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CBD vs THC – What’s The Difference?

With rising popularity between CBD and THC, it’s very important to differentiate the two. Due the the wide range of health benefits from both compounds, it’s important to know which to take. While the close relationship between the two compounds may lead some to assume that both have the same impact on the body, the molecular structure of CBD and THC reveals the opposite.

The Difference Between CBD and THC

Yes, we already know that THC makes you “high” and CBD doesn’t. Simply put.

But if you didn’t know the chemical make up of CBD and THC, they pretty much are identical: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.

What differentiates the two compounds, however, is the arrangement of a single atom, which you can observe in the illustration below.

Now you’re probably wondering, with such a microscopic difference, how different can CBD and THC be?

The short answer — very, very different — but let’s go over the details.


There are currently 85 known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, the most prominent of which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD interacts with our body’s Endocannabinoid (ECS) which is a network of receptors that interacts with cannabinoids to maintain vital functions throughout the body. CB1 receptors are found abundantly in regions of the brain responsible for mental health, emotion, and cognition. CB2 receptors are found the CNS and immune system.


While CBD and THC both bind to the CB2 receptors, THC interacts with CB1 in a different way. THC is able to bind directly with CB1 receptors and when a bond is formed, the reaction creates signals that are sent to the brain, which results in a psychoactive “high.” CBD doesn’t bond directly with the CB1 receptor, effectively neutralizing the buzz you would get from THC.

While THC certainly offers tremendous health benefits, its mind-altering effects aren’t preferred by everyone. CBD, on the other hand, can deliver many of the same benefits of THC without inducing its psychoactive effects. Plus, when using CBD vs THC, you typically won’t be breaking the law… 


Although CBD and THC share many similarities, they have their own distinct differences and benefits. I want to clarify that neither is better than the other. Both cannabinoids offer tremendous health benefits and either both or one of the other could provide the relief you’re seeking.

To some, the psychoactive effects of THC could be a benefit instead of a negative. It’s all based on the the relief one is looking for.

We hope we cleared a few things up about THC and CBD and hopefully you know the differences between the two. Feel free to drop a comment below or send us an e-mail if you have any questions.

Next up, learn about the differences between broad and full spectrum CBD!

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