We often get the question, what is the difference between THC and CBD? CBD and THC are two cannabinoids that are often tossed into the same category when discussed. And while both components may come from the versatile cannabis plant, there are key differences separating CBD and THC.  Not only do the chemical structure and consumption effects differ, but the rules and regulations concerning CBD or THC consumption differ greatly as well—that’s why it’s essential to learn the true difference between THC and CBD.


The Difference between THC and CBD:

To start out, the major difference that most people notice is that while THC has psychoactive effects, CBD does not. That means that the “high” most people associate with cannabis products only comes from the THC. CBD does not create that same psychoactive effect, which generally makes it more likely to be legal to consume in a greater number of regions and countries.

Both CBD and THC are in marijuana and hemp, two strains of the cannabis plant. However, the concentration of both cannabinoids ranges depending on the plant type. Let’s take a closer look into the difference between hemp and marijuana, plus which contains higher concentrations of CBD or THC. 

The Difference between Hemp and Marijuana:

Cannabis has a wide history of industrial use for commercial purposes, including in textiles, papers, cosmetics, food, and other global industries. However, most people associate cannabis plants with marijuana due to marijuana’s use as a psychoactive drug. While cannabis can create psychoactive highs, it can also offer a variety of different benefits to people all around the world. When it comes to THC and CBD amounts, marijuana contains more THC while hemp contains more CBD. However, both plant types contain small quantities of both components, meaning that a hemp plant can still have trace amounts of THC. 

Cannabis can be broken into three distinct subspecies: satvia, indica, and ruderalis. For industrial purposes, hemp with low trace amounts of THC can also be called “industrial hemp,” showcasing that it is safe to be used in food and other products. 

Chemical Structure of CBD and THC:

When it comes to their chemical structure, both CBD and THC appear to be exactly the same in terms of what’s in there. With 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms, it might seem like there’s no big difference between the two cannabinoids. However, the structure of how these atoms are arranged creates a noticeable difference in each component’s function. 

 Despite their structural differences, both CBD and THC mirror the endocannabinoid components found inside everyone’s body in similar ways. CBD and THC can easily attach to the cannabinoid receptors found in the body’s nervous system. 

Legal Status of CBD and THC: 

CBD and THC are treated very differently when it comes to rules and regulations. That’s because while THC can cause psychoactive effects, CBD does not. The exact laws differ depending upon country and region. For instance, in the European Union, there are countless regulations limiting or allowing usage of CBD products depending upon their product classification. 

In the USA, both CBD and certain THC products—such as medical marijuana—are becoming increasingly legal to consume throughout the states. Currently, 50% of the states allow cannabis consumption for medical purposes, while others have approved high CBD, low THC products for medical use. 


While both CBD and THC have unique properties and benefits, CBD is far more widely used due to its legal status. When purchasing cannabis-based products, wherever you are, it’s important to carefully look into listed amounts of CBD and THC, plus ensure products have been third-party verified, in order to avoid any legal issues. After that, simply select among the premium CBD products best suited for you, such as CBD oil, CBD cosmetics, or even snack on CBD-infused food or beverages! With more and more areas around the world loosening restrictions on CBD-based products, there’s no limit to the range of CBD oil things you can find! 


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