Among the more confused aspects of legal pot is the difference between THC and CBD.
Both terms are used frequently throughout the cannabis industry, and mean very different things. One will get someone “high” while the other will not.
THC and CBD are both active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. A cannabinoid is a chemical compound. Marijuana plants contain more than a hundred cannabinoids, but the two most well known are THC and CBD.
The key difference between the two is that CBD is not psychotropic. It will not cause a high when consumed, unlike THC. For this reason, CBD is legal to consume in every state.
Any cocktails or spirits these days that claim to be “marijuana infused” are actually CBD-infused. They will not induce a high, because that would be illegal on a federal level.
If anything, CBD is a minor mental relaxer, a therapeutic soother.
Another point of distinction between CBD and THC is that THC derives only from the flower or bud of the plant, whereas CBD can be extracted from anywhere else on the plant. Moreover, cannabis plants grown for use in industrial hemp traditionally contain significantly higher percentages of CBD than THC. Hemp, therefore, will not get anyone high.
The FDA considers hemp oil and the CBD that comprises it to be dietary supplements, and not medication.
However, CBD has increased in medicinal use during the last decade as a treatment for some forms of epilepsy. Patients as young as children and toddlers have taken CBD. This cannabinoid can reportedly reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.
The most publicized among these medicines is called Charlotte’s Web. Invented by Colorado growers in 2011, this CBD-heavy strain of cannabis contains less than 0.3% THC, according to its producer. It’s named after Charlotte Figi, an epilepsy patient who began taking the drug at age five.
Important to note, however, is official clinical trials have yet to prove that CBD can aid people suffering from epilepsy and seizures. One reason why is that this use of CBD remains relatively recent.
Early positive results have led to changes in medical laws for CBD. The FDA has recently eased requirements for firms holding FDA-approved clinical trials on CBD.
Eleven states have legalized industrial hemp production: California, Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, North Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia and Tennessee. Others have authorizing the cultivation of industrial hemp for pilot projects or studies: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska and Utah.
In response to the increase in legality and demand, many farmers (particularly in Kentucky) have taken to growing hemp as a new cash crop.