CBD Vs THC: Definition, Difference, Benefits, and More

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two out of the 160 natural compounds found in the cannabis plant. While these compounds are found in the same plant and have certain similarities, like reducing anxiety and treating migraines, they still have functions that differentiate them. So let’s explore THC vs CBD unique.

What Is CBD Vs THC?

CBD vs THC for anxiety and depression is one of the most popular uses or needs of these extracts. However, they are more than just cannabis substrates used for mental disorders. If you’re searching for ‘cbd vs thc what’s the difference,’ here is a detailed overview of what each of these compounds are.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol is an approved prescription drug in many states and countries. This compound is found in cannabis plants or marijuana and is considered safe, hence its use for the treatment of various medical conditions. However, CBD is rarely approved for use in food and dietary supplements, but it is leveraged in producing cosmetic products like hair creams.

While CBD is medically approved for various health treatments, it is not advisable to use it excessively, even though it has not been proven to affect the lungs or kidneys. This is because excess use or a combination of CBD and certain medications can raise the levels of the enzymes in your liver, and this high enzyme level is one of the signs of liver damage.

What is THC?

Though the CBD plant vs THC plant are the same, they do not have the same effect on the body. As discussed earlier cannabidiol does not give a sense or feeling of high, and this simply means that it does not have the same psychoactive effects as tetrahydrocannabinol.

THC is the primary chemical compound in the cannabis plant that affects how people view things when they are administered a dose. It can cause a great feeling of excitement, bring a sense of calmness for some people, and even make one feel like they are floating or are on top of the world.  

For this reason, CBD drugs containing THC usually have an extremely low amount of the compound to reduce or maintain less psychological effects. Unlike CBD, THC is not sold in stores and medicine stores because it is illegal in some countries and states, however, the commonly available THC products are THC oils, edibles, smoke, and capsules. 

Since both CBD and THC are sometimes administered for the same medical conditions and purposes, it is expected that their effect on symptoms would be the same. However, people who have used the two compounds experience faster relief with drugs containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol.

Cannabis Types THC Vs CBD

While cannabis plant compounds CBD and THC are medically approved, not all types are because some contain high concentrations of other compounds that are not safe. Keep reading to learn more about THC vs CBD types.

1. Cannabis Types CBD

Cannabidiol is available in three types, and each has different compounds and concentrations they include:

i. Full-spectrum CBD

This cannabidiol product contains all-natural compounds in the cannabis or marijuana plant, including a small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol. The concentration of full-spectrum cannabidiol in these products must not be more than 0.3%, which is the approved content by the Food and Drug Administration.

ii. Broad-spectrum CBD

The broad-spectrum products must contain all-natural compounds in the cannabis plant. But unlike the full-spectrum cannabidiol products, tetrahydrocannabinol is removed completely or reduced to only trace amounts in the broad-spectrum products. This ensures that the psychoactive effects are maintained according to the Food and Drug Administration requirements.

iii. Isolates CBD

As the name implies, isolate CBD products contain 0% THC, which is deemed the purest form of cannabidiol. Unlike full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products that cause certain effects on the user, the isolate CBD does not create any effects when used.

2. Cannabis Types THC

Unlike CBD, which has only three types, there are five types of THC found in the marijuana plant, including Δ-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 8), Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv). How are the five THC types different?

i. Delta 8 THC

While Delta-8 is one of the over 100 compounds found in the marijuana plant, it is not found in large amounts. Due to this reduced content, a concentrated THC is mostly produced from CBD, which is popular as the hemp-derived cannabidiol. Notwithstanding, it can produce the same high sensation other THC products offer. 

There have been reports that the National Poison Control Centers received 2362 cases of delta-8 THC exposure between January 2021 to February 2022. This increasing number of casualties has increased concerns about consumer health, and it is important to be aware that delta-8 THC products are not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration for safe use for any condition.

ii. Delta 9 THC

Delta-9, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main or principal component in marijuana or hemp plants that triggers a high sensation in users. It was originally used for relaxation as it gives you a sense of giddiness, increased focus, and relaxation after use. However, all these effects are short-term, usually between 3-7 hours, though it might be longer in some people.

While small percentages of delta-9 are approved for addition in CBD, it can cause side effects like difficulty thinking and speaking, anxiety, dry mouth, memory loss, rapid heart rate, etc. Unlike delta-8, delta-9 is FDA-tested and approved, so it is legal in certain countries and states in the United States. However, the Food and Drug Administration has specific requirements for THC addition or use.

iii. Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a THC type that is considered safe, and it doesn’t foster psychoactive effects or a high feeling unless it is heated. This is because when THCa is heated, it is transformed into delta-9 or THC, which is the major psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. 

