CBD vs THC Oil: Navigating the Legal Minefield in States with Marijuana Laws

by | Feb 6, 2020 | Lifestyle, Wellness




As the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana expands in many states. Trying to figure out exactly what is and what isn’t legal to use can be difficult. As more research and studies reveal the benefits of medical marijuana products for various health issues, it can leave people in a state of uncertainty. 


Part of the uncertainty comes from the existence of CBD-based products, which can be completely legal for recreational use. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a component that can be derived from the cannabis plant, as can the other major compound from the cannabis plant,  tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


CBD vs THC Oil: Navigating the Legal Minefield in States with Marijuana Laws

Photo by Yash Lucid from Pexels


Here are the important differences between CBD and THC oil so you can make an informed decision when looking for a legal product to try.

Difference #1: THC Is Psychoactive, CBD Is Not

The reason that CBD can be bought even without marijuana legalization is that it contains little to no psychoactive elements, which is what makes you feel high when you smoke typical marijuana. The main component in marijuana that makes you feel high is THC. It’s what binds with the receptors in your brain and can cause a sense of relaxation, euphoria, and so on.

CBD, however, has an extremely weak ability to bind to the same areas of the brain in that way. However, it does still offer much of the same benefits for treating health issues like nausea, chronic pain, and so on. 

Difference #2: THC Is Illegal or Regulated, CBD Is Not

THC being psychoactive is the main reason that marijuana and any product with THC, is illegal, or at least regulated, by all state governments. The lack of any significant psychoactive elements is also why CBD products are far less regulated.


In fact, CBD can be derived from hemp rather than marijuana. Such products are completely legal to buy and sell for any reason under the 2014 Farm Bill. However, CBD oil derived from the cannabis plant may still be regulated and is also typically much more effective for medical use. In some states like Arizona, you may still be required to obtain a medical card and or in Arizona you may be limited to purchasing CBD oil from a dispensary such as Harvest of Scottsdale.

As the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana expands in many states, so do the options for obtaining a medical marijuana card.

Difference #3: Medical Benefits Will Vary

While CBD can help with a number of the same health conditions as THC, there are still some differences that matter depending on your specific issues. For example, CBD has been proven to help with the following conditions:

  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Psychosis, PTSD, and other mental disorders
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Depression and anxiety

THC, on the other hand, can actually make symptoms of mental disorders, depression and anxiety worse rather than better when taken in larger doses. However, THC can also help with muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, and low appetite on its own or caused by things like cancer.

In the end, while CBD and THC oils are both significant compounds that can be found and extracted from the cannabis plant, there are important differences to be aware of. THC is the component that makes you high and can treat some health issues that CBD cannot.

CBD might not be psychoactive and is less regulated as a result, but might not be as effective in treating your health condition. Make sure you know the differences.

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