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The increase in the acceptability of marijuana usage and other cannabis products in the United States has brought about an interesting dimension in the world of medical marijuana. This is due to a rise in the curiosity level of consumers regarding their options. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two compounds that have found themselves at the center of the decision-making circle of consumers, owing to the fact that these controlled substances can be derived from the cannabis plant.

Cbd vs THC: Basic Information You Need to Know

More often than not, people are aware that CBD and THC are two different substances but they find it quite hard to decipher the difference.

Here is a basic description of both compounds in a few sentences.

  • CBD can be extracted from marijuana or hemp.
  • Hemp plants are cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC.
  • On the other hand, marijuana plants are cannabis plants that contain a higher percentage of THC.
  • CBD is produced and sold in the form of gels, gummies, oils, supplements, etc.

Marijuana is in high demand even in areas where it is illegal due to its THC component.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component of marijuana that gives its users a “high” sensation they crave, thereby getting them addicted to the smoking of the substance. However, just like CBD, THC is also available in a variety of other forms such as oils, tinctures, capsules, dietary supplements and more.

One other thing both CBD and THC have in common is that they both react with the human body’s endocannabinoid system when you take them in any of their existing forms. However, they have different effects.

Key Differences Between Cbd and THC

The differences between these two compounds determine how they are used. Let’s take a deeper look at some major differences.

1. CBD Chemical Makeup

The chemical structure of CBD and THC are quite similar as they possess the exact same molecular structure of 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.

Despite this similarity in the molecular composition of both compounds, there is a little difference in the arrangement of the atoms. This difference is what brings about the difference in the effects of both compounds on the body when administered.

The human system has endocannabinoids similar to that of both CBD and THC. That is why the body’s cannabinoid receptors allow the reception of either CBD or THC receptors.

The reaction between the body’s endocannabinoids and that of either THC or CBD affects the release of neurotransmitters (these refer to chemicals that function as messengers between cells) in the brain.

Functions such as chronic pain, immune system, sleep and many more are managed by neurotransmitters.

2. CBD Non-Psychoactive Constituents

It is expected that the psychoactive effects of CBD and THC would be the same since they have similar structures. However, they are quite different.

We already learned from the outset that THC gives its consumers a psychoactive effect that is known as “highness”. CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound. Meaning you are not likely to experience the “high” feeling you get from consuming THC no matter the quantity of CBD you take.

The reason for this is because CBD binds weakly to cannabinoid 1 (brain cannabinoid) receptors and even fail to bond at all in some cases.

Thereby, failing to create the euphoric feeling in the body system of the consumer. On the other hand, THC binds quickly and easily with the brain cannabinoid to produce a euphoric sensation in its users.

3. CBD Legal Status

In the past years, the rise in the abuse of marijuana and THC, generally in the United States, has led to the control of its consumption.

However, the evolution of laws relating to cannabis products has seen a relaxation of those restrictions in recent times. Many states have embraced the legal use of marijuana on medical grounds.

However, the use of medical marijuana in these relatively liberal American states is expected not to be based on individual discretion. Instead, the prescription is expected to be made by a licensed physician.

Beyond medical use, a number of states have also made allowances for the legal use of marijuana and THC on recreational grounds.

If by any chance, marijuana can be brought in a state for recreational use, you are likely to be able to have legal access CBD also.

It is in your best interest to find out what the laws of a state say about products containing CBD or THC in any form before you decide to purchase them.

That way, you would be staying out of legal trouble. Being in possession of cannabis-related products in a state that does not support its use for either medical treatment or on recreational grounds, is a big risk as legal sanctions could be issued to you.

4. CBD Side Effects

CBD is such a mild compound that it does not induce any side effects even when it is administered in large doses.

fact, if not for the fact that other medications and the consideration of the state of health of the consumer, you can never overdose on CBD.

In essence, if you are ever going to experience a side effect as a result of CBD usage, it will be because of the interaction of CBD with other medication(s) which are currently active in your body’s system.

On the other side of the divide, it is a different story. Side effects of THC can be short terms such as memory loss, dry mouth, increased heart rate and many more.

Also, long term negative effects are associated with the usage of THC in large quantities. This is usually experienced by adolescents who are in the habit of abusing THC. It is not uncommon to see teenagers in this category battle with psychiatric conditions.

5. CBD Drug testing

THC and CBD are cannabinoids stored in the body’s fat, making it difficult for the body to get rid of it in a short time. In fact, they are capable of spending weeks in your system after you stopped using them.

Drug tests are less likely to detect CBD. To this end, agencies keen on detecting CBD in the body’s system will have to make specific provisions for CBD-sensitive tests.

When taking standard drug tests, THC-related chemicals are the basic target. Therefore, if you use CBD in any form, it is possible that a little component of THC was added to it during its production. To this end, you can test positive to THC without taking it if you have been taking hemp-derived CBD.


CBD and THC have proved to be medically beneficial. The timeline of medical marijuana and its accompanying achievements over the years have proved this fact to be undisputable. To some extent, both can be considered safe.

However, the safety of the usage of these compounds cannot be fully guaranteed when we take a look at the possible side effects that may result from its usage and its interaction with other drugs. It will be in your best interest to speak with a physician before you start taking any of these two compounds.

CBD and THC can be considered safe if and only if people choose to consult a qualified physician rather than resorting to self-medication.

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