For this reason, it has been approved to be administered for relief from inflammation and pain and is for treating various conditions like arthritis and seizures. Also, THCa is a neuroprotectant—a compound that can defend the central nervous system (CNS) against injury due to both acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. Hence, it is ideal for treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

iv. Tetrahydrocannabivarin

This psychoactive THC type is found in sativa strains of the cannabis or marijuana plant. Unlike THCa, which doesn’t cause a high unless heated, tetrahydrocannabivarin products are one of the popular THC derivatives that produce more feelings of euphoria than other THC derivatives.

THCV products have various benefits as well as side effects. Some benefits are seizure reduction and reduced cravings for addictive substances. On the other hand, their most prevailing side effects include reduced appetite, which is bad for certain individuals but ideal for consumers looking to reduce weight.

v. Tetrahydrocannabiphorol

Like THCV, tetrahydrocannabiphorol or THCP is another psychoactive THC product found in the sativa strains of the cannabis plant. THCP is stronger than traditional THC because it binds to cannabinoid (CB1) receptors up to 30 times more often than regular THC. While there are not many details about its benefits since it was discovered in 2019, THCP is known to offer similar effects as THC, such as pain relief, fighting nausea, etc.

CBD Vs THC: Difference in Chemical Structure

When it comes to analyzing the difference in the chemical structure of Delta 9 THC vs CBD, not much can be derived. This is because they have the same chemical formula—30 hydrogen atoms, two oxygen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. So what causes the difference in CBD chemical structure vs THC chemical structure? 

The difference comes from the atomic arrangement of both chemical compounds. CBD contains a hydroxyl group, while THC contains a cyclic ring, and this distinction is what makes them have different pharmaceutical properties, effects on the body, and different chemical properties.

CBD Vs THC: Difference in Effect on the Human Body

Many people are prescribed or take CBD and THC for various reasons. Over the years, it has been proven that though they are both used to treat similar conditions, CBD vs THC affects the human body differently. As we saw earlier, the first is not the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, so it does not cause high.

But THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plants, causes the user a greater sense of euphoria. It is even added in small amounts to CBD products to create the entourage effect—a hypothesis that cannabis compounds, except THC, react with THC to increase the psychoactive effect of the product.

CBD Vs THC: Medical Benefits

THC and CBD dosage forms that have been tested and approved by the FDA have numerous health benefits. They are used in this sector for treatments of many medical conditions like CBD vs THC for back pain or CBD vs THC for joint pain. Some other cases where THC and CBD are administered to patients include the following:

CBD Vs THC for Pain

When comparing the health benefits of CBD vs THC, pain is one of the common areas of concern. Both THC and CBD reduce inflammation, which in turn decreases the way the mind perceives pain.  But when compared with each other, CBD tends to ease pain at lower levels, while THC seems to have a greater effect on how the mind perceives pain, especially during applications of THC vs CBD for neuropathic pain

2. CBD Vs THC for Anxiety

When comparing CBD vs THC anxiety effects, it is important to know that both cannabis compounds fight anxiety but at different levels and show differences in side effects. First, cannabidiol is excellent for people suffering from anxiety disorders, regardless of dosage. So, it is safe to say that isolates CBD (i.e., pure cannabidiol) do not worsen anxiety, as it is not commonly considered marijuana in this state.

On the flip side, THC is also ideal for combatting anxiety, but only when administered in smaller doses. This is because higher doses of tetrahydrocannabinol can lead to panic, paranoia, increased stress, and even induce anxiety.

3. CBD Vs THC for Sleep

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects about 55% of adults at some point in their lives. Since it is so common, ways to tackle this disorder have been practiced. Some individuals combat insomnia by avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime, others get regular physical activity during the daytime, and many others avoid napping in the afternoon.

Besides these remedies, these cannabis compounds can help people rest better, reducing fatigue, and they are also ideal for people who struggle to sleep or stay asleep. However, CBD fights or decreases symptoms of insomnia more effectively than tetrahydrocannabinol.  

4. CBD Vs THC for Nerve Pain

Why do you think the effect of THC vs CBD are different? Well, that is because CBD doesn’t bind to the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors within the nervous system and brain, but its counterpart does. Now, even though CBD relieves symptoms, THC’s neuropathic feature provides better relief for nerve pain. So, medical practitioners usually recommend a full or broad-spectrum CBD product or a small dose of delta-9 for patients struggling with this condition.

