CBD vs THC: What’s The Difference?

Sure there is the cannabis plant, but did you know there are over 100 active compounds called cannabinoids found in the plant. OF all these compounds, the two most popular are the ones we would be talking about in this article – CBD and THC. Both of them are found in marijuana and hemp (both are part of the Cannabis Sativa family). However, hemp contains more CBD than THC while it is the other way around for marijuana with THC being much more than CBD.

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s the second most common chemical molecule in cannabis, and it’s well-known for its medicinal benefits. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component of cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC triggers the brain’s reward system by activating the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and mood.

CBD/THC – What’s The Difference?

Key Difference Between CBD and THC


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


  • Psychoactive (produces a high)
  • Sourced from marijuana
CBD vs THC: What's The Difference?

To understand why THC and CBD are so distinct, it’s important to first understand how they affect the brain. CBD and THC contain chemical structures that are similar to the body’s endogenous endocannabinoids, which are brain neurotransmitters. CBD and THC both have the same basic structure, but the way these molecules are organized differs, which is why they have different effects. They attach to receptors and generate diverse actions in the body by imitating endocannabinoids.

CBD and THC both interact with the CB1 receptor, which is found in our endocannabinoid systems. The majority of CB1 receptors are located in the brain, with a few in the nervous system. They may bind to the same receptors, but they do so in different ways. This is why most individuals feel calm after consuming CBD, similar to how those who smoke marijuana feel after smoking. They will not, however, have the same sensation of being “high.” 

Although scientists aren’t quite sure how CBD or THC influences the body, they know that the endocannabinoid system in our bodies is responsible for keeping numerous physiological processes in check. Regulating sleep, mood, memory, pain response, hunger, and inflammation are among these processes.

In terms of the effects, they both have similar effects in terms of their potential benefits. Most times, they are used to treat many similar health and wellness issues, although there are still slight differences which we would look into now.

CBD is frequently used to treat symptoms related to:

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

THC on the other hand is used to treat symptoms related to:

  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea; may be helpful for alleviating 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

Side Effects

CBD and THC both have extremely few that they are often negative side effects. CBD is generally well tolerated, with negative effects primarily affecting persons who are new to the substance or who are unfamiliar with nutrient-dense diets. Interactions with other medications a person is taking are likely to cause potential negative effects.

When you consume THC, though, you may encounter some temporary adverse effects. They are as follows:

  • Your response times are slower than typical
  • You have a dry mouth and red eyes.
  • Elevated heart rate and a general feeling of being high
  • Memory loss 
  • Difficulty with coordination

Legal Status

While it is possible to take CBD in certain forms in some states, even CBD vape which is similar to smoking, THC may only be legal when administered as medical marijuana in others. Because the regulations governing the use of cannabis and cannabis products are constantly changing, you should always verify the legislation in your state before utilizing CBD or THC-containing products.