As the legal use of hemp and other weed products grows, consumers are becoming more curious about their options. This includes cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two natural compounds found in plants of the Weed genus. Both compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system but have very different effects. While they may have a lot in common, they have some key differences in their use!
What is CBD?
CBD can be extracted from hemp or cannabis. Hemp and cannabis come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Legal hemp must contain 0.3% THCTrusted Source or less. CBD is sold in gels, gummies, oils, supplements, extracts, and more. CBD does not produce the high sensation associated with cannabis.
What is THC?
THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces a high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and more.
CBD and THC have many of the same medical benefits. They can provide relief from several of the same conditions. However, CBD doesn’t cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC. Some people may prefer to use CBD because of the lack of this side effect.
In June 2018, the FDA approvedTrusted Source Epidiolex, the first prescription medication to contain CBD. It’s used to treat rare, difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy. (Epidiolex is not currently approved for any other conditions listed below.)
CBD is used to help with other various conditions, such as:
- psychosis or mental disorders
- inflammatory bowel disease
According to 2020 researchTrusted Source, CBD may help with
- social anxiety
- sleep disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorders
It has yet to be approved by the FDA for these uses. More research is needed to determine whether CBD can effectively treat these conditions and others. Current clinical studies are investigating CBD as a possible treatment for:
- mood disorders
- chronic pain
- inflammatory diseases
- neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
Two synthetic formulations of THC are approved by the FDATrusted Source for treating specific conditions.
Nabilone (Cesamet) is FDA approved for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) is FDA approved to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy drugs. It is also approved to stimulate appetite in people with AIDS or anorexia.
THC is often used to help with the following:
- muscle spasticity
- low appetite
Recent studiesTrusted Source is looking at the potential of THC to treat the following possibly:
- obstructive sleep apnea
- chronic neuropathic pain