What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC? [A Full Guide]

What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC? [A Full Guide]

Interested and confused about the differences between CBD and THC?

CBD and THC have a molecular structure similar to the natural cannabinoids produced in your body by the endocannabinoid system.

Sounds complicated, we know, but we’ll break it down for you.

This guide explains the crucial differences between CBD and THC, including their benefits, uses, safety profile, legal status, bodily effects, and more.

An Overview of CBD

CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating active ingredient derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, such as Marijuana and hemp.

Hemp-derived CBD products have traces of THC, and marijuana-derived CBD contains a lot of CBD.

CBD does not provide the “high” associated with Marijuana due to its lack of psychoactive effects with its chemical structure.

With that, you won’t get high if you consume hemp-produced CBD oil!

CBD’s therapeutic properties are currently being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors worldwide.

Nonetheless, CBD products are NOT FDA-approved. If you want to improve your complementary and integrative health, it is suggested to opt for professional medical advice.

If you’re considering trying CBD products, take note of these:

  • CBD extracts with less than 0.3% THC are now legal on a federal level, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • CBD may have numerous therapeutic properties. When people talk about CBD, they usually commend it for health and wellbeing rather than recreational use.
  • CBD alone may not appear on standard drug tests because these tests only look for intoxicating substances like THC. However, some cannabis-related products, such as CBD oils that are available online, are contaminated with large doses due to a lack of regulation and third-party testing. If you want a THC-free product to pass the drug test, broad-spectrum CBD oil and a CBD isolate are the BEST options.
  • CBD may have antibacterial properties. According to peer-reviewed studies, CBD has been found to have antibacterial properties, which may help improve bacterial imbalances and skin issues like redness, blemishes, and blotchiness.
  • CBD may have anti-carcinogenic properties. CBD ointment may significantly reduce scars caused by psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. It may also improve the appearance of the skin in terms of hydration and elasticity.


  • Can improve sleep quality
  • May relieve muscle soreness


  • Can cause drowsiness
  • May lead to light-headedness

An Overview of THC

The main psychoactive compound element found in Marijuana plants are THC or the Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol.

According to the World Health Organization, the chemical compounds of these products may cause an extremely relaxing and euphoric sensation associated with getting high.

These types of natural compounds have analgesic, appetite-stimulating, and sedative actions.

Other cannabinoids are capable of generating intoxication, but it is the only one that occurs in high enough amounts to induce a high.

As a result of the compound’s psychoactive properties, THC has been linked to recreational use and even to drug abuse.

If you’re considering trying THC supplements, take note of these:

  • THC interacts directly with the central nervous system. The chemical compounds derived from any cannabis plant may let you feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation as they secrete abnormal amounts of dopamine in the endocannabinoid system.
  • THC may increase appetite by activating the hypothalamus section of the brain to send hunger signals. THC can alter your appetite as this plant cannabis Sativa product has the capability to release Ghrelin, a hunger hormone.
  • THC can affect drug tests. As THC has chemicals related to a person being high, most standard drug tests can detect if you are taking THC at a larger dose.
  • THC may be effective for nausea and loss of appetite treatment. The cannabis-derived compounds can treat these minor problems, as per the National Center. However, for the most effective medical treatment, seek professional help.

When used appropriately, THC can affect your body’s functioning and can even yield a positive result.


  • Can relieve ache
  • May aid irritability


  • May cause vomiting
  • May cause memory loss when abused

The Main Differences: CBD vs. THC

CBD and THC both come from the cannabis Sativa plant.

However, the key differences between both CBD and THC are different chemical structures, psychoactive effects, and drug test results.

To give understandable key differences between the products, listed below are narrowed distinctions:

How CBD Differs From THC:

  1. CBD has more than 65 molecular targets. Even though CBD has a higher molecular target, it DOES NOT directly bind to the cannabinoid receptors of the central nervous system, unlike THC. For any other cannabinoids, only CBD won’t make you feel high.
  2. CBD may help the body achieve and maintain higher levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream. Endocannabinoids interfere with the body’s ability to fine-tune the neurons. This internal process prevents the body from being off-balance.
  3. CBD is associated with wellness benefits. As these cannabis plants have cannabis potency, a CBD product may offer relaxation and good sleep quality. With that, even when taken at a large amount, CBD does not cause toxicity.
  4. CBD can be extracted from hemp and Marijuana. The drug comprised of this medical cannabis plant can be extracted from hemp and Marijuana. Even though CBD and THC come from the same plant, CBD only contains a SMALL number of THC. With this, state laws legalized the use of hemp-derived CBD.

How THC Differs From CBD:

  1. THC may get you high because it has intoxicating properties. The cannabis plant that produces THC has a chemical structure that may alter your brain’s functioning. It is often used for recreational activities, which is why some state laws have banned it.
  2. THC can be extracted only from marijuana plants. Contrary to the origin of CBD, THC can only be extracted from a certain cannabis plant, which is Marijuana.
  3. THC is fully legal in Canada and Uruguay. THC is often used for recreational activities, and only 16 states in the United States have legalized it. This action prevents early adolescent cannabis exposure, as adolescents are greatly curious about this substance.

