CBD products are everywhere these days: health food stores, spas, pet stores, gift shops, coffee and tea shops, vape shops - even grocery and convenience stores are carrying the oils, tinctures, salves, and edibles. Many folks will hear “CBD” and it will raise the image of smoking a joint and getting high on marijuana. Although THC, the compound in marijuana responsible for the “high,” and CBD are connected, it is important to understand the differences.
What is CBD? CBD stands for Cannabidiol which is the chemical compound that can be extracted from cannabis. It is found both in non-psychoactive cannabis (hemp) and psychoactive cannabis (marijuana).
What is THC? Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is also found in cannabis, both the hemp and marijuana plants. The THC produces the euphoric “high” sensation when consumed.
It is important to dig deeper to understand the differences and similarities in the plants (a little gardening humor - “dig deeper.”) Both hemp and marijuana are in the cannabis genus and both plants have the two naturally occurring cannabinoids CBD and THC. But, these two cannabinoids have different effects on the body. THC produces psychoactive effects whereas CBD does not, which is why you will not feel high from CBD.
Hemp and marijuana each contain CBD and THC but in different ratios. The THC in hemp is at a much lower level and the CBD is at a higher level in hemp. This is why hemp is most often used for the wide variety of CBD products available now. The marijuana plant, on the other hand has a significantly higher level of THC.
What does all this mean to you as a consumer? First, it is important to purchase your CBD products from a reputable source which uses the best practices to grow and harvest the hemp plant. Your CBD hemp oil should be lab tested for quality and consistency by a third-party lab for potency and purity, including CBD and THC levels, and for heavy metals. Second, you can protect yourself from fake or low-quality products by being attentive and checking the available Certificate of Analysis or COA. If there is not a COA available from the producer, steer clear. Finally, the THC level in the CBD oil should be 0.3% or below.