The Difference between CBD and THC

cbd vs thc


CBD is a natural compound that is hailed by many as a miracle substance capable of restoring the body to its natural harmonious state through its holistic health benefits. As CBD infused products fill supermarket shelves across the globe, there seems to be a rise in confusion related to CBD’s nature and effects.

Most people incorrectly believe that as CBD is extracted from the Hemp or Cannabis plant, that it too possesses the same psychoactive properties that many associate with Cannabis.

This is far from the truth, and to debunk many of the myths surrounding CBD, we have compiled this informative article that will clarify and answer all your questions regarding the nature of CBD, its use, and its effects. Read On!

What is CBD?

Without delving into the chemical side of things, it can be simply understood that CBD is a natural compound or “phytochemical” found in varying quantities in the Hemp plant.

The amount of CBD can vary across different plant strains and depends on the specific region’s environment and climate. Still, on average, one plant can contain up to 40% of CBD as a natural component of its structure.

Read this interesting article to know more about CBD: What is full spectrum CBD oil?

The Hemp plant synthesizes CBD and 114 other phytochemicals necessary for the plant’s proper functioning.

Historically and culturally, the Hemp plant has enjoyed a rather prominent position across world cultures.

This is because the plant’s medicinal and therapeutic properties were recognized by early civilizations and were regarded with much reverence.

Although we have only recently been able to identify the actual chemical components responsible for the medicinal and therapeutic properties of the Hemp plant, various cultures and civilizations across time have recognized the importance of the plant!

Understanding CBD

5 Types of Pain Can CBD Help With

In terms of chemistry, CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a Phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a class of chemical substances primarily found in different species and strains of the cannabis plant.

In terms of structure, CBD is a 21-carbon terpenophenolic compound formed because of the decarboxylation of a cannabidiolic acid precursor in nature.

This process can also be replicated synthetically, giving rise to a series of synthetic cannabinoids.

The cannabis plant synthesizes 114 other such phytochemicals that differ in small parts from each other, but the most prominent of these phytochemicals are THC and CBD.

Although these two compounds are significantly different, they are often taken to mean the same thing.

This comparison is entirely incorrect, as you will find out below!

What is THC?

THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is another phytochemical produced by the Hemp or Cannabis plant, as is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the psychotropic effects of Cannabis.

Chemically quite different from CBD, THC serves as a defense mechanism for the Cannabis plant and protects the plants’ leaves from insects, bacteria, and UV damage.

This unique chemical interacts with the body’s central nervous system and is responsible for the “high” we often associate with Cannabis.

The confusion arises when THC is taken to mean the same thing as CBD, which is an incorrect association if one truly understands each compound’s effects, mechanisms, and uses.

In the following paragraphs, we shall explain the mechanism of each compound and explain their fundamental differences.

But First… The Endocannabinoid System

Before we begin explaining CBD and THC’s interaction in the body, we must understand how these compounds are received by the internal system of the human body.

To understand CBD and THC’s effects, we must create an understanding of a very critical hormonal system in our bodies called the Endocannabinoid system.

This system is formed by a neural and hormonal pathway responsible for the synthesis and metabolism of certain natural compounds called endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are the natural cannabinoid compounds synthesized by the human body, responsible for various physiological and mental functions.

The endocannabinoid system is also responsible for the metabolism of cannabinoids absorbed through various routes into the bloodstream.

As CBD is a cannabinoid, it interacts with this pathway inside the body and is accepted and metabolized by receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

This endocannabinoid system is the primary site of action that interacts with absorbed CBD and initiates a cascade of chemical and hormonal changes in the body that represent the CBD’s therapeutic effects.

How Does CBD Interact with the Body?

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and produces a range of physiological and mental effects called the entourage effect or ensemble effect.

The action if CBD in the body is synergistic, which means that it holistically interacts with the various bodily systems as a whole and influences the internal environment of the body, which is called homeostasis.

The body’s normal functioning is disturbed due to the unnatural chemicals that we come in contact with each day or due to increased stress and our hectic lifestyles.

CBD does nothing more and nothing less than to allow each system of the body and each organ to work in its prime natural state in a condition of normal functioning.

By doing so, CBD allows the body to proceed with its natural cycles in a state of natural balance and equilibrium, unaffected by external stresses and internal pollutants.

Through this effect, CBD helps the body maintain its natural health and functioning, which pays off greatly in the long run, helping to fight off various diseases through the body’s innate immunity!

How Does THC Interact with the Body?

THC Interact with the Body

THC, due to its chemical nature, is a central nervous system stimulant. Once inside the body, THC does not follow the same pathway of interaction and metabolism as CBD, and in fact, directly targets the neurons of the central nervous system.

Once inside the bloodstream, THC alters the neurons’ internal chemistry, leading to a disbalance of the mental state and inner equilibrium.

This results in a disjointed feeling we commonly call being “high” or “stoned.”

As THC’s interaction in the body is entirely different from that of CBD, the two chemicals are in no way like each other in effect.

While on the one hand, CBD creates and promotes a balance of the body’s internal systems. On the other hand, THC is responsible for altering the central nervous system neurons’ natural state.

This action results in THC’s heightened psychoactive effects that most people have grown to associate with the Cannabis plant.

To properly understand how THC is different from CBD, we must understand the various forms in which CBD can be extracted from the Hemp plant and the combination of CBD and THC present in each form.

Different Kinds of CBD Extract

CBD is extracted from the hemp plant through various processes, including distillation, mechanical pressing, and other chemical extraction techniques.

Once extracted, the Hemp plant’s material contains a cocktail of natural extracts, which include the Phytocannabinoids and other materials present in the Hemp plant.

