As the demand for natural treatments and remedies increase, questions surrounding the cannabis industry increase as well. Beginner and seasoned users alike find themselves searching for answers about hemp, CBD, THC, and the legal issues in their states. These questions include:
What is THC?
What is CBD?
How are THC and CBD different or similar?
Does CBD get you high?
Is CBD legal?
While these questions can get tricky, White Coat Hemp Co. is committed to informing our customers with the most current and relevant information. Our goal with this article is to provide accurate information about CBD as compared and contrasted with THC, the most famous cannabinoid in the cannabis plant.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds released by the cannabis plant used to provide relief from anxiety, pain, nausea, inflammation, etc. Cannabinoids are effective because they mimic endocannabinoids, compounds naturally produced by our bodies. Researchers have identified over 115 active chemical compounds in cannabis that have documented medical value. The human body has specific receptors (CB-1 and CB-2), when activated by cannabinoids, provide the desired medicinal and recreational effects of CBD and THC.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. THC binds to CB-1 & CB-2 receptors in the brain and results in psychoactive effects or the feeling of being “high.”. Reported side effects of THC include drowsiness, dry mouth, increased appetite, altered mental state, and paranoia.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the over 113 cannabinoids found in hemp. It has the same chemical formula of THC, but a different atomic structure.
As shown above, THC binds with receptors that create psychoactive effects, and CBD (quite plainly) does not bind due to its atomic arrangement. The inability to bind well to these receptors results in relief from discomfort without an altered mental state. CBD oil has piqued interest recently because of the legal battle surrounding it coinciding with more and more findings of its major health benefits. Everyone is asking – Is CBD legal?
Differences between CBD and THC
The two substances differ in legality (from federal law to individual state laws), structure, psychoactive effects, long-term side effects, and some of the ailments users report relief from. CBD does not get the user “high” as THC does. Because of this, CBD is found more often in natural and dietary supplements. CBD may also be a good candidate for pediatric use upon the recommendation of a medical professional, as it is well tolerated by most with little to no side effects. CBD is easily obtained (you can buy CBD products online and in big-box stores) and is unlikely to show on a drug test due to the extremely low THC concentration (<0.3%). CBD oil provides therapeutic benefits without mental impairment, which may be ideal for the user’s work schedule, school, or general lifestyle.
Federal Laws Regarding CBD
As of the date of publication, the only FDA-approved medication containing CBD is Epidiolex which is prescribed for the treatment of seizures associated with various severe forms of epilepsy. The FDA approval of Epidiolex in June 2018 made major headlines across the country as the first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana.
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“2018 Farm Bill”) was signed into law the by President on December 20, 2018. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp (defined as the Cannabis Sativa L., and any part of the plant, including the seeds thereof, and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis) from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). In addition to removing hemp from the CSA, the 2018 Farm Bill delegates broad authority to the states to regulate and limit the production and sale of hemp and hemp products within their borders.
The 2018 Farm Bill also preserved the authority of the FDA to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The FDA currently holds that it is unlawful to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interestate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived, and the 2018 Farm Bill notwithstanding.
State Laws and CBD
The regulation of the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD varies from state to state. The largest factors are whether the industrial hemp or CBD derived therefrom was sourced from licensed cultivators or otherwise lawfully imported into the state. States that regulate medicinal and/or adult-use cannabis often regulate CBD sourced from cannabis (as opposed to industrial hemp) under their commercial statutes.
Many states’ health and safety codes incorporate federal law regarding food additives, dietary use products, food labeling, and good manufacturing practices of food meaning that CBD is largely still not an approved for human (and sometimes animal) consumption, nor can be marketed as having any therapeutic benefit until such claims are substantiated by FDA-approved clinical trials.
CBD vs. THC will be an ongoing discussion as more research becomes available and more users have access to THC and CBD. CBD oil and products are easy to purchase online, and provide many crucial benefits for users that they may not have access to where they live. Because it does not produce a high, it can be more convenient to use than products that contain THC. The legalities surrounding CBD have made momentous strides and are on their way to nationwide approval. Lastly, we believe the benefits of CBD and THC have just scratched the surface – we are excited and ready for the future!