What are the major differences between CBD gummies and THC gummies? A lot actually! Here is our guide covering the low-down between the two. Consuming cannabis in the form of edibles has been aroundÂ for thousands of years. Bhang, a refreshing cannabis drink, dates back as far as 1000 BC. The ancient text ArtharvavedaÂ describes the drink as a beneficial herb that "releases anxiety." Today, edibles containing cannabis plant cannabinoids like CBD and THC are Learn about the differences between CBD and THC, how they can benefit the body, their potential side effects and how they’re treated by the U.S. legal system.
CBD Gummies vs. THC Gummies: The Low-Down About CBD and THC Edibles
Consuming cannabis in the form of edibles has been around for thousands of years.
Bhang, a refreshing cannabis drink, dates back as far as 1000 BC. The ancient text Artharvaveda describes the drink as a beneficial herb that “releases anxiety.”
Today, edibles containing cannabis plant cannabinoids like CBD and THC are becoming increasingly sought-after. CBD gummies, for example, are a popular choice for alleviating a variety of ailments.
While most people hear the term edible and think of pot brownies that’ll get you “high,” that’s not typically the case.
In this guide, we’ll break down the main differences between THC gummies and CBD gummies. Keep reading to learn all about them!
THC vs. CBD
Before we delve into the many variations of CBD edibles and THC edibles, it’s important first to understand the difference between the 2 cannabinoids.
Stretching back over 5,000 years, cannabis is one of the oldest plants to be used for medicinal purposes.
Still, it wasn’t until the early 1940s that THC and CBD were extracted from cannabis for the first time. Over 100 cannabinoids have been cataloged since that day, but THC and CBD remain the most researched and used.
CBD and THC have the same molecular structure. Both cannabinoids have 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The slight difference in how those atoms are arranged account for the differing effects of the 2 cannabinoids on the body.
CBD and THC are very similar to the body’s endocannabinoids. Due to their similarities, they can easily interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors to help regulate certain bodily functions and changes.
Their interaction affects the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Those neurotransmitters are chemicals that are responsible for relaying messages between cells in the body.
Endocannabinoids play an essential role in influencing immune function, stress, pain, sleep, anxiety, and many other bodily functions.
CBD is a compound that is non-psychoactive. In other words, it doesn’t create the “high” associated with THC.
CBD binds weakly to CB1 receptors and can interfere with the binding of THC to those receptors. It can dampen the psychoactive effects of THC, which is why many cannabis users find solace in products containing a balance of both cannabinoids.
Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects.
THC binds with the body’s CB1 receptors in the brain. It can produce the “high” often associated with cannabis.
The higher the THC content in an edible or cannabis product, the more psychoactive effects you’ll experience. THC makes you feel whereas CBD effects aren’t necessarily felt, but rather, experienced.
THC is illegal on a federal level, but many states have made it legal either recreationally or medically.
What’s an Edible?
Before you shop for CBD edibles online, you must know what to look for.
While an edible can be anything that you eat, edibles have long been associated with terms like “marijuana” or “pot brownies.” Edibles that get you “high” and produce intoxicating psychoactive effects are THC edibles.
CBD is non-intoxicating. It doesn’t cause a high, and thus, people consume CBD oil edibles for different reasons.
Cannabinoids are extracted from the cannabis plant and then cooked into gummies and other foods to make edibles. Some edibles contain only THC, some contain only CBD, whereas others contain both cannabinoids.
People who are asthmatic or prefer not to inhale cannabis opt to consume edibles instead of smoking.
How Long Does It Take Edibles to Work?
Edibles are much different than oils, tinctures, and vapes. The primary difference is the length of time they take to kick in. While a tincture (edible oil) only takes around 15 minutes to start working, edibles can take much longer.
CBD edibles are quite different from CBD oils. For those used to taking CBD oil, edibles might take a little getting used to.
An edible can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect. Metabolism, height, activity level, weight, and what you’ve eaten in a given day can all play a role in determining how long it takes for your body to process an edible.
You can’t overdose on CBD, so there isn’t much worry about taking too much. However, if you do take more after not feeling anything, you could increase your risk of experiencing the side effects of over-consumption, which is why it’s always best to wait.
CBD is regarded as generally safe. There has not yet been a recorded overdose, and it doesn’t produce the same psychoactive effects as THC.
In other words, you won’t eat too many CBD edibles and feel “high.”
If you take too much, however, you might experience nausea, diarrhea, a headache, fatigue, dizziness, or dry mouth. If you happen to experience any unwanted side effects, try the next day again and begin with a smaller dose.
CBD doesn’t exhibit any effects that indicate abuse or dependence potential. There isn’t any evidence to date that exhibits public health-related issues associated with pure CBD use.
THC edibles are different in that you can eat too many and feel overwhelmed. If that occurs, the best thing to do is to drink lots of water and add carbs to your stomach to help your body balance out.
THC edibles can make you hungry, cause dry mouth, and have strong psychoactive effects, depending on how much you eat.
If you do decide to take THC edibles, make sure to start with a smaller dose and to wait long enough before you consume more.
Full-Spectrum and Isolate Edibles
Just like tinctures, flower, and vape pens, you can also purchase isolate and full-spectrum edibles.
Isolates typically contain pure CBD, whereas a full-spectrum cannabis product contains the entire extract from the plant.
Which product you choose depends wholly on your personal preferences and needs. Many people prefer to use a CBD isolate. They may not want the psychoactive effects of THC, or they want to ensure that if they’re drug tested at work, there’s no chance of a trace of THC in their bloodstream.