This raw extract must be further purified to separate CBD from the other chemicals and substances, and this purification process results in three kinds of CBD extract.

Full-Spectrum CBD

The first kind, known as full-spectrum CBD, contains a larger CBD percentage combined with most of the other natural phytochemicals obtained from the Hemp plant.

This form usually contains a percentage of THC and can produce slight psychoactive effects if consumed in significant quantities. However, due to the small amount of THC present in each unit, a regulated dosage of Full Spectrum CBD does not produce any potent psychoactive effects.

Broad Spectrum CBD

The second form of CBD extract is called the Broad-Spectrum CBD. This form of the CBD extract contains only a few of the natural phytochemicals found in the Hemp plant alongside CBD and does not contain any significant THC.

Effectively, the Broad-Spectrum CBD isolate contains CBD and only a few selective Phytocannabinoids, minus the THC.

This means that broad-spectrum CBD usually does not have any psychoactive effects, even at larger consumption quantities.

CBD Isolate

The third form of CBD extract is called the CBD isolate. This form contains only the Cannabidiol extracted from the hemp plant minus ALL the other compounds.

This is the purest form of the CBD extract, but pure is not always the best, as some may say.

To learn more about how these different forms of CBD effect the body, read on below.

How is CBD different from THC?

Based on their effects and their mode of interaction with the body, it is easy to understand how THC and CBD are significantly different.

On the one hand, CBD creates a balanced environment in the body that promotes the human mind’s optimal natural functioning and the body’s various organs and systems.

On the other hand, THC alters the normal state of the central nervous system, resulting in the compound’s psychoactive effects.

The two chemicals are fundamentally different in their effect and mechanism, and this it is incorrect to associate the two compounds with each other.,

Although derived from the same plant, these compounds have completely different effects ion the body. While one is therapeutic, the other is a stimulant the produces mild to severe psychoactive effects depending on its concentration.

What Form of CBD Should You Choose?

What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Depending on individual preferences, one can choose between the three kinds of CBD to experience varying effects.

Most enthusiasts prefer to use Full-Spectrum CBD, even though it may contain trace amounts of THC because it is believed the CBD works best when utilized in combination with the other phytochemicals and natural compounds that are present alongside it in the Hemp plant.

For those who wish to circumvent the chances of consuming THC altogether, the use of Broad-Spectrum CBD is an excellent choice, as it contains many of the natural phytochemicals without the inclusion of THC.

For everyday consumption, CBD isolate is rarely used, and it is usually preferred for preparing CBD infused edibles rather than being used directly.

The choice between using one of the three forms depends on your preferences, as each form can deliver a slightly different experience compared to each other.

Can CBD Get You High?

Can CBD Get You High

The Short Answer: NO

The Long Answer: It all depends on how much THC is included in the extract.

As CBD does not alter the state of the nervous system, but rather promotes its holistic health and equilibrium, it does not produce ANY psychoactive effects in the body on its own.

If there is no involvement of THC in the extract you are using, there is no chance of experiencing psychoactive effects with CBD use.

The “high” or “stoned” feeling that many associate with the use of Cannabis is, in fact, due to THC’s action and not CBD.

That is why, if one uses an extract containing minimal THC while having a considerable amount of CBD, one will not feel any psychoactive effects at all.

Different Combinations of CBD and THC

As a rule, one can categorize the CBD products available in the market into three broad categories depending on CBD and THC concentration present in the product.

High CBD, Low THC

The first class contains a High Concentration of CBD and a Low Concentration of THC. This product classification may include up to 20% of CBD and less than 5% of THC. These products will not produce any psychoactive effects and can prove beneficial when used for therapeutic and supportive purposes.

Equal CBD and THC

The second class of products contains a balanced and equal amount of CBD and THC. This may range from a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 15% of both THC and CBD in the products.

These compounds will create mild psychoactive effects, but the presence of CBD in equal amounts serve to tone down the effects of the THC to the extent that the adverse side effects of THC are not prominently felt.

High THC, Low CBD

The third class of compounds exists that contains High Concentration of THC, up to 30%, and a Low Concentration of CBD, less than 5%.

These products WILL produce INTENSE psychoactive effects and can negatively impact the health of individuals who are not tolerant of psychedelic substances.

It is advised to steer clear of these products if you do not have any prior experience with THC. Instead, opt for the second class to build a positive experience while exposing your body to THC safely for further exploration.


No matter what myths or misconceptions you had picked up along the way, this article has undoubtedly served to clear up most of the confusion and questions that many people have concerning CBD and THC.

As we have explained, the fundamental differences between the nature, structure, and effect of CBD and THC make them both quite exceptionally different from each other.

For those who wish to explore the medicinal and therapeutic effects of Cannabis, we advise using CBD products ion your daily life in the form of supplements, topicals, or infused oils to enjoy the wide range of health benefits provided by this unique natural compound.

For those who wish to explore the psychoactive effects of Cannabis in a safe and manageable manner, one can use CBD products containing trace amounts of THC as well, which will help counter the side effects of THC.

It must be remembered the while CBD has a relaxing and calming effect on the body, THC may cause anxiety and trigger more stress mechanisms that it fixes.

Therefore, it is advised that for all therapeutic purposes, one should stick to using CBD products that only contain small amounts of THC to avoid most of the side-effects and negative impacts of THC for the body.

We hope that you found this article to be informative. If you have any further questions, remember to post your queries in the comments below.

We also invite our readers to share their experiences with CBD and THC products in the comments, to enlighten our readers further!

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.

Leave a Comment