The rise of Cannabidiol (CBD) products came after the United States made Hemp legal in 2018. For years Hemp got a bad reputation for its close genetic relationship to marijuana. The two plants look very similar and are found in the same genus, cannabis. The differences are complicated, but it mainly boils down to chemicals.
According to Healthline.com, "Hemp and cannabis come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Legal Hemp must contain 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis." So basically, CBD products don't get you "high," but they do provide many other benefits.
Healthline.com outlines the chemical makeup of both CBD and THC. "Both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body." They can also interact with your body's cannabinoid receptors. That interaction is what causes changes to your mental state.
In our brains, we have a cannabinoid called CB1. THC binds with it to produce a high. CBD, on the other hand, binds to CB1 weakly, if at all. When taken with THC, CBD can bind to the CB1 receptor and reduce some of the effects of THC.
In short, THC products make you high. You may receive feelings of euphoria, zone out, and food and music may become more awesome than usual. Unfortunately, you may also experience paranoia, and the substance is illegal in every state.
Conversely, CBD can mellow out some of THC's harshness when taken alongside it. When taken alone, CBD has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. You also do not have to smoke or vaporize CBD products, which is better for your lungs.
Hemp has been removed from the list of controlled substances, so CBD derived from Hemp is generally legal. CBD derived from marijuana plants contains higher THC levels and falls under a more gray legal area.
Many states and Washington DC have passed medical marijuana laws, but you usually have to go through a doctor to get cannabis with high levels of THC. Of course, many states have legalized the recreational use of THC. In those legal areas, both THC and CBD products can be found and purchased legally.
These laws are constantly changing. Before you acquire any CBD or THC products, research your state's laws for possessing and purchasing CBD and THC. If you are found to have these substances in a state where they are illegal, you may face legal penalties.
The FDA has approved a CBD-based medicine called Epidiolex which helps people suffering from epileptic seizures. Many also report that CBD helps them with seizures, inflammation, pain, psychosis or mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraine, depression, and anxiety. It does so in milder ways than THC, which takes you on a full ride with euphoria and the risk of paranoia.
THC also reportedly helps with pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, and anxiety.
Research about these substances is constantly evolving, and just because a group of people reports an effect associated with one or the other does not mean it will be the same for you. Consult a medical professional before you use THC or CBD to treat a mental or physical illness.
There is also a slew of side effects associated with both, including increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times, memory loss, and anxiety for THC.
CBD's side effects only tend to occur at higher doses, but be aware of appetite changes, fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, and diarrhea.