Even since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, a common question has been: what’s the difference between THC and CBD?


As most people who understand cannabis as marijuana, this difference can be confusing. Not only because of the common nomenclature people incorrectly use around the plant, but in understanding that there’s an entirely different strain of the cannabis plant most haven’t been exposed to. Which, if you find yourself in the category of trying to get a grasp on the similarities and differences between each, then luckily, we’ve provided a simple explainer breaking them down. Check it out below:

The Basics

The biggest reason why people get CBD and THC confused is that they both come from the cannabis plant. While most also mistake marijuana and cannabis as the same thing, the taxonomy of them is wildly different. To put it simply, marijuana is a member of the cannabis family, as well as CBD. According to CBD Web, cannabis is often classified as marijuana if it contains greater than 0.3 percent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive component that gets people ‘high’. 

The Psychoactive Component (AKA: What THC Does To The Body)

The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that THC is considered a psychoactive ingredient. According to Live Science, cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, movement, thinking, concentration, coordination, and sensory. With THC, the brain releases dopamine, as well as interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus- the brain’s function for storing new memories. Additionally, THC can also cause hallucinations, alter thinking, and even cause delusions. Often, this is what people describe as the ‘high’ of marijuana, with CBD providing a different alternative.


CBD still interacts with cannabinoid receptors (hence, why we mentioned that both chemicals are derived from different variations of the cannabis plant), but is nonpsychoactive. Essentially, this takes a lot of the positive side-effects many THC users experiences, only without the altered thinking and hallucinations. We’ll note that both CBD and THC affect everyone differently, and as CBD has become incredibly popular, there are some bad actors in the industry selling bunk products...and as a result, skewing people’s perception of its effects. However, that’s why it’s important to rundown the effects of each.

What Are The Effects of CBD vs THC?

Although there are some similarities, CBD and THC have drastically different effects on most people. Healthline details many uses for THC and CBD in this article.


We’ll note that the nuances of each can play a role based on the strain. For example, some strains of THC cannabis can help with depression or migraines, however, that’s predominantly something people grow CBD for. And as one of the fastest-growing industries, CBD has become a product that’s being produced at a larger rate than THC products. Not only because of the legal status, but because of new sectors of customers that otherwise haven’t been into CBD before. Yet, now that they are, the demographic of CBD users vary greatly in comparison to THC.


Why CBD Became Popular

Beyond the fact that CBD is nonpsychoactive, a lot of people have gravitated towards CBD to replace a lot of over-the-counter medicines they were taking. Especially after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the CBD market has become flooded with an array of different products people can try, which opens up consumption quite a bit; for example, someone who was once afraid of smoking CBD buds can now consume it via tinctures or candy. Furthermore, CBD has been an object a lot of people like since it produces similar effects to the marijuana they’re used to, only without all the extra mental baggage.


As noted by CNET, researchers of CBD note that THC interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, however, CBD only interacts with CB2 receptors, which are in both the immune and gastrointestinal systems. With this, it’s consumption became easier, and when coupled with the fact it can be ailment to people, many started doing a cross-comparison to what they were currently taking. Although it should ultimately be up to the decision of your doctor to see if CBD is right for you, many have found it to be a better alternative when it comes to subsiding side effects, which is a big part of taking any medications. Weigh the pros and cons, as well as really do your research on what’s best for you long-term.

What’s Legal?

Currently, CBD is legal across all 50 states. On the other hand, THC is legal in only a handful of states for medical or recreational purposes. If you’re aiming to stay on the safe side, then CBD is the way to go. Especially if you’re trying to get the full medicinal benefits without any of the ‘high’, CBD is a great introduction. Our only recommendation is to go with a trusted source, providing someone who’s both knowledgeable, as well as can back up their information with receipts and lab results.

Are They Both Medicine?

Technically, both CBD and THC are used as a medicine, however, only CBD is currently legal across all 50 states. For many of the rest, the laws vary between letting people use THC for medical purposes (with laws varying drastically), as well as for recreational purposes. We’ll note that a common conversation that’s been happening nationwide is for THC cannabis to become legal nationwide given the success of the CBD industry. And with the economic impact of COVID-19, the conversation surrounding this has only gotten louder and louder.

Final Thoughts

When choosing between THC and CBD, there are a few different factors you need to consider. First, you need to understand which products are legal in your state, as well as what the impact of those laws could mean for you. If taking cannabis is primarily medical for you, then going with CBD is not only safer but often more popular by people who are looking for the plant to alleviate something. Additionally, THC can be effective in its own right for certain things, however, it’s best to consult with a doctor on what’s best for you. Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team below, as we can not only answer your questions on if CBD is best for you, but help understand what you might need to thrive as an effective solution.