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Here’s the difference between CBD and THC

Whether you’re trying to master the art of joint rolling or just want to try to alleviate a sore back, every cannabis user should know the difference between CBD and THC.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that interact with receptors found throughout the body to achieve certain physiological effects.

Humans, along with all vertebrates like dogs, cats, fish, and birds, produce — neurotransmitters that bind to receptors and impact pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and a variety of other functions.

Exogenous cannabinoids, meanwhile, aren’tproduced by the body but can be found in marijuana as THC, CBD, and a variety of other compounds.

Why does THC get you high while CBD doesn’t?

This part gets complicated, but what you need to know is that THC tends to interact with the parts of your body that makes you feel “high,” while CBD tends to interact with the parts that reduces inflammation.

Jeffrey Raber, CEO of California-based cannabis chemistry lab The Werc Shop, says that although CBD and THC have the same atoms, they’re rearranged very differently.

“Because of that, it’s a wildly different key going into the lock,” Raber said in a phone interview.

CB1 receptors are most prominent in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found more in the peripheral nervous system.

THC has an affinity to bind to CB1 receptors: It won’t shut off your breathing or heart like opioids do because it doesn’t affect the brain stem, but it does trigger that euphoric “high” feeling.

CBD, meanwhile, has a stronger affinity to CB2 receptors, which is why it can reduce inflammation without being psychoactive.

That’s not to say that THC will exclusively bind to CB1 and CBD will exclusively bind to CB2.

And most CBD products, whether a tincture to help you sleep at night or a shot of oil in your smoothie, won’t get you high if it’s hemp-derived because hemp products cannot legally be sold if they contain a THC content higher than 0.3 percent.

How do they work together?

Anecdotally, cannabis consumers report less feelings of anxiety and paranoia when they consume products with both THC and CBD, as opposed to products that contain just THC. In one study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, participants who were given CBD before they were administered a dose of pure THC experienced less cognitive impairment and paranoia than participants who only received pure THC. Wireddescribes CBD as an “antidote” to weed freak outs.

“In a basic sense, the two together act differently than when they are used by themselves,” Raber explained in an email. He says that one or both of two actions can happen: receptors can be activated differently, and/or CB1 and CB2 receptors can change.

“So you are somehow not getting as much THC activity at CB1,” Raber said. “Which is therefore lowering the potential for causing anxiety and paranoia.”

That still leaves a lot unexplained, but as High Times notes, there’s so much more to be studied about cannabis and the brain. Raber says CBD can interact with over 60 receptors in the body, and its full potential is yet to be understood.

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

That’s not to say that all CBD products will be accessible nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration still considers CBD to be a “drug ingredient” and won’t allow CBD in food or health products.

Do ratios matter?

The higher the CBD to THC ratio, the less high you’ll get. Because CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC, you’re more likely to get comfortably stoned on a 1:1 ratio than an 18:1. A 1:1 ratio means that there’s the same amount of CBD and THC in the product, whereas an 18:1 ratio means there are 18 parts CBD to one part THC.

What about terpenes?

The cannabis industry often categorizes weed by calling products either a sativa, which are known for more creative, energetic highs, or indica, which are known for “in da couch” calming highs. Hybridssupposedly combine the two sensations. But the differentiation is relatively meaningless; those are botanical categories, not chemical ones. That means that the terms sativa and indica refer to the plant’s shape and physical traits more than what the plant can do for you.

Terpenes, meanwhile, also play a role in how the plant tastes and smells. Growers have been tinkering with terpenes by breeding cannabis plants, curating plants that will give you a targeted high.

If you’re looking for a specific kind of high, you should look at two things: the CBD and THC ratio, and the terpenes present. When they’re all working together, you’ll probably experience a better high than vaping pure THC.

What is the entourage effect?

Sometimes called the “ensemble effect,” the entourage effect takes THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes into account when getting high. The buzzword basically means that the therapeutic benefits of weed are greater when you consume products made of multiple compounds from the whole plant, instead of just THC.

