CBD vs. THC: What's the Difference?


THC and CBD are two cannabinoids that are most abundant in the cannabis plant. Both CBD and THC interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), but each induce different natural effects. They're also regulated differently.

Like other consumers, you likely have the same question: what's the difference between THC and CBD? Like all cannabinoids, CBD and THC both interact with your body's ECS, which is an important signaling system regulating a wide range of functions.

THC's and CBD's chemical make-up are similar to your own body's cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids, allowing them to interact with your ECS's cannabinoid receptors.

But how?

The Difference Between CBD vs THC

Despite their similarities, CBD and THC have marked differences, which influence the way they interact with your ECS.

Interaction With the Endocannabinoid System

THC binds directly with both receptors (CB1 and CB2), but has a greater affinity for the CB1 receptors.

CBD doesn't necessarily have much affinity for either of the two cannabinoid receptors, but rather works more like an indirect antagonist of cannabinoid agonists, meaning it works by suppressing the CB1 and CB2 activating properties of cannabinoids like THC. It also interacts with the vanilloid receptor TRPV-1 and the 5-HT1A receptors, and other non-cannabinoid receptors.

Psychoactive Components

THC and CBD don't have similar psychoactive effects, despite their similarity in chemical structures. Actually, CBD isn't psychoactive at all, meaning, it won't produce the "high" linked with THC.

THC binds with your brain's CB1 receptors, producing a sense of euphoria or high.

CBD weakly binds to CB1 receptors, if at all. In fact, it could interfere with THC's binding, and lessen the psychoactive effects.

Medical Benefits of CBD

THC and CBD treat medical conditions similarly. But, there's some variation in each substance's uses.

You may try CBD to help treat:

  • Seizures
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Depression
  • Mental disorders or psychosis

Medical Benefits of THC

THC could potentially help treat:

  • Muscle spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Low appetite
  • Insomnia

You might use either cannabinoid to treat:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Pain

Legality of THC and CBD

In the U.S., laws on cannabis are regularly evolving. Cannabis and THC are on the "controlled substances" list, therefore they're prohibited under federal law. 

But, Washington, D.C. and many states have passed marijuana-related laws that make medical cannabis with high THC levels legal. The cannabis may, however, require a prescription from a licensed doctor. Additionally, a few states have made cannabis and THC legal for recreational use.

In states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational purposes, you should have no problem buying CBD.

Before attempting to purchase products with THC or CBD, obtain your state law's information. You could face legal penalties if you possess marijuana-related products in a state that hasn't legalized them, or if it hasn't been prescribed to you by a licensed doctor in states where cannabis products are legal for medicinal purposes.

How THC and CBD Work Together

Anecdotally, marijuana consumers report less paranoia and anxiety when consuming products with both CBD and THC, as opposed to those containing only THC. A Journal of Psychopharmacology published study showed individuals provided with CBD before being administered a pure THC dose experienced less paranoia and cognitive impairment than those who received just pure THC.

Essentially, the two combined act differently than how they do when used separately. One or both actions could happen:

  1. CB1 and CB2 receptors could change.
  2. Receptors could be activated differently.

Basically, there's a change in the pathways your cells communicate through. If CB1 and THC interact less, you'll experience less psychoactive effects. CBD's presence makes you feel less high for some reason.

So, for some reason, you're not getting as much THC activity at CB1, and this lowers the potential for causing paranoia and anxiety.

All cannabis, technically, has both CBD and THC, but years and years of curating plants without realizing CBD's potential, means cannabis tends to be extremely THC-rich. Many have overlooked CBD content in favor of cannabis, guaranteed to provide an intense high. If after smoking cannabis, you tend to become anxious, you may want to try products with a more balanced CBD and THC ratio, or those higher in CBD.

Bottom line, CBD is rising in popularity because of its approachability. Since it doesn't have psychoactive properties, it appeals to many, including those who don't want the adverse reactions to THC, and those not trying to get high. Moreover, the World Health Organization reports little to no adverse side effects with CBD.

Experience Symptom Relief with a CBD-Infused Pillow

If you're looking to experience the benefits of CBD, and would like to do it more discreetly, you may want to try a CBD-infused pillow. That's right, you can experience all the therapeutic benefits of CBD in comfort while you sleep.

CBD-infused pillows can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Sleep
  • Mood

They can help with a whole range of medical conditions, just like it would if you were using CBD oil, particularly those who are struggling to get quality sleep or have insomnia. Instead of popping a sleeping pill, you would simply lay your head down on a soft pillow, and drift off to sleep peacefully.

Try a CBD pillow out today, and grab your free trial!