Cannabis has been consumed for ages — and for a good reason too. The plant is filled with several chemical compounds that have garnered much attention. At one time, many had only heard about and consumed THC, yet CBD followed soon after. These two natural substances (known as cannabinoids) found in nature are the most well-studied and abundantly found in the cannabis plant. However, each is unique in its own way. We know there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the internet, but we’re here to help.
In this article, we will share their similarities, differences, and other useful information you probably didn’t know!
What is THC?
THC is perhaps the most famous cannabinoid found in cannabis. While it may be found in hemp, it’s mainly found in higher concentrations in the marijuana plant. THC has had a long history of being demonized and stigmatized. Still, thankfully over the years, this mentality has broken down, with many putting forth a great effort to decriminalize THC.
No matter how you consume THC, it’s well known for providing a mental high sensation, yet current research has shown the cannabinoid to offer something more. THC is still illegal in many states, yet, we are hopeful there will be a significant shift in the foreseeable future.
CBD: What is it?
Known as a cannabinoid, CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis, found in specifically hemp plants. It is mainly used for medicinal purposes, as it’s non-psychoactive, and was made federally legal to sell and consume in 2018 under the Farm Bill signed into law by former President Donald Trump.
Currently, research has found that the CBD cannabinoid doesn’t have any overdose, withdrawal, or addiction potential. Yet, we understand that there is far more research needed on its efficacy and safety. What we do know is that cannabinoids come in three types, which we explain below.
Types of CBD
Full-spectrum CBD is a type of product that contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. This includes not only THC but also CBC, CBN, CBG, and other lesser-known cannabinoids as well as terpenes, flavonoids, and other chemical compounds. Compared to other CBD types, full-spectrum CBD offers a unique advantage — the entourage effect.
Broad-spectrum CBD is a type of product similar to full-spectrum products, containing everything except THC. This is an ideal option for those who want to avoid THC; however, they may not experience the whole experience of the entourage effect due to the absence of THC.
CBD isolate is a product that contains only CBD and no other chemicals. The CBD isolate is claimed to be the purest form of CBD. As you can imagine, like broad-spectrum, this CBD type doesn’t offer the entourage effect experience.
The Endocannabinoid System
CBD and THC may be popular, but many still do not fully understand how they work in the body. If you are new to the world of cannabis, you might find it surprising that these cannabinoids share a special relationship with our body, specifically the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a resilient biological network in every living vertebrae, including animals. It is filled with millions and millions of cannabinoid receptors, which are responsible for critical bodily functions such as sleep, mood, memory, pain, appetite, and many others. When the endocannabinoid system is not functioning correctly or is out of whack, researchers believe it can cause an internal imbalance in the body that is responsible for many health issues. However, when it is functioning at optimal levels, homeostasis is created within the body.
Many have believed that although the body has its own cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids), it is believed that cannabinoids found in nature, such as CBD and THC, can uniquely interact with this system. All science jargon aside, while this is believed, we still have much more to discover about the work of THC and CBD in the body.
Different Ways to Take CBD and THC
You can choose from various modes of consumption when taking THC or CBD. The cannabinoids can be vaped, applied sublingually, eaten via edibles, or swallowed via capsules. Each method of consumption has its unique benefits, though it all depends on an individual’s preference.
Whether you’re drinking, eating, or chewing them, CBD and THC can be found in various ingestible products. Products include:
- THC or CBD capsules
- THC or CBD beverages
- THC or CBD oils
- THC or CBD liposomes
- THC or CBD edibles such as candies, gummies, baked goods — even mints, gum, and THC or CBD honey sticks
Topical CBD and THC are applied to the skin.
- THC or CBD balms
- THC or CBD salves
- THC or CBD lotions
- THC or CBD topicals
- THC or CBD oils
- THC or CBD creams
- THC or CBD beauty products such as makeup, spa, skincare, or haircare
While there are several delivery methods, THC or CBD products that allow these cannabinoids to take effect quickly is typically done by inhalation. It’s also one of the most popular (and classic) ways to consume cannabis. Products include:
- THC or CBD hemp cigarettes
- THC or CBD pre-rolls
- THC or CBD joints
- THC or CBD loose flower
- THC or CBD concentrates (think wax, shatter, loose distillates, etc.)
Smoking Cannabis Flower
Most people know you can’t just eat cannabis and get high from it. But why is that? Because the cannabis hasn’t been “activated” yet. This process — called decarboxylation — is something that happens consistently in the cannabis world, but it’s something that we rarely talk about. That’s why, today, we’re giving you a simple guide to decarboxylating your cannabis and letting you know the importance of doing so. Ready to get started?
What Is Decarboxylation and Why Do It?
First, let’s break down the meaning of this complex-looking word. Decarboxylation is the activation of compounds in the cannabis plant. To get technical, the cannabinoids within the plant (THC, CBD) have an extra carboxyl ring on their chain called COOH. The additional ring creates compounds like THCA, which transform into THC once decarboxylated. While THCA on its own does have benefits, you will not receive the psychoactive effects of THC unless this cannabinoid is activated through the decarboxylation process.
It’s pretty clear at this point, but decarboxylation is crucial in getting the plant’s desired effects. As we mentioned, you simply will not experience the mind-altering effects of THC unless your product has been decarboxylated first.
You may think, “But, I don’t do anything to cannabis before smoking it, and I still get high.” Well, that’s not entirely true! Decarboxylation happens through heat and over time; thus, when you heat your cannabis in your bowl or pre-roll, you’re decarboxylating your cannabis in real time! However, this is a process that you have to do if you’re attempting to make your edibles consciously.
