Cannabidiol Oil versus Medical Marijuana: What’s the difference?

This year a record number of people will take a prescription medication. Nearly 60 percent of American adults are using prescription drugs, and that rate is on the rise. The widespread use of these drugs has allowed people to better manage common ailments, like like heart disease and diabetes. But this growing dependency on prescription drugs as a first resort has contributed to serious societal health problems — like overprescribing antibiotics and prevalent opioid addiction — as well.

However, there is a rapidly growing number of people who are instead turning to all-natural plant-based medicines as a first line of attack. The most versatile (and hotly discussed) alternative medicines being medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the multitude of benefits these holistic remedies offer — from preventative health measures to alleviating chronic symptoms. The popularity of CBD oil and medical marijuana has exploded as study after study continues to support the notion that these alternative treatments are effective at managing serious illness naturally. But because of the stigma surrounding recreational marijuana, there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Both come from a cannabis plant and both have therapeutic effects. However, CBD oil and medical marijuana are strikingly different.

Psychoactive effects

The biggest difference between the two is the ‘high.’ Medical marijuana contains the psychoactive compound THC. It’s a Schedule I drug that produces a cerebral high many find unpleasant (depending on the individual) and is the biggest reason why medical marijuana is still illegal in many states.

Negative side effects of THC may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Shallow breathing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of coordination

While some people report no negative side effects using medical marijuana, for others these symptoms can be pronounced and unpleasant.

CBD oil is remarkably different in this regard, because it does not contain THC. CBD oil causes no mind altering side effects. It can be safely given to children, as well as people who have a sensitivity to THC and do not want to experience the high associated with marijuana.

Safety

Safety concerns can arise depending on how — and how much — medical marijuana is ingested. When medical marijuana is smoked, it carries the risk of carcinogens. When medical marijuana is used as an ingredient in edibles, the proper dosage can become cloudy. It can be easy to ingest too little and not achieve the desired therapeutic effects or ingest too much and become ill.

On the other hand, CBD oil is a pure dietary supplement that is most often ingested via dropper, capsules or isolate powder. Methods of ingesting CBD oil are usually more precise than medical marijuana. Plus, there is zero chance of overdosing. Much like a vitamin, your body metabolizes and safely discards any excess CBD oil without undesirable effects.

Legality

CBD oil is legal in all fifty states, while medical marijuana is currently legal in only 29 states. In states where medical marijuana is legal, it can be difficult to obtain a prescription from a doctor if you do not suffer from a narrow list of conditions. In Florida, for example, medical marijuana is only prescribed for conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s, and is not available for people suffering from many mental health conditions. Unlike marijuana, CBD oil is classified as a dietary supplement by the FDA and is readily available without a prescription.

Treatments

Many chronic ailments can be effectively treated by CBD oil and medical marijuana which is especially important when pharmaceutical drugs fail. Each has distinct qualities to differentiate their healing capabilities. CBD oil is best for neutralizing conditions associated with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, weight management and nausea (a common symptom from cancer treatments). Medical marijuana is most beneficial for managing symptoms stemming from autoimmune disorders.

Cultivation

The cultivation of cannabis products is a tricky business. The cannabis sativa plant is illegal under the federal government. It can only be grown and harvested in states where marijuana has a “broadly legalized” status. Additionally, medical marijuana cannot be transported between states.

Although the laws are slightly more laxed, producing CBD products can also be tricky. CBD oil is an extract from industrial hemp (a variation of the cannabis plant). The U.S. is one of the few industrialized nations that does not allow the cultivation of industrial hemp at the national level. But CBD oil can be transported from state-to-state without red tape. Further, CBD oil uses a sustainable extraction process that uses a whole plant method, which reduces waste by using the leaves, stems and other parts of the plant.

CBD oil is completely legal across in all 50 states and is an incredibly effective holistic treatment. CBD oil’s lack of negative side effects, ease of application and therapeutic benefits make it a popular choice for those looking for an alternative to over-prescribed synthetic medications.