Difference between CBD & THC


Two of the most well-known and studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – each has its distinct properties and effects on the human body. So, let’s learn about the differences between THC and CBD – from their benefits to their side effects.

CBD vs THC: What are the main differences?

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that does not result in intoxication. It interacts with cannabinoid receptors differently, impacting the endocannabinoid system more indirectly.

On the other hand, THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid primarily responsible for the “high” experienced when consuming cannabis. It binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, activating them and leading to various physiological and psychological effects.

CBD vs THC: Psychoactive effects explained

One of the critical distinctions between CBD vs THC lies in their psychoactive properties. CBD does not produce intoxicating or psychotropic effects, while THC induces euphoria and alters perception, leading to the characteristic “high” associated with cannabis use.

CBD vs THC: Medical applications

Although their applications differ significantly, CBD and THC have shown potential therapeutic value in various medical conditions.


THC or medical cannabis is commonly prescribed for its pain-relieving properties, making it beneficial for individuals with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathic pain (1).

CBD vs THC: Are there any side effects

While CBD and THC are generally well-tolerated, they can produce side effects. THC consumption can impair short-term memory, impaired coordination, and altered judgement. It may also cause anxiety, paranoia, and increased heart rate in some individuals. 

Conversely, CBD effects have a favourable safety profile, with most reported side effects being mild, such as fatigue, dry mouth, and changes in appetite or weight (2)

CBD vs THC: Legal status explained

The legal status of CBD and THC varies across different countries. CBD has seen a shift in legislation, with many countries legalising its use in cosmetics, vapes and food supplements, often with restrictions on THC content. CBD derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, is legal in many parts of the world.

Conversely, in many cases, THC is classified as a controlled substance in many countries due to its psychoactive effects. However, some regions have legalised its medical or recreational use under specific circumstances.

CBD vs THCs synergistic effects: an in-depth review

CBD and THC usually coexist in cannabis plants, and their combined effects can differ from those of each cannabinoid individually. The interaction between CBD and THC, as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes, is known as the entourage effect

CBD can modulate the effects of THC, potentially reducing its psychoactivity and counteracting some of its adverse effects. This interplay between the two cannabinoids highlights the importance of considering the entire chemical profile of cannabis when evaluating its effects and potential medical applications.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)CBD (Cannabidiol)
PsychoactivityPsychoactive compound found in cannabis plants.Non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis plants.
Effects on bodyProduces a "high" sensation and alters perception.Does not produce a "high" or alter perception.
Medical applicationsEases pain, reduces nausea, stimulates appetite.Epidiolex is the only approved CBD medicinal product and is used to treat seizures
Legal statusControlled substance in many countries.Legal in many countries, subject to regulations.
Side effectsCan cause anxiety, paranoia, impaired memory, coordination, and addiction.Generally well-tolerated, with few side effects.
UsageRecreational and medicinal purposes.Primarily used as a supplement in health and wellness.
Drug testingDetected in drug tests –may result in positive test.Does not typically show up in drug tests.
SourceFound in higher concentrations in marijuana.Found in both marijuana and hemp plants.
ResearchExtensively studied, but limitations due to legal restrictions.Growing body of research as interest and popularity grows.

What is CBD?

Wondering, what is CBD? CBD or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of the many cannabinoids present in cannabis, alongside THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. Unlike THC, CBD is not intoxicating and does not produce mind-altering effects.

CBD gained significant attention due to its potential therapeutic properties. It is extracted from hemp plants, a variety of cannabis containing low THC levels. CBD products typically contain little to no THC, making them non-intoxicating and legal in many countries.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates various physiological processes such as pain sensation, mood, appetite, sleep, and immune response. CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the ECS, primarily CB1 and CB2 receptors, although its mechanism of action is not fully understood.

What is CBD?

What is THC?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the primary psychoactive component responsible for the “high” or intoxicating effects associated with cannabis use. THC interacts with specific brain and central nervous system receptors to produce various physiological and psychological effects. 

THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the brain when consumed. There, it binds to CB1 receptors. This interaction alters the release of neurotransmitters, leading to the effects of THC.

Apart from its psychoactive effects, THC also has potential therapeutic applications. It can be used to alleviate different types of pain. Medical cannabis products with controlled amounts of THC are sometimes prescribed to patients with certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, or epilepsy. (1,4)

It is important to note that THC is a controlled substance in many countries. Laws and regulations surrounding cannabis and THC can vary widely depending on the country.

What is THC?

