What's the difference between CBD and THC?

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

The most important difference between CBD and THC is that CBD does not produce a high. It has been reported, however, to help reduce or eliminate anxiety, and manage pain and inflammation. Before you jump into your first CBD experience, let shopCBD introduce you to the science of CBD.

Cannabis sativa has two primary species; hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there's a much higher concentration in hemp, which also has very low levels of THC compared to marijuana.

CBD and THC have the same chemical composition – 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygens. So why does one get you high (THC) and the other doesn’t (CBD)? Because each one acts differently on different receptors in your brain and in your body.

Although they are nearly twins, one atom makes all the difference. But before explaining what that means, it’s worth knowing how CBD and THC react within our bodies.

The cannabis plant has 113 known cannabinoids – CBD and THC are the most prominent. They interact directly with a network of receptors in our bodies called the Endocannabinoid System and it maintains our vital functions.

There’s a good reason why there is so much interest in cannabinoids for their medicinal uses. They interact with receptors in the brain, lungs, vascular system, colon, immune system, spleen, pancreas, reproductive organs, muscles and bones. In short, with everything we need to stay healthy.

Now let’s get really scientific!

The identification of cannabinoid receptors is relatively new. CB1 receptors were identified in the late 1980s and were found mostly in the part of the brain where mental and physiological processes such as memory, emotion, motor coordination and cognition take place. CB2 receptors identified a few years later were found throughout the central nervous and immune systems.

Here’s where that atom comes in: while CBD and THC react the same way to CB2 receptors, it’s the reaction to CB1 receptors in the brain that makes CBD non-intoxicating, while THC produces a high.

THC binds directly with CB1 receptors and alters signals to the brain that result in psychoactive effects, or “getting high”. CBD does not bond with these receptors and may even cancel out the bond between THC and receptors, eliminating the high altogether.

All that to say, although both THC and CBD can deliver substantial medicinal benefits and relief, CBD is a better choice for those not seeking the psychoactive effects of THC. If you’re ready to get started, check out shopCBD’s selection of CBD oils, which are easy to take, convenient to manage and appropriately potent.