What’s the difference between CBD vs. THC? Learn about each here!

Cannabis has been known as a euphoria-causing drug for a long time. It has been illegal in almost all countries worldwide. But recently, cannabis has become a subject of curiosity because of the discovery of CBD. CBD is a compound found in cannabis plants and is very different from another cannabis compound known as THC. Both being a part of cannabis, why is there a contrast between the two compounds?

What are CBD and THC?

To know the difference between CBD and THC, we need to learn about the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants are generally known as Cannabis sativa. These plants have more than 100 compounds in them. Cannabis sativa can be of two types: hemp and marijuana. Both plants have some amount of both CBD and THC available. Both are the most common compounds found in cannabis. But CBD is the dominant compound of hemp whereas THC is the dominant compound of marijuana.

CBD or cannabidiol has been known as a miraculous chemical. It has many therapeutic qualities making it a promising topic in the medical field. Rumors say CBD can treat ailments like inflammation, seizures, and anxiety, but there has not been any concrete evidence yet. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, on the other hand, is the main chemical causing the psychoactive effect.

How do they work?

CBD and THC were isolated years ago in the early 1940s. But there have been very limited studies on them until now. Scientists are discovering new information about these compounds every day learning about their characteristics and medical benefits.

Both CBD and THC have the same chemical formula – 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. But their arrangements are slightly different which is why they affect the body differently.

CBD and THC, are chemically identical to the endocannabinoid system of human and animal bodies. This allows the two compounds to interact with the cannabinoid receptors inside the body which affects the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Scientists have found two cannabinoid receptors in our body by far – CB1 and CB2. THC directly binds with these receptors, particularly CB1 which is connected to the brain and controls pain, mood, and other feelings. This is why THC can get people euphoric. But CBD does not do that. CBD cannot bind with any of the receptors without THC. Upon binding, CBD can reduce the psychoactive effect of THC and can also control pain, mood, and other feelings of the body. This is how CBD and THC affect the organs inside the body.

Health Benefits of CBD and THC

CBD has been known to provide many benefits like helping with sleeping and treating inflammation or seizures. THC has many of the same benefits as CBD. The main difference between them is the euphoria-causing ability of THC.

Some known benefits of CBD are:

  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Mental disorders or Psychosis
  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Nausea

The benefits of THC are:

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

However, THC should never be used for treating seizures or epilepsy. Even when using CBD for epilepsy, one should be cautious about the availability of THC in the product.

Side Effects of using CBD and THC

The side effects of CBD and THC are very different. THC can cause dry mouth and intoxication effects like disorientation, dizziness, paranoia, and sometimes panic attacks, and psychosis. A person may even need to be hospitalized if he overdoseson THC.

CBD has a very low to zero amount of side effects. The most commonly known side effects are nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. However, these happen in very rare cases. However, high dosage and long-term use of CBD may damage the liver.

How to consume CBD and THC?

CBD comes in forms like oils, capsules, edible gummies, and tinctures. THC can be taken as smokable products, oils, tinctures, and edible products like brownies.


CBD and THC are two compounds of cannabis plants. They have similar formulas and benefits, but THC has more serious side effects than CBD. Also, THC is illegal while CBD is not. So, one needs to educate himself about these substances before using them. It is best to consult with a good doctor who knows cannabinoids

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