CBD vs THC: Key Differences, Uses, & More


It is difficult to understand the effects of CBD when THC is occasionally stated as well. Are they from the same plant? Do you get "high" from both of them? What are the differences between CBD vs. THC? Keep reading to find out the details and what to expect if you have an upcoming drug test.


Read on to discover:



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CBD and THC Similarities

There are a lot of falsehoods and inaccurate information out there. Understanding multiple terminologies is crucial while reading about CBD and THC. Without understanding the meaning of several terminologies, it's simple to become confused. 

Scientists originally isolated cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from cannabis plants in the early 1940s, respectively. And that’s only two out of almost 500 cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis plants. 

These two plant substances are still being studied by scientists in order to learn more about their properties and potential medical uses and benefits. So, any info you find online is constantly being updated. 

In recent years, increased awareness of the cannabis plant and its two primary components has increased both its acceptance and popularity. Researchers are continually focusing their research on how the plant’s compounds affect the endocannabinoid neurotransmitter system.

Why It Can Get Confusing Understanding the differences between CBD and THC

The fact that CBD and THC are both phytocannabinoids contributes to some of the misconceptions people have about them. This indicates that they are cannabinoids derived from plants or the active components of the cannabis plant. All of marijuana's side effects, including foggy euphoria, dry mouth, munchies, and pain alleviation, are brought on by its cannabinoids.

While these components are what recreational users of marijuana rely on to become high, they are also the foundation of marijuana's beneficial effects on health. THC and CBD, together with the other cannabinoids, make marijuana a potentially effective medical treatment for many illnesses.

But it's crucial to remember that a significant distinction renders one legal and the other unlawful (in some states).

Effects of CBD vs THC

Even in high dosages, CBD is well tolerated. According to research, any negative effects of using CBD are probably the consequence of drug interactions between CBD and any additional medications you may be taking.

The negative effects of CBD include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea

THC, a cannabinoid with a higher potency, however, may have the following short-term adverse effects:

  • Accelerated heart rate issues 
  • Coordination issues
  • Mouth ache
  • Eye color
  • Sluggish response times
  • Loss of memory
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth

According to a certain study, THC, and CBD have few negative side effects and are generally safe.

However, chronic high THC consumption may have detrimental psychiatric repercussions. Although there is no proof that cannabis usage causes psychiatric problems like schizophrenia, this is especially true for teenagers who use substantial doses of THC.

However, even though these medications seem harmless, they could still have some negative side effects.

CBD vs THC Chart and Key Differences

It's illegal No Yes
Gets you high No Yes
Interacts with endocannabinoid system Yes Yes
Has side effects A few Has psychoactive effects
Can give a positive result on drug tests Possibly Yes
Increases appetite No Yes
Helps reduce anxiety Yes No


In 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law. In her testimony before the United States Senate, Amy Abernethy, MD, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Commissioner - Office of the Commissioner, said “Prior to the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, the CSA did not differentiate between marijuana and hemp, and all cannabis (with certain exceptions, e.g. sterilized seeds and mature stalks of the plant) was a Schedule I substance and therefore controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).” 

In short, the bill eliminated cannabis derivatives with low amounts of THC (0.3% or less) and hemp, a type of the Cannabis sativa plant, from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. 

The element in the cannabis plant known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what gives marijuana its effects and "high."

On the other hand, the cannabis plant contains the cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD). Because it doesn't contain THC, it doesn't generate a high. It can induce tiredness or relaxation. It also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which inhibit the cell-damaging effects of oxygen free radicals.

CBD vs THC Look

How a Cannabis Plant Looks

So, how can you distinguish a hemp plant from a cannabis plant?

Often, the CBD and weed flower appear identical to the untrained eye - green blooms with some trichomes that sparkle. Depending on their quality and farming practices, they are essentially the same.

To be more specific, the THC flower will typically have more crystal formations and a richer, deeper complexity than the CBD flower. It makes sense that most of the top growers, genetics, and research funds have gone towards making cannabis as potent and attractive as possible. Besides, the hemp flower has yet to catch up since it’s relatively new to the smokable market, while cannabis has been around for years.

In order to confirm that the Delta-9 THC is below 3%, consult the COA (certificate of analysis) if in doubt.

CBD vs THC for Anxiety

In recent years, CBD has been advertised as a treatment for a variety of medical health issues and other conditions, including:

The FDA has only authorized the use of one CBD drug, Epidiolex, to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two severe forms of epilepsy. It also approved the drug to treat seizures brought on by the TB sclerosis complex.

Although it has not yet received approval as a medication, CBD is being investigated as a treatment for other illnesses.

Therefore, it's unclear how CBD combats anxiety at this time. According to some studies, it might function by modifying serotonin levels in the brain. Your body contains a substance called serotonin that affects:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • Behavior

According to research, elevating serotonin levels may be beneficial for treating anxiety. Some drugs, like antidepressants, function by controlling serotonin levels, and some research indicates that CBD may function similarly to antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs.

Though the results are generally positive in studies, they don’t look at the long-term effects of taking CBD for anxiety. This means it’s unsure if taking the drug over time consistently reduces feelings of anxiety.

To Sum it Up

There are many differences between CBD vs THC, though they come from the same plant. From the looks to their effect - knowing these differences is essential depending on your needs. Also, their legality is significantly different, and keeping this in mind might save you from a mighty fine, getting fired from your job, or even jail time. 



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Hihi…these two compounds used to really confuse me, back then. I think it was because I knew so little about marijuana, then!

Ntensibe Edgar

I’ve always wondered what the difference in these two were. I have used a few CBD lotions for skin care and pain relief and they worked well.

Kristy Bullard

What an eye opener, so much information here, but useful facts that help inform a person’s decision x


What a great post comparing CBD and THC. I can see the pro and con to each one. I know CBD is so popular right now.
It seems like it’s everywhere!

Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com


I learn new things from this and I heard a lot of times about CBD before. But first time to know about THC. Thank you for sharing!

Fransic verso

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