Elements That Differentiate THC and CBD


With marijuana and its products becoming legal recently there has been a lot of conversation surrounding THC {tetrahydrocannabidiol} and CBD {cannabidiol}. These are two naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids that are present in plants classified under the cannabis genus. You can extract CBD from cannabis or hemp that is derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. THC is a psychoactive chemical in cannabis that causes the typical high sensation associated with the consumption of marijuana. Both compounds will interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system though they have several differences.

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Below are primary elements that differentiate CBD and THC.

Chemical Structure

The chemical structures of THC and CBD are similar in that they both comprise thirty hydrogen atoms, two oxygen atoms, and twenty-one carbon atoms. The cannabinoids are also chemically similar to the human body’s endocannabinoid system. This similarity allows them to easily interact with cannabinoid receptors and release neurotransmitters that affect sleep, memory, mood, or pain, among other feelings. The difference between THC and CBD lies in the manner of their atoms’ arrangements. The arrangement causes the cannabinoids to affect your body differently.

Psychoactive Compounds

THC is the chief psychoactive compound in marijuana, thus the high feeling associated with its use mostly among people who take marijuana recreationally. On the other hand, CBD rarely gets you high because its psychoactive effect is far lower than that of THC.

Furthermore, THC will bind readily with the brain’s CB1 receptors to generate a sense of exhilaration or high sensation. CBD will bind to the receptors weakly and sometimes will not bind at all. This means you experience minimal or no psychoactive effects with CBD. As such, most medical marijuana products on the market currently primarily comprise CBD rather than THC.



Most common cannabinoids found in Cannabis.



The laws governing the use of medical marijuana in the U.S change constantly. Under federal laws, CBD is still technically a schedule one drug. This is because while hemp is no longer a part of the Controlled Substances Act, the FDA and DEA classify it under schedule one drugs. Thirty-three states, including Washington D.C, have now passed marijuana-related laws that legalize the use of medical marijuana even if it has high THC levels. In this case, cannabis should be prescribed by a certified physician.

Some states have legalized the use of recreational THC and cannabis. In the states where the use of recreational and medical marijuana is legal, you can easily buy CBD as well as THC. It is essential to be conversant with your state’s laws on cannabis. If you are found with cannabis in a state where it is illegal, you can face hefty penalties. The same applies if you are found with marijuana but do not have a medical marijuana card in a state where only medical marijuana is legal.

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Medical Benefits

Though most people assume THC and CBD are used interchangeably for medical benefits, this is not the case. CBD is used for managing the following issues:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Migraines
  • Pain
  • Mental disorders and psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea

On the other hand, here are the common conditions that will benefit from the use of THC:

  • Glaucoma
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain



CBD can be used to treat various diseases.


Side Effects

Even in large doses, CBD is a well-tolerated drug. Research has linked most of the side effects associated with CBD to its interactions with other drugs rather than the cannabinoid itself. Some of the side effects of CBD include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss

Most publications have linked the use of THC with a range of negative psychiatric issues. However, this is only often a risk in adolescents who use high levels of THC. Some of the temporary side effects of THC include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed reaction times to stimuli
  • Memory loss
  • Coordination issues
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Red eyes

Thankfully, neither CBD nor THC has fatal side effects.

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Drug Testing

Cannabinoids are stored in your body fat and can be picked for several weeks on drug tests after using cannabis. While not all drug tests detect CBD, there are now CBD-sensitive tests. Most tests look for the chemicals that are related to the use of THC, probably because this compound is often used recreationally. Note that products that might claim to be THC-free are not necessarily so. If you are thus planning to undergo a drug test, steer clear of cannabis altogether.


Though THC and CBD are both found in cannabis, they are different compounds in regard to the above and other elements. If cannabis will hold some benefits for your medical condition, you should first visit us for a physician’s input on whether CBD or THC is your best choice. The physician will also give you a prescription and recommendation for medical marijuana.

Contact Us at MD Berry for medical marijuana recommendations or click the banner below to book your appointment.


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