The issue of the difference between cannabidiol (CBD) and marijuana has been one that has gone on for a long time. Whether you are a new cannabis enthusiast with a newfound interest in the so-called “miracle plant” or someone with an interest spanning a longer period, this question is still important. Both cannabidiol and marijuana have been used interchangeably by a whole lot of people with the line of thinking that they refer to the same thing. While some people use the terms to refer to different things but are not quite sure what they individually entail. Whether you belong to the first or second group, this article should be of assistance in helping you identify the difference between cannabidiol and marijuana (if any). But if you feel you already know the difference, there is no such thing as too much knowledge.

To more thoroughly understand what and what differentiates the term “cannabidiol” from the term “marijuana”, individual research into the two terms is needed. We would first begin with what exactly is involved in cannabidiol. Then we will consider marijuana. Finally, we will round up with clear cut differences between both terms.

Brief Introduction to Cannabinoids

Since the discovery of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant in the early 1900s, about a hundred and thirteen (113) have been discovered so far. Cannabidiol is one of these cannabinoids. As cannabidiol is one of the cannabinoids, we need to turn our attention to cannabinoids briefly to understand cannabidiol.

Cannabinoids are compound agents obtained from the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids have inestimable therapeutic functions and assist in the treatment of a substantial number of medical problems. These medical conditions so far include severe pain, inflammation and also anxiety (when used properly). More recently, an astonishing discovery on the alleviating effect of cannabis on phantom limb pain has been made. These cannabinoids act on the endocannabinoid system of the body by interacting with the available cannabinoid receptors. This endocannabinoid system is capable of altering the release of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (CNS). Especially in the brain. There are two major cannabinoids which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. Fortunately, our focus is limited to cannabidiol for this article.

Cannabidiol is a major cannabinoid because, on its own, it makes up about 40 percent of the total amount of cannabinoids in the plant. Cannabidiol is the active ingredient in several products containing cannabinoids. It is preferred due to the fact that it is not particularly psychoactive or psychotropic. Hence, the risk of brain damage is reduced as cannabidiol does not have adverse or serious effects on the system when used properly therapeutically. Cannabidiol does not alter the brain function or tweak a person’s perception or behavior. Hence, the conclusion that it is not psychoactive. Cannabidiol has been discovered to have antipsychotic effects. This means that it is equally useful in the treatment of the psychotic symptoms that accompany some disease conditions such as schizophrenia.

About Marijuana

Marijuana is simply the dried version of the cannabis plant. It includes the leaves, the stem, the seeds, even the flowers from the plant; but it becomes marijuana when it is dry. So one could even say that marijuana and cannabis are simply different forms of the same thing (the hemp sativa plant). Hence it is not so surprising that the scientifically assigned name to marijuana is Cannabis sativa. In marijuana, the major or active ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol. It is interesting to know that tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short, is just one of the more than a hundred cannabinoids in the hemp plant species. We would not be going into cannabinoids again as we have discussed them briefly under the previous subheading. The major cannabinoids in marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. But tetrahydrocannabinol is a more active ingredient than cannabidiol, hence, we would devote more attention to it in order to more completely understand marijuana.

The first and most important thing to know about THC in marijuana is that it is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. THC stays in the body for as long as 20 hours after it has been ingested. Although the duration of action is not that long. With such a unique property, it is the drug compound with one of the longest detection times on record. It operates by binding to the cannabinoid receptors found in the brain and other appropriate receptor sites in the body. As a matter of fact, THC binds to both receptors and other entities in the body including the adipose tissues, this is why it is still detectable in body fat up to 90 days after ingestion. Although most parts of the world do not accept the use of and research into THC (not without a special license at least), there are many of its derivatives that are essential today. One example of such derivatives is dronabinol. THC as a terpenoid breaks down more easily in alcohol. This is why its effects hit faster and more easily when ingestion is done with alcohol; hence combining them is not recommended.

Marijuana today has THC content averaging 9.6% as opposed to the 4% that was seen in times past. The care and growth of the sativa plant have improved over time to get as much THC content as possible. Hence, it is not surprising that some marijuana batches might seem more potent than others. THC is highly addictive and hence the ban imposed on it in many countries of the world. Moreover, sufficient research into THC has shown that the aromatic terpenoid has a close relationship with a number of neural conditions such as psychosis and even increased levels of anxiety. Additionally, the anatomy of the brain of chronic users of marijuana has been found to be slightly different from the normal structure. This is why THC is said to be neurotoxic by some. But this is mostly the case due to severe addiction.

Why Cannabidiol is not Marijuana

At this point, even without it being expressly laid out, you most likely have come to your conclusion as to why cannabidiol is not marijuana.

First, we saw that cannabidiol is a cannabinoid component of the sativa plant. Then we discovered that cannabidiol is not a psychoactive component of the plant instead it is antipsychotic and even inhibits the effects of other psychoactive components. Moreover, cannabidiol has been speculated to possess the ability to inhibit some of the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Then we saw that cannabidiol is the major component or extract from the sativa plant that is responsible for so many medical breakthroughs.

While marijuana, on the other hand, contains a large amount of THC (in its natural state) and has a lot of harmful tendencies. Additionally, marijuana is psychoactive and produces a “high” effect due to the presence of THC.

So, while cannabidiol is antipsychotic, marijuana is psychoactive. It is true that some traces of cannabidiol can be found in marijuana, but the main component of marijuana is THC. One could say that cannabidiol is an extract of sativa, while marijuana is the main thing itself. Hence, while some traces of cannabidiol can be found in marijuana, cannabidiol is not marijuana.