In The Green Scene, there are no dumb questions about cannabis. What is the difference between THC and CBD? How the hell can I make edibles at home? What home design tips can dispensaries teach me? Relax – we have the answers.
Seemingly overnight, the cannabis industry literally blossomed. To say that the market has become overcrowded with CBD and THC products would be an understatement. Wellness stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, and cannabis dispensaries sell a range of smoking gums, oils, balms and flowers that claim to help you sleep better, soothe sore muscles and make you feel less stressed. That’s a lot to take in, especially if you still don’t know what the difference between CBD and THC is. How does this peach scented lotion contain weed? Will I get high with CBD seltzer water? If I eat one of Martha Stewart’s fruit gummies, will I fail a drug test?
THC and CBD, explained
CBD (short for cannabidiol) and THC (short for Tetrahydrocannabinol) are both chemical compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa plant (aka hemp plant, aka weed, aka marijuana, aka pot, aka Mary Jane…you get the picture). So how do they differ from each other? CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound, which means you won’t get high from consuming it; THC, on the other hand, will have psychoactive effects. According to Kyle Hammerick, Chief Scientific Officer of Colorado-based cannabis company Escape Artists, “CBD and THC molecules have the same number and types of atoms, but they differ in the way the atoms are arranged. It is this slight difference that causes delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC) to have different psychoactive properties from CBD.The different conformation of THC allows it to engage receptors in the brain called cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors whereas CBD does not bind to these receptors.
While THC is used both recreationally and medicinally, and a wave of legalizations has made it much more available in many states, it remains federally illegal. CBD, on the other hand, is more widely available and legal, although its status is still complicated. It also has a whole host of mental and physical benefits, such as a way to help manage chronic pain and anxiety. “Because everyone’s biology is different, CBD has different effects on different people, but the most common effects of consumption include feelings of calm, focus, clarity, anti-inflammation, and pain reliefsays Nancy Einhart, editor-in-chief of House of Wise, a luxury CBD and wellness brand. THC and CBD are similar in that both can be found in products ranging from flowers to smoking , foods and beverages, tinctures and balms.Because CBD is more widely accepted as a “wellness ingredient”, you will find a range of topical products in gift shops, mass merchandisers and specialty stores. Scroll down Sephora’s website and you’ll find CBD oils, body lotions, anti-aging serums, stiletto creams, bath baths, bath salts and fragrances. so many THC products, which remain illegal in one form or another in more than half of the states in the country.
Legalization of CBD and THC
Tens of thousands of people — especially brown and black Americans — remain incarcerated for low-threshold drug-related crimes such as cannabis possession in the United States. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than six million arrests for cannabis possession occurred between 2010 and 2018, and black people are still more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people in every state. including those who have legalized cannabis.
While the legal status of cannabis is changing rapidly and inconsistently from state to state, the legal status of CBD is a bit different, although just as unclear. Cannabis is currently legal, including for recreational use, in 18 of the 50 states. Ten states have mixed legal status, meaning cannabis is decriminalized and approved for medical use only. In contrast, nine other states have not decriminalized cannabis but have approved it for medical purposes. Two states – North Carolina and Nebraska – have decriminalized cannabis, but it remains completely illegal in all its forms, which is confusing. In seven states, CBD oil has been legalized for medical purposes, but cannabis remains criminalized. And cannabis and CBD remain completely illegal in all forms in four states – Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina and Wyoming.
So what exactly does this mean for CBD and THC consumers?
Is CBD legal?
Yes, within certain parameters. Let’s review the 2018 Farm Bill (stay with me here): “the Cannabis sativa L. plant and any part thereof, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration not exceeding 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
Essentially, if a product contains less than 0.3% THC, it is not considered a controlled substance (i.e. an illegal drug) under federal law. When you talk about CBD and legal forms of cannabis, you’ll probably hear the phrase “full-spectrum CBD.” “Full-spectrum CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC and offer little to no high effect. But since full-spectrum CBD contains over 80 different cannabinoids and compounds, we believe it is by far the most effective, due to the entourage effect, which is the term used to describe the heightened effects of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, when they work together rather than alone,” says Einhart. .
Is CBD making me hungry?
Unfortunately, no, you probably won’t get cravings after consuming a few CBD gummies. THC is the chemical you can thank for increasing your appetite and dopamine levels. “THC can increase smell and taste, so people are more likely to want to eat,” Janice Newell Bissex, dietitian and holistic cannabis practitioner, told The Washington Post. Eating, say, a sleeve of Chips Ahoy or a basket of chicken fingers, after consuming a THC-containing product, will become more enjoyable.
Is CBD FDA Approved?
Very few CBD products are federally approved. In reality, only one cannabis-derived product and three cannabis-related drug products have been approved by the FDA: Epidiolex, which is a “purified form of the drug substance CBD”, is used to treat two rare forms of severe epilepsy in anyone over the age of 12 months; Cesamet, Marinol, and Syndros are the other three oral products that have been cleared by the FDA for therapeutic use. “Marinol and Syndros are both drugs containing dronabinol or delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol that are approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. They are also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS),” Hammerick says.
There are thousands of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products on the market, but no others currently have FDA approval (despite claims some brands may make).
So how do you know if the CBD you are consuming is safe and effective? “There are many types of CBD products, but not all brands are created equal. Quality and effectiveness can differ greatly, so be sure to buy your CBD from an established and trusted brand with a solid reputation.An important thing to look for in CBD products is verifiable lab testing.Lab testing is not required by law, but it is an important evaluation that brands can voluntarily participate in to ensure quality and power,” adds Einhart.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
There is no easy answer to this. Physical factors (such as your weight and age), form of consumption (did you smoke it? Was it chewing gum? How about a can of seltzer?), when you consumed it and how often you consume it can all affect how long CBD stays in your body. On average, CBD tends to appear for one to three days after consumption, but a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that metabolites appeared in some patients for up to 15 days after use. Although you won’t feel the effects of CBD for more than a few hours, it may show up in a drug test more than two weeks after consuming it. Which brings me to…
Will CBD Ruin a Drug Test?
Maybe, maybe not. A 2019 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that a third of participants tested positive for cannabis after vaping a CBD product containing 0.39% THC. That’s not significantly higher than the legal limit for THC and in a largely unregulated CBD market, it can be difficult for consumers to know how much THC they’re consuming, Einhart says.
Will THC show up in blood tests? What about a drug test?
Cannabis tests (and other types of drug tests) are usually done with a urine sample. According to two studies, THC will show up in a urine sample at least 95% of the time. “Broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate will not fail anyone on a drug test. It is possible that traces of THC in full-spectrum CBD may show up on a drug test, so if you want to be really safe, avoid full-spectrum CBD and stick to broad-spectrum or isolate,” says Einhart.
Will CBD make me tired?
Consuming CBD products won’t make you immediately tired, per se, but they are known to help you sleep better at night. Some of the most common reasons consumers take CBD products are to help them sleep longer, regulate stress, and treat insomnia. A 2019 study found that 79.2% of patients showed decreased levels of anxiety and 66.7% of patients had improved sleep after one month of CBD consumption. However, more research is needed to determine which type of CBD products are best and how much you should take to best improve your sleep.
Does THC help chronic pain?
There is inconclusive scientific evidence that THC can relieve pain and nausea, but anecdotal evidence proves it. Feel a pattern here? There is still a lot of scientific work to be done around THC and CBD. But if it’s legal where you are and you’re curious, CBD is now widely available in so many forms and there’s no reason not to try it.