Dropper with CBD inside and a container with CBD oil in the background

What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

People often get CBD and THC confused. Learn the differences between the two, including their different effects and components.

CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are two known active ingredients derived from the hemp plant. The popularity of products with these ingredients gained traction in recent years due to their touted benefits. They are used for stress relief, anxiety management, muscle relief, sleep management for chronic pain, and as daily supplements for healthy well-being.

But what’s the difference between CBD and THC? Can you legally buy them on U.S. soil? What are the adverse effects of adding them to my nutrition? These are some of the questions we’ll answer in this blog.

CBD and THC from hemp plant vs Marijuana

Rows of hemp plants growing in a greenhouse.

The hemp plant can produce fiber, clothing, food, CBD products, and other goods. Hemp produced in US soil must have a legally acceptable amount of below 0.3% THC, according to USDA regulations.

Its sister plant marijuana has a higher THC amount, which can make you “high”. It is illegal in many countries to produce it. It may also be heavily regulated in other countries being a controlled substance.

Main differences between CBD and THC?

Verma Farms CBD gummy worms creatively laid out.

  • Psychoactive effects

CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it’s not psychoactive or intoxicating.

THC is psychoactive, especially in high amounts. People who ingest high doses of THC have reportedly experienced brighter colors, a stronger appetite, and an inaccurate sense of time.

  • Legal status

While containing the legal amount of THC, hemp-derived products like CBD remain under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. On its own, CBD is legal in many U.S. states.

  • Availability

CBD products are more widely available compared to THC products, as CBD derived from hemp is legal federally in the United States and can be found in various forms such as oils, capsules, topicals, and edibles, while THC products are only available in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legalized.

  • Medical applications

There are available studies about CBD and THC as they affect our bodies. Some are focused on studying their potential medical applications in treating certain forms of epilepsy. 

More commonly, CBD is used for the following therapeutic benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory - to reduce inflammation, redness, or pain
  2. Analgesic - for pain relief
  3. Anxiolytic - for anxiety management; and
  4. Anticonvulsant - for prevention and treatment of seizures
  • Side effects

CBD is generally safer to take at any dosage with a few known side effects, including dry mouth and drowsiness. It interacts with the cannabinoid receptors of the body, including serotonin receptors, which contribute to the therapeutic effect.

THC, especially in high doses, can cause impaired memory and concentration. It will also cause the feeling of getting “high”. It binds with the CB1 receptors of the brain, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects.

Can CBD and THC be legally bought in the U.S.?

A woman paying at the counter of a store.

The legal status of CBD and THC remains complex in the United States. And their legality is dependent on several factors, including the source of the plant or where it is harvested and the concentration of THC.

CBD products like the Verma Farms CBD gummies and CBD topicals, which contain no more than 0.3% THC, are legal at the federal level. It is legal to buy, sell, and possess these products with the accepted THC concentration.

Each state has its own CBD regulations. And the legal status of CBD can change over time. It’s important to check regulations in your specific state.

Adverse effects of adding CBD/THC to my food and drink

Cups of CBD tea with hemp leaf on top

Due to the popularity of CBD as used by many celebrities, manufacturers have introduced them in oil, tinctures, capsules, gummy candies, and treats! Adding it to food and drinks like CBD coffee or CBD smoothie is a convenient and familiar way to incorporate CBD into your life.

It also has longer-lasting effects when consumed orally through food and drinks as it passes through the digestive system, and is absorbed by the body.

While rare, CBD may cause adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and mood or behavior changes. It can interact with certain medications, which can potentially result in side effects, too. While it has a typically safe profile, always consult your doctor before taking CBD products, especially for longer periods. 

They can be found in supermarkets and specialty stores in discrete containers. Some offer travel-friendly products that you can carry at work, in the gym, or when you go on a vacation.

If you like this blog, you might also be interested to read about the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD products here →.