Maybe you’ve heard about the beneficial effects of CBD oil, but you’ve also heard it confused with THC. What about marijuana? Is that the same thing?
These differences in terminology can get tricky. By knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction, you can be confident when choosing CBD to boost overall health. We tackled a few basic questions.
What is CBD?
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound in cannabis―the scientific name for the hemp plant. Scientists classify CBD as a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid.
When it was first identified in the 1940s, scientists didn’t pay much attention to CBD because it did not produce an intoxicating effect. Early research focused on another type of cannabinoid: THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis popularly associated with a “high.”
CBD oil is commonly used as a nutritional supplement. It has been associated with such benefits as improved sleep, stress reduction, pain management, and anxiety relief*.
What Is THC?
THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most widely studied cannabinoid. Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam began his pioneering research on cannabis in the 1960s, seeking to discover which part of the plant caused its psychoactive effect. He was able to isolate THC (and also establish the chemical structure of CBD).
What he observed was that the psychoactive effect of THC varied from person to person. Studies documented the ability of cannabis to elevate mood or cause dysphoria, to precipitate feelings of anxiety, panic or paranoia, to cause ‘felt time’ to pass more slowly than ‘clock time’, to produce changes in auditory and visual perception, to impair memory, and to induce drowsiness.
THC, CBD, And The Endocannabinoid System
Mechoulam and his team’s next job was to find out why THC causes these effects. What they discovered might prove to be one of the most important scientific discoveries of the latter part of the last century.
They called it the “endocannabinoid system,” and it comprises a vast network of cell receptor sites in the brain, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system that are activated by chemicals similar to neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. While the chemical structures of endocannabinoids are very different than THC and other cannabinoids like CBD, their effects are thought to be similar.
The endocannabinoid system itself works to create an internal balance called homeostasis. It is involved in pretty much every biological function – sleep, appetite, mood, the immune system, pain signaling, and the reproductive system in women. THC and CBD stimulate the endocannabinoid system, each in its own way.
Marijuana vs. Hemp
What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana have become synonymous with the two species of the Cannabis plant. Because one species (Cannabis Indica) was cultivated in India, and the other (Cannabis Sativa) in northern climates like Europe, they developed different traits. C. Indica is shorter with a greater abundance of resinous flowers, and is more commonly associated with marijuana. C. Sativa is tall, with fibrous stalks and less buds (and lower concentrations of THC) making it more commonly associated with hemp.
Because of the high levels of cannabinoids in the buds and flowers, marijuana became well-known for both its medicinal and mind-altering effect. Hemp found favor as an extra durable source of fiber, perfect for rope, clothing, sails, and paper. Although only trace levels of THC are present in hemp, it contains CBD in abundance. Most commercially available CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants. SHEbd™’s CBD is free of THC―0.0 percent.
CBD vs. THC
How are CBD and THC different? We know that THC causes the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD not only isn’t intoxicating; it can actually counteract the psychoactive effect of THC.
THC binds with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. CBD, conversely, interferes with the ability of THC to bind with these receptors. It blocks the enzyme that breaks down Anandamide, a naturally-occuring endocannabinoid in our bodies.
The upshot: CBD is generally not considered a controlled substance. It’s not believed to be habit-forming, while products containing THC are illegal in many parts of the world.
Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
In places where THC-based products are illegal for recreational use, it’s reasonable to expect drug tests are focused on THC. Because CBD extracted from hemp oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC, failing a drug test should be unlikely. However, not all drug tests are created equal, and some also test for other cannabinoids found in broad spectrum CBD oils.
Legally, you are allowed to ask a testing facility which cannabinoids they are looking for (and you can request to ask anonymously). At SHEbd™, when people ask if our CBD oil will make them fail a drug test, we still cannot give a 100 percent guarantee. We can only offer a far lower chance compared to products that contain 0.03 percent THC or more.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.