What’s the Difference between THC and CBD?

As the legal use of weed and other marijuana products grows, consumers are becoming conscious of their options. This includes the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the natural compounds found in cannabis.

THC is a psychoactive compound that gives marijuana a high sensation feeling. You can consume it by smoking. It’s also available in edibles, oils, capsules, tinctures among others.

CBD is extracted primarily from its hemp plant. It’s sold in edibles like gummies or CBD oils, gels, extracts, supplements and more.

These compounds interact with endocannabinoid in your body. However, they have different effects on your body.

1. Chemical Structure

Both THC and CBD have similar molecular structure. All have   21 carbon, 30 hydrogen, and 2 oxygen atoms. But if the molecular structure is similar, why do they have different effects?

Well, it has to do with their molecular arrangement. Since they’re chemically similar to your endocannabinoids, they’re able to interact with your body cannabinoid receptors.

The reaction triggers the release of neurotransmitters to your brain. These are the chemical compounds responsible for relaying messages of pleasure, pain, stress, and sleep among others between your cells.

2. Psychoactive Components

Despite having a similar chemical structure, THC and CBD don’t have similar psychoactive elements. In fact, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. That means CBD doesn’t give the high feelings associated with THC.

THC binds with the cannabinoid receptors-CB1 in your brain to produce a higher feeling of euphoria. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t bind with CB1 receptors in your brain. In fact, it may interfere with the THC binding process effectively dampening the psychoactive effects.

3. The Medical Benefits

These two components have almost similar medical effects. You can use them to seek relief for most medical conditions.

However, CBD doesn’t give the euphoric feeling common with the different THC compounds. Some people may choose to use the CBD compounds because of this feature.

In June last year, FDA approved the use of CBD to treat a rare type of epilepsy. Other than this, CBD is also used to treat conditions like:

  • Inflammation
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

THC can be helpful in these conditions:

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

4. Side Effects

Most people are highly tolerant to CBD, even in extremely large doses. According to various research, the side effects associated with CBD are due to interactions with another form of medication you’re taking.

On the other hand, THC has lots of side effects. These include:

  • Coordination problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Slow reaction time
  • Red eyes
  • Memory loss

The side effects are due to its psychoactive features. But neither of these compounds is fatal. But persistent THC use may result in negative psychiatrist’s effects, especially to adolescents who consume large quantities of this product.

The side effects are more profound among teenagers. It may also increase the chances of getting schizophrenia.


CBD and THC are the biggest compounds found in the cannabis plant. Both hemp and marijuana produce these compounds.

However, CBD is more prevalent in hemp like THC is more prevalent to marijuana. For this, hemp is among the leading source of CBD oil.