As the legalization of CBD products in the UK has grown and interest in the supplement has almost tripled, consumers are becoming more and more curious about the origins of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - two compounds commonly found in cannabis plants. But what exactly is the difference between the two, and why is one now legal in the UK while the other remains illegal?
Both hemp and cannabis are derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, and CBD can be extracted from both. Legal hemp in the UK must contain a minimal amount of THC in order to be sold, and CBD that has been extracted from the plant can be sold in the form of gels, oils, supplements, flowers and gummies. But what exactly is the main difference between THC and CBD?
What is CBD?
Known as Cannabidiol, CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. It’s non-psychoactive and cannot get you high. Many people use it as a supplement for a variety of conditions, but no definitive study has confirmed that CBD is an effective treatment.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is also found in cannabis plants, and is the compound responsible for getting you “high”. This is illegal in the UK, and cannot be sold lawfully to anyone.
CBD vs THC: Effects
The main and obvious difference between THC and CBD is the psychoactive compound. Consumed when smoking or ingesting cannabis, this compound is what causes the “high” sensation, and is the THC element of the Cannabis plant. CBD doesn’t have this effect on the human body and brain.
CBD vs THC: Chemical Structure
Although both THC and CBD are built the same in terms of molecular structure, the way in which the atoms are arranged in each compound determines how they affect our bodies.
CBD vs THC: The Key Differences
Although both compounds have an effect on our endocannabinoid system, they work differently in our bodies due to their atomic structure and how they bond with our cells. There is still ongoing research into why they have the same chemical structure yet such a different effect on us physically and psychologically.
Is there CBD in marijuana?
There is little CBD in marijuana plants and up to 30% of THC. However, each cannabis plant is different in composition, which gives us varying effects when smoked or ingested. There are currently over 100 different variations of the cannabis plant and compounds found within them.