THC vs CBD: What’s the Difference?

Over 113 different chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, are found in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two forms of chemical compounds produced from cannabis. In recent years, the interest in cannabis’s potential health effects and advantages has grown. Many have been curious about these two cannabinoids.

As cannabis and marijuana-derived products become more popular, the demand for data on their uses will increase. There are a number of CBD-infused products on the market that claim to help with stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. To comprehend the negative effects and potential advantages of these items, it’s crucial to understand the distinctions between THC vs CBD.

What Is CBD?

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Cannabidiol, often called CBD, is the second most common chemical component found in cannabis. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in the cannabis plant that has been studied for its potential use as a medicine. CBD has been used as a natural treatment for numerous diseases since the 1940s.It comes from hemp or cannabis. Although hemp-derived CBD still has traces of THC, marijuana-derived CBD may have more.

What Is THC?

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The primary psychotropic component in cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC activates the brain’s reward system by signaling the release of dopamine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a significant impact on mood and pleasure. THC activates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, which stimulate the release of dopamine. When people smoke marijuana, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and causes them to feel euphoric. THC can be found as an ingredient in tablets, edibles, and oils, among other things.

THC vs CBD: Key Differences

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What is the differences between THC vs CBD? They have an endocannabinoid system influence, which is a key component in maintaining homeostasis. Researchers are still trying to figure out how all of this works, but they do know that it is linked to memory, hunger, sleep, mood, and reproduction.

THC and CBD uses have many similarities, although there are several significant distinctions between the two chemicals.


  • Psychoactive (produces a high)
  • Sourced from marijuana


  • Non-psychoactive (does not produce a high)
  • Typically sourced from hemp

Psychoactive Properties

Although CBD and THC both act on the brain, they target different receptors. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that doesn’t cause euphoria because it doesn’t have psychoactive effects. CBD does not cause intoxication in this way—that is, it won’t make you high.

The THC in hemp comes from the resin glands found on the leaves and stem of the plant, while CBD is derived from its other components. On the one hand, THC has psychoactive effects; on the other, it generates euphoria.

Chemical Structure

CBD and THC have a chemical structure that is similar to endocannabinoids found in the human body. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that function in the brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate between nerve cells in the body. Cannabis sativa is a plant that has been cultivated for its cannabinoid content since ancient times. The cannabinoids work in the body, assisting with a variety of functions such as sleep, pain, hunger, mood, and the immune system.

Although CBD and THC have the same chemical structure, their configurations are different, resulting in distinct effects. They mimic endocannabinoids and bind with receptors, resulting in varied effects.

Potential Benefits

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There’s no doubt about it: cannabis may be a healthy and natural alternative to pharmaceuticals. While the long-term effects of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids on human health remain to be seen, studies suggest that these chemicals may aid in the treatment of illnesses such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma
  • Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
  • Pain
  • Opioid dependence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Movement disorders

There are several distinctions between CBD and THC, despite the fact that they have comparable effects and are frequently used to treat similar ailments.

The use of CBD oil has grown in popularity over the years. It is frequently used to treat symptoms associated with the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures

THC, which may be obtained as medical marijuana, is a chemical compound that can help treat a variety of ailments. It has been proven to aid with the following:

  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea; it may be helpful for alleviated nausea caused by cancer treatment
  • Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches
  • Poor appetite; including appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
  • Tremors

FDA-Approved Medications

The FDA has not given cannabis the green light to treat any ailment, but there are a few medications on the market that include CBD or THC.

  • Epidiolex is a cannabis-based medication that has been authorized to treat two severe kinds of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
  • Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, is found in Marinol and Syndros. These medications are used to alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Cesamet is a synthetic form of THC that’s similar to it. This drug is used to alleviate weight loss and hunger issues related with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS.

Side Effects

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CBD and THC are typically safe, according to some studies, and produce few negative effects.

While these chemicals appear to be safe, that does not guarantee that you will not suffer any negative side effects. The following are some of the adverse effects that have been reported:

  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
  • Nausea and dizziness

THC can also cause unpleasant side effects, such as higher heart rate, dry mouth, and memory loss.

Marijuana has a wide range of potential short- and long-term consequences, including memory loss, poor judgment, and coordination problems. According to a number of studies, marijuana use can cause cognitive impairment and brain development abnormalities.

