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CBD vs THC: Differences, Effects, Benefits

HempFusion Staff July 6, 2021

CBD vs THC: Differences, Effects, and Benefits

While most people have been aware of THC for years, CBD is still a relatively new concept. As both CBD and THC are associated with the cannabis plant, it is common to wonder what they have in common and how they differ.

Let’s take a closer look at THC vs CBD, with a focus on the differences between them and the effects and benefits of each.

CBD vs THC: The Basics of Each

Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. CBD also naturally occurs in hemp in much greater concentrations.

Both CBD and THC work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, but the results of those interactions, however, are very different. For starters, CBD does not have a psychoactive or intoxicating impact.

Chemical Structure

If you just look at the molecular structure of THC and CBD, you will notice that they are identical. Both have 2 oxygen, 30 hydrogen, and 21 carbon atoms. The difference in their chemical structure comes from the arrangement of those atoms, which accounts for the different ways they interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

As mentioned above, CBD is not “intoxicating” like THC is. The fact that you can get a high with the latter but not the former is the most notable difference between CBD vs THC. That’s because THC binds with the CB1 receptor, and it is this receptor that is responsible for the common effects of THC.

Legality of Cannabis vs Hemp

Another major difference between THC vs CBD is their legality in many U.S. states. CBD is legal at the federal level with some restrictions, while THC is not. However, it is a bit more complicated than this.

Whether a CBD product is legal at the federal level comes down to its THC content. If there is 0.3% THC or less, then a plant qualifies as hemp and is legal. THC content higher than this automatically classifies a plant as cannabis and is illegal at the federal level. However, states are free to make their own laws regarding cannabis and THC. Currently, medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal in more than 30 states.

Will CBD or THC Show Up In Drug Testing?

Another important difference between THC vs CBD is whether they show up on most drug tests. The typical drug tests that companies have traditionally used only check for THC, not CBD, but there are drug tests that look for CBD. This is not the standard, but you should never just assume that a drug test will not check for CBD. When in doubt, ask about the drug test.

Types of Products Available for Each

There is a lot of overlap in the types of products you can find for either THC or CBD. You can get cannabis or hemp flowers that are high in either or both. Both are also typically available as oils, tinctures, edibles, capsules, sprays, vaporizer pens known as vapes, and even moisturizing topicals.

If you’re seeking a higher concentration of CBD vs. THC or vice versa, be sure to really scrutinize the labels.

Checking THC Content in CBD Products

You can typically tell whether a CBD product contains THC by looking at the label. Here is a quick breakdown:

CBD isolates only contain CBD, without any other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids.

Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all the beneficial terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids like CBC and CBG, but the one significant difference between them is that the THC has been in large part, removed in broad-spectrum products.

Full-spectrum CBD also contains all the beneficial terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids, but the trace amounts (less than 0.3%) of THC have been left in.

If you are concerned with the level of THC, the safest bet is to choose a broad-spectrum CBD product from a company that provides easy access to their Certificate of Analysis batch reports, so you can see exactly what is in the product you are interested in.

The best CBD companies will all offer lab testing to confirm the levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. Their reports may also include a list of terpenes detected and if there are heavy metals or other potential contaminants. Any lab testing is better than none, but the best lab testing comes from third-party labs, as they don’t have a bias like the manufacturer.

The Entourage Effect

It is also worth noting that if you consume broad or full spectrum CBD, versus CBD isolate, you may also get to take advantage of the Entourage Effect. This refers to the perks seen when the full array of substances from hemp are consumed together. It applies to cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

CBD vs THC: The Effects of Each

The combination of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and other nutrients that are in hemp and cannabis plants offer support for a calm mind and body.

That being said, the biggest distinction between the two is that CBD is non-intoxicating, so you should not experience any “high” as you would from THC.

Some people have reported mild relaxing effects after taking CBD, particularly from higher serving sizes. Every individual is different, so for some people a very small amount of CBD may be the way to go while for others, a full serving may be more beneficial.

Side Effects of Each

CBD generally seems to be safe, and we are excited to see how research on cannabinoids like CBD evolves to reveal even more exciting potential.

As for THC, research is mixed. If you’re considering adding CBD or THC to your supplement regimen, it’s best to first check in with your trusted healthcare provider.

CBD vs THC: The Bottom Line

Comparing CBD vs THC will reveal that they are vastly different in how they interact within your body, and yet may contribute similar potential benefits.

When it Comes to Choosing CBD, Choose Wisely

Once you start looking for the best CBD to choose, you’re going to find there are quite a few considerations. Understanding what is in a product and how it is made is key to making informed decisions.

All HempFusion products are 3rd party tested to ensure that only trace amounts, or no detectable amounts of THC are present in the hemp extract, therefore it is extremely unlikely that you will fail a THC test.

We encourage you to explore our blog to learn even more about the difference between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD or about fun CBD facts to drop at your net party.

HempFusion Staff HempFusion consists of a team of passionate individuals working together for a common goal — to create the best CBD products on the market and to educate consumers like yourself about the different aspects of this unique cannabinoid found in hemp. We’re committed to providing accurate, compliant, educational, and engaging content so you can make informed choices about your life.