What Is the Difference Between CBD And THC? - Glow Bar London



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January 20, 2023 5 min read

What Is the Difference Between CBD And THC?

CBD comes from the cannabis sativa plant, but they are different in how they affect the body. This article explains CBD and THC and their difference.

Cannabis sativa plants have many compounds called cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. Ithas grown popular in recent years due to its potential therapeutic and health benefits it offers to the body. Various products have emerged that comprise THC, CBD or both. The products are made to relieve ailments, including insomnia, anxiety and stress. CBD and THC come from the same plant, but their main difference is their interaction with the endocannabinoid system.

What Is CBD

According to Liktor-Busa et al. (2021), CBD is a compound derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It is a legal substance in the UK since it does not contain THC; if any, it is in small amounts of 0.2%. It is known for its potential therapeutic and health benefits to the human body. It has calming effects, unlike THC, that make individuals feel high. CBD comes in different forms, such as drinks, vapes, topicals and edibles. They are all methods of delivering the benefits of CBD to the body. Still, they differ in the way they are consumed and their bioavailability. CBD has three types: broad-spectrum CBD, full-spectrum CBD and isolate. They are all effective, but full-spectrum CBD is the most effective. The reason being it contains traces of THC, which makes its effects stronger. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system to control pain, insomnia, anxiety, stress and other conditions.

What Is THC

THC is a compound that is derived from cannabis sativa plants. It is a substance known for its euphoric effects. It is responsible for altering the mental state of users when used in large quantities. However, THCoffers potential bodily benefits, like treating pain in small quantities. When used in CBD products, they make their effects stronger.

Differences Between CBD And THC

THC and CBD come from the cannabis sativa plants, whose primary difference is how they affect the endocannabinoid system. The following are their differences.

Chemical Structure

CBD and THC have different chemical structures but similar chemical formulas. This implies that they attach uniquely to the cannabinoid receptors in the system in the body called the endocannabinoid system, responsible for modulating synaptic plasticity, the central nervous system and the body's response to external stressors. The two primary cannabinoid receptors include CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 is located in the central nervous system and brain. In contrast, CB2 is located in the immune system and is found in small levels in the central nervous system. THC interacts with these receptors, although CBD has little empathy for each.

Psychoactive Properties

CBD is not linked to psychoactive propertieslike THC, which makes individuals feel high. This effect rises when THC binds itself to the CB1 receptors. Sincecannabidiol does not bind to CB2 and CB1 receptors as THC does, it does not produce the psychoactive effects. However, when THC and CBD are taken together, cannabidiol attaches itself to the cannabinoid receptors blocking THC from attaching to them, hence justifying some of the impacts experienced from the THC.


CBD was legalized in the UK due to its potential health and therapeutic benefits it offers to the body. It is also no age restrictions since it benefits both adults and children. THC is considered legal in the UK and many other states. However, less than 0.2% is legal in the UK when used in small amounts. The reason being it offers some potential benefits to the human body. CBD products are not regulated and can be mislabelled, resulting in confusion. It is good to purchase CBD products from a reputable company to get the right product with the minimum amount of THC.

Drug Testing

CBD products are not likely to show up on a drug test. Drug tests are generally made to detect THC. However, CBD products may contain THC beyond 0.2%, which can appear on drug tests. To be safe, individuals can consume CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD, which does not contain THC. However, users should consult the doctor about the consumption of CBDs and learn what amount can be detected in a drug test.

Risks And Side Effects

Like any other drug, both THC and CBD has potential side effects. According to Khalsa et al. (2022), CBD can trigger mood changes like agitation and irritability, diarrhoea, vomiting, changes in appetite and weight, drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue and dry mouth. CBD is known to interact with other medications. Users should stop consuming CBD products when under medications. However, it is always a good idea to consult the doctor before taking any CBD product under any medication. According to Gurney et al. (2014), THC causes red eyes, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, lung irritation and increased chances of mood disorders. Breastfeeding and pregnant women are advised to stop consuming any CBD product. There is not enough research on how CBD can affect the baby. However, CBD products are not regulated and may contain contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides that can harm the baby and mother. Some CBD products may contain large quantities that can penetrate the placenta affecting the growth of the baby’s brain and the reproductive system of the male foetus. THC can penetrate the breast milk hence affecting the baby being breastfed.


THC and CBD have similar effects in addressing various medical disorders in the body. Individuals usually consume cannabidiol to treat migraine, mental disorders and psychosis, inflammation, depression, seizures and inflammatory bowel diseases. According to Philpot et al. (2019), THC has been known to have the potential to treat insomnia, low appetite, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, nausea, anxiety and pain.

Ways And Forms To Take

THC and CBD occur naturally in the cannabis sativa plants. Most individuals prefer to vape or smoke cannabis, although it might not be possible for individuals with some disorders. There are various that individuals can take their CBD, including tinctures, capsules, gummies and oils. THC comes in various forms, including edibles like brownies, cookies and gummies, tinctures, oils and smokable products.


THC and CBD differ in several ways, although they come from the same plant. They are different in terms of their chemical structure, legality, psychoactive properties, drug testing, benefits and side effects. Although they are different, they work together to create the entourage effect. Full-spectrum CBD is considered the best type of CBD since it contains traces of THC that make it stronger and more effective. When used together, it helps treat some severe conditions like pain, insomnia and others.


Gurney, S. M. R., Scott, K. S., Kacinko, S. L., Presley, B. C., & Logan, B. K. (2014). Pharmacology, toxicology, and adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoid drugs. Forensic Sci Rev26(1), 53-78.

Khalsa, J. H., Bunt, G., Blum, K., Maggirwar, S. B., Galanter, M., & Potenza, M. N. (2022). Cannabinoids as Medicinals. Current addiction reports, 1-17.

Liktor-Busa, E., Keresztes, A., LaVigne, J., Streicher, J. M., & Largent-Milnes, T. M. (2021). Analgesic Potential of Terpenes Derived from Cannabis sativa. Pharmacological Reviews73(4), 98-126.

Philpot, L. M., Ebbert, J. O., & Hurt, R. T. (2019). A survey of the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about medical cannabis among primary care providers. BMC Family practice20(1), 1-7.