Full-spectrum extracts contain all the phytocannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum gummies contain CBD, THC, terpenes, and many other cannabinoids.
Some full-spectrum extracts, derived from hemp plants, contain everything yet with a low concentration of THC (less than 0.3%). They don’t contain enough THC to make you feel “high,” but they could give you a false positive on a drug test, especially if you consume your full-spectrum gummies regularly.
Ingesting multiple cannabinoids is often said to produce an “entourage effect” in the body, in which the benefits of various terpenes and cannabinoids positively impact the body.
It’s important to do your research to determine which product appeals to you, though. If edibles are new for you, we recommend starting with a CBD-isolate edible.
CBD Is Natural
CBD edibles provide long-lasting relief. They’re broken down slowly in the digestive system, which means you can experience the calming effects for longer.
They’re easy to dose, as edibles always provide a pre-measured dose.
They’re tasty, and they provide whole-body effects that can help alleviate your ailments throughout the day.
CBD edibles come in an assortment of flavors, variety, shapes, and sizes. Plus, if you want to start small, you can always cut your first gummy in half.
It has been suggested that CBD products, and gummies especially, might help affect specific serotonin receptors in the way that many prescribed drugs do.
The difference is that CBD offers a 100% natural way to try and alleviate ailments without any dangerous side effects.
What to Look for in CBD Gummies
Before you buy CBD edibles, look for a reputable manufacturer that gets its ingredients from USA hemp plants. For CBD products, look for edibles that contain less than 0.3% THC.
It’s essential to also go with a brand whose products are 3rd-party lab-tested before being sold. This ensures the highest quality and consistency in edible products.
Look for positive customer reviews, not only in the products themselves but concerning customer service and accessibility.
Don’t Wait to Integrate CBD Gummies Into Your Life
CBD gummies are an excellent way to get through the many demands of daily life, without the psychoactive effects of THC.
The best CBD gummies should contain less than 0.3% THC and come from a reputable brand with reviews and 3rd-party lab testing to show for it.
With little to no presence of THC, you don’t have to worry about taking too much. However, it’s important to start with a lower dose so that you can gauge your body and determine what works best for you.
Are you ready to shop around? Check out our wide variety of high-quality, 3rd-party tested, CBD gummies! Do you have questions first? Contact us with any questions or concerns. We are here to help!
CBD vs. THC: What’s The Difference?
Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- What Is CBD?
- What Is THC?
- CBD vs THC: Key Differences
- How Are CBD and THC Similar?
Neither cannabidiol (CBD) nor delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are new discoveries—they were first isolated from cannabis plants by scientists in the early 1940s. However, our understanding of the two plant compounds is still evolving today as scientists continue to study them, learning more about their characteristics and medical benefits.
Improved education about the cannabis plant and its two main compounds not only boosted their popularity, but also brought them into the mainstream in recent years. Below, learn more about the similarities and differences of CBD and THC, how they can benefit the body, their potential side effects and how they’re treated by the U.S. legal system.
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What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the main cannabinoids (chemical compounds unique to cannabis) found in cannabis sativa plants.
A cannabis sativa plant can be classified according to its CBD and THC production potentials:
- Type I cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and less than 0.5% CBD.
- Type II cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and 0.5% CBD.
- Type III cannabis sativa contains less than 0.3% THC and more than 0.5% CBD.
Type I and type II cannabis sativa are considered marijuana while type III is classified as hemp.
CBD can be derived from any type of cannabis sativa plant, but it’s legal throughout the U.S. only when it comes from hemp specifically—an important distinction explained in greater detail below.
What Is THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another main cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa plants. THC is the compound that produces the intoxicating, psychoactive “high” often associated with cannabis.
CBD vs THC: Key Differences
CBD and THC may come from the same plant, but their unique chemical structures affect how they interact with the body. Because of these inherent differences, they are also treated differently in the U.S. legal system.
“From a chemistry standpoint, THC and CBD are isomers, meaning they share the same chemical formula (C21H30O2) with different chemical structures,” say Nick Jackowetz and Soheil Hajirahimkhan, chief scientific officer and head of research and development at Cirona Labs, a cannabinoid product developer. “While the structure of CBD consists of two 6-membered rings, THC has an additional 6-membered ring that is formed via the attachment of a carbon and an oxygen atom (called an ether bond).”
Therefore, CBD and THC bind differently with the receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps modulate the central nervous system, synaptic plasticity (how neurons communicate with each other) and the body’s response to external stressors.
The two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system are CB1, which is largely found in the brain and central nervous system, and CB2, which is mostly found in the immune system (and in much lower levels in the central nervous system). THC tends to bind with both receptors while CBD has little affinity for either.
THC is the compound most commonly associated with psychoactive effects while CBD is not. However, this understanding is “a huge misconception,” says Monique McHenry, Ph.D., director of the Medical Cannabis Center for Research and Education at the University of Vermont Medical School.
Lauren Rudick, partner of the cannabis practice at Hiller, PC, a law firm in New York, agrees with McHenry. “It’s an important distinction,” she says. CBD is still psychoactive, meaning it affects the mind—it’s just not intoxicating and doesn’t impair function.
The “high” from THC comes from its binding with CB1 receptors. Since CBD doesn’t attach to CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC does, it doesn’t produce the same intoxicating effect.
However, when CBD and THC are consumed together, CBD binds to the receptors and blocks THC from binding with them, thus mitigating some of the effects felt from the THC.