The Main Similarities: CBD vs. THC

Apart from their differences, CBD and THC also have similarities, and these are:

  • Same Chemical Makeup: THC and CBD contain the same chemical formula. It has 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. However, there is only a slight difference in how the atoms are arranged, which manifests a difference in the effects on your body.
  • For ache Relief: Both THC and CBD may be beneficial for ache relief. THC can have psychoactive effects and may produce immediate relief. CBD may also reduce inflammation, which is useful for long-term effectiveness. In a study, an individual who took a combination of medical cannabis products experienced greater and faster ache relief than those who took THC or CBD alone.

Although both THC and CBD have different chemical structures, they still share a common ground for their effects.

The Benefits: THC vs. CBD

Both CBD and THC have similar cannabinoid receptors, thus giving similar effects on treatment. However, there are NO substantial medicinal benefits that are FDA-approved.

BUT, this does not mean that CBD and THC do not have any benefits. They still have, but only on a smaller scale.

Both THC and CBD may help in:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Low appetite
  • Muscle ache
  • Good quality of sleep
  • Uplifting mood

The Risks & Side Effects: THC vs. CBD

As opposed to benefits, the abuse of CBD and THC may acquire several risks. With that, both CBD and THC are recommended to be taken with a prescription.

If you are consuming too much THC, the possible accumulated side effects are:

  • Problems with concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Balance
  • Memory loss

NOTE: It is suggested that legal THC consumption must not be used for recreational activities.

Also, the over-consumption of CBD may lead to:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Tiredness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Crankiness
  • Drowsiness

NOTE: CBD legal use must be limited and must only be utilized when one is in dire need.

Application & Usage: CBD vs. THC

There are plenty of ways to consume or take THC and CBD.

However, to find common ground on how to consume both, listed below are the possible ways.

  • Oils: Cannabis-containing products can be directly consumed through an oil or tincture. The 1000 mg CBD tincture works best. To do this, take a dropper or spray into your mouth the liquid solution.
  • Edible Sweet Treats: Gummies and chocolates are the best examples of edible sweet treats. The beauty of these cannabis plants is that they can be molded into anything. For states that legalized the recreational use of Cannabis, you can immediately purchase any gummies or products that can contain Marijuana.

The Legality: CBD vs. THC

It is crucial to consider the legality of these products before purchasing.

Marijuana and THC have controlled substances under the United States Controlled Substances Act, meaning their usage is illegal under federal law.

However, as the world has become more modernized, different adaptations and processes have been created over the years.

Listed below is the timeline of events for the legalization of Cannabis products:

  1. In July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. created a policy that allowed medical professionals to prescribe Marijuana, CBD, and THC-containing products.
    • Along with the newly created policy, some states in the United States allowed marijuana and THC-containing products to be utilized for recreational purposes.
    • Even though various forms of CBD are legal in most states, the legality of CBD or THC products is STILL VARY from state to state.
    • Although cannabis laws are constantly changing, nonprescription CBD products are not recommended for medicinal use because the FDA does NOT approve them.
    • Many states permit the use of THC-containing medical marijuana for various purposes, but it remains illegal under federal law.
    • Some states have legalized recreational Marijuana containing THC for personal use. However, it is also illegal under US law.
  2. In December 2018, Congress legalized hemp as part of the Farm Bill.
    • The law has recognized hemp-produced CBD. However, there are still restrictions on where and how these CBD products can be sold.
    • Some products, for example, cannot be sold across state lines. All CBD products sold with the promise of medical benefits are illegal.

TIP: Check your state’s laws before purchasing CBD or THC-containing products!

Which One Should You Take, CBD or THC?

If you are still confused about which medical cannabis Sativa product you should use to bring out the best results, this section will help you decide!

The product you select may be determined by the desired results you’re looking for.

  • If you want to take Cannabis without the risk of negative side effects, and if you are trying to reduce stress and have a good night’s sleep, you may resort to CBD supplements as a possible solution.
  • If your concern is poor appetite, ache relief, reduction of stress, and instantly treating nausea, THC supplements might be what you’re looking for.

If you are still concerned about which one you should take, the best thing is to seek help from a medical professional, as the intended effects may not always be acquired.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Cannabis products may raise a lot of questions, so we provided some answers for your convenience:

What’s Better for ache, CBD or THC?

THC. If you’re looking for instant ache relief, THC supplements may be worth a shot. The components of THC may have a greater effect on managing ache.

However, note that this benefit can vary for each individual and is not a factual medical benefit approved by the FDA.

Does CBD Oil Have THC in It?

YES. CBD oil may contain a 0.3% amount of THC. But note that this THC dosage can yield a positive result in the drug test.

How Does the Body Get Rid of CBD and THC?

Naturally, the best way to eliminate CBD and THC is through urinating and bowel movements.


THC and CBD, even though derived from the same plant, have different characteristics and uses:

  • CBD can promote a good night’s sleep and may have various therapeutic benefits that can improve your general health and reduce scar visibility.
  • On the other hand, THC may offer relaxation as it directly interacts with the brain. It can help secrete dopamine in the body and may reduce stress levels and help restore your appetite.

However, the most significant difference worth mentioning between the two is that THC can affect the results of drug testing.

Final Words

Cannabis is considered a deviant supplement for many people, but it is undeniable that both THC and CBD have notable positive effects worth exploring.While some Cannabis products claim to offer several health benefits, you must remember that they are still NOT intended to be used for recreational activities under the law and are not FDA-approved.

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