CBD vs. THC: Similarities, Differences, and Benefits

cbd vs. thc

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are components of cannabis plants, but they have different effects. Most of the time, understanding the effects of CBD makes it hard when THC is mentioned in the same paragraph. To help you, we have put together a detailed guide that explains the differences between the two substances.

What Are CBD and THC?

CBD is one of the hundred natural cannabinoids found in cannabis. It is non-psychoactive and will not make you feel “high.” On the other hand, THC is another type of cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that makes you feel “high.”

Both cannabis-derived compounds vary in amounts, depending on the type or strain of the plant. For example, when you use a medical cannabis strain high in CBD, you are taking in hemp-derived CBD, which comes from a specific variety of the Cannabis sativa plant.

The main difference between hemp and other types of cannabis plants is the amount of THC they have. Most of the time, other strains will have a higher amount of THC and a lower amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, is made from Cannabis sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC.

How Is CBD Different From THC?

Although we have mentioned some differences between CBD and THC above, there are other key distinctions you should know. As discussed, the main difference between CBD and THC is how they make you feel. In other words, CBD will not get you high, but THC will. But how does this happen?

To understand, you must know how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works. The ECS is a particular body system that controls sleep, appetite, and the immune system. When a cannabinoid binds to the ECS, it results in that “high” feeling. However, CBD does not bind to the endocannabinoid system as effectively as other cannabinoids. It does not make you feel high since it does not interact with CB1 receptors.

On the other hand, the way THC makes you feel is caused by the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors, primarily found in the brain and the central nervous system. When the CB1 receptor is activated, it will produce psychoactive effects on the user. Let’s find out more differences between THC and CBD below:

Atomic arrangement

THC and CBD have a similar chemical structure: 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms. They also have the same chemical structure as the endocannabinoids that the human body makes on its own. As a result, they can work with the body’s cannabinoid receptors.

While both CBD and THC may have the same chemical composition, how their atomic structures are arranged differs. The two substances are called cyclic compounds, which means that one or more of the atoms that make them up are connected in a way that forms a ring.

The ring of CBD is open, while the ring of THC is closed. Why should this matter? Due to how they are set up, their interactions with the endocannabinoid system receptors differ. Because of the differences in the interaction, your brain’s neurotransmitters send different signals when the substances are used.

Recreational and medical benefits

Both CBD and THC affect the body, but those effects are very different. Knowing the differences between the two will help you prepare for the effects of using either of these compounds.


Cannabinoids in pharmaceuticals have been shown to help treat nausea and vomiting in cancer patients who are getting chemotherapy, as well as weight loss and loss of appetite caused by HIV and AIDS. They could also help ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

Specifically, CBD used for medical purposes can help in a lot of different ways. More research is still needed to determine how CBD works and whether or not its effects are consistently clinically significant. So far, at least 20 ways have been found to explain how it works. It has been proven to:

  • Bind to a protein called GPR55 that triggers seizures, making it an antiepileptic
  • Work with receptors to control how the body responds to pain and inflammation
  • Offer pain relief from nerve damage and act as an antidepressant
  • Reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms
  • Lessen the symptoms and signs of anxiety

In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, making it the first drug with CBD that you can buy with a prescription. It is used to treat rare types of epilepsy that are hard to control. CBD is also used to help with other medical problems. The substance is being looked at as a possible treatment for the following conditions in ongoing clinical research:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Nausea
  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders

On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two different versions of synthetic THC that you can use to treat certain health problems. Nabilone, also called Cesamet, gained approval to treat the side effects of chemotherapy, such as vomiting and nausea.

The FDA has given its approval to the drug dronabinol (Marinol and Syndros) as a way to alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It can also be given to patients with anorexia and AIDS. THC is also often used to help with the following health problems:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Fibromyalgia


Unlike marijuana, CBD products are not often used as recreational drugs. Even though it might make you feel less anxious or more relaxed, it won’t make you “high.”

On the other hand, when used for recreational purposes, THC can have the following effects:

  • Alterations of the senses and sense of time
  • Mood changes
  • Issues with body movement
  • Impaired memory
  • Other forms of mental illness, like delusions and hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Side effects

Even at very high doses, the body can easily handle CBD. Any negative effects from using CBD are likely caused by interactions between CBD and other medicines you might be taking. Here are some side effects that you might experience from using CBD:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

On the other hand, THC has temporary adverse effects when used in extremely high doses. These side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Memory loss
  • Slow reaction times
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Distress
  • Low blood pressure
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

While neither CBD nor THC is fatal, you risk experiencing side effects when you use these substances. This is especially true for young adults and teenagers who take large amounts of THC regularly.

Moreover, long-term use of cannabis can lead to a condition called amotivational syndrome. In this condition, people feel depressed and have little motivation. Cannabis use has also been linked to anxiety, schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, and substance use disorders, although no conclusive evidence can prove such claims.

Drug tests

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are kept in the body’s fat cells. Thus, your body may still have traces of the substances for days or even weeks after using them. While CBD won’t appear on every drug test, some people are more likely to test positive for it than others.

If the test is one of the standard drug tests, there is a chance that you will test positive if you use cannabis products. This is because standard drug tests typically look for compounds linked to THC.

Although hemp produces mostly CBD, it still has minimal THC amount. This means a THC test could return positive even if you have not used the drug. If you are going to take a drug test, opt out of using CBD or THC products.

Since many CBD products are not regulated, you can’t be sure what they are made of or how much THC they contain. There are CBD products that also contain THC, which could make a drug test positive for THC.

cbd product for treating nausea

What Are the Best CBD and THC Products in the Market?

