CBD and THC: Properties, Benefits, Side Effects and More

Consumers are currently opting for natural remedies to treat specific ailments. The change comes in the wake of many states legalizing the use of CBD, especially for medicinal purposes. As the market becomes awash with CBD products, consumers are becoming more cautious in their selection. Some CBD products have been found to contain higher levels of THC than what is labelled by the manufacturer. Consumers have been buying such products without knowing the levels of content between THC and CBD. So, what is the difference between CBD and THC? Are you well informed as a consumer on this front? This article will help you get the facts right.

Overview on CBD and THC

As a consumer, you are possibly encountering products labelled having ingredients of CBD and THC. You need to be informed to make the right choice when purchasing such products. Even though CBD and THC are closely related, they have different impacts on your body.


CBD is among the many chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. Being a product of hemp makes you wonder, does CBD get you high? The simple answer is no. It naturally occurs in the hemp plant and does not cause intoxication. It is used to produce CBD products that have been attributed to have benefits like medicinal value and relaxation.

THC, on the other hand, is one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa plant. It is a psychoactive compound that gives you a feeling of being ‘high.’ It does this by stimulating brain cells to trigger the release of dopamine, which creates a feeling of euphoria.


The molecular structure of THC and CBD is the same. It comprises of 30 atoms of hydrogen, 21 atoms of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. Regardless of the same molecular structure, consuming CBD and THC generates a different impact on the body. The difference in the arrangement of atoms in CBD vs. THC is what creates different effects on the body.

CBD and THC have the same chemical similarity to the body regulatory or endocannabinoid system. The similarity makes it possible to interact with the receptors of the cannabinoid. When they interact with the body receptors, the interaction affects how neurotransmitters will be released in your brain. The neurotransmitters, in turn, release messages to different body cells, which affect pain, sleep, and moods.

How Each Affects the Body

Both CBD and THC will create a bond with the CB2 receptors. However, their interaction with CB1 receptors is different. The psychoactive properties of THC as a compound found in marijuana are what will give you a feeling of being ‘high.’ Since it binds itself with receptors in the brain, it can influence mood, pain, and other senses. The influence is what causes the ‘high’ effect. The intoxication is what is considered as part of the THC side effects.

CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive. You cannot get high by consuming CBD products that don’t have THC in them. CBD is mainly associated with pain relief and achieving relaxation in the body. It creates a weak bond with CB1 receptors to accomplish this.


Both THC and CBD have medicinal benefits when you consume them. The psychoactive quality of THC is what brings the difference.

CBD is useful in managing conditions like inflammation, seizures, pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, and mental disorders. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Epidiolex in 2018. Epidiolex is a medicine containing CBD and is used to treat certain types of persistent epilepsy.

THC benefits, on the other hand, include managing conditions like spasticity of the muscles, pain, anxiety, low appetite, nausea, lack of sleep, and glaucoma. These are also considered to be the benefits of marijuana.

Side Effects

CBD vs. THC side effects vary due to their different composition and uses. CBD products are primarily tolerated well in the body, even in the event of excess consumption. Studies have shown that should there be any side effects from using CBD products, it is mainly due to interaction with other drugs. In such cases, you are bound to experience diarrhoea, nausea, drowsiness, stomach discomfort, and low blood pressure. It is thus advisable to consult a doctor should you intend to use CBD products while using other prescribed drugs.

THC is known to have side effects that you will experience temporarily during its use. THC side effects include having a dry mouth, temporary loss of memory, experiencing delayed responses to stimuli, reddening of eyes, and general problems with your coordination. Should you continue to use THC for a prolonged period, you are likely to develop disorders associated with psychiatry.

Drug Testing

Failing a drug test is a persistent worry among users of CBD and THC products. A typical drug test will not detect the presence of CBD in your body. However, a CBD specific drug test will reveal its presence in your body. This is because both of them accumulated in the body’s fat.

If you are using THC products, you need to be worried when going for a drug test. The presence of THC in your body will be picked up during the drug test. Chances of failing the drug test are therefore high.

CBD vs. THC Legality

With the popularity of CBD products and the fear of THC infused substances, consumers need to know the legal position of each. Many countries around the world, including the United States, are still prohibitive on the use of marijuana.

Under federal law, CBD that is obtained from hemp is legal. This has led to the production and sale of CBD legal products in the market. However, different states are enacting laws guiding the legality of CBD and related products. Owing to this, CBD is legal in some states while illegal in others.

THC and marijuana, on the other hand, are considered illegal substances. However, some states are enacting legislation that allows restricted use of marijuana and THC strictly for medicinal purposes.

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