CBD oil, THC, cannabis, hemp… But what the hell is so different about them? If like most people, you find it hard to discern the differences between these oils, we'll explain it all here!
The potential benefits of CBD oil and other CBD supplements have recently been actively and extensively discussed. Some say that CBD helps them manage pain or relax and sleep better at night. Others see it as a daily supplement to increase their overall well-being. Whatever the situation, finding the right CBD product is not always easy.
The many variations of CBD oils, hemp, cannabis or CBD dyes and all the other types on the market today making it difficult to make a decision. A lack of regulatory guidelines or the presence of misinformation (sometimes intentional!) does not help much in this respect. So what about CBD oils and cannabis oils? Aren't they technically the same thing?
CBD oil vs Cannabis oil
Well, long story short: no, CBD oil and cannabis oil are different. Although both are derived from the same plant species (Cannabis sativa), CBD oil and cannabis oil are very different and are not regulated in the same way. Besides, CBD oil and cannabis oil are generally consumed for different purposes. Here's a brief overview:
CBD oil is often made from industrial hemp. Hemp is no different from recreational cannabis, but it does possess one characteristic that distinguishes it from its neighbor: negligible amounts of the psychotropic constituent THC. Hemp, on the other hand, contains CBD and other cannabinoids such as CBDA, CBC, CBGA, CBN, and CBCA. CBD oil contains all (or almost all) of these cannabinoids, but without THC. Some CBD oils also have carrier oils such as hemp seed oil or olive seed oil that is added to increase bioavailability (the speed and effectiveness of formula) and flavor.
Full Spectrum CBD oil VS. CBD Isolate
When looking to buy CBD oil, you may come across phrases indicating “full-spectrum” oil or “CBD isolate”. But what do they mean?
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains not only CBD but also other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBDV, CBG, and CBDA. It also contains flavonoids and terpenes, the substances that give cannabis its colors and flavors. Why is this so important? These “minority” cannabinoids and other substances are thought to work synergistically to support a phenomenon called the “entourage effect”. Specifically, the active chemical constituents of hemp can work in symbiosis to produce an effect that is greater than the sum of its constituents. Thus, full-spectrum oils have become increasingly popular for those seeking to take advantage of the entourage effect.
The CBD isolate does not contain any other cannabinoids, flavonoids or terpenes as it is a virtually pure form of 99.9% CBD.
So which one is preferable? The full spectrum or the isolate? There is no clear answer to that. The CBD isolate has the advantage of being the purest form of CBD. There's no risk of psychotropic effects, and a screen won't show anything incriminating. CBD isolate is also tasteless and odorless, which may make it easier to add to recipes. On the other hand, among those who are knowledgeable, full-spectrum oils tend to be more popular as more is learned about the famous “whole-plant” formulas.
Cannabis oil (OR “Marijuana oil”, “THC oil”)
Now that you know what a CBD oil is, and the different variants of this category, let's look at what cannabis oil is. This substance is a completely different story. For a start, the names “cannabis oil”, “marijuana oil” or “THC oil” more or less all mean the same thing (you can thank the lack of regulation for this confusion). Nevertheless, as you can guess from the names, all these products share one major characteristic: THC.
Not only does cannabis oil contain more (often much more) THC than CBD oil, but it is also derived from recreational/medical cannabis, unlike industrial hemp. Since products containing high levels of THC are still considered narcotics in many countries, you may find it difficult to find cannabis oil unless you live somewhere where a cannabis market exists, such as Canada. Of course, as one might imagine, some manufacturers do not hesitate to rename their CBD oil as “cannabis oil” in the hope of expanding their customer base. But here to explain everything clearly, when we talk about cannabis oil, we are talking about the “real thing”, the one that contains high levels of THC.
Given the very different cannabinoid profile, those who use cannabis oils tend to do so for different reasons than those who use CBD oil. Some use them for recreational purposes (to get their heads up), while others claim that the THC-rich formulas help relieve disorders such as pain or insomnia. Recreational and medical users may prefer this “liquid” cannabis for a variety of reasons. First, it is logically healthier than smoking. Also, cannabis oil does not reek of ganja all around you, it is easier and more precise to dose, and its effects can be stronger and longer-lasting.
THC : not just for stoners
We hear all the time about the benefits of CBD, but there is evidence that cannabis may have an enhanced beneficial effect when both major cannabinoids (THC and CBD) are present. Similarly, research suggests that to treat some pain, an extra dose of THC may be more effective than CBD alone. In other words, it is understandable why some patients prefer oil to cannabis containing THC.