The Difference Between CBD and THC

by Summer Kucky on April 24, 2020



With the legalization of marijuana and the growing popularity of marijuana and cannabis products, it is important that consumers understand the difference between CBD and THC. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are two natural compounds found in cannabis plants. In this blog we will discuss the different effects of these two compounds as well as where they come from and their benefits.

Before we can discuss the different compounds, we will briefly discuss the difference between the two types of cannabis plants, Hemp and Marijuana, as it pertains to where both CBD and THC come from. CBD can be extracted from either Hemp or Marijuana, but because Hemp contains virtually no THC the main source of that compound is the Marijuana plant, which can contain anywhere from 10% - 30% THC. Now that that is out of the way we can go into the difference between the two compounds. 


The High

THC is the main psychoactive compound in Marijuana and is directly responsible for the “high” that consumers feel after consuming it. This is the most notable difference between the two compounds.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, which means that it will not produce a “high” on it’s own. This is because it forms a weak (if any) bond with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. This is the opposite for THC which forms a strong bond with the CB1 receptors. 


Health Benefits

CBD and THC have many of the same health benefits and have been used to treat anything from general aches and pains to anxiety and insomnia. So far, the FDA has approved one CBD based drug called, Epidiolex, which is used to treat, difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy which are very uncommon.

CBD has also been used to help those with other medical conditions, such as:

    • seizures
    • inflammation
    • psychosis or mental disorders
    • inflammatory bowel disease
    • migraines
    • Depression
    • Pain
    • Anxiety
    • Nausea 
    • THC is used to help with conditions such as:
    • muscle spasticity
    • glaucoma
    • insomnia
    • low appetite
    • Nausea 
    • Parkinson's disease tremors
    • Pain
    • Anxiety
    • Nausea 



In the United states, laws regarding Marijuana and THC are constantly evolving and vary from state to state. Today, they are considered to be controlled substances and are prohibited under federal law. 

Some states have passed laws making the use of medical and recreational marijuana legal, and a list of these states and their laws can be found on

As part of the Farm Bill in December 2018, Congress legalized hemp which in turn legalizes CBD. However, there are still tight restrictions on the sale and distribution of CBD products. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws.  As of right now, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA. 


The Results

Below is a chart comparing the similarities and differences between THC and CBD (provided by It is important to keep in mind that the effects may vary from consumer to consumer and you should always seek the opinions of medical professionals when considering using either CBD or THC.

* CBD can be extracted from hemp (cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC) or from marijuana plants (cannabis plants with higher concentrations of THC).

** CBD isn't detected in hemp products, but hemp products may contain trace amounts of THC. THC may show up in high enough concentrations to produce a positive drug test.



Commissioner, O. of the. (n.d.). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Q&A. Retrieved April 24, 2020, from
Holland, K. (2019, May 20). CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference? Retrieved April 24, 2020, from
Martin, L. J. (2019, August 8). CBD vs. THC: Properties, Benefits, Risks, & Legality. Retrieved April 24, 2020, from


Legal Disclaimer

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice from your primary physician or any other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.