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CBD vs. THC: Difference Between CBD And THC?

What Is The Difference Between CBD And THC?

One of the main questions that surround products in the CBD industry is: what is the difference between CBD and THC? There is often some confusion and misconceptions around the discussion of both as each compound belongs to the cannabis family.

The CBD wellness sector is flourishing, and the number of CBD products is rising. However, there are some significant differences between CBD and its counterpart THC. In this short guide, we take a look at what CBD and THC is, what they are used for, and the side effects of each.

What is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a compound found in cannabis plants. This natural element in the plant contains trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound typically known for psychoactive properties. However, research suggests that CBD might have health benefits such as reducing anxiety and chronic pain. This may be attributed to its effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls cell signalling. The research carried out so far indicates CBD may help to realign processes and systems in the body. However, studies are still being conducted into its effectiveness.

What is CBD used for?

Currently, CBD is primarily used as a food or wellness supplement. It is said that it might ease symptoms of a range of ailments, including stress, depression, and anxiety. The most commonly known CBD product on the market is CBD oils. However, you can also buy CBD gummies and capsules.

In recent years, CBD has also been prescribed for patients with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug Epidyolex is a purified liquid that contains CBD and is administered in medical doses to alleviate symptoms.

At present, other products containing CBD are not able to claim they have medicinal properties or benefits unless prescribed under medical supervision.

What is THC?

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound derived from cannabis plants that gets you high. THC has psychoactive effects on the body and is illegal in the UK to consume. It is most commonly known for its presence in marijuana and cannabis products, and these contain up to 30% THC. In comparison, CBD oils contain below 0.3% THC.

As mentioned above, cannabis is illegal in the UK, and there are very few cases where medical cannabis would be issued for pain relief or illness. However, in other countries such as the US, medical marijuana is available in some states.

In some cases, where other treatments have not worked, medical cannabis may be administered under a doctor. This might be the case for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and adults undertaking chemotherapy.

THC is also known to help ease issues such as:

  • Nerve pain
  • Parkinson’s Disease tremors
  • Nausea
  • Glaucoma

While CBD cannot claim to have medicinal properties and there is no conclusive evidence as yet on the CBD oil benefits for health, there are anecdotal reviews from individuals that use it. They highlight several benefits for health issues, such as:

  • Pain relief
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Acne
  • Neurological disorders
  • Heart health


The chemical structure of CBD and THC

On a scientific level, there is no difference between the chemical structure of CBD and THC. They both have the same number of atoms, but it’s how these are arranged in each that creates the variation. This arrangement means that the chemical properties are different, and each has varying effects on the body.

Looking closer at how each affects our systems, THC binds with the cannabinoid receptors, mainly in the brain, and this is the feeling of euphoria or that high you get when consuming it. In contrast, CBD does not cause this and is believed to link to other areas that affect wellbeing.

CBD and THC may have medical benefits, and in terms of health, they are also considered safe to use. However, there are possible side effects and potential interactions with other medications you’re taking.

Side effects of CBD and THC

Take a look at some of the main side effects of each.

The potential side effects of CBD:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Change in appetite

In many cases, CBD oil users do not experience significant side effects, and the above areas are generally temporary.

The potential side effects of THC:

  • Dry mouth
  • Slower reaction times
  • Red eyes
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems with coordination

These effects are mainly temporary. However, it is suggested that there are adverse psychiatric effects in the long term connected to taking high THC levels. This is particularly prevalent in young people who consume large amounts of it.

The legalities of CBD and THC

CBD is completely legal in the UK. However, it has to originate from an EU-approved industrial hemp strain or derive from outside of the EU. CBD products must also contain no THC and have lab-reports to detail the ingredients. In contrast, products containing THC are illegal in the UK.

Laws are frequently changing, and with more research, there may be developments in this sector. In countries such as the United States, many states allow medical marijuana. However, it is still illegal under federal law. Some states have also made recreational cannabis consumption legal, but this again is still illegal under US law. CBD is mostly legal in many states, but there are also regulations on how and where you sell products.

Main takeaways

Research into CBD and its benefits is still ongoing. However, we clearly know the main differences between the two compounds THC and CBD to avoid confusion. The law is changing in different countries to make CBD more accessible. In the future, there may be clearer studies into how this compound can help in medical science.

The selection of CBD products is growing, and many people share their experiences of using CBD oil and other products to help them in everyday life. This area of wellness is becoming a popular aspect of self-care, and it is becoming a prominent and powerful natural treatment for individuals looking to improve their mental health.

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