Cannabis Science


CBD Oil vs Cannabis Oil

The Difference Between CBD Oil and Cannabis Oil: Related, but not the Same

By Sylvester

CBD or Cannabidiol, is one of the main compounds found in cannabis plants and, thanks to increasing scientific research, is now being lauded for a whole host of potential health benefits. But do you understand the differences between CBD oil and cannabis oil?

What’s that? You thought they were the same thing?

Yes, despite the increased coverage, there remains some significant misconceptions when we discuss CBD hemp oil vs Cannabis oil

Despite the obvious benefits of CBD and its hugely increased usage, those popular misconceptions and misunderstandings between CBD oil and cannabis oil continue to cause quite a bit of confusion.

While cannabis legality has increased dramatically both in Europe and the U.S where more than half of the countries 52 states have legalized the drug at state level, federal law continues to prohibit the maximisation of CBD and cannabis potential. 

When we talk about cannabis oil, the main difference between the two is that cannabis oil is usually made from the flowers of the cannabis plant and, unlike CBD oil, can be intoxicating as it contains THC. Because of this, it remains illegal in most countries.

To the general public, it may seem like CBD oil and cannabis oil are much the same, particularly given the media’s apparent inability to differentiate between the two. So, what are the differences between CBD and cannabis oil? And, how are they both medically useful?

CBD – Cannabidiol Explained

One of the hundreds of active compounds found in cannabis, CBD is the cannabinoid currently garnering major scientific, and now public, attention. 

CBD oil, or CBD hemp oil is typically derived from the common hemp plant. If you hear the term “hemp CBD oil”, you can be sure that this product comes from the hemp plant.

Often delivered in an oil base, CBD oil varies wildly in both potency and reliability. From low strength CBD oils found widely in European health food shops (which are CBD only or contain negligible amounts of other cannabinoids), to highly concentrated medical-grade CBD oil that is prescribed with a prescription only. 

CBD oil does not contain THC (very trace amounts are sometimes found, typically less than 0.1%) and thanks to its versatility, is now being marketed as THE go-to health-care product in 2019. 

What is Cannabis Oil?

Cannabis oil can contain other cannabinoids alongside CBD, including THC, the psychoactive component most responsible for cannabis famed effects. Cannabis oil is now used by many as a treatment for things like chronic pain, depression and anxiety. 

While Hemp-derived CBD must legally contain no more than 0.3% THC, cannabis-derived CBD oils contain more than 20 per cent, depending on their source material. 

As cannabis-derived CBD products contain high levels of THC, they can result in the side -effects normally associated with consuming cannabis. These potential psychoactive effects of cannabis-derived CBD are the main reasons why most people tend to prefer hemp-derived CBD products. 

Typical effects of cannabis-derived CBD with higher levels of THC normally include changes in appetite, increased heart rate, and blood pressure as well as potential feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Some of the more commonly known effects of THC include anxiety and paranoia. 

However, the effects of THC also include its potential ability in reducing spasms, nausea and pain. Researchers now believe that there is strong evidence to support the theory that cannabinoids are more effective when consumed together and not separately. 

While there are many potential effects of cannabis oil, both positive and negative, in contrast, hemp CBD oil is known for having very few reported side-effects while it may actually help to reduce anxiety. 

While the media tends to use the two terms interchangeably, it is important to understand that they are different and while cannabis oil may induce psychoactive effects,  cannabidiol CBD oil will not. And, in countries where cannabis is still illegal, this is the controversial rub of it.

Childhood Epilepsy – How it Helped to Reform the Judicial Landscape

The case of Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old from N.Ireland, forced the British government to reassess their current perspective on Cannabis oil and hemp oil and may prove to be the catalyst for increased cannabis legality in the near future. 

Billy’s severe form of epilepsy would regularly result in up to 100 seizures a day. After becoming the first child in the UK to be prescribed cannabis-based medicine on the NHS in 2017, he reportedly went 300 days without a seizure. When this prescription was later retracted, because of the uncertain legal status of the medicine in Britain, his mother went to Canada to get it. Upon her return to the UK, the medicine was confiscated at customs because it also contained higher levels of THC than legally allowed. Without the medication and within a matter of days, Billy was hospitalised in a critical condition.

The story attracted a great deal of anger and sympathy for the family and because of the resultant outcry, the UK government took action to issue an emergency licence for his prescription. A mere matter of months later and common-sense had won. Billy ́s previously banned medicine is now legally available in the U.K.

FDA Approval Signals Bright Future for CBD 

In 2018, British company GW Pharmaceuticals became the first company in the world to have a cannabis-based medicine formally approved by the FDA (American Food & Drug Administration). 

Epidiolex changed the course of history by becoming the first medically accepted medicine to be derived from cannabis. 

Previously, the only cannabis-like drugs that existed on the market (Dronabinol), had been synthetically produced; Epidiolex is the first approved medicine to be derived from marijuana plants. Notably, it is the product, not the cannabinoid itself that was  given the green light.

As the medical benefits of marijuana plants become increasingly clear, marijuana and hemp is now entering a brave new world of legality, understanding and acceptance. As the known number of benefits of cannabis increase, so too does investment opportunities in what has become an increasingly big industry.

As such, cannabis researchers around the world are now looking into the interaction of different cannabinoids with our cannabinoid receptor and how the so called ‘entourage effect’, may actually affect an array of medical conditions. With an increased body of knowledge, there is no telling how far cannabis could really go. 

Perhaps personal stories like that of Billy Caldwell, especially alongside the legitimising factor of Big Pharma’s interest and success in making cannabis-based medicines, will make the summer of 2018 a tipping point in the acceptability of cannabis oils of all forms.

With so many potential CBD oil benefits and medical benefits in the use of cannabis, we are now seeing a real sea-change in attitudes both politically, and socially. As CBD and cannabis usage becomes more commonplace, remaining stigmas that hindered its initial progress are beginning to fade. This once unknown compound of the cannabis plant is now a big player when it comes to alternative natural medicines.

Post author
Sylvester likes writing about culture, history and tech, digs cosmology, futurism and ukulele - and prefers to accompany all of these with a good bowl of Chocolope Kush
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