Cbd vs thc comparison

CBD and THC are common components that can be found in CBD products. They play a role within the functions of our Endocannabinoid System. And both have similarities and striking differences that can affect our bodies.

In this post, we’ll talk about the differences between CBD and THC, and their potential risks and benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Both CBD and THC are compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, have a very similar chemical structure, and interact with the endocannabinoid system temporarily.

  • The key difference lies in their psychoactive properties: THC produces the sensation of feeling high, while CBD has no such effect.

  • When ingesting both substances, CBD will decrease how “high” you feel because of THC – this is called allosteric inhibition.

  • CBD products with 0.3% or less THC are federally legal, but restrictions may apply depending on the state.

  • CBD is used to help with pain, muscle spasticity, inflammation, psychosis, anxiety, depression, PTSD, seizures, migraines, or insomnia.

  • THC may help with nausea or appetite problems caused by cancer treatment, tremors, or glaucoma.

  • THC isn’t allowed at high dosages, while CBD is generally well-tolerated even at a high dosage.

Video Guide

CBD and THC similarities:

Both CBD and THC interact with the Endocannabinoid system temporarily. To keep this simple, this means that both can affect our appetite, mood, sleep, pain sensation, immune system and memory.

Both also have a very similar chemical structure. CBD and THC have the same molecular formula of C21 H30 O2 and both of their masses clock in at 314 g/mol.

But there is one big difference that makes their regular usage very different…

CBD and THC differences:

While CBD and THC’s chemical structures are almost identical, there is one very important difference that can affect their regular usage.

THC contains a circlet ring in its structure, while CBD contains a hydroxyl group.

It looks something like this:

The difference between cbd and thc's chemical structure.

This key difference affects each of its psychoactive effects. Or to be more specific, that sensation of feeling high.

THC gives off that sensation of “highness” similar to what you get by smoking Marijuana. On the other hand, CBD has no such effect.

This makes CBD tolerable at a fairly high daily dosage as reported by a document published by the World Health Organization.

Let me explain this further…

CB1 Receptors and Anandamide:

Example image of neuro transmitters.

Think of CB1 receptors as something like a dormant receptor that only activates upon interaction with specific neurotransmitters.

The CB1 receptor can be affected by a neurotransmitter called Anandamide, also known as the Bliss Molecule.

In normal cases, Anandamide is released through rigorous exercises such as running, workouts or other blissful states such as yoga and meditation. This then activates the CB1 receptors and generates the feeling of pleasure, motivation and feeding behavior.

It can also sometimes give that “Runner’s High”. It is a feeling akin to a sense of joy or bliss. Those that experience this may exercise more just to chase that kind of euphoria.

Going back to the main topic, due to THC’s molecular structure being similar to Anandamide, they can also activate the CB1 receptors causing you to feel “High”.

On the other hand, CBD has a different structure that makes it unfit to activate the “high” receptors. It does, however, bind to other receptors in your cannabinoid system which can affect you in other ways.

But here’s an even more interesting finding:

One study found that CBD can “turn off” the CB1 receptors and make it so that THC will be unable to activate the receptor. This is assuming that you take both THC and CBD at the same time.

Let me give you a simple example for this:

Hypothetically, you consume a substance that contains 30% THC and 1% CBD. Doing so will make you will feel high. The reason for this is because THC will bind to your CB1 receptors with very little interference from CBD.

But what happens if you consume a substance that contains 30% THC and about 15% CBD? 

You guess it right.

It will make you feel less high because those CBD will inhibit THC from activating your CB1 receptors.

In layman’s terms, CBD decreases how “high” you feel when ingesting both substances. In the world of biology, this is called allosteric inhibition.

In the case of hemp products, the most reputable stores will indicate what percentage of THC and CBD are in the product you are choosing.

NV-US Organics, together with our partners, incorporates a proprietary process, enabling us to produce products that are THC-free. Check out what we offer here.

CBD and THC Sources & Legalities:

A man harvesting hemp produce

Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are substances that can be found in Cannabis Sativa.

You might be thinking, isn’t that the same plant used for an addictive and illegal drug? And you would be right.

But thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, products with extremely low concentrations of THC are now allowed. This is provided that the amount of THC does not exceed more than 0.3% THC. You can find it on page 2 of the document I’ve just linked.

As I mentioned earlier, THC can cause euphoric effects that can potentially cause addiction when consumed in high doses. But CBD does not cause such an effect. Therefore, this bill makes sense and so we can take advantage of the benefits we can get from Cannabis Sativa plants without causing addictive effects.

But just like any other plant, Cannabis Sativa has different varieties. The most popular ones are hemp and marijuana.

For both plants, the main distinction you should think about is the amount of THC they initially contain.

Typically, hemp plants contain less THC compared to marijuana plants.

For companies like ours that aim to get 0% THC for our products, extracting CBD from hemp plants is the way to go.

This is to avoid having a large amount of THC, making the extraction process very difficult.

CBD and THC Potential Benefits:

Although CBD and THC can often offer similar benefits, their applicable usage may differ.

The main reason for this is the psychoactive effect associated with being high brought by THC. This makes THC not viable for daily consumption at high doses. On the other hand, CBD can be applied daily and even with a fairly high dosage due to the lack of such an effect.

That said, here are some symptoms and illnesses that CBD may be able to help:

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Inflammation
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia

On the other hand, assuming intake of THC at regulated dosage can help with the following:

  • Nausea caused by cancer treatment
  • Appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
  • Tremors
  • Glaucoma

A lot of the research pertaining to CBD and THC is still in the early stages. But there is some evidence showing these substances can be used to alleviate the symptoms and illnesses mentioned above.

CBD and THC comparison in a nutshell:

As a quick summary, here are some points describing the similarities and differences between CBD and THC:

Can affect your Endocannabinoid system temporarily.Can affect your Endocannabinoid system temporarily.
Does not get you high.Can make you feel high.
Can decrease the euphoric (high) sensation caused by THC.Allowed public market consumption caps at 0.3% THC.
Tolerable even at a high dosage.Not recommended at high dosage.
Applicable to help with pain, muscle spasticity, inflammation, psychosis, anxiety, depression, PTSD, seizures, migraines or insomniaMay help with nausea or appetite problems caused by cancer treatment, tremors or glaucoma.


Both CBD and THC can provide health benefits. But due to the euphoric effects of THC, it is not recommended for high and daily dosage.

CBD on the other hand can give similar benefits without the risk of being high and can be consumed daily even at a fairly high dosage.

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