5. CBD Vs THC for Cancer

Cannabis extracts are used for palliative care to relieve nausea and reduce pain. However, CBD has a more therapeutic effect than THC, which is much more relevant in treating and managing cancer. Still, countries like Canada approve cannabis products (CBD vs THC cancer treatment) with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD, for relief of pain in advanced cancer and multiple sclerosis because they are more effective as a pair than alone. 

6. CBD Vs THC for Depression

Depression is a medical condition that leads to a lack of interest and consistent sadness. It affects how the victim feels, thinks, acts, and relates to their environment.  There are various stages of depression, but severe depressive disorder leads to death, and record shows that it causes over 800,000 deaths yearly.

Among the many stages of depressive disorder, about 280 million people worldwide struggle with depression 1, and most of these victims are women. Various treatment methods are recommended for these individuals, but most of all, some rely on self-treatment using tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. 

This is because CBD products with a small amount of about 0.3% THC are most effective for depression. So, if you are asking, should I take CBD or THC for depression? The answer is yes, you can, but it is advisable to communicate with a healthcare provider or a therapist; they’ll recommend the best treatments for you. 

7. CBD Vs THC for Seizures

Many people prevent repeat seizures by completely avoiding their triggers, but aside from avoiding them, compounds (CBD and THC) from the cannabis plants are leveraged. So, what is better for seizures, CBD or THC? When it comes to seizure treatments, products with high CBD levels and extremely low THC are medically recommended.

8. CBD Vs THC for Sex

THC gives a sense of high, and for a few people, it is ideal for a greater feeling of euphoria during sex. On the flip side, CBD does not provide a high feeling, so you may not achieve the results you need, but it is extremely helpful for relaxing and alleviating pain. Additionally, it is not advisable to use THC frequently to avoid having trouble with body movement, memory loss, constant mood swings, psychosis, and other kinds of mental disorders.

CBD Vs THC: Recreational Use and Effects

Since cannabidiol does not cause high or have a great euphoric effect, it is not used for recreational purposes. However, THC, with its psychoactive effects, is used in this setting, and it offers short-term effects such as:

  • Filling of excitement
  • Gives some people the ability to think and solve problems
  • For most users, they become more coordinated after using THC
  • THC can altercate your sense of time
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Pain relief
  • Anti-depressants

However, over the long term and especially in higher doses, it can lead to:

  • Trouble with body movement
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble thinking, learning, or problem-solving
  • Changes in brain structure
  • Trouble at work or in school
  • Intense nausea and vomiting
  • Mental health disorders, including psychosis and depression
  • Distrust and panic
  • Lung issues, such as a chronic cough and trouble breathing

CBD Vs THC: Difference in Side Effects

As discussed earlier, CBD does not cause highs. However, it also has side effects just like tetrahydrocannabinol. Though CBD product’s side effects are usually not as severe as THC products, it is important to know of them in case you feel any different during your treatment. Some CBD side effects include;

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Extremely rare impact on the liver and male fertility

The FDA tested and approved CBD to be safe for use, notwithstanding the dosage, so it is important to know that the majority of these side effects are rare. Moving on to the side effects of THC, here are some that were not previously mentioned in the recreational THC side effects;

  • Philosophical thinking
  • Disruption of linear memory
  • Paranoia
  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Addiction or marijuana use disorder
  • Increased anxiety and fear

Anxiety and panic attacks are the most recorded side effects of consistent tetrahydrocannabinol use. So, if you are considering using cannabis plant products to tackle anxiety, ensure that the extract has a higher ratio of CBD to THC.

Cannabis CBD Vs THC: Difference in Legality

As discussed earlier, the FDA, a federal body, has tested and dimmed CBD safe for use, but at the end of the day, the final say lies in the hands of the state. This is why CBD and THC are illegal in certain states and legal in others. 

CBD Vs THC: Drug Test

Drug tests for cannabis extracts can detect THC or other marijuana compounds used within one to three days or more. CBD will not come out positive during drug tests, but this is only possible for 100% pure (isolates ) CBD products. Since THC will fail a drug test, CBD products containing even the least or trace amount of delta-9 will be positive during a drug test.

What Is the Difference Between a CBD Vs THC High?

When it comes to the comparison of high THC vs high CBD, pure cannabidiol does not cause a high unless it is combined with large or trace amounts of THC, making it an ideal option for treatments of anxiety disorders and other therapeutic conditions. On the other hand, THC causes a high, and in some of its derivatives, these effects are even higher than the origin.

