Confused about the difference between CBD and cannabis?
You’re not alone.
But with some convenience stores now selling CBD — and the global CBD market projected to grow to $55 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights — the difference is something operators need to know.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the main active compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of such compounds. They are known as “cannabinoids” because they interact with receptors involved in a variety of functions like appetite, anxiety, depression and pain sensation. Tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) is also a cannabinoid.
In fact, CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). While it is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory.
Unlike THC — the other main active compound in the cannabis plant — CBD is not psychoactive, which means using it does not result in the high that comes from cannabis. That high comes from THC. CBD products contain only 0.3% THC or less, which is not enough to have any psychoactive effects.
Because CBD is considered an extract of the cannabis plant, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported, there are not the same international controls around its production and supply to the market as there are for the cannabis plant itself.
It is also considered to be safe. According to a report from the WHO, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Where retailers face potential problems with CBD is highlighted in findings released on June 29, 2022, by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Researchers bought 80 different CBD products from online shops or stores in Kentucky and were stunned to find over 60% contained some non-negligible amount of THC. This is not only worrisome but potentially illegal in states in which cannabis remains illegal.
This is why it’s essential that retailers remain vigilant and ensure they’re stocking CBD brands that are reputable and well tested. Look for products with a certificate of analysis that have been tested by third-party laboratories.