What’s The Difference Between CBD and THC?


If you’ve recently begun to research cannabis products online, then you may have come across two different components. THC and CBD are the primary compounds in cannabis that give the plant its therapeutic actions. But some products contain only CBD and not a lot of THC.

This makes many people wonder what’s the difference between CBD and THC, and which DMT is right for them. In this article, we’ll talk about the primary differences between these two compounds, and how to choose the right cannabis product based on your goals. 

THC vs. CBD: Similarities and Differences

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are just two of over one hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD can be extracted from cannabis or hemp.

Both hemp and cannabis come from the same plant – Cannabis sativa. THC is the main compound in cannabis that makes you feel high. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis, or taking it in other forms, such as tinctures, capsules, oils, and edibles. 

Both THC and CBD work by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, and they have different effects on the body and brain. Specifically, CBD makes you feel calm and relaxed while THC makes you feel high. However, both can help ease pain and help you sleep.

Chemical Structures 

Chemically speaking, these two compounds have the same structure. They each contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.

However, there is a slight difference in how these units are arranged, and this chemical change is responsible for producing different effects on the body. 

THC and CBD are chemically similar to the endocannabinoids found in the human body, which allows them to bind to receptors in this system and release neurotransmitters in your brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help brain cells communicate with each other. They also play a role in pain perception, mood, immune health, the stress response, and more. 

Effects on the Body and Brain 

Although they are similar chemically, THC and CBD have different effects on the body. Both are considered psychoactive compounds, but not in the same way. CBD does not make you feel high like THC does. Research shows that CBD can help reduce seizures, depression, and anxiety, due to its calming properties. 

On the other hand, THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria. CBD does not bind to these receptors as strongly, if at all. It needs THC to bind to CB1 receptors, and then it works by reducing some of the effects of THC by reducing the euphoria or inducing mild sedation. 

Benefits of CBD and THC

Both CBD and THC have many of the same benefits and can reduce the symptoms of some of the same conditions. The biggest difference is that CBD does not make you feel high like THC does. So most people feel more comfortable taking CBD products, especially during the day.

CBD can be used to support the following conditions:

  • Pain (such as migraines, inflammatory pain, back pain, arthritis, GI pain, etc.)
  • Seizures
  • Mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as IBD 
  • Skin disorders
  • Insomnia or sleep problems

THC can be used for the following:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Low appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety

THC vs CBD Possible Side Effects

Research shows that CBD is safe to take for most people, even in high doses. Most of the time, CBD only causes a reaction if you take it with medication. Side effects of CBD are rare, but may include fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, GI problems, or appetite changes. 

THC is also safe to take in reasonable amounts, but because it makes you feel high, it has been linked to more side effects than CBD. Possible side effects of THC include problems with coordination or concentration, increased heart rate, memory loss, anxiety, dry mouth, red eyes, and temporary cognitive impairment. However, neither THC or CBD has been linked to death. 

Consult a doctor before taking CBD or THC if you are currently taking a prescription medication as there may be contraindications that could affect your health. 

Which Is Better – THC or CBD?

Keep in mind that although you can buy CBD or THC separately, they come from the same plant and are best taken together. These compounds work together to provide pain relief and fight anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems. 

We recommend trying a small amount of cannabis at night until you know how it affects you. Once you become more comfortable with taking cannabis, you can look for strains with various CBD and THC profiles to best suit your needs.