Decarbing 101: Here’s What You’ll Need
Speaking of decarboxylating cannabis yourself, doing so is relatively easy as long as you have some cannabis and an oven. As we mentioned, you have to do this if you want to make your own cannabis edibles or other activated products.
If you’re interested in decarboxylating some cannabis, here are all the things you’ll need to do it correctly:
- An oven
- A few grams of cannabis
- A baking tray
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Something to prevent your house from smelling (optional but recommended)
Instructions for Decarbing Your Cannabis At Home
Now that you have all your materials ready, we’ll walk you through the three easy steps it takes to decarboxylate your cannabis right at home. As we mentioned in the materials list, you may want to have something prepared to keep your house from smelling like straight marijuana. This can be candles, air fresheners, fans on, windows open — whatever you prefer! But, make sure you get those set up right away before you even start the decarboxylation process.
Step One: Preheat the Oven
The first step to decarboxylating your cannabis at home is preheating the oven. Most people suggest setting the temperature anywhere between 230 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you place your oven rack in the middle, as the top and bottom of your oven will be hotter — and you don’t want your cannabis to burn.
Next, grab your baking sheet and cut a piece of foil or parchment paper that’s about the size of the sheet. Then, crumble it up a bit, and lay it out on the baking sheet. When you do this, you’re reducing the amount of contact your cannabis is making with the sheet directly, as these temperatures — again — will be warmer than you’d like.
Step Two: Prepare the Cannabis
Now, it’s time for cannabis. Take your cannabis and break it down gently until it is about the size of grains of rice. You don’t want anything smaller; otherwise, your cannabis will burn too quickly. That’s why we don’t recommend using a grinder to break down the flower. Instead, you can rely on your trusty hands!
As you break down your cannabis, start sprinkling it over your foil or parchment paper. Lay all the cannabis out and then grab another piece of foil or paper and lightly place it on top of the broken-down cannabis.
Step Three: Start Baking
Hopefully, your oven is hot and ready because it’s time to start baking! Place your baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and bake it for about 45 minutes. You don’t want to let it go for much longer than this, or you risk ruining your cannabis.
After 45 minutes have passed, take the cannabis out of your oven and let it cool for about half an hour, just at room temperature. When you look at the flower, it should have a slightly toasted brown appearance. Once 30 minutes are over, or when your flower is cool enough to handle, you can transfer it to a container of your choice. We’d recommend something airtight and not too transparent to protect your flower.
And that’s it! At this point, you have activated cannabis ready to be used within recipes. As long as you don’t mind the smell of cannabis in your house, decarboxylating your cannabis is as easy as possible. Just make sure you take your time and don’t try to rush the process. Being careful and mindful are the best ways to produce ideal decarboxylated cannabis. Whether you add your activated flower to butter, oil, or a full-on recipe is entirely up to you. (Just make sure you note how much you add.)
So, Which is Better?
This will honestly depend on the individual. However, if you are interested in consuming cannabis products that aren’t yet legal in your state, consider looking for hemp-derived CBD products. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growing of industrial hemp across the USA, and as such, products sourced from industrial hemp plants containing less than .3% THC are legal for sale across all 50 US states. These hemp-derived cannabidiol products come in various forms and typically have high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC, meaning they won’t create a psychoactive high. Yet, THC is still illegal for sale and consumption in certain states.
Due to this fact, many consumers may choose conventional medicines and therapies over THC or CBD due to the legality of their location. But, as cannabis legalization continues to spread across the country and world, we are hopeful things will change and clear skies await.
Ultimately, the decision between CBD and THC comes down to the individual and their specific needs. If you live in a region of the country where cannabis is fully legal, you have the best chance of purchasing and consuming products infused with cannabinoids today. Just be sure before doing so that you consult with a healthcare provider before doing so.
In terms of the future of THC, we say, we are hopeful that more research is underway — be it the efficacy of THC or its safety.
Does THC or CBD Interact with Medications?
The foods, drinks, supplements, and medications we consume are broken down in the body and metabolized through the liver. The liver is the primary organ responsible for metabolizing drugs and breaking them down into their parts.
As a result, THC or CBD has the potential to interact with other medications metabolized by the liver. So, suppose you are taking medication, and you also take THC or CBD. In that case, the cannabinoid could potentially compete with the medication before metabolization and reduce its effectiveness – or enhance its side effects depending on the drug. For example, many studies have shown that consuming CBD in gummy or non-heated forms has been far more efficient than smoking it as a dry herb or vaporized product. Gummies are known to digest through the body more slowly than other CBD or THC consumption methods, with a better balance of bloodstream saturation and concentration that doesn’t overpower the effects of other medications.
Most THC and CBD products contain other cannabinoid content, such as terpenes, flavonoids, and phytocannabinoids that may also interact with other medications. However, your doctor can help you determine whether or not cannabis is the right treatment for you and can provide you with a referral to a healthcare professional who can help you start using cannabis as a medication.
If you have a condition and want to consume cannabis, talk to your doctor about it. Above all, research is limited to the interactions of THC and CBD with other medications.
As we’ve learned, THC and CBD are the two most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis. While they derive from the same plant family, they each come with their own unique set of characteristics and effects.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, be sure to do your research and also keep up to date with current cannabis laws where you live. We should also say, before taking any type of cannabis product, be sure to consult a medical practitioner to understand the potential interactions between these substances and the best way to manage your specific condition.
At Hempzilla, we provide our customers with the best products that are both compliant and high quality. We at Hempzilla provide a variety of high-quality products to choose from. View our online store and find out why so many people are seeking out these versatile cannabis compounds today!