There is a reason CBD has become so popular lately: Millions of Americans have tried it, and they’ve liked it. This makes sense, of course, as some scientific evidence has shown that CBD may have the ability to help address a variety of problems from which humans can suffer.
One of the interesting things about CBD is that it’s rise has, to a certain extent, helped make it more popular than marijuana, and specifically THC. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, and that’s the name of the compound found in marijuana which is responsible for it’s intoxicating effects.
There are a variety of reasons for this shift – there’s a look at some of those reasons.
While both CBD and THC are related, they are not, by any stretch, the same thing. They have a different chemical makeup and very different impacts on your body.
CBD and THC are both one of the roughly 120 different types of cannabinoids which come from the cannabis plant. Both have similar chemical structures, containing two hydrogen, 21 carbon and 30 oxygen atoms. However, these atoms are arranged differently, which explains their different effects.
Both cannabinoids can impact your body’s various neurotransmitters. Where they differ is the neurotransmitters which they impact. CBD alters the bonding in your body’s Endocannabinoid System, changing the strength of the bonds and the time in which your body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids bond with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. This can impact a variety of bodily functions, including those related to pain, fatigue, appetite and more. Since cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, CBD can travel anywhere in your body to make its impact felt. CBD, unlike marijuana, will not get you high.
THC, by contrast, binds with receptors (generally found in the brain) which control mood, pain and other types of emotions. This is why THC is associated with a mellow, “feel good” sensation that often results in intoxication.
Thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is legal at the federal level in the United States. Individual states can choose to regulate CBD and many have, enacting regulations about the growth and use of CBD. At the moment, it appears only three states have enacted laws which stop the use of CBD: Nebraska, Idaho and South Dakota. Otherwise, CBD is legal in the United States, as long as it contains less than .3% THC and adheres to any requires state or federal regulations.
By contrast, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in the United States. It remains a Schedule 1 drug, thus banning its use for recreational or medical purposes. That, however, is not to say that individual states have adhered to these regulations: Marijuana is legal for recreational purposes in 11 states and Washington, D.C., while it is legal for medical purposes in 33 states and Washington. However, while it is generally not enforced in these states, marijuana use is still legal at the federal level.
This difference unquestionably help explains why CBD has become more popular than THC: It is legal to purchase in the vast majority of the country, while products which contain higher amounts of THC (such as marijuana) are still not.
One of the more interesting debates within the CBD and THC community is the status of the entourage effect. Those who believe in the entourage effect believe that CBD is most effective if, and only if, it has as many of its naturally occurring parts as possible. This includes all terpenes, flavonoids and THC.
There are two kinds of CBD for sale: Full spectrum, and broad spectrum. Full spectrum CBD contains THC, while broad spectrum does not. This, advocates for the entourage effect argue that full spectrum CBD is preferable to broad spectrum.
However, research on the effectiveness of the so-called entourage effect has shown that it may not be as powerful as advocates claim it is. An April 2019 study found that there was no evidence for any synergy when THC was used in CBD versus when it was not. More research is unquestionably needed in order to determine the full effectiveness of any entourage effect, but studies like this unquestionably cast doubt on the claim that the entourage effect provides the best CBD experience.
This is good news for people who do not want to consume THC or who can’t, as it may violate their terms of employment or risk a positive drug test (an outcome which is unlikely, but possible, with CBD use). As such, broad spectrum CBD remains a perfectly valid option for individuals who want to use CBD but don’t want to take any substance which contains THC.
As noted above, there’s a reason why full spectrum CBD may result in a positive drug test, but broad spectrum CBD will not. Marijuana drug tests do not test for CBD content, but check for THC content. While each drug test varies in how it operates, generally speaking, a marijuana drug test will be tripped if it detects above a certain threshold of THC.
This is why full spectrum CBD can potentially cause a positive drug test: Even the slight amount of THC it contains may push someone above a certain threshold for their THC content. The good news is that this is not likely to happen, and depends on a variety of circumstances, including how recently the CBD has been consumed, the method that the drug test uses, amount of CBD, the individual’s history of cannabis use, their metabolism and more.
More research is unquestionably needed. However, many initial studies have been promising. CBD appears to have the potential to help address a variety of ills. It is legal in the vast majority of America (and many other countries throughout the world), non-intoxicating (unlike marijuana) and will not cause a positive result on a drug test (as long as you purchase broad spectrum CBD, as opposed to full spectrum). As a result of all of these changes, CBD has become incredibly popular.