thc and cbd in cannabis

CBD versus THC: What is the Difference?

Marijuana is an incredible plant with a myriad of benefits when it comes to mental, physical, and even emotional health. However, there are quite a few individuals who are unfamiliar with the difference between THC and CBD. In short, CBD is not psychoactive while THC is, but there is actually a lot more to it than that.


Cannabis is a plant that many are fond of as it contains over 113 different chemical compounds. Recently, quite a few states have legalized it for medical use and sometimes recreational use as well. THC and CBD are the most popular of all of these chemical compounds for a reason: Both have healing properties, but their effects are quite different.


CBD, which is also referred to as cannabidiol, is found in hemp—marijuana’s cousin of sorts—and cannabis.  It was initially discovered in the 1940s, but it has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. It is used to treat a wide range of conditions. You might come upon CBD ointment for pain relief and tinctures for anxiety. You don’t have to worry: All of these products are almost always safe because CBD does not have psychoactive effects on your brain.

That said, CBD carries with it a trace amount of THC: Hemp-derived CBD holds less, and marijuana-derived CBD holds more, so it really depends on what you’re looking for. In either case, it’s not enough to have a significant impact on you.


Even though CBD is largely considered an alternative remedy, you can actually experience quite a few side effects from it.

These include:

  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
  • Nausea and dizziness


THC can also lead to side effects, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Memory loss

By the way, consuming marijuana does actually come with quite a few side effects in many cases: There are most certainly benefits, but many people do not consider the downsides.

For instance, the following symptoms are very common:

  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Altered judgment
  • Impaired coordination.


THC, which is formally referred to as Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. This means that THC activates the brain’s reward system by triggering the release of dopamine. While this isn’t always a bad thing, the effect can feel a bit extreme for some.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in one’s mood, especially when it comes to pleasure. THC leads to a feeling of euphoria for most. You can get this high by smoking cannabis, but you can also opt for edibles, capsules, and oils.

It’s important to note that, while some love the exciting emotion of euphoria, others experience intense anxiety, so you should definitely speak with your healthcare provider if possible to decide if you should be consuming THC and which strain would be ideal for you if you decide to go this route, especially if you are hoping to reduce your anxiety through marijuana consumption.


There are actually a myriad of benefits that come with each compound: Both can be used to treat quite a few ailments.

CBD and THC can both be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma
  • Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
  • Pain
  • Opioid Dependence
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome–IBS
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease—IBD
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Movement disorders

Of course, it is important to note that, while CBD and THC have similar effects and treat many of the same conditions, there are important differences between the two.

CBD is primarily used to alleviate symptoms associated with the following ailments:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder—PTSD
  • Seizures

On the other hand, THC is most often used to alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions:

  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Migraines & Headaches
  • Poor appetite—This includes appetite issues caused by cancer treatments.
  • Tremors


Both are quite effective, but THC will likely be the best option if you are seeking immediate pain relief. That said, CBD helps with inflammation, so it can be extremely beneficial in the long run. There is some evidence to suggest that consuming both will provide the most effective pain relief: In one study, those who consumed THC and CBD instead of just THC experienced better results.


There are some essential differences between CBD and THC: THC is psychoactive and is usually sourced from cannabis, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is typically sourced from hemp.


While cannabis itself has not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration—or FDA—a few drugs containing THC and CBD have been.

These are:

  • Epidiolex—This contains CBD. It has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe types of epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
  • Marinol and Syndros—These are both drugs that contain dronabinol, or synthetic THC. They are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy during cancer treatments.
  • Cesamet—This drug contains nabilone: A synthetic substance that is similar to THC. It is used to treat weight loss and appetite problems associated with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDs.


First of all, marijuana is not legal at the federal level, which is important to understand. That being said, it has been legalized in many states. For the most part, it is legal medically, but it might be illegal recreationally. In any case, it is probably best to check the laws in your state since they are almost constantly changing.

Fortunately, CBD and CBD products are legal in most states because this compound is not psychoactive. However, the specifics surrounding the legality of specific CBD items do vary by state: Some are stricter than others.


One of the most incredible things about THC and CBD is that you have a lot of options when it comes to how you’d like to consume them. Whether you prefer CBD-infused caramels or THC gummies, there’s something for you.

You can choose from:

  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Sprays
  • Vape Products
  • Edibles, including gummies and chocolates
  • Beverages containing marijuana oil
  • Capsules
  • Infused lotions, salves, balms, etc.—The effects of these topical products will be localized because they are not being ingested. 

There is everything from marijuana-infused chocolate to capsules with a specific dosage. It’s important to note that quite a few health risks come with the act of vaping, so you might want to opt for another consumption method.


Honestly, this answer will depend on what your goals are: If you simply want to have some fun and consume marijuana recreationally, then it’s really up to you. On the other hand, if your goal is to reduce your anxiety or alleviate your appetite issues, CBD and THC can make a world of difference.

CBD is generally best if:

  • You are trying to sleep better
  • You want to reduce stress

THC is often effective if:

  • You want to reduce tremors
  • You are suffering from a poor appetite

In quite a few cases, consuming both is actually ideal.

If you are seeking out the most effective treatment for a mental or physical health issue, it’s probably in your best interest to visit a healthcare provider who prescribes a precise combination and dosage that is the most effective and has done the research necessary to help you thrive. This is often the best way to actually accomplish your goals because these doctors understand the various strains and effects each one has on a deep level.

Honestly, medical marijuana can improve your life in many ways. Both compounds are actually quite useful for pain relief, but there are definitely differences between the two.

If you are looking for a medical professional to answer any questions you have, please pay us a visit. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida even though recreational marijuana is not, and we are proud to provide our patients with customized treatments based on their medical needs. You deserve specific care tailored to you.

Doctor Anne Lynn Morgan has been practicing medical marijuana medicine for over six years. She is licensed in no less than three states: Florida, Washington, and Pennsylvania. She is also double-certified by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and the American Academy of Cannabis Medicine. As if that wasn’t reassuring and impressive enough, Dr. Morgan is also on the board of the latter organization. If you still aren’t convinced to trust her with your medical needs, you should know that she is the Diplomate of the American Academy of Family Physicians, where she has been practicing for more than 32 years.
Please contact us at for more information. We are eager to assist you in every way we can!