CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
CBD is found primarily in extractions from the hemp plant. It’s sold in gels, gummies, oils, supplements, extracts, and more.
THC is the main psychoactive compound. It can be consumed by smoking. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and more.
Both compounds interact with your body’s endo-cannabinoid system but they have very different effects.
Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing impacts on your body.
Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s own endocannabinoids. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors. The interaction impacts the release of neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells.
Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound. That means it doesn’t produce the “high” associated with THC.
THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria.
CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. In fact, it can interfere with the binding of THC and dampen the psychoactive effects.
CBD vs. THC: Medical benefits
CBD and THC have many of the same medical benefits. They can provide relief from several of the same conditions. However, CBD doesn’t cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC. Some people may prefer to use CBD because of the lack of this side effect.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, the first prescription medication to contain CBD. It’s used to treat rare, difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy.
CBD is used to help with other various conditions, such as:
psychosis or mental disorders
inflammatory bowel disease
THC is used to help with conditions such as: