CBD vs. THC – which cannabinoid do you need?


CBD vs. THC – which cannabinoid do you need?

Long-term marijuana consumers have observed that cannabis produces different effects and intensity of high. The uplifting, as well as the medicinal effects of cannabis, can vary from strain to strain largely because of its cannabinoid profiles. 

There are hundreds of cannabinoids present in both cannabis Sativa and cannabis indica plants. Among them, the two – THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol – are the most significant cannabinoids. Researches have shown that these two cannabinoids have amazing capacities to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in our brain and produce various effects. 

CBD and THC work differently on our body and brain. This article provides a short introduction to CBD vs. THC including their unique properties, characteristics, and benefits. Read this post and decide which one of the two cannabinoids you need more. 

CBD vs. THC – properties and chemical structures

In terms of the molecular composition, there is not much difference between cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. Both cannabinoids are made of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. What makes these two cannabinoids different is how these atoms are arranged as shown below: 

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The chemical structure of the two cannabinoids is similar to the endocannabinoids produced in our own bodies. Endocannabinoids are natural lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that regulate our central nervous system and help maintain internal functions. 

Endocannabinoids receptors bind cannabinoids throughout our bodies triggering signals related to sleep, memory functions, mood, appetite, reproduction, or even fertility. With their similar molecular makeup, both CBD and THC mimic endocannabinoids in stimulating the neurological signaling system.

CBD vs. THC – different effects

CBD and THC work differently on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and produce very different effects on our body and mind. THC is prone to bind with the Cannabinoid 1 or CB1 receptors which mainly control our mood, cognition, sensations of pain, and other feelings. For this reason, THC comes as a highly psychoactive compound that produces senses of euphoria and sudden surge of creative energy.

CBD, on the other hand, binds poorly to the CB1 receptors which in effect produce less sensitivity toward exhilaration. Both THC and CBD bind well to the CB2 receptors in our central nervous system and immune system. But it is their connection with the CB1 receptors that makes all the differences. CBD as a stand alone cannot create that intoxicating cerebral high. But it does produce therapeutic benefits. If you want to experience the mind-altering state of cannabis then you’re better off with a good dose of THC. 

CBD vs. THC – therapeutic benefits

Cannabinoids have some potential healing properties. Multiple kinds of research have shown that both CBD and THC can be very effective in treating a range of health conditions. Let’s compare the medical benefits of the two compounds.


Because of its non-psychoactive profile, CBD has been suggested for treating various symptoms and medical conditions. For many supporters of alternative therapies, CBD may help and be considered as a cure-all wonder drug. Although not all claims are genuine, there are legitimate scientific studies and clinical trials that back up CBD as effective in alleviating the conditions below:

  • Chronic joint and muscle pains
  • Inflammation
  • Seizures, including the rare and severe forms of epilepsies like the Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia 
  • PTSD
  • Opioid withdrawal  
  • Other types of psychosis and mental conditions 
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Though THC is widely known to produce highly mind-altering effects, it does have a range of medical values as well. Tetrahydrocannabinol may be effective in treating the following:

  • Neuropathic pains
  • Pains related to multiple sclerosis 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s disease tremors 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Some types of bacterial infections 

THC is also considered to be a reliable neuroprotector that may help keep our brain cells healthy and promote regrowth. It has antioxidant and bronchodilator properties. There are also studies that have found anticancer and antitumor fighting agents in THC.  

CBD vs. THC – side-effects

At higher doses, cannabinoids have a few known side effects including the following:

  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness 

Being a highly psychoactive compound, THC abuse can have the following adverse effects:

  • Dry mouth and red eyes
  • Increased palpitation
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of concentration
  • Slower reaction times
  • Loss of balance and coordination 
  • Memory loss

However, neither of the two compounds have fatal side-effects. There is almost zero risk of needing immediate medical attention due to the high intake of CBD or THC. Global Drug Survey has shown that cannabinoids are the second safest compound for recreational purposes in the world.

Both the cannabinoids bolster our immune system, enhance neuroplasticity, vascular function, digestive functions and help in our emotional as well as cognitive abilities. CBD has many medicinal properties minus the high. That is why it is preferred by many medical patients all over the world. The psychoactive nature of THC is not a disadvantage to a lot of medical conditions especially for those dealing with pain. Before buying CBD or THC-infused produce, best to consult with your doctor and follow the recommended dosage for each. Understand your medical condition and symptoms thoroughly by doing your own research as well for you to choose the right cannabis product.

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