Cannabis has more than seven hundred naturally occurring strains. They also have more than a hundred thousand chemicals in these plants, known as the cannabinoids. The two most commonly known and widely used, among them are the cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Some types of marijuana mainly contain CBD and some THC, however some like cannabis sativa contain both. While both are widely used, they are still a major area of research among the scientists.

Sometimes these two main active cannabinoids can cause the same effect with varied intensity, sometimes their functions can be different, or even completely opposite. Here is a comparison between the CBD and the THC.


The plant cannabis has three species. They are Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis. They contain varying amounts of THC and CBD. These plants have to be grown for a long time (a couple of years) to harvest moderate to high amount of CBD and THC. While Indica can produce the most amount of THC, Sativa in moderation, Ruderalis has it in negligible amounts.

These compounds are also found in marginal quantities in hemp seed, THC being negligibly present.

Chemical composition

Similarity: The chemical composition of both the cannabinoids is the same. With 27 Carbon atoms, 30 Hydrogen atoms, and 2 Oxygen atoms, they have a chemical formula of C27H30O2,

Difference: While sharing the same molecular formula, they differ in the arrangement of their constituent atoms. This alters their structure, which in turn affects their properties, activities in our body, and their metabolism.

Communication with the body

Similarity: Like all other cannabinoids, they interact with our body through the endocannabinoid system. They connect to the cannabis receptors and express themselves through our nervous system.

Difference: Almost all receptors in the body are substrate specific; that means that they only bind with specific compounds, known as their substrates. Due to the differences in their structural arrangements, CBD and THC have different receptors, thus different effect on the nervous system.

Effects on the body

Similarity: Although they have different effects on the body, they mostly affect the same systems, for example, the nervous system, gastrointestinal tract system, immune system etc.

Difference: CBD and THC cause a variety of different effects on the body. While THC would induce relaxation, drowsiness and hunger, CBD is known to reduce anxiety, inflammation etc. Some of the differences in these effects are described in detail as follows:-

Psychoactive Vs. not psychoactive

THC is more likely to have a psychoactive effect on the body than CBD. It is the reason why the user experiences the feeling of ‘being high’ after consuming it. This can sometimes involve inappropriate behavior, and disorientation to place, person or time. CBD is not known to have any such effect on the nervous system.

Effect on sleep

Studies show that THC can act as a very powerful sedative. It can cause a person to feel drowsy and sleepy immediately after being taken. However, CBD on the other hand, reduces the amount of sleep needed by the body, by preventing the feeling of sleepiness.

Effect on tumors and cancer cells

While THC has shown no effect on cancer cells and tumors whatsoever, CBS has. Initially it was only believed to be a cancer preventive compound, which would also stop cancer cells from proliferating. However, recent lab studies suggest that injecting it directly on tumor can also kill its cells!

Effect on human psychiatry

Using THC can cause anxiety, nervousness, and disorientation. However, the effect of CBD is entirely different. CBD is known as one of the most popular treatments for anxiety, social anxiety, fear of public appearances, depression, and mood swings and disorders. Often it is seen that using CBD is even more beneficial than anti-depressants, in order to treat depression.

Recently, some researchers suggest that THC can only trigger anxiety and nervousness in people who are already genetically predisposed to it.

Effect on brain health and nervous system

CBD has revolutionary effects on the brain and nervous system. Not only is it able to treat the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases, unlike any other medication, it has also shown to reverse their causes.

Other disorders of the nervous system like insomnia and epilepsy can also be treated by CBD. Researchers claim that CBD strains can treat certain types of epilepsies that currently have no effective medication available.

However, at present, the clinical trials using THC for to treat such neurological disorders are inconclusive.

Other medicinal uses

CBD is mostly used for medicinal purposes. Thus, it is used to treat other illnesses and disorders associated with the cardiovascular system, immune system, blood physiology and diabetes mellitus. For example, CBD plays a vital role in reducing the risk of blood pressure by dilating the arteries, and promotes heart health by helping the heart to beat in steady consistent rhythm.

Although THC is widely used for recreational instead of medicinal purposes, it does have some medicinal properties. It is used to appetite stimulation, pain relief, treat glaucoma and muscle spasm. It is also helpful to recover from addiction, and help with withdrawal symptoms.

Side effects

Similarity: Both the cannabinoids have side effects.

Difference: Unlike THC, the side effects of CBD are almost non-existent. However, mostly only manifest when it is regularly consumed in large quantities. Its side effects are dry mouth, appetite changes, nausea, and vomiting.

THC has some major and immediate side effects like anxiety, paranoia, delusion, and disorientation.

Legal status

Similarity: Legalization of medicinal marijuana is a topic of debate in the majority of the countries. While THC is mostly used recreationally and has side effects, CBD has some major medicinal and healing properties, with minimal side effects. Consequently, legalizing cannabis is a controversial issue.

Difference: CBD is legalized in some parts of the world, whereas there are also some countries where it is being considered.

We hope this article was helpful. But before using either CBD or THC, make sure to consult with your doctor, and be aware of the laws regarding it in your country or state. If you have any more queries, write to us on our email.



cbd vs thc

Public interest in Pure CBD was aroused by a recent CNN report on medical marijuana by several Liscensed Doctors. Previously some skepticism on medical marijuana, a few admitted to having been "brainwashed" by government propaganda.

CNN featured the story of a 5-year-old girl, Charlotte Figi, who suffered continual epileptic seizures from a rare disease known as Dravet's syndrome. Conventional treatment having failed, Charlotte's condition dramatically improved after she was treated orally with an extract of CBD-rich cannabis.

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