The Difference Between CBD and THC

The well-known marijuana herb is labeled criminal in many places, but it can actually provide unmatched relief for various ailments. Despite all its diverse medicinal effects, there are still many roadblocks and negative opinions in terms of appreciating how cannabis consumption can be healthy for consumers.

There are two active ingredients that are found in the marijuana herb (cannabis sativa). They are CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). This article takes a look at some of the similarities and differences between the two with regard to how these cannabis compounds interact with the body and the brain.

Both CBD and THC are important terms that all medical marijuana patients need to know about. These two are categorized as cannabinoids, which are the main chemical compounds contained in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids work their beneficial magic to provide relief for a wide range of symptoms like nausea, pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

But that is where the similarities end.

The general differences between these two cannabinoids are seen in the main effects that they produce in the body. That high feeling experienced with marijuana intake is caused by THC, which is the primary psychoactive component. It helps modulate eating and sleeping habits and also to reduce pain and inflammation.

CBD, on the other hand, lacks the psychoactive effect of THC and is also found in greater quantities in cannabis. The lack of a high after consuming CBD makes it suitable for widespread medical applications like dealing with depression, schizophrenia and the adverse effects of chemotherapy.

Key Differences

As mentioned above, cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol are some of the cannabinoids that naturally exist in the cannabis sativa plant. The main differences between these two cannabinoids come from how they cause the body to react, with both causing unique reactions.

Let’s look at the other key differences between these CBD and THC below:

Interaction with the body

One thing about cannabinoids is that they have a huge impact on the endocannabinoid system, particularly the central nervous system and the brain. However, CBD and THC interact very differently with these regions and their corresponding receptors. In fact, while CBD has a hard time binding to the cannabinoid 1 receptors, THC sticks very readily and is activated easily. This explains why THC has a stronger stimulating effect on the body.

THC mimics the pleasure molecule known as anandamide that is naturally found in the body. Various animal studies show that anandamide increases appetite by enhancing the pleasure linked to food consumption as well as playing a role in pain and memory. The THC cannabinoid closely mimics the anandamide key, thus activating the CB1 receptors and producing the same pleasurable feelings.

By contrast, CBD does not fit well with the body’s CB1 receptors. Instead of working to directly activate the CB1 receptors, it suppresses the ability of THC to stimulate CB1 receptors. Simply put, while THC works to stimulate the CB1 receptors, CBD offers a form of modulating effect on THC, thus minimizing its overall psychoactive effects.

The “High” feeling

That distinct high that also includes a feeling of general relaxation after consuming cannabis is caused by THC. It achieves this psychoactive effect by imitating the work of the anandamide neurotransmitter, which affects your eating and sleeping habits. This means that those interested in experiencing the recreational effects of marijuana should go for strains with higher THC levels.

Even though CBD is non-psychoactive, it can be combined with THC in a good ratio to create some sort of balance. By increasing the percentage of CBD in a certain cannabis cocktail, you can effectively mitigate the strong psychoactive properties of THC. The result is a more manageable high for most consumers.

Medical applications

A major difference between CBD and THC lies in their medical applications. In this particular area, CBD far outshines its THC counterpart. This is because CBD not only acts an anti-psychotic and reduces paranoia and anxiety, but it also helps in boosting your energy levels. Patients with pain, inflammation, bacterial infections, intestinal issues and epilepsy can all gain immensely from CBD intake. In fact, CBD can be used to treat many other ailments apart from the ones mentioned.

It is a general rule that doctors prefer using treatments that have as few side effects as possible. That is why CBD use for medical applications is so appealing since it is essentially non-psychoactive. By reducing THC ratio significantly in cannabis strains meant for treatment, the plant can now be used just for its therapeutic effects without any side effects. Actually, CBD has already been used for treating young kids with various health issues.

Sleep patterns

Cannabis is an excellent sleep aid and is used by many people to deal with insomnia and other sleep-related issues. However, you must ensure that you are taking the right strain in order to get the proper sleep-inducing effects. Strains with a higher THC content are linked to better sleep quality, especially for people with insomnia.

