The cannabis space can be intimidating to those who are just getting familiar with it, so there are likely a lot of questions—and that’s okay. When it comes to cannabis there are some things that are must-knows, for instance the difference between THC and CBD. You may have heard these terms floating around, or have heard about new CBD products that will soon be released, but what do the acronyms actually mean? And why do they matter?
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, which are molecules that have been found in the cannabis plant. They’re what react with your body to create the effects you feel from cannabis. Even though there are at least 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, THC and CBD are the most well-studied, so those are the ones consumers tend to focus on.
THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. See why it was shortened? This is the cannabinoid you’re probably most familiar with, or at least the one you’ve heard of. THC is responsible for how your brain and body might react to cannabis you’ve consumed, no matter the method. It’s the reason you feel “high” or intoxicated. Commons effects of THC include euphoria, drowsiness, or slower reaction times. The higher the THC content, the more impaired you’re likely to find yourself. That’s why it’s important to start low and go slow when consuming cannabis, especially for those new to the product.
CBD, on the other hand, which stands for cannabidiol, does not produce the same intoxicating effects that THC does. That being said, it still has an effect on your brain. It’s a little more subtle in its effects, in that it probably won’t cause you to feel the same euphoria that THC would. However, everyone reacts differently to cannabis, so even if you’re consuming CBD products you should still start low and go slow. CBD is often brought up in conversations about wellness, referencing its potential therapeutic effects, but there is no concrete evidence to back this up. It’s strictly anecdotal.
How they work together
Despite their differences, THC and CBD can actually work together. When consumed at the same time, CBD can help counteract some of the intoxicating effects caused by THC. This is why it’s generally recommended that new users, or those looking to minimize the risk of THC intoxication, should reach for a cannabis product containing 2.5 mg of THC and an equal or higher amount of CBD. Remember though, the cannabinoids need to be consumed TOGETHER in order for them to work as a team. Think of it like this: if you ate macaroni at 1pm, then ate some cheese at 1:15pm, that doesn’t make it mac and cheese. If you consume too much THC and then later try to use CBD to counteract the effects, it won’t work.
For a quick recap, THC gets you high, CBD does not, and when taken together they can balance each other out. Keep this in mind when purchasing your next cannabis product.