Close this search box.
Close this search box.

What's the Difference Between Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil?

What's the Difference Between Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil?

With the cost and numerous adverse side-effects of today’s over-the-counter and prescription medications, more people than ever look to natural supplements and other methods to manage their ailments. The cannabis Sativa plant (or cannabis) doesn’t represent anything new. Its existence and medicinal uses go back thousands of years.


But, in recent years, we hear more and more about people turning to medical marijuana and CBD to manage their health concerns. To decide if either medical marijuana or CBD represents a viable option for possibly relieving our ailments, we first need to know the difference.

Distinguishing between CBD and THC:

The cannabis Sativa plant contains well over 100 cannabinoids. Two of the most noted include tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. For a cannabis plant to fall under the category of marijuana, it must contain between .5 and 30% THC. THC represents the cannabinoid, which gives weed its psychoactive properties.


Marijuana owes most of its popularity to recreational use and for the “stoned feeling,” or euphoric high, it produces. Depending on the strain of marijuana, it may contain many different formulations of cannabinoids, but it always contains THC. THC doesn’t just make you high; it also provides healing properties. The strain of marijuana determines its application. These strains come with rigorous and thoughtful control and make what we know as medical marijuana.


Cannabidiol or CBD represents a significant cannabinoid in the hemp plant. Hemp plants must contain less than .3% THC to earn that label. So, in other words, CBD and CBD oil derived from hemp will not make you high.

How CBD and THC work with the ECS:

Part of the popularity of medical cannabis and therapeutic hemp or CBD stems from the fact that it works with the body’s system to achieve positive results. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, refers to this incredible system found in all mammals.

What is the ECS?

The endocannabinoid system or ECS consists of a series of small endogenous molecules. These acidic molecules, made up of arachidonic acid, and arachidonoyl glycerol, run throughout the body. This presence includes all of its systems and organs, nerves, muscles, bones, and blood. These molecules, referred to as endocannabinoids, result in the name endocannabinoid system or ECS.


Homeostasis, or balance of all the body’s workings, represents the primary function of the ECS. In a perfect world, the ECS works at the cellular level with the stimulation of C1 and C2 receptors to achieve homeostasis and keep all systems running smoothly.


Of course, the ECS goes back to the start of mammalian life. Amazingly, humanity did not officially know about the ECS until 1992. Research was commissioned in the late 1980s, partially to confirm the evils of marijuana, but instead, lead to the discovery of the attributes of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. The delay of sharing these findings must partially receive blame from misconceptions and perceptions regarding marijuana in general.


The ECS found in all mammals often suffers compromise, but the problem of a malfunctioning ECS mostly impacts humans.

How the ECS becomes compromised:

As we age, the ECS begins to deteriorate naturally. Other factors, such as inherited disease and autoimmune disorders, also contribute to a sluggish ECS.



But, poor lifestyle choices represent the main reason our endocannabinoid systems experiences untimely dysfunction. If our daily routine involves an unbalanced diet heavy in fats and sugars, and lacking in fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and proteins, our ECS immediately experiences an overload of responsibility. If you add tobacco, excessive alcohol, medications, and other drugs, that, of course, makes the situation all the more complicated. Stress and anxiety also negatively affect the ECS.



So, that’s where cannabis comes in. It turns out, the cannabis plant, whether hemp or marijuana, possesses a system that mirrors the ECS. The cannabis plant, whether marijuana or hemp, depends on its phytocannabinoids to grow and maintain health.

How THC impacts the ECS:

THC primarily penetrates the C1 receptors at a cellular level. These receptors exist in the brain, blood, muscles, and reproductive organs. Though more research needs conducting regarding the exact effect of the THC, we know that the C1 receptors affect pain signals and also may possess anti-nausea and antispasmodic applications.


THC may find its way into the system through smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, and capsules.

How CBD impacts the ECS:

CBD oil and other CBD products continue to enjoy increased popularity. Part of the likeability deals with the fact that getting high doesn’t represent a concern with CBD, nor does getting arrested.


Cannabidiol or CBD penetrates the cell’s C2 receptors, which primarily take up residence in the spleen and organs of the digestive system. CBD oil derives from mostly the flower of the hemp plant through maceration or CO2 extraction methods.


CBD and CBD oil’s applications include topical and oral methods. You will find CBD in tinctures, gummies, creams, lotions, and a host of other products.


CBD may help control inflammation and aid in digestive and autoimmune disorders.

Warnings and Cautions:

With any form of cannabis, you won’t need to listen to a plethora of near-death side-effects like those recited on prescription drug commercials. But, a few things should come into consideration:

  • Pregnant and lactating women should not take cannabis.
  • If you possess a tendency toward low blood pressure, check with a healthcare professional regarding marijuana or CBD use, as it may lower your blood pressure.
  • You should not drive or operate heavy machinery when using marijuana.
  • Abuse or over-use of marijuana may result in a lack of motivation and, yes, the munchies and the giggles.
  • Cognitive function
  • If questions or concerns arise regarding cannabis use, never hesitate to ask a healthcare expert.

Legal issues:

The legalization of hemp and marijuana represents a roller coaster ride in the United States starting in the 1600s and continuing to evolve today. Currently, 11 States and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana, with provisions, of course.

CBD, on the other hand, enjoys a full legal status in 47 States.