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Understanding the differences and legal statuses of CBD and THC

How much do you really know about CBD and THC?

Understanding the differences and legal ramifications of CBD and THC


CBD, THC, Delta-8, Delta-9. What does it all mean? What’s the difference? What’s legal, what’s not?

It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new smoke shop opening up around the corner, down the street or wherever you happen to be out and about. They grab your attention with signs advertising all kinds of products but few actually take the time to explain what each product or substance is and which might be best suited for you.

We here at Vapestur strive to ensure the best user experience for our customers and part of that commitment to service includes educating you on what is out there in the market today.

Cannabinoids 101

Let’s start with a brief lesson on the various forms of compounds available today.

  • CBD – Technically referred to as Cannabidiol (CBD). It is a compound found in marijuana, however, it is non-psychoactive meaning it is not impairing and does not cause a ‘high’. CBD can be derived from hemp or non-hemp plants.
  • Hemp – Defined as any part of the cannabis sativa plant with no more than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • THC – Medically speaking, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Whereas CBD works with other elements in the body to create a sense of well-being, THC binds with receptors in the brain to make you feel euphoric and give you that ‘high’.
  • Delta 8 – Also known as Delta-8 THC, it is a psychoactive compound similar to Delta-9 THC, but with a slightly different chemical structure making it a lot less potent.
  • Delta 9 – Delta-9 THC (or simply Delta-9) is considerably more potent than Delta 8. Some believe it to be about twice as strong with significant side effects that can sometimes include paranoid delusions, mental fog, impaired motor skills and increased feelings of anxiety.


Benefits and risks of each

People often seek out CBD products to help with a variety of ailments from arthritis and Crohn’s disease to diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Others find relief from anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain when taking a CBD product. There are some possible side effects from CBD such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Upset stomach
  • Tiredness
  • Crankiness
  • Low blood pressure

Delta 8 produces feelings of euphoria, relaxation and potential pain relief but to a much lesser degree than Delta 9. As with Delta 9, Delta 8 can be used for managing health problems such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Spasms

However, if overconsumed Delta 8 can produce side effects similar to that experienced with Delta 9. These include: red eyes, dry mouth, rapid heart rate, problems with coordination, anxiety, confusion and slowed reaction times. Note also that if you are required to take a drug test, you may test positive for THC.

Delta 9 is believed to be about twice as strong as Delta 8 overall. Also more impactful are the side effects which can include paranoid delusions, mental fog, impaired motor skills and increased feelings of anxiety.


What’s legal and what’s not

Determining the legality of CBD can be a little tricky. Not only do laws governing its use vary from state-to-state but the laws are also changing all the time. The origin of CBD, whether it comes from the cannabis or hemp plant, is what determines its legality.

When derived from cannabis, CBD is considered illegal at the federal level. But, when derived from a hemp source containing less than 0.3 percent THC, CBD is not illegal because hemp is not a controlled substance.

Congress legalized hemp as part of the Farm Bill in 2018. However, there are still rules about where and how products containing CBD can be sold. While hemp-based CBD is legal  at a federal level, some states still consider using or possessing any cannabis product illegal. It is best to always check your state’s laws before buying products with CBD or THC.

Most Delta 8 comes from hemp rather than marijuana. As a result, its concentration is almost always ensured to contain less than 0.3 percent THC which is the threshold required for federal legality. The state level, however, presents another dilemma as there are currently 15 states restricting the sale and use of Delta 8 products.

Delta 8 can be shipped across state lines since it is federally legal, although most reputable companies will not ship to states where Delta 8 is illegal. If you choose to purchase Delta 8 from a physical location be aware that these types of products are not FDA regulated. Be sure to purchase from a trustworthy brand with a website that includes information about its production process.

Delta 9 is not federally legal in the US, however each state has its own laws. Some states, for example permit the use of Delta 9 for medical purposes, while other states allow recreational usage as well.

Again, the laws governing all the above mentioned substances are constantly changing so it is wise to check the legality of each in your state.


And, when it comes to the consumption of your chosen cannabis product, be sure to visit Vapestur for a complete line of innovative vaping devices and accessories.

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