The phrase was popularized by a 2011 study that looked into how interactions between cannabinoids and terpenes can be used to treat various medical disorders. Think of it like a cocktail: It’s going to be a much more fulfilling experience. If you include all of the extra ingredients instead of just drinking straight liquor.

Full spectrum? Isolate? What?

You’ll probably find these words emblazoned across cannabis product packaging, bragging about how it’s made of “pure” CBD or “full-spectrum” plant.

“Unfortunately we don’t have standardized definitions of these terms,” Raber said. “Isolate most likely refers to single-molecule, just CBD by itself.”

Isolate oils are entirely CBD. It isn’t more potent than full-spectrum oil, although it was previously believed to be; a 2015 study found that full-spectrum CBD oil eases inflammation more consistently than isolate oil does.

It gets blurry when cannabis companies label products “full-spectrum,” or “whole plant,” or “broad spectrum.” Although some companies may label products “full-spectrum” if all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids — including CBD and THC — and terpenes from a plant are included, Raber notes that without an industry-wide standard, all “full-spectrum” really means is that there’s more than one cannabinoid present.

Cannabis company MassRoots describes full-spectrum and isolate as two different kinds of pasta sauce. While full-spectrum oil includes tomatoes, mushrooms, meat, and the works, an isolate oil would just be made of tomatoes. But until the cannabis industry figures out a way to define what “full-spectrum” really means, there’s little regulation guaranteeing that the product you’re about to consume has more than just THC or CBD in it.

How do you get CBD?

If you do live in a state with legal recreational marijuana you can consume CBD products in a variety of ways. It’ll be up to you to decide which works best for you — and at what dosage — so you’ll need to do some experimenting. It’s best to start with a low dose and move up over a few days when you’re starting out.

  • Tinctures are herbal extracts made from infusing plants in alcohol. You can consume these through a dropper used under the tongue. (Just make sure to let the drops absorb and not swish the liquid around in your mouth — that will impact how your body absorbs the CBD.)
  • Oils use a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Like tinctures, you can consume CBD oils by using a dropper under the tongue.
  • Edibles like CBD gummies are appealing because of their taste. CBD gummies are particularly popular, but many contain CBD isolate.
  • Vaping is also popular, but can result in lung irritation if it’s made of cheap carrier liquids. If you’re going to vape CBD, check out the ingredients before buying any products — cannabis vapes shouldn’t use the same ingredients as nicotine vapes.
  • Patches allow users to consume CBD through their skin — with a simple adhesive patch, you can get the benefits of CBD without needing to vape or take edibles.

Now that you know the difference, go forth and blaze it.

Here’s the difference between CBD and THC Whether you’re trying to master the art of joint rolling or just want to try to alleviate a sore back, every cannabis user should know the difference

Can You Eat Raw Hemp Leaves?

Can You Eat Raw Hemp Leaves?

Think you can only benefit from hemp by vaping, smoking, or using a CBD tincture or topical? Think again. There are some serious benefits that can be found by consuming raw hemp leaves. Raw cannabis is actually so good for you that some might even consider it a superfood.

It’s true. And not very surprising when you think of the myriad of benefits the hemp plant contains.

When we look at the Cannabis sativa plant (which includes both marijuana and hemp) from a nutritional perspective, it’s more “leafy green vegetable” than it is “weed,” and it’s actually extremely healthy.

If cannabis is so good for you, can you eat raw hemp leaves like you would spinach or kale?

Let’s take a closer look.

The Health Benefits of Raw Hemp Leaves

Nature truly provides us with almost everything we need to maintain great health. There are several medicinal plants that can be found throughout nature, and as we all know, cannabis is certainly no exception.

gloved hand holding hemp leaves

Not surprisingly (considering the myriad of benefits contained in CBD), hemp leaves pack a powerful nutritional punch. The leaves of the cannabis plant are full of iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, fiber and phosphorous.

Raw hemp leaves are also full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants known for their effects on aging skin as well as their ability to protect against the development of several different diseases. Raw hemp is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and rich in digestible globular proteins.

To say that raw hemp is healthy is almost a bit of an understatement.

Let’s take a closer look.

