CBD and THC: Are these two cannabinoids the same?



Even with the increased buzz about CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), there still seem to be a many unanswered questions, which have some people curious.  We have a lot of customers asking or even assuming that CBD and THC, are the same compounds.  Although it can be very confusing to distinguish between the two, let us help to clarify some of the differences for you.  These two natural compounds are derived from the same cannabis stevia plant.  Still, CBD and THC have distinct properties which separate them from one another. 


Image from: genengnews.com

Both CBD and THC have the same chemical formula of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms.  The difference is found in the way the atoms are arranged, which gives CBD and THC different chemical properties, which affect your body differently.  Both cannabinoids interact with slightly different receptors of a person's brain.  THC is known for being psychoactive (more intoxicating), and CBD is alternatively known for being non-psychoactive (less intoxicating).  THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, eliciting a high or a sense of euphoria.  CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors.  CBD needs THC to attach to the CB1 receptor, which can help reduce some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation, if you’re taking both together.  Many people combine THC and CBD to minimize the intoxicating effects of THC.

Image from: What is The Entourage Effect from CBD oil? | Tessera Nturals (tesseranaturals.com)


Both cannabis and hemp produce CBD and THC.  However, cannabis has a higher concentration of THC and hemp has a higher concentration of CBD. The average cannabis strain today contains about 12 percent.  The Cannabis sativa plant has two species. Species 1 is a hemp plant containing 20 percent of CBD and less than 0.3 of THC. Species 2 marijuana plant contains 10 percent of CBD and more than 20 percent of THC. The hemp plant can be extracted with all cannabinoids, except THC (less than 0.3 percent THC). Hemp/CBD oil still provides all the beneficial properties of marijuana without the high.  The CBD can only have no more than 0.3 percent THC to be legal at the federal level.  CBD is available in different forms; these include smokable, gummies, tinctures, lotions, and body rubs.  THC is also available in many different forms; which includes smokable, edibles, tinctures, and capsules.

Image from https://metacangroup.com/endocannabinoid-system/

 CBD and THC are two of the most prominent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Both are natural compounds derived from the cannabis sativa plant. CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s endocannabinoids.  This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors.  Both compounds communicate with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). According to Norml, the endocannabinoid system is, “perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” It plays a role in regulating many functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility.  Although they both interact with the ECS system, they have separate properties with different medicinal benefits.

CBD and THC are different yet complementary compounds that can effectively support the function of your endocannabinoid system.  Each of them offers unique benefits. THC is currently a controlled substance in most states; however, CBD is not a controlled substance.  For individuals who prefer to avoid THC due to its intoxicating effects, you can still enjoy the benefits of a full-spectrum CBD oil from hemp.  Full-spectrum CBD evokes an entourage effect, which is known to have an enhanced effect, due to the inclusions of terpenes and other beneficial cannabinoids.  When purchasing a CBD or THC product, you should always look for a QR code which verifies what the product contains. All reputable organizations will have these codes available.  It should provide a third-party lab result, showing a full chemical analysis of the product you’ll be using. We hope this brief review gives you a better understanding of the differences between CBD and THC.



Image from: 014: What You Need To Know About CBD Oil & Your Skin w/ Pamela Orth (skinterrupt.com)


Resources referenced in the blog:

CBD vs. THC: Properties, Benefits, and Side Effects (healthline.com)

The Difference Between CBD and THC - First Crop