Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant is said to produce more than 100 cannabinoids, but CBD and THC are the two that are most widely known by the general public.
While both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, they interact with different receptors in the brain, and because of this they produce different effects on the body.
THC is responsible for creating the euphoric, psychoactive effects of cannabis that make people feel “high.”
CBD is not psychoactive so, unlike THC, it does not create a euphoric high. What’s more, a recent study by Western University (https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/study-ids-offset-to-cannabis-side-effects/ ) suggested CBD might even block the psychoactive effects of THC.
So why do people use CBD? People who use CBD products report that CBD creates feelings of well-being or helps them manage anxiety or pain.
THC, CBD and Legalization
Most people are familiar with the terms marijuana and hemp, which are broad classifications commonly used for cannabis, but how do these relate to CBD and THC?
Hemp is used to classify varieties of cannabis and cannabis derivatives with very low levels of THC — 0.3% or less by dry weight — too small an amount to create any “euphoric” effects. Hemp has historically been used for industrial purposes, such as making rope, food and clothing.
Marijuana is used to classify varieties of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC, but it can have much greater amounts of THC, such as up to 30%. It produces psychoactive effects or a “high” and is used for recreational or medicinal purposes.
Both hemp and marijuana contain CBD, but it’s the THC level that is important for legal purposes.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp, when it removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. Because CBD is found in hemp it effectively legalized CBD too at the federal level.
If a product contains more than 0.3% of THC then it is classified as marijuana, which is federally illegal.
State laws differ from federal laws when it comes to cannabis regulation, so some states have legalized marijuana at the state level, while some states have specific restrictions on CBD and hemp.
In states that allow CBD sales, customers can find products like CBD oil and CBD gummies or CBD dietary supplements. CBD is also found as an ingredient in beverages, food, cosmetics and animal health products.
Retailers and manufacturers alike are expecting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to eventually begin outlining guidance on its plans for regulating CBD products in the marketplace. The FDA has pointed out that CBD products “are still subject to the same laws and requirements as FDA-regulated products that contain any other substance.”
The FDA has approved only one CBD product so far: a prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. Per the FDA, it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. The FDA has reported that it is “working to answer questions about the science, safety and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD.”