking for CBD OG Kush, try our “house blend,” Secret OG . For those who want to experience the exact nostalgic feeling of Frosted Kush without the high, however, Secret Nature CBD Frosted Kush will knock your socks off in the best possible way.

Flower Specs

“This CBD bud is really smooth and has a great flavor. The terpenes really show up well and are very relaxing to the body.” – Michael M.

“I’ve tried many CBD flower distributors. Secret Nature has by far the best product. It is what is says, frosty. Taste great and the effects are legit. The main difference I’ve experienced is the quality, you can tell this is indoor and not a false claim.” – Justin D.

4 Popular Smoking CBD Flower FAQs

Now that you’re familiar with the top trio of CBD flower options on the market, it’s time to wrap things up with answers to your most frequently-asked smoking CBD flower questions:

1. What does smoking CBD flower feel like?

The first thing you’ll notice is the flavor. Smoking CBD flower brings out the true taste profile of the bud, and if you want to become a serious cannabis connoisseur, try vaping. Avoiding actually incinerating the plant matter allows you to enjoy the gasified cannabinoids and terpenes to the fullest extent possible.

2. Do you get high smoking CBD flower?

No. CBD does not cause the intoxicating “high” characteristic of CBD. Instead, most users report that the effects of CBD are mild and non-intoxicating.

3. Can smoking CBD flower make you fail a drug test?

Drug tests do not test for CBD, just THC. It would be incredibly costly to develop new testing apparatus for CBD, so any change to this situation is highly unlikely. Just avoid smoking CBD flower in public if you want to make sure your employer doesn’t find out!

4. Does smoking CBD flower with regular weed help?

We can’t comment on the effects of using THC, and we encourage you to follow all state and federal laws when using THC-rich substances. All products sold at contain less than 0.3% THC.

With that said, the evidence certainly suggests that CBD and THC interact with each other in the human nervous system. The exact nature of this interaction, however, remains to be determined.

Sweet puffs without the high with Secret Nature

While the ratio of THC to CBD flowers on the open market remains unreasonably skewed toward cannabidiol’s intoxicating cousin, top-shelf CBD flower from Secret Nature continues to gain exponential popularity nationwide. Whether you’re looking for a tobacco substitute or you just want to compare tobacco vs. CBD flower, cigarette smokers will love the smooth, fruity taste of Secret Nature flower.

For cannabis smokers who want to roll a joint without getting high, rolling papers made from pure hemp combined with incredibly high CBD concentrations will never disappoint. What’s more, vaping CBD flower from Secret Nature appeals to everyone since this inhalation method is safer and more effective.

These days, anyone can buy CBD flower online and start enjoying the benefits. Only with Secret Nature, however, can you enjoy CBD-rich cannabis flower the way nature intended. We treat the whole plant with respect, and we’re rightfully proud of our top-shelf, high-free CBD nugs. Start by taking a quick peek through our hundreds of five-star reviews to get an idea of just how special smoking Secret Nature CBD flower can be.

Smoking or vaping CBD flower has a much faster and more intense effect than other CBD administration methods. Effects of smoking CBD flower generally begin within 10 minutes and last approximately an hour.