CBD vs. THC: What’s the difference?
Cannabis consumers have long prized potency (a high THC content) as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable. Though traditional demand for THC has caused an oversaturation of high-potency products, many consumers are starting to prefer less intense products that are lower in THC and higher in the non-intoxicating compound called CBD (cannabidiol).
What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, but they’re different in many ways that may influence your next dispensary purchase.
An easy way to think about it is that THC is defined by what cannabis makes you feel, while the effects of CBD can’t be felt. The important distinction is that, unlike THC, CBD will not intoxicate you. It also addresses one of the most common reasons people choose to use CBD—pain management.
CBD can also block some of the intoxicating effects of THC. By binding to cannabinoid receptors, it will keep THC from activating those receptors. This translates to a less intense psychoactive effect, which is why products with a mix of CBD and THC are great for first-time consumers.
This does not mean that CBD, by itself, cannot offer an effect. High doses of CBD often produce a profoundly relaxing experience. Like stepping out of a hot tub, your body may feel tingly and relaxed, and your brain may be clear.
CBD vs. THC: legality
With the passing of the Farm Bill in December 2018, industrial hemp became a legal agricultural commodity in all 50 states. While the DEA still considers CBD to be a Schedule I controlled substance, it clarified in a memo that trace amounts of CBD found in hemp stalks or seeds were legal.
However, the legality of hemp-derived CBD may vary from state to state, so it’s important to check your state’s laws before stocking up on hemp-derived CBD products.
Cannabis strains that have a high CBD:THC ratio are legal only in states with legal, regulated cannabis markets.
What are the medicinal effects of CBD?
The list of conditions CBD may help with is ever-expanding. More research is needed to better understand the efficacy and range of CBD’s benefits, but it’s popularly used to manage the following symptoms and conditions:
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Pain and inflammation
- PTSD and anxiety
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Opioid withdrawal
Though clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD can help manage different conditions, CBD became most famous for treating a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy.
Dravet’s Syndrome is notoriously resistant to current treatment methods. People with the condition are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, and they usually worsen as people age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include having a child wear an eyepatch, specialized diets, and brain surgery, but all have mixed success rates.
One of the earliest success stories involves a young girl named Charlotte who was given an ingestible oil derived from Charlotte’s Web , a CBD strain that was specifically developed to provide her with all the benefits of the drug without the high.
In less than two years, Charlotte went from a monthly seizure count of 1,200 to about three. Other success stories followed and more parents have begun to speak out, particularly parents desperate for access to this life-saving treatment.
CBD has no lethal dose or known serious side effects. The idea of using cannabis-derived compounds for pediatric conditions remains a touchy subject in a culture where cannabis has been stigmatized.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of CBD, check out our CBD Guide.
Although THC is best known for its mind-altering euphoria, it too has important medical benefits. There’s some overlap in what CBD and THC can treat, but THC is particularly effective in relieving nausea, appetite loss, insomnia, among other symptoms. Many patients find that a balance of CBD and THC offers the best symptom relief as the two work together synergistically.
What are some high-CBD strains I can try?
CBD is typically the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, but this isn’t always the case. A strain may deliver CBD and THC in the following ratios:
- High THC, low CBD (e.g.,10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)
- Balanced CBD/THC (e.g., 5-15% THC and 5-15% CBD)
- High CBD, low THC (e.g., 5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)
(The Cannabiz Agency/iStock)
High-CBD strains tend to deliver very clear-headed, functional effects without the euphoric high associated with high-THC strains. They’re typically preferred by consumers who are extremely sensitive to the side effects of THC (e.g., anxiety, paranoia, dizziness).
A high-CBD strain would also be a great choice for someone needing to medicate throughout the day to control pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic conditions.
Balanced CBD/THC strains will be a little more euphoric than CBD-dominant strains, though they’re much less likely to induce anxiety, paranoia, and other negative side effects. Strains like these tend to be the most effective for pain relief, and they’re also well-suited for THC-sensitive consumers who’d like a mellow buzz.
CBD strains can be consumed just as you would THC strains. You can smoke or vaporize CBD-rich flower, eat a CBD-infused edible, swallow a CBD oil capsule, apply a CBD lotion, or use a CBD tincture sublingually. Hemp products also contain CBD, though it is a less efficient source and lacks the beneficial chemical diversity of cannabis-derived CBD products (more on that here).
