They’re basically twins. They look the same, but also inherently different. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are compounds found in cannabis and other hemp plants. They are beneficial to our health, with effects ranging from pain alleviation to cognition improvement. But what’s the difference between CBD and THC?

Research on CBD and THC as individual compounds are still ongoing. However, with the legalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, more and more people are growing curious to know the similarities, differences and exact health benefits of the two.


What Makes Them Similar

Both CBD and THC have the same chemical makeup. They both have 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms, which make both of their molecular formulas C21H3002 with molecular masses at 314 g/mol.

These compounds also work on the Endocannabinoid System. This system in our body is responsible for the management of our mood, cognition, and pain.

The Endocannabinoid System works by having CB1 and CB2 receptors interact with cannabinoids to function properly. The difference between CBD and THC comes with the way each of them interacts with the CB1 receptors, although both of them bind well with CB2.

What makes them different: CBD vs THC

THC and CBD differ in the way they bind with CB1 receptors because of how they are structured molecularly. THC is able to directly bind with the CB1 receptor, which is what causes the psychoactive effect among its users.

CBD, on the other hand, only binds with CB1 indirectly, thus the absence of such effect. Also because of their structural differences, CBD can interfere with the binding of THC and therefore lessen the effect of being “high” that usually comes with THC intake.

When it comes to their other side effects, CBD has considerably lesser adverse effects to the body. In fact, the only negative effects reported were due to improper dosage intake, or CBD’s interaction with other drugs.

THC, on the other hand, is reported to deliver negative psychiatric effects with long term use. However, experts suggest that further study is still needed to prove these claims. Other adverse side reactions connected to THC use are body coordination issues, having dry mouth, red eyes and increase in heart rate.


What does the law say about it?

CBD and THC can be used through different forms, although most people think of it as a case of cannabis oil vs THC oil since these compounds are usually taken diluted in oil. Due to its psychoactive effect, THC use is still frowned upon by the law.

However, as for CBD, the US Farm Bill of 2018 has legalized the use of hemp plants as a means to acquire compounds and manufacturing products from it. This is why various CBD products have swarmed the market in different forms — oils, creams, gummies, and others.

While federal legalization of marijuana use is still an ongoing proposition in many states, there are various states who have legalized it’s use. Check your state laws on medical marijuana use, especially if you’re looking to use both THC and CBD.

If you’re thinking of exploring CBD or THC use for medical purposes, it is generally recommended to ask for your doctor’s advice first, especially if you’re under drug medication. It’s also important to be critical and cautious to where you purchase CBD or THC products.

Make sure to only get them from trusted manufacturers, and always check the amount of the compounds in the products. Armed with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, CBD and THC are both promising compounds that can help improve the inner workings of the body. With increased awareness of their benefits and side effects, more people can make smart choices as to whether to use them, how and when.