THC also affects how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex work, according to NIDA. The section of the brain responsible for creating new memories and allowing us to shift our attention from one thing to the next is located in this region. This can also result in a decline in cognitive performance, including learning and forming new memories as well as completing difficult activities.


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When selecting goods that include THC vs CBD, it’s also vital to think about their legality. In the United States, marijuana and THC are classified as Schedule I drugs, which means they are not authorized by federal legislation. As of July 2020, 33 states and the federal district have passed legislation allowing patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. Some states even legalize recreational cannabis and THC-containing products.

In most states, cannabidiol (CBD) in any sort is legal. However, the details of CBD’s legality in each state differ. Many states have legalized the usage of marijuana and THC for recreational purposes.

How to Take THC and CBD

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THC and CBD can be found in a variety of forms, each with its own set of advantages. THC may be taken via smoking marijuana, but other cannabis products include:

  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Sprays
  • Vape products
  • Edibles including gummies and chocolates
  • Beverages containing marijuana oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) is also another cannabinoid that may be consumed in a variety of ways, much like THC. CBD oils can be used to vaporize, although there are several concerns about the health risks associated with e-vaping.

It may be sprinkled on food and drinks, or used as a component in lotions and salves for application to the skin. Because these topical medicines are not consumed, their benefits will be restricted to the region where they are applied.

In addition to being used for pain relief, CBD can be taken as a tincture, oil, capsule, or spray. Edible CBD products are also popular and include gummies, sweets, and beverages.

When shopping for CBD products, consider the formulation of the product. Isolate items are simply CBD. Products with a wide range of cannabinoids, including THC, are called broad-spectrum products. Full-spectrum CBD goods contain both CBD and THC as well as other cannabinoids.

THC vs CBD, Which One Should You Take?

The product you choose may be determined by the purposes for which you wish to use it. CBD, for example, might provide advantages without having the same drawbacks as THC. If you’re unsure of the best treatment, it’s usually recommended that you start with an herb. THC has been shown in studies to be effective for various symptoms or ailments for which the substance has shown promise, such as tremors and poor appetite.

According to some studies, when THC and CBD are taken together at the same time, their therapeutic benefits appear to be higher. The entourage effect is the name given to this phenomenon.

CBD has also been found to help minimize some of THC’s undesirable effects, such as anxiety. CBD, for example, has been shown in studies to help with the negative cognitive effects of continued cannabis use. People who use cannabis, especially if it is high in THC, are at increased danger of having psychiatric problems including paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis. CBD, on the other hand, has been found to help with these problems. CBD may, however, assist to relieve some of these symptoms.

CBD has been shown in one study to help prevent some of the possible mental side effects of THC. The researchers warn that this information has wide-ranging ramifications for the use of cannabis products. The report also indicates that some people who are sensitive to negative effects can still receive the long-term health advantages by sticking to cannabis products with a low THC content and a high CBD concentration.

It’s also crucial to consider that CBD and THC act on a variety of regions in the brain, and scientists aren’t yet certain about their effects, either singly or together.

Drug Testing

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Because THC is the most psychoactive component in marijuana, it may be discovered in most standard tests for drugs. Cannabidiol and THC may be detected in the body, but many drug tests aren’t made to look for cannabidiol.

However, many CBD products do include traces of THC. Even if these quantities are tiny, they may be detected if you’re taking a lot of CBD or if the goods you’re using have more THC than the label claims.

According to research, as many as 70% of CBD products are incorrectly labeled and include way more THC than the labels indicate. Due to the lack of regulation of these substances, you may not know exactly how much THC you’re receiving.

Both THC and CBD are stored in fat, which means that they may be detected on drug tests for some time after you have stopped using them.

THC vs CBD - What you should know before you take it

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Even though both THC and CBD have shown to be beneficial for several health issues, there is yet no concrete evidence suggesting that combining them together has any negative consequences. Even with the potential risk of drug-drug interactions and unknown effects on health, you should always exercise caution when taking these medicines. In some instances, these chemicals may alter how medications are broken down by your body. In other situations, they can cause anxiety.

Before purchasing a THC or CBD product, be sure to verify your state regulations to ensure that these products are legal in your area. Although hemp-derived CBD products are required by federal law to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, even those trace amounts are prohibited in some states.

Although THC and CBD may bring a number of advantages, you should always consult with your doctor before using any cannabis-based medicines. CBD and THC have shown promise in treating symptoms and possibly even some medical and mental health conditions, but the science is still quite new, and more study is needed. Consider CBD gummies.

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