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Medical Marijuana VS CBD: What’s the Difference?

“Medical marijuana” and “CBD” are terms that people often confuse and mistakenly use interchangeably.  Both terms are volleyed about in the medical marijuana industry, and as more states, including Missouri, legalize the distribution, possession, and use of marijuana, it’s important to know the differences between the actual products. The truth is, the two products are made and used differently, and the effects of each differ greatly. Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) are derived from the same cannabis plant, and in this article, the term “medical marijuana” will refer to THC. But, what’s the difference?

CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) is in all marijuana and hemp plants. CBD oil does not contain THC and consumption of it does not result in the ‘high’ most often associated with THC. CBD is widely used by individuals who don’t want to experience the high associated with marijuana but who do seek pain relief or feelings of calm or relaxation. CBD interacts with different receptors in the brain and causes different effects including pain relief, relaxation, and improved sleep. 

CBD is most often sourced from hemp but is also extracted from marijuana plants.  It is harvested from the stalks, leaves and buds of the plants. CBD extracted from hemp typically contains only trace amounts of THC, while CBD extracted from marijuana contains higher levels of THC, and these lower levels explain why a ‘high’ doesn’t result when using CBD. 

CBD can be consumed orally and is formulated into oils, waxes, added to capsules, or infused into edible products like gummies. It is also infused into topical creams and salves. 

Some of the most common uses for CBD include anti-seizure uses, alleviation of anxiety and as an antipsychotic. These and more uses are continually being studied and evaluated. If you are considering CBD products, we recommend you do so under close supervision of a medical professional. 

CBD is legal in some states, but the laws dictate the level of THC that is considered legal, and states will restrict the possession and use of CBD products. Be sure to research the laws in your state if you are considering adding CBD to your health and wellness plan.

THC

THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary component found uniquely in the cannabis plant. When ingested, it activates the cannabinoid receptors of the brain inducing effects such as feelings of euphoria or the ‘high’ that is commonly associated with marijuana use. It can also stimulate hunger, which some people find to be a negative effect. When used medicinally, though, these effects can be positive. 

THC is extracted from marijuana plants through several different methods. Ethanol extraction is most common. The plant is soaked in ethanol and refined to enhance the purity of the resulting product. Ethanol is preferred because it removes unwanted compounds that cause unfavorable taste and quality. 

Water extraction methods involve submersion into freezing water, which causes the compounds to separate from the plant. The compounds are then further filtered through screens to produce products with high THC levels.  

To produce high quality THC oils, isopropyl oil can also be used to extract THC from the plants. This more complicated method requires exact temperature control and contains more steps, but it results in a high-quality THC-rich oil. 

Common uses for THC in a medical marijuana context include treatment of epilepsy, glaucoma, pain, gut issues, sleep difficulties, and more. Frequency and levels of THC vary for each medical condition and its severity. 

How to Get A Medical Card in Missouri

When considering THC products for qualifying medical conditions, we recommend getting advice from experts and medical professionals well-versed in the uses of medical marijuana. 420ID provides a platform to connect patients with medical professionals who can show them how to get a medical card in Missouri. This ID card gives patients access to dispensaries with a variety of products and teams of experts to educate and provide guidance for medical marijuana use.