What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC?

As more states across the US legalize marijuana, more people are incorporating the use of the substance into their life in ways they never previously imagined.  

Marijuana is quickly becoming a fast way to treat chronic pain, mental health, and other medical issues. It’s also a fun way to connect with friends on a lazy Saturday night. But as people begin to talk about CBD and THC, it’s not uncommon to feel lost in the haze of vernacular surrounding pot.

If you’re lost when it comes to marijuana terminology, here are the primary similarities and differences between CBD and THC.

THC and CBD: What are they?

CBD and THC are two types of naturally occurring chemical compounds found in marijuana. They’re known as cannabinoids and they’re the primary medical and recreational components that influence the body when you consume weed. Though we only recently discovered these properties in our favorite plant, people have been enjoying the side effects for thousands of years.

However, these two compounds work in very different ways. This is because the human body houses cannabinoid receptors present in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Though we produce endocannabinoids naturally in our own bodies, two receptors — CB1 and CB2 — will react to CBD and THC because they have a similar chemical structure to our body’s own endocannabinoids.

However, the two compounds will have drastically different results when consumed, despite the fact that they have identical molecular structures. In fact, both compounds contain 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms; it’s because of the way that they’re arranged, which leads to the differences in reception within the body. Here are some of the most pertinent facts surrounding THC and CBD.


Most of your high school friends love marijuana because of the THC present in the plant. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and it’s the primary psychoactive component found in marijuana. It gives you the “high” feeling when you smoke marijuana, consume an edible, or vape the product.

THC interacts with the CB1 receptor in your body. The CB1 receptors are primarily found in your brain and nervous system. CBD cannot bind to the CB1 receptor just like THC cannot bind to the CB2 receptor.

Both of these compounds offer similar medical benefits, CBD just does so without the high feeling. As such, marijuana and THC are often considered controlled substances, depending on what state you are in. Though public opinion on THC has begun to change with several states legalizing high levels of THC, federal law still limits its consumption.

Here are some of the primary health treatments offered by the consumption of THC:

  • Pain and chronic illness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and lack of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma
  • Muscle spasms
  • Anxiety

Unfortunately, the psychoactive functions of THC can take a toll on your body, especially if consumed in high doses. It can lead to higher levels of anxiety and even promote memory loss. Though it isn’t fatal to consume large amounts, researchers and doctors recommend limiting excessive consumption.


CBD stands for cannabidiol. Like THC, it offers a number of medical benefits including treatment for:

  • Seizures
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues
  • Bowel issues
  • Migraines

Unlike THC, however, CBD contains no psychoactive properties. This enables a CBD user to enjoy it throughout the day with little mental inhibition caused by THC. Because of this, CBD is legal in almost every state where marijuana has been legalized.

You can often buy CBD in an oil form to be smoked through a type of vape, like a Sourin Vagon. People will often vape the product throughout the day, even in larger doses where THC would otherwise leave you stuck at home. Many CBD users rarely feel ill-effects from the compound.

Keep in mind that there are over 400 types of compounds present in marijuana and they all work together to promote different effects on the body. Talk to your doctor and read the state laws regarding marijuana consumption to see if you can engage in this activity.