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A few years ago, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, which legalized hemp-derived CBD products on a federal level. The passage of this bill opened the door for CBD manufacturers to bring their product to market. As consumer demand for CBD products has continued to grow, supply has steadily kept up.
One of the biggest misunderstandings that people have when buying these products is that CBD and THC are the same. While they are both cannabinoids and both naturally occur in the cannabis and hemp plants, there are some profound differences to know about the two.
Here’s what you need to know about CBD vs. THC, along with a list of CBD products that we highly recommend.
CBD vs. THC: Psychoactive Side Effects
CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, with 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The only difference is how the atoms are arranged, which causes the different side effects that the two cannabinoids offer.
Despite being almost the same on a molecular level, CBD and THC have very different psychoactive effects. CBD has no psychoactive effects, while THC does.
THC binds with endocannabinoid receptors, especially CB1 in the brain. This produces a sense of euphoria, known as a high. It can also cause confusion and anxiety in some.
On the other hand, CBD has a very weak bind on the CB1 receptors. In fact, in order for CBD to bind to them, it needs THC to be present. When the two cannabinoids are together, they work together.
CBD reduces the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, which provides for a calmer, more relaxing experience. This is why CBD is well-known for its therapeutic benefits, including relief from stress and anxiety, better sleep, and a balanced mood.
CBD vs. THC: The Benefits
CBD and THC offer many of the same benefits. The biggest difference is that CBD doesn’t cause users to get high, as they will when using THC. Many people prefer to use CBD simply because it doesn’t have psychoactive effects.
CBD has shown promise in offering a variety of therapeutic benefits, including relief from:
Pain and inflammation
Stress and anxiety
Inability to focus
THC can also be used to offer similar relief from pain, nausea, anxiety, muscle spasticity, and low appetite.
There is one FDA approved prescription medication that contains CBD, called Epidiolex. The drug treats rare, hard-to-control forms of epilepsy. However, it’s the only FDA approved drug to date.
Side Effects of CBD vs. THC
CBD very rarely causes adverse side effects, especially when used properly. CBD is well-tolerated, even in large doses. More often than not, any side effects that people experience when using CBD is due to drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and another medication.
Some of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD include dizziness, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and appetite changes. These side effects can often be managed by reducing the dose or figuring out which medication the cannabinoid is negatively interacting with.
On the other hand, THC carries a risk of all sorts of side effects, including:
Increased heart rate
Slowed reaction times
Neither CBD or THC post life-threatening side effects. However, if used for a long period of time, THC may cause long-term negative psychiatric effects, especially in adolescents.
Legality of CBD vs. THC
Cannabis-related laws continue to evolve, especially as the evidence in using marijuana for medicinal purposes continues to grow. Technically, CBD is a Schedule I drug under federal law. However, hemp, the source of CBD, has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act.
However, CBD products are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill Act, assuming they meet the set criteria in the bill. For example, products must:
Contain no more than 0.3% THC
Must adhere to shared state-federal regulations
Must be grown by a licensed grower
While CBD products are legal federally, several states have their own laws which restrict the selling, possession, and use of CBD products. It’s important to be aware of which local laws may apply to you.
On the federal level, marijuana is still a Schedule I substance, which means that it is illegal. However, dozens of states, including Washington D.C., have statewide cannabis laws, including ones that legalize medical cannabis. These products must be prescribed by a licensed physician in order to be legal. Other states have also legalized recreational use of cannabis and THC.
Drug Testing: CBD vs. THC
When cannabinoids are ingested, they are stored in the body’s fat. This means that there is the risk that the compounds can show up on a drug test for several days, possibly weeks, after using them.
While not all drug tests are designed to detect CBD, there are CBD-sensitive tests that can be used. The standard drug tests look for THC-related chemicals, so it’s all but certain that marijuana use, which contains high levels of THC, will show up on a screening.
On the other hand, hemp can also produce some THC, albeit in very low doses. It’s possible that someone who uses CBD products could test positive for THC.
When buying CBD products, pay close attention to the type of extract that is used. If you’re routinely drug tested, it’s crucial to only buy products made with CBD isolate or broad spectrum extract. These two forms contain no THC and shouldn’t cause you to fail a drug test.
Best CBD Products
Now that you know the ins and outs of CBD vs. THC, let’s discuss the top five CBD brands that create top of the line products.
1. Verma Farms
Verma Farms is best-known for its Hawaii-inspired CBD gummies, but the brand has also created an extensive line of other products. Verma Farms not only offers delicious CBD-infused bites, but also CBD oil, tinctures, capsules, and even dried fruit! There is even a collection of topical products to ease aches and pains in the hands and feet.
The brand is committed to using only the highest quality ingredients, including nano-emulsified broad spectrum CBD that is extracted from hemp grown throughout the United States. Verma Farms products are thoroughly tested for potency, quality, and safety, so that users have the best experience possible, every time.
Penguin is another brand that’s dedicated to providing people products that help them to live a more balanced, chill life. The brand is best known for their delicious CBD oils, which are available in yummy flavors such as Cookies & Cream, Strawberry, and Citrus.
Penguin also has a full line of other products, including CBD gummy worms, capsules, and even topical products.
All products are tested by a third party lab and use the highest quality THC-free CBD extracts. Penguin products are made with broad spectrum extract of CBD isolate, which means you don’t have to worry about being exposed to THC.
3. Evn CBD
Evn CBD products are meant to promote wellness and balance between the mind and body. When these two are in sync, it’s much easier to live a calmer, happier, more balanced lifestyle. Evn CBD offers many different THC-free products, including:
Sweet and sour gummies
All CBD used is non-GMO and is taken from organically grown hemp plants. Products are also made using safe, simple ingredients such as natural flavoring and coloring, sugar, and coconut oil.
4. Joy Organics
Joy Organics is one of the few CBD manufacturers to offer USDA Certified Organic CBD tinctures. The brand also has a salve that is certified organic as well. What’s unique about this brand is that they only use organic ingredients. You won’t find any fillers or preservatives used when making these premium products.
Joy Organics offers a variety of products, including some you won’t find anywhere else. While the brand offers the expected line of tinctures, gummies, and capsules, Joy Organics also offers
salves, sports cream, and even bath bombs. There's even a CBD-infused energy drink to keep you going throughout the day!
Charlotte's Web operates with a strong commitment to the planet and society. The brand's products are made with the hope of helping people around the world lead the best, healthiest life possible.
Charlotte's Web is one of the most trusted hemp extracts. In fact, the company originated as a hemp manufacturer that provided it's extract to other brands. These products are made with full spectrum CBD, which does contain a trace amount of THC.
Charlotte's Web offers a wide variety of products to choose from, including gummies that promote better sleep, Chocolate Mint flavored CBD oil, and topical products uniquely formulated to relieve aches in pains from arthritis and intense physical activity.
Understanding the differences between CBD and THC is important in your quest to find the best product for you. If you’re looking for legal CBD products that are made with the highest quality extracts and ingredients, we highly recommend the five products on our list.