CBD vs THC… A Doctor’s take | CBD is a safe alternative for pain, anxiety, and sleep

CBD Gummies Vs THC Gummies

Gummies made from cannabis plants help in pain relief, reduction of anxiety, alleviating sleeping disorders, and treating other medical conditions. However, the concentration of these compounds must be monitored carefully to ensure that they are truly safe for the users. 

Although both come from the cannabis plant, CBD feeling vs THC feeling is different, so it is more advisable to use CBD gummies because THC gummies contain over 20% tetrahydrocannabinol. In comparison, CBD gummies must not contain anything more than 0.3% THC.

CBD Edibles Vs THC Edibles

Cannabis edibles are items that are made from the decarboxylation of CBD vs THC (cannabinoids), including THC and CBD. If you want to feel more relaxed and less anxious, use CBD because it causes little to no high, no matter the dosage. However, a CBD vs THC edible containing higher levels of delta-9 have a more intoxicating, euphoric, or psychoactive effect. 

Is THC Addictive Vs CBD?

CBD use is less likely to become an addiction, but it is not the same for THC since many people use it to either feel a short-term excitement or escape their world or problems for a few hours. They may rely on these drugs completely, and this will become a regular habit they cannot do without, leading to mental health disorders and lesser productivity.

Knowing that higher productivity leads to increased sales and higher revenues, it means the less efficient workers become, the less supplies can be completed, and the more money will be lost. Check this out: Every business loses an average of $740 billion due to poor productivity fueled by drug abuse and addiction.  

So, when undergoing treatments involving cannabis extracts, are in the market for marijuana, or are smoking CBD vs THC, ensure you buy or are administered CBD extracts with lower percentages of THC or use only cannabidiol if it can provide the relief needed.

CBD Vs THC Chart

Here is a chart that further elucidates the differences and similarities between cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol.

Psychoactive effects (produces a high)No, it doesn’t.Yes, it does.
CBD vs THC for quality sleepYesYes
Side effectsSome Commonly psychoactive but may cause mental disorders and psychosis when abused.
CBD vs THC for migrainesEases migraines Eases migraines
Can you take THC vs CBD legally?Depends on your state.Depends on your state.
Pain reliefYesYes
Alleviates depressionYes, no matter the dosage.Yes.
Reduces seizuresYesNo
CBD vs THC for appetiteDoes not increase appetite Increases appetite
Does it help with insomnia?Yes Yes
Does it tackle psychosis?YesNo
Visibility in drug testsRarely.Yes
Does it reduce nausea?YesYes
CBS vs THC anti-inflammatoryYesYes



While CBD vs THC cannabinoids’ chemical structures are slightly different, they can relieve various conditions, including inflammation, pains, cancer, anxiety, skin, and cosmetic disorders such as eczema, arthritis, and psoriasis (an autoimmune skin condition). However, this article highlighted the difference between these two cannabis compounds, including their side effects and high to help you make better decisions.


1. Does CBD Feel Better Than THC?

While cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol sometimes offer relief to similar health conditions, their euphoria or ‘feel good’ effects are different. Generally, CBD does not feel better than THC, in fact, small amounts of THC are sometimes added in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products to improve the entourage effect, making them work better as a pair.

2. What Does CBD Do to You?

As discussed earlier, when comparing the effects of CBD by itself vs CBD with THC, you’ll find that it does not have a psychoactive effect, meaning it doesn’t cause highs in individuals unless combined with THC. So, it is used to proffer relief to chronic pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, migraines, epilepsy, and autoimmune diseases.

3. Is CBD as Powerful as THC?

No, CBD is not as powerful as THC when it comes to its effects on mental health. However, in specific medical treatments, especially anxiety treatments cannabidiol may be more effective than THC. 

4. Are the Effects of Delta-8 THC Similar to CBD?

No, they aren’t. Especially when considering that CBD derivatives are FDA tested and approved for treatments of various medical conditions and delta-8 is not examined or approved for use in any condition.

5. Can THC/CBD Make Anxiety Worse?

When comparing their anxiety increment levels, CBD decreases anxiety no matter the dose. Meanwhile, a small dose of tetrahydrocannabinol reduces anxiety, but higher doses of THC can make anxiety worse, no matter the condition being treated.

6. Should You Tell Your Healthcare Provider You Use CBD or THC?

It is important to inform your doctor if you’re using any cannabis product because THC and CBD react with sedatives, over-the-counter, and prescription medicines like benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and alcohol, causing excess fatigue and sleepiness.

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