Cannabis plants naturally have small amounts of both CBD and THC, which can be taken in many different ways. You can smoke cannabis or vape it, or you can do both. But people with specific health problems might not be able to do this. People can instead buy a wide range of products on the market that have these cannabinoids in them.

CBD and THC come in many different forms that you can buy online. Here are some of the reliable, effective, and lab-tested products that you can purchase on the web:

Gelato 33 Vape Cartridge by High Voltage Extracts:High Voltage Extracts consists of highly dedicated individuals from British Columbia that specialize in craft-cannabis extractions. Their products have recently gained recognition and took 1st place nominations and awards at the 2019 Karma Cup. The Gelato 33 Vape Cartridge by High Voltage Extract is made with pure THC distillate and real cannabis-derived terpenes. Other cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBN, are also included for the maximum entourage effect. The vape cartridge is compatible with any 510 thread and has a 55% to 60% THC concentration.

Mota CBD Sleep Tincture: This CBD sleep tincture consists of CBD isolate, melatonin, and organic botanicals to help you fall asleep quicker and achieve longer and quality sleep. It is ideal for people that are suffering from insomnia, stress, chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety, and muscle spasms. Every Mota CBD sleep tincture bottle contains 33.3ml CBD and 5mg of melatonin.

Budibles Cola Gummy – 200mg THC: These are THC-infused cola-flavoured potent gummies. Each gummy has 200mg of THC, so you must start low and go slow. Make sure to test out one gummy first and wait for its effects before you increase your intake. Each bag of Budibles Cola Gummy contains 6 to 10 pieces of delightful candies, depending on the size of the gummies.

CBD and THC Entourage Effect

There are about a hundred different kinds of plant cannabinoids. These are CBD, CBC, CBN, and CBG, among others. Since different strains of cannabis have different amounts of cannabinoids, the effects of each species of cannabis are different from one another. The amount of THC in marijuana can reach up to 30%, but the amount of CBD is usually not very high.

In 1998, a study by Professors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat showed that the activity of cannabinoids is increased when a wide range of cannabinoids are present simultaneously. This phenomenon, called the “entourage effect,” happens when two or more cannabinoids work together to strengthen their effects.

The entourage effect happens when more than one compound is present at the same time, which helps control how each cannabinoid works and gives the cannabis plant a balanced effect. CBD works with other cannabinoids to change how THC affects the body. Medical studies on the effects of CBD show that it can lessen the effects of THC that make you feel high.


CBD and THC both help make cannabis useful for medicine. Both are considered safe, but you should know that they could have side effects or interact with other medicines you may be taking. Studies have shown that taking CBD at the same time as THC may lessen the psychoactive effects of THC by blocking its ability to activate CB1 receptors, which keeps you from feeling high.

Even though both CBD and THC come from the cannabis plant, there is a big difference between the two. CBD and THC can make you feel relaxed and sleepy, improve your mood, and lessen pain. However, CBD does not make you feel euphoric or “high” like THC does.

CBD comes in a number of different forms. Knowing what kind you are using is important since some may contain small amounts of THC. More information about CBD and THC will help you make better decisions about the substances you choose. Before you use medical marijuana or hemp-derived CBD products, ensure that you consult with your primary care physician and a trained cannabis or CBD clinician.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

CBD and THC are two completely different molecules. The main difference is in how they affect and react in the body. When CBD and THC are taken into the body similarly, they affect and interact with the endocannabinoid system differently. Even though CBD and THC have similar molecular structures, they do not have the same intoxicating effects. CBD does not give you the high that you usually get from THC since it does not bind very well with the CB1 receptors, which induces a feeling of excitement or high.

What is better for pain, CBD or THC?

CBD and THC are both suitable for medical use in a lot of the same ways. They can make the symptoms of more than one illness better simultaneously. CBD, on the other hand, does not make people feel high like THC does. Thus, some people may find CBD to be a better choice.

The structure of the CBD molecule keeps it from binding to the cannabinoid receptors in your body, so it doesn’t make you feel high. CBD and THC have very similar chemical structures, but one small difference makes CBD mildly stimulating and helps your receptors make more endocannabinoids.

Will CBD oil show up on a drug test?

Standard drug tests often look for chemicals linked to THC or cannabis. It is essential to know that CBD hemp products usually only have a tiny amount of THC. Even CBD products that say they do not have THC in them might have traces of the psychoactive compound since both chemical compounds are in the cannabis plant. Thus, if you are consuming CBD oil through edibles, drinks, tinctures, or other forms, there is a small chance that THC might appear on a screening.

Even though smoking cannabis is preferred by many, it is not a good idea to smoke CBD oil. If you opt to smoke CBD, choose other product forms like isolates, hemp flowers, and CBD e-liquid, which are suitable for smoking.

Most CBD oils are made with carrier oils like hemp seed oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Like any oil-based product, this product could be dangerous if heated to high temperatures. It might damage the cannabinoid and hurt your lungs if you breathe it in.

How much CBD is enough to relax?

Taking CBD products by mouth can help people deal with their anxiety throughout the day. A 2019 study on the effects of CBD on anxiety found that doses between 300 and 600 milligrams made anxiety symptoms go away.

The recommended dose is between 25 and 75 milligrams per day for generalized anxiety disorders or sleep issues. For post-traumatic stress disorder, the recommended dose is between 33 and 50 milligrams daily.

CBD oils, edibles, and capsules taken by mouth have their desired effects anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after being taken. The effects may happen faster when you smoke, vape, or use another method to consume CBD. Even though you can quickly feel the effects of CBD when you smoke it, if you buy low-quality e-liquid or isolate products, you could be inhaling harmful chemicals. CBD isolates and e-liquids must be of high quality and purity to keep them from being contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

Where to Buy THC and CBD in Canada

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