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The Difference Between THC and CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) vs THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are a trending topic in 2021. Both are natural substances taken from the cannabis Sativa plant. So, despite coming from the same plant, what makes CBD and THC different from each other?

CBD and THC are the well-known cannabinoids found in Cannabis and hemp. Whereas Cannabis has a greater THC content, and CBD concentration is higher in hemp.

CBD and THC have 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms in common. The distinction is that they don’t have the same chemical structure, and thus they’re absorbed differently by the body. These chemicals connect to neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing mood, pain, sleep, and memory.

Let’s look at both in detail. 

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) ranks as the second most common chemical ingredient discovered in Cannabis. Since its first identification in the 1940s, it has recently gained popularity as a natural treatment for various ailments. Hemp or marijuana plants can also be used to make it, but CBD derived from hemp contains minimal THC levels, whereas CBD is derived from marijuana.

What is THC?

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the psychoactive components found in Cannabis. THC triggers the brain’s reward system by activating the release of the brain chemical dopamine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in mood and pleasure. THC produces feelings of euphoria by causing a higher-than-normal release of dopamine. THC is commonly ingested through marijuana smoking, although it can also be obtained in pills, sweets, and oils.

How do they collaborate?

According to some research, cannabis users who consume THC and CBD products report less anxiety and paranoia than those who consume products containing only THC. 

A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology:

Participants who were given CBD before receiving a dose of pure THC had less cognitive impairment and paranoia than those who only got pure THC. CBD is described as an “antidote” to weed-induced psychosis.

In a basic sense, when the two are used together, they behave differently than when they are used alone. One or both things may happen: receptors could be triggered differently, or CB1 and CB2 receptors could shift.

In other words, the paths by which your cells communicate vary – if THC and CB1 interact less, you’ll have fewer psychoactive effects. For whatever reason, the presence of CBD makes you feel less high.

So THC activity at CB1 isn’t as high as it should be. As a result, the risk of generating anxiety and paranoia is reduced.

Although all marijuana contains both THC and CBD, decades of cultivating plants without realising CBD’s potential have resulted in high THC content weed. In favour of weed that guarantees a strong high, CBD content has been disregarded. If you become worried after smoking pot, look for goods with a more balanced mix of THC and CBD or products with a higher CBD content.

CBD vs THC: Chemical Composition

CBD and THC include 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms in their chemical formula. CBD and THC have different chemical qualities as a result, and they have different effects on your body.

CBD and THC both work with receptors in the brain that release neurotransmitters, and they have an impact on pain, emotion, sleep, and memory.

THC is the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and it has a variety of effects on the body. It’s what helps people experience the “high” feeling.

CBD vs THC: Chemical Composition

Human bodies have two types of cannabinoid receptors. THC attaches to receptors in the brain that regulate pain, mood, and other emotions. THC compound can make you feel “high” because of this.

CBD doesn’t cause that high. Instead, it’s assumed to interact with other body parts associated with sensations of happiness.

CBD vs THC: Drug testing

THC and CBD are cannabinoids that get stored in the body’s fat after consumption. They can easily appear on drug tests for days or weeks after you’ve used them.

CBD-sensitive tests are available, but not all drug tests will detect CBD. THC or marijuana use may show up on screening because most conventional drug tests check for compounds related to THC.

CBD vs THC: Drug testing

Hemp also creates THC along with CBD. Therefore a test for THC can also come positive even if you didn’t take it specially.

It’s vital to remember that THC-free goods aren’t always THC-free, so if you’re drug tested, you shouldn’t use any CBD or THC products.

CBD vs THC: Medical Benefits

Most of the health benefits of CBD and THC are the same, and they provide relief from a number of the same ailments. However, CBD does not produce High feeling effects as THC. Because of the lack of this negative effect, some people may prefer to use CBD.

CBD vs THC: Medical Benefits

The FDA authorised True Source Epidiolex, the first CBD-based prescription drug, in June 2018. It’s used to treat epilepsy that’s unusual and difficult to manage. (Any of the other conditions listed below are not currently approved for Epidiolex.)

CBD is also used to treat:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Mental illnesses
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Pain 
  • Psychosis 
  • Seizures

THC is used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma 
  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Muscular Pain
  • Nausea
  • Sleeplessness

CBD vs THC: Side Effects 

Even when used in substantial dosages, CBD seldom causes any visible negative effects. “CBD was tolerated in all individuals, with no symptoms of toxicity or major side effects,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

If any negative effects show up, it is almost always due to CBD interacting with another medication the person was taking at the same time. Always seek medical advice before using CBD, especially if you are using other medications.

On the other hand, THC is associated with several well-known adverse effects, including increased heart rate, coordination issues, dry mouth, red eyes, decreased reaction time, and memory loss. The psychedelic qualities of the chemical are linked to these adverse effects.

CBD vs THC: Availability 

Many people prefer to smoke or vape marijuana or CBD; however, this may not be possible for persons with specific medical issues.

 CBD is available in the market in the following forms:

  • Tinctures:

Herbal extracts created by infusing plants in alcohol are known as tinctures, and these can be taken with a dropper placed beneath the tongue. Just make sure not to swish the drink around in your mouth since this will affect how your body absorbs the CBD.

  • Oils:

CBD oils are taken orally with a dropper or under the tongue, just like tinctures.

  • Gummies

CBD gummies are popular due to their flavour. CBD gummies are popular, but many of them include CBD isolate.

  • Vape oil:

Vaping is increasingly popular, although using inexpensive carrier liquids might cause lung discomfort. If you’re going to vape CBD, read the labels carefully before purchasing any items; cannabis vapes should not contain the same components as nicotine vapes.

  • Patches

Patches allow users to receive CBD through their skin, allowing them to reap the advantages of CBD without having to smoke or eat edibles.

THC can be found in a variety of forms:

  • Foods, such as Brownies 
  • Oils 
  • Pills
  • Smokable Items 
  • Tinctures


CBD and THC are two compounds found in the same cannabis plant. However, these two molecules have significant features that set them apart. THC is renowned for its high-feeling or psychoactive effects, but CBD is known for its health advantages.

THC and CBD both have potential health benefits, but you should always see your doctor before using any products that contain these cannabinoids. CBD and THC both can relieve symptoms and potentially treat various physical and mental health disorders.

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