The two most common and well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). For those who are new to the world of hemp oil, the frequent squabbling over which is best can be confusing especially when considered from a CBD vs THC”who wins?!” comparison where there is no definitive answer. They are different in some essential ways and so offer different potential benefits of cannabinoids. Is it worth the greater legal and safety risks to buy THC-containing cannabis for use in extracts, or is high-CBD hemp oil still the best option? Find out who has the edge when it comes to CBD vs THC.
THC is most famous, or infamous, for its ability to get users “high”. CBD, however, has different effects on our cannabinoid receptors, and therefore cannot get anyone “high”. Many patients who require hemp extracts on a daily basis prefer CBD, as it doesn’t impact everyday functioning because of these different properties. A major barrier to the availability of hemp extracts is the fear of a “high and resulting fears of addiction, especially for children1. This is why, in many regions, high-CBD, low- or no-THC products are the only legal option.
Besides accessibility, CBD may cause less, or even no, side effects compared to THC. For example, THC consumption may have negative effects on memory and mood. A study2 on volunteers smoking cannabis, some with low CBD and some with high CBD, found that those smoking high-CBD cannabis had less impairment of prose recall when compared to low-CBD cannabis smokers. This means that CBD is unlikely to affect memory, and may protect against THC-induced impairment. Additionally, the low-CBD group reported higher levels of anxiety, which may be due to CBD’s reported anti-anxiety effects3; THC may act in the opposite way and cause anxiety.
CBD creates no psychosis effects
Another benefit of CBD over THC is that it does not have psychosis-like effects4. It may protect users of cannabis from getting too high, and is even being investigated for a potential use as an antipsychotic medicine for people with issues such as schizophrenia. If successful, this could bring great relief to many sufferers, due to the severity of both the conditions and their treatment. One surprising possible advantage of CBD over THC was found in a study on opioid-resistant cancer pain5: a high-THC extract with no CBD was ineffective, while the extract with CBD led to a 30% reduction in pain.
These two cannabinoids also have differing effects on sleep; and one of the most common uses of cannabis is as a sleep aid. THC is thought to be the primary factor behind the sleep-inducing effects of cannabis. In a study6 comparing the effects of THC and CBD on sleep, THC was found to increase sleepiness and reduce the time to fall asleep the next day. Memory was also impaired, and changes in mood were reported. However, CBD was shown to counteract the sedative activity of THC and increase “awake” activity during sleep.
Safety and legality relating to the CBD vs THC debate
Therefore, CBD-rich oil could be the superior option to “regular” cannabis for those who are already tired most of the time. If you want to drive a car, you have to be alert – plus it is illegal in most places to drive under the influence of THC. If you want to exercise, work, or spend time with your family, you don’t want to feel constantly sleepy while doing that either. Overall, CBD-rich hemp extracts have advantages over those containing THC, particularly if you have or are prone to anxiety, psychosis or poor energy. Plus, it is much safer when it comes to the law or chances of contaminants or adulterants.