Keep in mind that CBD levels may vary from crop to crop—even from plant to plant. We also recommend checking with dispensaries about the specifics of their strains’ CBD levels. It’s always a good idea to purchase only lab-tested products that clearly state the CBD/THC levels so you know what kind of experience to expect.
This post was originally published on July 3, 2018. It was most recently updated on April 1, 2020.
CBD and THC are both derived from cannabis plants, but they’re very different. Learn the difference between CBD and THC.
CBD Without THC | Everything You Need to Know
One of the biggest concerns that people new to CBD products have is, “Will CBD get me high?” We can tell you with certainty that the answer is a resounding “no.” This is especially true when you are using Joy Organics products, so let us break down how our broad spectrum products are 0.0% THC but full of potent phytocannabinoids.
Broad Spectrum Hemp and CBD
Just like you are much different from your siblings, hemp is different from marijuana. Marijuana is a bit of a wild child when it comes to the Cannabis sativa family. It contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychoactive chemical compound that is prevalent in this version of Cannabis sativa.
Hemp is a different variety. Under state law, true hemp has less than 0.3% THC in its genetic makeup. If it tests higher than that, it is legally classified as the schedule 1 controlled substance known as marijuana. Legally authorized hemp cannot get you high. This is why Kentucky farmers fought for the legalization of hemp back in 2014.
The 2014 Farm Bill allowed for the selling of hemp products across all 50 states. It also made it federally legal to cultivate hemp if the state you reside in approves of the cultivation.
Up until recently, to grow hemp you had to apply for permission with your state. From there, they must agree that the hemp is being grown for educational purposes, research or in compliance with the state’s pilot program. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, there are fewer hoops to jump through, but the less than 0.3% THC requirement still applies.
Seeing as Joy Organics is supplied with premium hemp that complies with the Farm Bill, we know that there is no chance our products can get you high. However, we go the extra step in ensuring that the THC is removed from the final product while all other phytocannabinoids remain in place. We even use third-party labs to ensure there are no detectable levels of THC in our products. Let’s go through the process we use to deliver the highest quality CBD products with 0.0% THC.
Drying the Naturally Grown Hemp
We receive our hemp from nutrient-rich soil in the U.S. Once the hemp arrives at our warehouse, we dry it out. When it’s ready to be used in our CBD products, we mill the dried hemp into a coarse powder. Once processed, we ship to our manufacturing facility.
Extracting the Oil
While we use much of the plant during the process, you don’t want the whole plant in the final product! Depending on the product we make, we go through a proprietary hemp extraction and purification processes.
The most common way to extract CBD is through CO2 extraction. There are three ways to achieve this:
- Supercritical (most common)
No matter the method, the extraction is accomplished through the force of pressurized carbon dioxide. Machines typically freeze the carbon dioxide gas. They then compress it into a supercritical state that is comprised of a cold liquid. When in contact with the hemp plant, these gaseous molecules will act as a solvent. They will draw precious phytochemicals out of the plant material.
To maintain the terpenes, this process is done at low temperatures such as -69 degrees F. Pressure is slowly raised to around 75 pounds per square inch. This is the beginning point for extracting CBD with carbon dioxide.
Once you hit that sweet spot, you want to keep increasing the temperature until it reaches past the point that is known as “supercritical.” This is a unique moment in the genetic makeup of carbon dioxide. The gaseous vapors of carbon dioxide fill a container that captures the beneficial chemicals of hemp.
Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide still has liquid-like density. Therefore, its cold temperatures allow the cannabinoids to slow down and bind with carbon dioxide molecules. As the temperature slowly goes up, those cannabinoids will be released when the carbon dioxide dissipates into a gaseous form.
You can also extract the oil with ethanol, in which case only the highest quality food grade ethanol should be used.
Refining the Process
Once the extraction process is over, you’ll be stuck with a bunch of plant material that you don’t want. You need to separate it from all the good stuff. Cannabinoids and terpenes will go down one path while supercritical carbon dioxide goes into a condenser. Here, it is turned back into a liquid and put into a storage tank for future use.
During this process, unnecessary fats and solids are separated from the phytocannabinoids we covet. In the end, our products contain a multitude of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds.
Having all of these molecules present further enriches the benefits of the final product. That is because cannabinoids have been shown to have an entourage effect on one another. Therefore, in the presence of other cannabinoids, their beneficial qualities are amplified.
Distilling Out the THC
Once all the phytocannabinoids are extracted, they are distilled. This will take all the solid plant matter out of the equation. However, still in the equation? THC. At Joy Organics, we want you to experience all the benefits that each of the phytocannabinoids in hemp plants has to offer. We want to make sure you enjoy it worry-free without the THC.
