The Difference between THC and CBD and The Top 5 Things You Should Know

Well if it isn’t the two infamous compounds together, THC and CBD. A lot of people around the world are still skeptical of what each of these cannabinoids are and how they actually differ and so we decided to clear the air once and for all. 

Where are THC and CBD found?

Cannabis has three main types. Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. All of these types contain a lot of naturally occurring cannabinoids. To be precise, there are over 113+ cannabinoids that have been discovered in the Cannabis plant and research is still going strong where researchers believe there are a few undiscovered ones left.

Despite being discovered centuries ago, it was always used in secret in many parts of the world. Years of the orchestrated stigma that surrounded this plant has finally begun to fade away. Perhaps it is now time to acknowledge what this plant is capable of. 

In this article, we will go through two of the most heavily researched and widely known cannabinoids found in the heaven-sent and providential plant of Cannabis. By curating expert advice, we’ll be outlining differences between THC and CBD so that, the next time someone talks to you about these Cannabinoids, you know how different they are. 

Don’t miss this important article on CBD: Finding The Right CBD Dosage For Your Needs

Hemp Oil Vs CBD Oil

The heading represents one of the most common questions we are asked altogether and so we decided to address it in this blog today. Dried hemp flowers contain a high amount of CBD and thus are the source of deriving pure and isolate CBD. Although hemp and marijuana both contain CBD, it is mostly the CBD Hemp flowers, which are dried and processed to separate CBD. 

Similarly, for addressing the issue of hemp oil vs CBD oil, know that CBD oil is derived from hemp plant parts that contain a high amount of Cannabidiol whereas hemp oil comes from parts where there is little to no trace of CBD.

Hemp oil is generally used for a wide variety of purposes in many different industries (textile, paper, fossil fuel, paint, detergent, and skincare, etc) while CBD oil effects are more therapeutic and medical i.e related to the human body’s wellness.

What is CBD? 

Chemical Formula: C21H30O2 

History: Among other cannabinoids, CBD is perhaps the most widely researched cannabinoid after THC. Formally discovered amidst the Second World War in 1940 by a British chemist Robert S. Cahn, researchers, doctors, and pharmacologists alike started taking interest in the therapeutic properties this cannabinoid held.

Only two years later, Roger Adams (An American chemist), was able to isolate CBD successfully. Not only did his research isolate CBD but it also led to the discovery of THC. This marked the start of an era. Researchers and pharmacologists, intrigued by the wonders this plant could do, started studying it for medicinal purposes.

What is THC?

Chemical Formula: C21H30O2 

History: THC which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the three psychoactive cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The men behind the successful isolation of THC are Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni who were able to achieve this feat in 1969 at an institute in the Middle East.

Although the stigma revolving around Cannabis is primarily due to THC and its euphoric effects, this Cannabinoid, too, has some therapeutic properties. Since it is the most common drug of abuse across the world, the therapeutic and medicinal properties carried by this plant had been sidelined.

CBD VS THC: Chemistry

The Difference between CBD and THC

Unlike its cousin THC, CBD is not psychotropic or psychoactive. Let’s study their chemical properties. 

  1. Although both CBD and THC have exactly similar molecular formulas that contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 atoms of hydrogen, and two atoms of oxygen, they differ in their chemical structures. THC has a cyclic ring, while CBD on the other hand has a hydroxyl group attached to it. 
  2. The molecular mass of both CBD and THC is also practically the same with THC having a mass of 314.468 g/mol and CBD 314.464 g/mol.
  3. Both CBD and THC also have a low solubility in water but exhibit good solubility in the majority of organic solvents (alcohols and lipids particularly).  
  4. CBD and THC are present in acidic forms and can be decarboxylated readily by providing heat. 
  5. THC is known to bind to plastic and glass easily therefore THC is stored in organic solvents to avoid loss during analysis and testing procedures. 

Interested to know more about this topic? Then check out this article: The Difference between CBD and THC

CBD & THC: Legality 

Legality of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinoid

This is one of the most fundamental questions being asked right now. A lot of people are confused about the legality of the two and it’s no surprise considering Cannabis remains a hush hush word and nobody dares to ask why. A lot of misconceptions are present among the masses and we are here to clarify them. 

After the Farm Bill 2018 was passed in the USA, Hemp (a type of the Cannabis Sativa plant which is naturally low in THC and high in CBD) was declassified as a controlled substance, legalizing its growth, cultivation, and harvesting. Since then, the CBD industry has witnessed a boom and various CBD products have popped up.

CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal in all states across the USA. However, the same cannot be said for THC. THC, which is the active ingredient in weed/marijuana is still illegal in many states across the USA and is still classified as a controlled/prohibited substance. Although more than 10 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, it will still take time before THC becomes completely legalized.

In Canada however, Cannabis is completely legal whether it is for recreational purposes or medical reasons. You can buy it from dispensaries, local growers, or online retailers based on your preference and budget. 

CBD & THC: Interaction With The Body 

Both CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system that occurs naturally in the human body. The endocannabinoid system consists of two receptors CB1 and CB2 that act as neurotransmitters, transferring signals in all parts of the body to be able to maintain the state of homeostasis. Simply put, the Endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signaling system that naturally exists in your body whether you use Cannabis or you don’t. It mostly has to do with regulating a person’s sleep, mood, appetite, memory and fertility. 

