CBD Vs THC – What’s the Difference?

As marijuana and its by-products are increasingly legalized, consumers want to learn more about what products are available to them and about the characteristics and uses of these products. So, let’s take a look at CBD vs THC principal components of these two in a multitude of cannabis-derived products available and what they can do for us.

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, together with tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, are two of the more than one hundred cannabinoid components of the marijuana plant. CBD and THC are both known as cannabinoids however they behave differently within our organism. Various types of marijuana have rich amounts of THC, but plants with higher levels of CBD are less popular and less well known because they are used primarily for medicinal and industrial purposes. Nonetheless, both CBD and THC can offer substantial benefits for our health.

What Exactly are CBD and THC?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are natural elements found in Cannabis plants. CBD can be found and extracted in both marijuana as well as hemp plants. Hemp plants are part of the cannabis plant family, but they contain less than 0.3 percent of THC while marijuana plants have much higher quantities of THC. THC is the element that causes one to feel “high” or as having an altered mental state. Both CBD vs THC interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system.

Our body has it’s very own endocannabinoid system made up of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors, whether we smoke marijuana or not. These components are produced naturally by our bodies and research has identified connections between the endocannabinoid system and

among others. As a result, when we use a product containing either CBD or THC, the cannabinoids in these elements will interact naturally with our own body’s endocannabinoid system.

Chemical Structure

While CBD vs THC shares the same molecular design of 21 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 30 hydrogen atoms, it is the order of these atoms that causes the various reactions within our body. Once again, these components are similar in chemical structure to our endocannabinoids which allow for this interaction. This activity affects the chemical release within the brain which in turn influences sleep, pain, stress and even the immune system and much more.

Even though CBD and THC may share many things in common, they do not produce the same psychoactive reactions. CBD does not produce the same sensation of being “high” as THC does. THC produces euphoria often identified with smoking marijuana because it specifically binds with cannabinoid 1 receptors within the brain.


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. This plant has two species known as hemp and marijuana. Both of these plants contain CBD, although hemp has more. It is often employed in both edible products and in oils. It is not psychoactive. On the contrary, CBD is studied for reducing anxiety and even to assist in recovering addicts.


Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the component that generates the psychological effects identified with marijuana. It acts in a way that is similar to our body’s naturally produced cannabinoid chemicals. THC interacts directly with our brain’s cannabinoid receptors and can influence concentration, coordination, pleasure, and sensory perception. THC can induce anxiety and can lead to addiction.

Will Both Make Me High?

No, not. CBD is not intoxicating. You may feel a bit more relaxed, but CBD will not get you high, and it will counteract the effects of THC which most certainly can get you high. THC does have intoxicating effects. It is known to be responsible for producing

  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Paranoia

and much, much more. Often there is confusion regarding these two very different compounds and any benefits of CBD may be overshadowed by THC’s psychoactive effects. Because they occur in the same plant, they are often interchanged, but they are substantially different.

CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana in the form of oil and must contain less than 0,3% to be legally used. CBD also inhibits THC from interacting with our cannabinoid 1 receptors, so it will interfere and negate the effects of THC.

CBD vs THC: Are There Any Health Benefits?

There are medicinal uses for both CBD vs THC.

Marijuana with its higher level of THC content has been used in medicine for almost 3,000 years For example THC or synthesized THC is in FDA approved Drobinol which treats nausea and vomiting from medicines used in treating cancer, as well as in AIDS patients to increase appetites. It is also believed that small doses of THC may improve memory. Some side effects, however, can include

  • Increase in heart rate
  • Problems with coordination or reaction times
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritated red eyes
  • Loss of memory.

In a survey by a market research firm, the Brightfield Group, of 5000 people, over 60 % were using CBD for anxiety, other uses included depression and pain. Still, other studies cite research for treatment with CBD of

  • Addiction recovery
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • Seizures.
  • Social anxiety due to public speaking
  • Stress

Because CBD is considered relatively safe, it is being studied in many therapeutic options for a multitude of illnesses.

CBD and THC can provide help for some of the same conditions, but CBD does not make you high as THC may. Some people will choose to use CBD precisely, for this reason, to avoid this side effect. CBD also appears to be tolerated well.

In drug testing, THC will appear in screening for days or even weeks whereas, CBD may not show unless the test is CBD-sensitive.

Factors to Consider

If you choose to use CBD consider

  • Is it sourced from hemp or marijuana? This can determine if any THC will be in the product.
  • Where is the plant grown? Cannabis is a plant that will absorb whatever is in the soil, water, or air including toxins and chemicals. Organic CBD is extracted from hemp that is organically grown and then extracted without the use of synthetic chemicals.
  • How is the CBD extracted from the plant? Does it include the use of impurities? Common methods of extraction include using solvents, olive oil or CO2 extraction.
  • The amount of CBD concentrate in the CBD oil
  • Is it an isolate or full-spectrum CBD? Isolate means it contains only CBD.
  • Is the product tested by the manufacturer or by an independent party? Third-party laboratory results will afford more security.

If you choose to use THC consider

  • Recreational or medicinal use?
  • Personal characteristics such as age, body weight, gender, and overall health.
  • THC content. Too strong is anything that is above 20%.
  • How much terpene content? This can affect the odor, flavor, and efficacy of the product.
  • Choose a reputable seller. Is the product tested and where does it originate?


Both CBD and THC offer medicinal benefits. While they are both considered to be safe, there can be some side effects, especially if used together with other pharmaceutical drugs. In this case, you will want to consult your doctor.