What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?


Cannabis has more than a hundred cannabinoids. It is a wonder why only THC and cannabidiol (CBD) get all the attention. Well, these two have been found to be the cool kids in the gang. They are the most dominant.

Therefore, extensive time and research has gone into understanding these two specific cannabinoids. Whatever arguments researchers may have against or for either of the cannabinoids, one thing remains constant. For medicinal use, a combination of both is pure and utter magic.

Possible Similarities of CBD and THC

They are both effective pain killers. However, in some instances they have the complete opposite effects. THC has some negative effects that can be combated by CBD.

This means that you can enjoy the benefits of THC without suffering the negatives because they will be mitigated by the presence of CBD. Knowing and understanding the differences between the two cannabinoids will enable you to make a decision on the appropriate strains based on CBD and THC ratio.


1) Psychoactivity



This is the feeling of being euphoric or otherwise known as stoned. It is mostly brought about by action of the CB1 receptor.

CBD derived from Hemp Oil does not activate your endocannabinoid receptors but rather affects them. It mostly leans towards the CB2 receptor.

For this reason, it has physiological effects but does not induce psychoactivity. It is active in more than 60 molecular pathways promoting cellular homeostasis.

THC induces feelings of euphoria due to its ability to fit into the CB1 receptor thereby activating it. It has mind and sense altering abilities. You do get high from THC. This is not to discount tetrahydrocannabinol’s analgesic effects.

2) Physical Effects

Your body’s cannabinoids are tasked with the responsibility to trigger processes that are aimed at improving your body functions. CBD increases the ability of these cannabinoids to influence a wide range of biological processes. It promotes wellness and pain free living by interaction through your endocannabinoid system.

THC will induce euphoria and a sense of relaxation at first. However, as it wears off you will experience fatigue and you almost feel it drain from your system. It also alters your five senses.

3) Medicinal Use

CBD is more preferred for use in medical situations due to the benefits without a high. It is useful for anxiety, depression, neurodegeneration and is also anti-tumor. It achieves all these by interacting with multiple receptors that are integral to wellness and health and not just the endocannabinoid system.

THC can also be used for pain and anxiety but you will be left unusually euphoric which may not be appropriate especially if you were looking to reduce anxiety before the biggest presentation of your career.

In some situations, it has been found that a larger or equal proportion of CBD works better but it really depends on the situation being remedied.

What’s the Legality of THC and CBD?

There have never been doubts about the legality of THC. It has been classified as a drug and no one is disputing that. The status of THC has pretty much been clear from the beginning.

There are states that have legalized marijuana as a whole including THC despite being a Schedule 1 drug according to Federal law. There has been dispute upon dispute where CBD is concerned on the legal front.

A recent DEA ruling that had CBD as an illegal substance has been the subject of contention. Proponents of CBD therapy have publicly challenged this ruling. Therefore, the legality of CBD is still to be determined.

Atomic Structure

Both CBD and THC have the same molecular weight and formula. Both support rings that are formed by a series of atoms connected. However, CBD supports an open situation with hydroxyl and alkene. THC supports a closed ring with ester group.

This will probably mean nothing to anyone lacking in chemistry knowledge. The bottom line is, this seemingly minor difference makes a world of impact in the way each cannabinoid interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Specified Use

CBD is strictly for medical use. It does not offer any high and would therefore suck as a recreational drug. Who would want to chill with a non-psychoactive drug anyway? However, it thrives in the use it is meant for.

It is useful in a myriad of situations from acne to cancer to inflammation to sports injuries and organ diseases/failures. It is versatile in the medical arena.

THC on the other hand is a multi-tool. Most people who use high THC strains probably do not do it for the medicinal properties. It would not hurt to indulge in a bad habit that is also good for you, would it?

Eating Disorders and Weight Management


Weight management is more CBD’s speed. CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote feelings of satiety and curb food cravings. It does all these while stimulating you during physical activity. This makes for a very effective weight management and loss regimen. Most regimens fail due to the inability keep deliciously bad food out of your mouth. Consider CBD a gag then.

THC is famous for the munchies. This is an urgent urge to eat a snack. It is usually something weird like melted cheese.

THC is therefore better for anorexia and other eating disorders or situations where you need to gain weight. THC will stimulate the food cravings and have you eating a lot. It will also increase the caloric intake to aid in the same.


CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant. CBD extracted from hemp has little to no THC traces. It can be used in situations where it is absolutely imperative to have no THC in the product.

However, the CBD from hemp is not as concentrated and potent as the one from marijuana. THC is specific to cannabis.

Side effects

Marijuana is a natural element and will therefore not have adverse effects unless of course it is abused and even then the effects can be mitigated. Still, it is a foreign element in your body.

Your body will usually react to foreign elements in some way. THC if taken in extremely high dosage and over an extended period will cause memory issues, low reaction time , increased heart rate, and poor coordination.

CBD on the other hand is very highly tolerated even in high dosages. The only side effect to expect would be cotton mouth which is a general marijuana side effect. There are no specific adverse neurological, psychiatric or clinical effects.

Final Thoughts

THC seems like the black sheep of endocannabinoids. However, rest assured that it comes with many medical benefits like all other cannabinoids. Not as many as those of CBD but still substantial.

CBD gains advantage from the fact that it also interacts with other receptors like adenosine which is integral for production of dopamine and the 5HT1-A which is responsible for serotonin production. This paired with its nature of relationship with the cannabinoid receptors make for a big difference in its efficacy.



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