CBD, on the other hand, increases alertness and promotes wakefulness. Those with excessive sleepiness during the day can use CBD to stay alert as it also helps in boosting energy.

Anti-psychotic and anxiety benefits

Unlike THC, CBD offers an antipsychotic effect in the body, and this is what protects marijuana consumers from getting extremely high. Nevertheless, regulating THC is just a small part of the benefits of CBD, as it is also being tested for use in anti-psychotic alternative medicine for schizophrenia patients.

If you have ever experienced paranoia or anxiety after taking marijuana, then it is likely that you were taking a strain that is high in THC. Studies show that marijuana users feel very anxious if they take too much THC. However, CBD can also counteract this anxiety when either administered solely on its own or used in a balanced cannabis strain.


Although marijuana is subject to strict laws in most countries, especially with regards to THC, the legality of the CBD cannabinoid is not very clear. CBD is still technically illegal in America, but one medicinal form that is known as Epidiolex recently received FDA clearance for testing in kids with epilepsy.

Most notably, CBD is extracted in high quantities from hemp, which contains very small amounts of THC. Better known throughout history as material for making rope and paper, hemp is a highly versatile plant that can also be used in making household products, fabrics and plastics. Some companies even legally import hemp into the U.S. and are able to extract high CBD contents from it.

Sexual Experiences

The other area in which it is also important to highlight the differences between these two cannabinoids is in how they affect your sexual experiences. In this case, higher CBD strains will result in a less euphoric experience. This means that it will likely serve well for recovering after sexual intercourse or even reducing some of the anxiety. The main thing to note here is that CBD does not provide any significant mental change in its users that will impact sexual performance either positively or negatively.

In complete contrast, THC is critical to and has a noticeable effect on sexual performance. This is likely due to the huge mental change that it causes. THC results in either making the experience more pleasurable physically or preparing your mind better for intercourse.

Higher THC strains would, therefore, be recommended to anyone seeking to heighten their overall sexual experiences. In fact, according to many users, there is a significant positive difference with regards to sensitivity following THC consumption, unlike CBD consumption. Nevertheless, these beneficial effects are tied to finding the perfect CBD to THC balance, i.e. a ratio of 1:1.

Be warned that if you use an excessive amount of THC, it will definitely produce negative effects in your sexual experience by increasing anxiety. By using a well-balanced strain, however, you can achieve a nice mix of relaxation and euphoria without the excessive knockout power. The reduction in anxiety means improved experiences for new sexual partners as well as minimizing possible anxiety-related erectile dysfunction issues.

Regarding the sexual effects of CBD intake, it is best used for quickies when you have limited time to really immerse yourself in the high. Otherwise, just use it for reducing anxiety or recovering from acute pain after intercourse.

Differences in edible marijuana

All the above effects of CBD and THC are largely associated with oils or flowers. It is good to also consider the place of edible marijuana in this article. Interestingly, as more people realize the importance of potency, especially high THC percentages, some cannabis advocates support the consumption of small quantities of marijuana. Through micro-dosing, marijuana users do not have to consume too much cannabis so as to achieve the benefits of THC, thereby avoiding its negative psychoactive effects.

Taking a microdose of THC, for example, 1 to 3 mg, is enough to evoke that positive mental shift. Nevertheless, it is worth keeping in mind that edibles tend to react differently in every user based on how their bodies digest and react to them. Therefore, always take your edibles slowly in intervals of around 2 hours so that you can better weigh the effects.


Even though there are over 80 cannabinoids in a cannabis sativa plant, CBD and THC are the most notable ones and therefore, get a lot more attention than the others. Nevertheless, various studies show that no specific cannabinoid can be summed up as being either bad or good. All the various cannabinoids work together to create diverse, therapeutic benefits for the whole cannabis plant.

Thank you for reading!


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