Now although THC and CBD engage with the same endocannabinoid system, they both exhibit different effects because CBD doesn’t directly bind with the endocannabinoid receptors. It instead engages with it and utilizes various receptors in the body to transfer its effects. THC on the other hand, is powerful and has an ability to alter your senses partly because it can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors to exhibit its effects on the body.

How Long Does It Take For CBD To Exhibit Effects?

We decided to do an entire section for this question to help you understand why some people begin noticing a change right after their first CBD dose and why it takes weeks for others to feel anything at all. 

When your CBD receptors are stimulated for the first time after consumption, it takes a while for your brain to try and gauge the foreign substance in your body. Thus, it can take up to a few doses before your body understands what this is and lets it alter your body chemicals. 

For a few people, this takes about 2-3 dosages, others experience results within minutes. After your body has passed the initial confusion state, the time then depends upon the consumption method. It takes less than an hour for CBD to affect you when applied on the skin, 1-3 hours upon oral CBD oil consumption, and only a few minutes if vaped. Other factors to keep in mind would be your age, weight, and previous exposure to similar compounds.

CBD & THC: Benefits


Since CBD and THC come from the same plant and are very similar to each other except for a few key differences, both of them share almost the same medicinal and therapeutic properties. CBD just won’t get you high, or give you the red eyes or make you experience a psychedelic trip like THC but both of them can come in handy while treating certain mental or physical problems like a lack of appetite.

CBD Benefits:

As of now, there are two medications, Epidiolex and Sativex that have been approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Authority) in the USA and NHS (National Health Services) in the UK. They are being prescribed to normal and rare cases of Epilepsy patients in order to control their seizures. The active ingredient in both the drugs mentioned above is CBD which is proof that CBD can actually be the next big thing if researchers finally prove what CBD users are claiming the compound can do. Let’s take a brief look at other medical conditions CBD users and companies claim the Cannabinoid can help you with. 

  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Mental Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Menstrual Pains/Postpartum Pains
  • Acne, Pimples and other Skin Diseases 
  • Insomnia

Among many other specific mental and physical diseases.

THC Benefits:

Talking about THC, which has actually been researched more than its counterpart CBD, also carries with it some medicinal and therapeutic benefits like promoting appetite, curing anxiety, relaxing tensed and sore muscles, and relieving pain.

The FDA (Food and Drug Authority) in the USA has approved Marinol and Syndros for medicinal purposes including nausea that occurs as a side effect of chemotherapy in cancer patients and also to treat anorexia that is associated with weight loss in AIDS patients. Both Syndox and Marinol contain dronabinol that is a synthetic, man-made version of THC. 

Cesamet, another FDA approved drug containing the active ingredient nabilone is also a synthetic psychotropic compound that is very similar to THC. It is also being used to treat nausea in cancer patients. 

However, not everyone’s body reacts to the compound well, and can sometimes cause some side effects which are discussed right below.

CBD & THC: Side Effects

Feeling Stressed? Taking CBD might help!
Feeling Stressed? Taking CBD might help!


CBD is a well-tolerated cannabinoid among users. That means even if you take it in high doses, it will not affect you negatively in any way. Research suggests that CBD did not have any adverse side effects when administered to test subjects but may exhibit very light side effects that are not substantial enough to be considered a general side effect.

However, you need to keep in mind that CBD does interact with other medications and may exhibit adverse side effects then. For instance, many macrolide antibiotics, antidepressants, and heart medications when taken along with CBD may cause additional problems. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult a healthcare professional before taking CBD if you are on any of these medications.

The following are some of the common side effects that can accompany the use of CBD if this is the first time you’re taking it. Once your body gets used to the foreign particle, these side effects will subside with time. 

  • Changes in Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea


Known for its psychoactive properties, THC can get you hooked and addicted in a matter of weeks. Not only will you experience withdrawal symptoms (which include but are not limited to restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, rage, nervousness, and depression to name a few) once you try to quit but will also have trouble going back to the person you used to be before you started off with Cannabis. Cannabis is the most abused drug in the world and is illegal in most places in the world because its addiction really changes you as a person.

The following are some of the most common side effects associated with long-term chronic use of THC. Research suggests that THC is not only addictive but brings about psychological changes in humans which can be harmful sometimes. 

  • Addiction
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Red Eyes
  • Loss of Perception of Time
  • Slow Reactions
  • Short Term Memory Loss
  • Anxiety 
  • Paranoia 
  • Coordination Problems
  • Slowed Brain Growth
  • Impaired Brain Functions
  • Increased Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
  • Slowed Fetal Growth (if you take it during your pregnancy)

These problems come with the additional package of social problems and social rejection that you face from the people around you.

CBD & THC: Bottomline

Landmark changes in Cannabis policies and regulations have brought about a significant public interest in Cannabis usage and its effects. CBD and THC being the most talked about Cannabis compounds are; in a nutshell, like day and night, Completely different from their individual pros and cons, yet equally beautiful.

 CBD and THC differ in the type of effects that they produce. CBD is a non-psychoactive, therapeutic compound that is safe to use for almost everyone. THC, the intoxicating Cannabis member, on the other hand, is a bit complicated but has its own merits.  And both of them combined is the perfect concoction for achieving all the miracles that the plant promises. 

I am a 34-year-old father of three that lives in Sweden. I´ve changed my life with the help of CBD and I have a profound interest in the research surrounding CBD. You can read more about me here.

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