THC effects on body and mind explained

1. Euphoria and relaxation 

THC activates the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine for feelings of euphoria and relaxation. (5)

2. Altered perception 

THC interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, including those involved in sensory processing, leading to alterations in perception and sensory enhancement. (6)

3. Cognitive effects 

THC can impair short-term memory, attention, and cognitive function. It affects regions of the brain involved in learning and memory formation. (7)

4. Psychomotor impairment 

THC can impair motor skills and reaction time, affecting tasks such as driving and operating machinery. (8)

5. Increased heart rate 

THC can cause an increase in heart rate shortly after consumption. This effect may be more evident in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. (9)

6. Dry mouth and red eyes 

THC can cause dry mouth due to its interaction with saliva production. It can also lead to bloodshot or red eyes due to expanding the blood vessels. (6)

It’s important to note that the effects of THC can vary depending on factors such as dosage, method of consumption, individual tolerance, and the strain of cannabis used.

What’s the best way to take CBD for me?

CBD Capsules

The most common way to take CBD is orally. That’s because ingesting CBD capsules are a great place to start – it’s easy to manage your dosage and many people are used to taking tablets or capsules, so it feels completely familiar.

Dosage is really important when it comes to CBD usage too, and this option offers an accurate way to monitor how much you’re having each day. Every person has different needs, and reacts to CBD strengths in different ways, so it’s important that you begin with a small dose before slowly increasing – simple to do with capsules.

CBD Capsules for travel

But remember, it can take 45 minutes for the CBD to become fully digested by your body, so don’t ever take more than the recommended amount. Overall, if you’re new to CBD, it’s definitely recommended you give capsules a try first.


Familiar with CBD? Or need a high-strength CBD Oil? It’s time to learn how to take CBD oil. For this, you simply place a few drops under your tongue and hold it there for around a minute. This is a quick and effective way to get the CBD into your bloodstream, and offers a more cost-effective solution for daily use.

The important point here is to watch your intake. With a pipette dispenser (which oils usually come with) it’s easy to take more (and we mean way more!) than you need.

Naturecan cbd oil

Oils come in different strengths so be sure to choose wisely, taking into consideration the amount of CBD you need and your reasons for taking it. For example, the CBD volume needed for restful sleep is much less than what’s needed to manage pain.

CBD Balms

When it comes to aches and pains, it’s all about focusing on the troublesome issue – whether it’s a sore joint or muscle pain – and with topicals you can keep CBD benefits localised to the point where you need them most.

Extracted from certified organic hemp, reap the health benefits of this all-natural plant with our quality CBD Balms. From our Chilli Heat CBD Balm to support post-workout, to our CBD Joint Balm for everyday care, there’s something here for everyone.

CBD Edibles

But what if you want to casually add CBD to your diet? Well, CBD edibles offer you a great (and usually delicious) way to introduce your body to CBD. And yes, we know you ingest these too, but when something comes in the form of a snack and has the power to satisfy your sweet tooth, too, it deserves a shout-out of its own.

If you can name it, it’s probably been infused with CBD. Chocolate, nut butters, cookies and brownies – some of your favourite snacks that not only feed those cravings but give you a dose of CBD, too.

CBD Chocolate for travel

However, if you’re trying to get a specific dosage from your CBD product, always check the nutritionals on these sweet treats as many won’t reach the level you require, with only a small amount (in most cases) added to each.

CBD Vapes

CBD Vapes are an effective way to absorb CBD into the body. The bioavailability is higher than other routes of administration such as sublingual oil drops and topical creams. This means that CBD can enter into the bloodstream faster and its effects can be felt sooner.

It is important to understand that vaping is still a fairly new phenomenon, and the industry is still in its infancy. However, it is well understood that when compared to smoking cigarettes, vape products produce far less of the harmful chemicals usually present in cigarettes.

cbd vape juice

Following an independent review, Public Health England concluded that” e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than tobacco (cigarettes)”. While vape products are seen as a reduced-risk alternative for smokers, we would not encourage non-smokers to take up vaping.

Finding your CBD dosage: What’s the best dose for me?

Dosage differs with each person, depending on a range of factors such as weight, height, and reasons for taking CBD. If you’re unsure how to take CBD oil, we recommend taking 1-2 drops at first to see how your body reacts before increasing your amount.

The FSA recommends a maximum total daily CBD dose of 70mg. This includes any additional products, so please ensure that you never exceed this amount. While following this guidance, you can manage your daily dosage based on what works best for you, and combine various CBD products if desired.

To find your CBD dose, click on our Dosage Calculator below:

Differences in CBD products: Broad-spectrum vs isolate

CBD products come in various forms, and two common types are broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. The main difference between them lies in the composition of cannabinoids and other compounds in the product.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD contains a wide range of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, and others. It also includes various terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial plant compounds. The combination of these compounds creates what is known as the “entourage effect,” where the different components work together synergistically to enhance the overall effects.

With enhanced therapeutic effects due to the entourage effect, this potentially provides a broader range of benefits due to the presence of various cannabinoids and other compounds. Broad-spectrum CBD products may contain up to 0.3% THC, the legal limit in many countries.

