A Comparison Between CBD And THC

As the hemp and marijuana products become legal in more and more states in America, you are hearing a lot about its therapeutic benefits and the two compounds present in the cannabis plant; CBD and THC. Cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are the two major cannabinoid compounds present in the cannabis plant. Both these compounds have the ability to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system of our body.

CBD is very popular all around the world; thanks to the CBD benefits. CBD is proven to be very effective in treating many health problems like, chronic pain, stress, anxiety, seizures, skin problems, etc. THC too can treat these health problems. But it is not very popular because of its psychoactive properties.

Chemical Structure

Cannabidiol and THC both contain 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The only difference in their chemical structures is in the arrangement of atoms that accounts for the varying effects on your body.

The chemical structure of both CBD and THC is similar to that of the endocannabinoids in your body, which allows them to interact with the cannabinoid receptors.

This interaction will affect the release of neurotransmitters, the chemicals responsible for the communication between cells and regulates pain, stress, sleep, and immune functions.

Psychoactive Properties

Even though CBD and THC have almost similar chemical structures, their psychoactive properties are entirely different. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. That means CBD cannot produce the sensation of high like THC.

The THC will bind with the CBD 1 receptors present in the brain and produce a sensation of high or euphoria.

The CBD’s binding with the CB1 receptors of the brain is very weak. That is why it does not produce any psychoactive effects. However, CBD can interfere with the binding of THC to the CB1 receptors and reduce its psychoactive effects.

Health Benefits

Most of the health benefits that both CBD and THC offer are the same. But people mostly prefer CBD because of the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD does not produce the sensation of euphoria like THC. Some people use CBD for treating their ailments because of the lack of side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Epidiolex for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy. Epidiolex is a prescription medicine that contains CBD extract. CBD is proven to be an effective remedy for many health conditions, such as seizures, pain, inflammations, nausea, migraines, anxiety, depression, acne, arthritis, etc.

CBD is also used in reducing the side effects of cancer treatments. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can causes side effects like nausea and vomiting. CBD can help to reduce these symptoms. Some studies are also showing that CBD can slow down the growth of cancer cells.

THC can also treat many health problems that affect the human body; sometimes more effectively than CBD. THC can be beneficial in the treatment of muscle spasm, pain, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, anxiety, etc.

Non-psychoactive compound Psychoactive compound
No side effects Multiple side effects
Does not show up in drug test Show up in drug test


Cannabis laws in the United States are evolving regularly. Marijuana and THC are prohibited under federal law because they are on the list of controlled substances. However, in many states, the use of marijuana with high THC content for medical purposes is legal.

There are also some states that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In such states, you can buy CBD also.

Before you buy and use products that contain CBD and THC, you should know about the cannabis law in your area. If you are using cannabis-related products in a state where the recreational use of marijuana is illegal and you don’t have a medical prescription, you could face legal penalties.

Drug Testing

Both CBD and THC are stored in the fat cells of the body. They will show up in a drug test even after you used it several days before the test.

Most of the standard drug tests will only look for the THC content in your body. So the use of marijuana and THC will fail you in the drug test. You will not fail in the drug test if you are using only CBD products.

Sometimes you may fail in the drug test even if you didn’t use any marijuana products. This is because hemp-derived CBD oil also contains THC.

Side Effects

Even in large doses, CBD does not cause any severe side effects. Studies show that any side effects of CBD occur due to its interaction with other medications.

THC has some temporary side effects, such as dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, memory loss, slow reaction time, etc. Most of the side effects of THC are a part of its psychoactive properties.

Both THC and CBD do not cause any side effects that are serious. However, an overdose of THC may result in long-term negative psychiatric effects. Regular use of THC can cause psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.