What Makes Raw Hemp Healthy?

Aside from its amazing nutritional profile, there are a few components of the raw hemp plant that make it such an amazing plant to consume in its natural state. These include:

The primary cannabinoids in raw cannabis leaves are CBDa and THCa. The “A” at the end of these cannabinoids stands for “acid” and denotes that the cannabinoid is in its acidic state. In order to experience the psychoactive effects of marijuana, THCA must be heated, a process known as decarboxylation.

Raw hemp leaves are primarily dominant in CBDa. While CBD is known for some serious benefits of its own, CBDa could also contain beneficial properties.

Terpenes

bottle of CBD oil

Aside from super-beneficial CBDA, raw hemp leaves are still full of the natural terpenes contained in the plant itself. Terpenes are the aromatic chemicals found in several different plants that provide a distinct aroma and taste. Earthy sage. Zesty orange. Spicy cinnamon. It’s all in the terpenes.

Terpenes bring some powerful benefits of their own to the table. Some of the most common terpenes found in raw cannabis and hemp include:

  • Myrcene
  • Linalool
  • Pinene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Limonene

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is what’s responsible for giving hemp is green pigmentation. While typically chlorophyll is removed from CBD products, hemp leaves are packed with it. What makes chlorophyll so good for your health? Research shows that chlorophyll is beneficial for the following:

  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-acne
  • Blood-building

So, Can You Eat Raw Hemp Leaves?

If you can get your hands on some, raw hemp leaves can be an amazing addition to an already healthy lifestyle.

field of hemp plants under blue sky

Dr. William L. Courtney is an expert in raw cannabis, whose area of special interest is in the dietary uses of cannabis to achieve 250-500mg cannabinoid acids, which he contends is an essential nutrient in the diet of individuals in their 4 th decade and older.

Courtney believes that the “raw” version of cannabinoids helps activate the endocannabinoid system more effectively than when it is dried, cured and heated.

How to Eat Raw Hemp Leaves

Ever tasted raw hemp?

It’s a bit bitter, to say the least. For those of you who enjoy a bitter green (think dandelion, arugula, endive and others), raw hemp leaves could be a welcome addition to a fresh green salad. For those of you who can’t stomach bitter greens, we feel you. That’s why adding raw hemp leaves to a smoothie or juice is our favorite way to consume raw hemp leaves.

Joy Organics Summer Lemon CBD Oil in kitchen

If you’re into juicing, think of raw hemp leaves as a huge powerhouse of nutrition. Whatever your favorite juice recipe may be, simply add a handful of hemp leaves (1-2 cups) along with your other ingredients. You’ll get all the benefits of the raw hemp leaves without their bitter taste. Our go-to juice contains a healthy amount of raw hemp leaves, cucumber, carrot, apple and ginger.

Not a big fan of juicing? Try adding your raw hemp leaves to a smoothie instead. We love smoothies. What an easy and great-tasting way to get the nutrients you need! You can experiment with CBD superfood smoothie recipes by tossing a handful of raw hemp leaves into the blender. The other ingredients blended into these drinks mask the bitter taste of the raw hemp leaves, while the hemp leaves offer increased nutritional benefits.

Of course, if you wanted, you could always just eat them raw right off the plant itself.

Are Raw Hemp Leaves Right for You?

While raw hemp leaves aren’t likely to be sold in your local produce section anytime soon, eating raw hemp leaves offers some pretty significant health benefits. Raw hemp leaves are such a powerful source of nutrition that some even consider them a superfood.

Full of fiber, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and more, raw hemp has you covered as far as nutrition is concerned. Add the rich amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids combined with the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols raw hemp leaves contains, and you’ve got yourself an extremely healthy addition to your juice, smoothie or salad.

So, can you eat raw hemp leaves? If you can get your hands on some raw hemp leaves, go for it!

Not only can you 100% eat raw hemp leaves, but your body will likely thank you for it.

Here’s to your health!

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.

Can you eat raw hemp leaves like you would spinach or kale? There are serious benefits that can be found by consuming raw hemp leaves.