What are the different types of CBD oil?

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD available as it is extracted from hemp and refined to remove all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant compounds. It consists solely of CBD in an isolated form, typically in a crystalline or powder form, with no detectable THC.

Its Zero THC content makes it suitable for those who need to avoid THC altogether or undergo regular drug tests while being odourless and flavourless, making it easy to incorporate into various products. However, the absence of other cannabinoids and compounds means missing out on the potential benefits of the entourage effect.

how to use cbd isolate

Other cannabinoids and terpenes

There are numerous other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, apart from THC and CBD. Here are some additional cannabinoids and terpenes:


  • CBC (Cannabichromene) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid often found in low concentrations within the cannabis plant.
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid) is the precursor to CBD and is found in raw, unprocessed cannabis.
  • CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid) is the precursor to CBGV (Cannabigerovarin). It is found in cannabis strains with high CBGV levels.


  • Pinene is a terpene that has a distinct pine aroma. It is found in many cannabis strains and in various coniferous trees. Pinene is believed to have anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator properties.
  • Linalool is a terpene with a floral scent, often found in lavender, known for its potential calming effects.
  • Caryophyllene is a terpene with a spicy, peppery aroma. It can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and has potential anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Humulene is a terpene found in hops, basil, and cannabis with an earthy, woody aroma.

These are just a few examples of the many cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis. The combinations and concentrations of these compounds can vary between different strains and contribute to the unique effects and flavours of each cannabis variety.

CBD vs THC: The roundup

In summary, understanding the differences between CBD vs THC is important for making informed decisions about cannabinoid use, managing potential side effects, considering legal implications, and choosing the appropriate cannabinoid for your specific therapeutic purposes.

It’s important to remember that medical cannabis is only legal in some countries, and you must receive a medical cannabis prescription from a licensed doctor. On the other hand, CBD is legal in most countries and is often a safer alternative to assist in managing your symptoms. 

Overall, in the battle of CBD vs THC, we would recommend our CBD Oil at Naturecan for all your needs. 

All of our products are created using industry-leading technology and undergo rigorous testing practices with third parties in order to ensure product quality, customer safety and supply chain transparency.

Our CBD oil is a broad-spectrum distillate with non-detectable levels of THC (0.01%). It is derived exclusively from certified organic US-grown hemp plants. We never use isolates or any man-made synthetic material – only ever natural, plant-based CBD.


  1. Zuardi AW, Shirakawa I, Finkelfarb E, Karniol IG. Action of cannabidiol on the anxiety and other effects produced by delta 9-THC in normal subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1982;76(3):245-250.
  2. Aggarwal SK. Cannabinergic Pain Medicine: A Concise Clinical Primer and Survey of Randomized-controlled Trial Results. Clin J Pain. 2013;29(2):162-171.
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. 2018
  4. Devinsky O, Cross JH, Laux L, et al. Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(21):2011-2020.
  5. Maldonado, R. et al. (2011). The endocannabinoid system and drug addiction: insights from studies using animal models. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 95(4), 449-462.
  6. Pertwee, R. G. (2008). The diverse CB1 and CB2 receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabivarin. British Journal of Pharmacology, 153(2), 199-215.
  7. Ranganathan, M., & D’Souza, D. C. (2006). The acute effects of cannabinoids on memory in humans: a review. Psychopharmacology, 188(4), 425-444.
  8. Ramaekers, J. G. et al. (2006). Dose-related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 85(3), 207-211.
  9. Jones, R. T. et al. (1972). Cardiovascular system effects of marijuana. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 12(1), 24-3
  10. Hammell, D. C., et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis.” European Journal of Pain 20.6 (2016): 936-948.
  11. Philpott, Holly T., et al. “Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.” Pain 158.12 (2017): 2442-2451.
  12. Crippa, J. A., et al. “Cannabidiol for the treatment of anxiety disorders: An 8-week pilot study.” Neurotherapeutics 12.4 (2015): 825-836.
  13. Shannon, S., et al. “Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series.” The Permanente Journal 23 (2019).
  14. Chagas, M. H., et al. “Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: A case series.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 39.5 (2014): 564-566.
  15. Watt, G., & Karl, T. “In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Frontiers in Pharmacology 8 (2017): 20.

Discover our bestsellers

Check out our latest articles

Difference between CBD & THC


Two of the most well-known and studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – each has its distinct properties and effects on the human body. So, let’s learn about the differences between THC and CBD – from their benefits to their side effects

Read More »
Does CBD interact with medications?

Does CBD Interact With Medications?

CBD oil has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its potential health benefits. This oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and has been found to have a wide range of therapeutic properties.
While CBD oil is not a cure-all, it has shown promise in treating a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and inflammation.

Read More »
Latest posts by Georgia Chappell (see all)

%d bloggers like this: