The Differences Between THC and CBD (and Their Effects)

Cannabidiol (CBD) has overtaken much of the cannabis “stoner” market for its mildly calming and relieving effects. Many sellers have marketed CBD as simply a desirable alternative to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the two cannabinoids have many differences that affect their uses, effects, and legality. Read on to learn the major differences between CBD and THC to determine the right cannabis products for you. 

What Is THC?

THC is one of the primary psychoactive components in marijuana and many other cannabis products, binding with users’ cannabinoid receptors to give an intoxicating, usually euphoric high. Many people use THC for its pain-relieving and calming effects, particularly to help them fall asleep, relax at the end of the day, or recover from acute pain. In many states, doctors prescribe THC medical marijuana to treat nerve pain, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, nausea, and other forms of chronic pain. 

Unfortunately, THC is not without negative effects. For example, although many people use THC products to alleviate anxiety, some users report increased anxiety and paranoia. Other potentially negative THC effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Coughing
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of focus
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired sleep
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

At this time, THC and marijuana products are not federally legalized. The specific legal details of THC vary by both state and local laws. Nearly half the states in the US, including Colorado, Massachusetts, and California, have legalized the recreational use of THC products, and even more have legalized their medical use. However, localities in these states may have specific laws or bans regarding THC products, so it’s crucial to be aware of all applicable laws. 

What Is CBD?

Compared to THC, CBD provides a much milder and less intoxicating experience. While CBD is still technically classified as psychoactive, most users won’t feel any psychoactive or “high” effects. Thanks to its calming and pain-relieving properties, popular CBD uses include falling asleep; recovering from a workout; and managing chronic pain, such as swelling. 

CBD is somewhat more straightforward than THC when it comes to relaxation. Because it doesn’t bind as directly to cannabinoid receptors as THC does, CBD does not cause paranoia and has significantly fewer reported incidents of anxiety. While users may still feel some of THC’s negative side effects, such as dry mouth or decreased appetite, the effects are less noticeable.

CBD and similar cannabinoid products are legalized federally under the 2018 Farm Bill. However, many states, including California, Kentucky, and Texas, have since passed their own laws banning certain forms of CBD or restricting it solely to medical use. 

THC vs. CBD: Choosing the Right Products for You

Take stock of your goals and limitations before using CBD or THC products. THC is not for everyone, and many newer users may want to start with CBD due to its milder effects. However, CBD may not be enough for some users, depending on the level of pain you’re trying to relieve or the level of relaxation you’re trying to reach. Get started with Harbor House Collective to speak with a cannabis expert and find out which products are right for you. 

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