Using proprietary technology, we take out THC, wax, chlorophyll and other plant pigments. To prove this, we provide third-party lab test results. Each product that leaves the facility is tested for quality and purity.
When the batch passes for purity, it receives a Certificate of Quality Assurance. That way each customer knows more than one pair of eyes inspected the product. This is the type of transparency that sets Joy Organics apart from other CBD products.
On top of the in-house testing, a third-party also tests every batch of product. These parties keep us in check by verifying our certificates.
Benefits of CBD Without THC
As we mentioned, broad spectrum hemp oil comes with phytocannabinoids intact, minus THC. Having all these unique plant chemicals present is what makes CBD products so beneficial to many. So what are some of these benefits that 0.0% THC products have? Glad you asked!
Throughout the body lies a series of synapses, molecular highways and complex systems known as the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system communicates with numerous receptors throughout your body. When all is going well, the receptors mind their business. However, when problems pop up in the system, the neural tissues at the end of the receptors go into panic mode.
These receptors send signals out to the endocannabinoid system. This complex area of the body deciphers the message it receives and figures out a plan of attack. If you’re sleepy, it might trigger the pineal gland to secrete melatonin. In times of joy, the endocannabinoid system will tell the adrenal glands to let out a bit of dopamine.
Suffice to say, the endocannabinoid system covers a lot of ground. So, when taking CBD, the cannabinoids interact indirectly with receptors and other compounds, supplementing the endocannabinoid system and helping it do what it does best.
Even more unique? Our skin also contains its own endocannabinoid system. That’s right! Directly under the epidermis is a circuit of receptors. By using CBD products such as a CBD salve, you get directly to those receptors under the skin.
What Is the Difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Both hemp and marijuana are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains low levels of CBD and high levels of THC. This ratio of phytocannabinoids is what causes marijuana’s high. Hemp has a higher CBD to THC ratio, which is why CBD oil doesn’t cause intoxicating effects.
Does CBD Oil Have THC?
THC is naturally present in hemp. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, all agriculture hemp must have a genetic makeup of 0.3% THC or less. Upon extraction, THC, CBD, and all other 100+ phytocannabinoids are present. Some companies will remove THC and other phytocannabinoids from the formula to create broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate products.
Why Use CBD Oil with THC?
Each phytocannabinoid has a unique role in maintaining homeostasis (balance) in our endocannabinoid system. While CBD on its own might be beneficial, other phytocannabinoids enrich the formula by causing an entourage effect. Low levels of THC might not cause a high, and it may improve the overall effectiveness of the formula.
What Is the Difference between CBD Products?
CBD isolate is pure CBD. Broad spectrum CBD contains naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids and terpenes, sans THC. Full spectrum CBD has all of the organic compounds found in hemp, including THC.
How Are Phytocannabinoids Extracted?
Reputable companies, such as Joy Organics, use supercritical carbon dioxide to extract CBD oil. This process preserves the integrity of phytocannabinoids and terpenes to create premium phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract.
How Is THC Removed?
After extraction, CBD oil goes through a distillation process. During distillation, unwanted material—such as chlorophyll and wax—gets removed. CBD isolate and broad spectrum companies can remove unwanted phytocannabinoids here, too.
How to Ensure There Is No THC in Your CBD Oil
Check the label for broad spectrum or CBD isolate products. Stay away from CBD oil that says “full spectrum.” Also, read the lab reports for any product you buy. They will not only confirm THC content, but also ensure that the product is free of pesticides and heavy metals.
Contact Joy Organics For Your “CBD Without THC” Needs
There are many ways to enjoy CBD products and they all come without the psychoactive side effects that THC brings. We at Joy Organics hold our products up to the highest standards. That is why we take great care of the hemp plants from drying to extracting to distilling. We formulate our products with the greatest care and are proud to deliver the highest quality CBD products you can find. Contact us today if you have any questions!
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Joy Smith is Joy Organics Co-founder and visionary. After her own life-changing experience with CBD, Joy started Joy Organics to create a line of sustainable and premium CBD products consumers could trust. Before founding Joy Organics, Joy worked as an itinerant speaker, traveling to over four continents to empower women across the globe.
Will CBD get you high? Short answer: no. Joy Organics is supplied with organically grown hemp, and shares the process used to get CBD without THC.