CBD vs THC: What’s the Difference?

Confused about cannabis? You’re not the only one who might be struggling to get your head around this misunderstood plant. That’s why in this article, we’ll start to debunk the myths by looking at the important differences between the two most well-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Let’s start with the obvious question....

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD stands for Cannabidiol. And before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight, just in case you were wondering: is CBD psychoactive? The answer is no. THC will get you high, while CBD won’t. It’s that simple.

It’s true that there are known THC benefits; CBD and THC together are present in medical marijuana, legally available through a healthcare practitioner in some parts of the world. However, because THC is psychoactive and therefore banned in many countries and states, we’re much more excited about its friendlier cousin, CBD.

Hemp-derived CBD is legal, has no hallucinogenic properties, and is considered to offer a number of benefits. We think it’s fair to say that it’s all the rage, with products ranging from CBD-infused olive oil for use in your cooking to soothing skin care products you can incorporate into your bedtime ritual. Consumers are flocking to it as a tool with which to help support the modern, busy lifestyle. What’s not to love?

THC vs CBD: what’s similar, and what’s different?

CBD vs THC

THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, and they’re just two of over 100 different compounds found in the chemical makeup of the cannabis plant. They’re actually both made up of the same atoms: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms.

As we’ve already pointed out, the crucial difference between the two is that CBD isn’t psychoactive, so you won’t get high off it as you would with THC. In fact, CBD is even thought to mitigate some of the psychoactive effects of THC, including anxiety, paranoia and, of course, the ‘high’.

On the face of it, at least at the chemical level, CBD and THC seem virtually identical. So just what is it that makes CBD so different from THC? It’s all down to the molecular structures of the two compounds, which contain one minuscule difference - the placement of one atom - that leads THC to have a psychoactive effect while CBD doesn’t.

See, it’s all thanks to the fact that the two compounds react with receptors in the body that form part of what’s known as the Endocannabinoid system, currently the subject of scientific research and thought to keep many of the body’s other systems - such as the nervous and digestive systems - running smoothly.

There are two types of these receptors, known as ‘CB1’ and ‘CB2’. CB1 receptors are found in the brain - specifically the parts of the brain that control things like your emotions, coordination and memory - while CB2 receptors are spread throughout your immune and central nervous systems. The THC chemical structure allows it to bond itself directly with CB1 receptors found in your brain, hence its psychoactive effect. The CBD chemical structure, on the other hand, doesn’t allow it to interact directly with the CB1 receptors, giving the CBD molecule similar health benefits to the THC molecule without its mind-altering effects. Importantly, you won’t get addicted to it.

Girl in bed relaxing

Does CBD oil have THC?

So, the big question: is there any THC at all in the CBD oil you buy from us? The answer is yes, but only trace amounts. In Europe, the legal requirement is that CBD products must contain no more than 0.2% THC, so you can be confident that the products you’ll find in our premium CBD shop have a THC content lower than this. If you buy elsewhere, check the label carefully so that you’re clear about what you’re buying; some manufacturers are less transparent than others, so if in doubt, always buy your CBD from a reputable company (like ours!). Our CBD Starter Kits are a great place to begin your CBD journey.

This brings us onto another reason why questions are sometimes raised about the THC content of CBD oil. Will you fail a drug test if you’ve taken CBD oil with THC traces? The answer is that it’s very unlikely; because, as we’ve just seen, full spectrum CBD must contain no more than 0.2% THC, it shouldn’t show up on a drug test - particularly if it’s derived from hemp. If you want to be completely sure, try broad spectrum CBD, which has had all the THC removed.

CBD is especially popular thanks to its ability to help you cope with stress and sleeplessness. It’s a natural way to give your mood a lift and help you relax, as well as providing pain relief, and there are so many ways to work it into your daily wellness rituals, from tinctures and creams to mouthwatering CBD chocolate. Why not enhance your favourite drink with a few drops of CBD oil, or pop them directly under your tongue, and see how it helps to take the strain out of your day?

We’ll delve more into all the great health benefits of CBD in future articles, but for now let’s end with a quick recap of our main takeaway: THC is psychoactive, while CBD isn’t. It’s amazing the difference one atom can make.

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The Chillery and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. The information and products presented on this site are not intended for medical use nor do they make any medical claims. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.

1 comment

Hi! I found you through Estee Lalonde’s podcast. I’m thinking of buying your vape pen for everyday stress (PTSD) and a CBD oil for sleep. I live in Norway where (I think) the THC limit is 0.00%, so what products can I but legally and what would you recommend for me?

Frida Aune August 05, 2019

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