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  • Writer's pictureComplement Cannabis

THC vs CBD -- What’s the difference?

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

As states continue to legalize ‘weed’, cannabis education is becoming more and more important for the cannabis curious, beginner cannabis users, and OG users that might not have known what the hell they’ve been smoking or consuming.

What are Cannabinoids?

Before we start talking about THC and CBD, let’s define cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. There are more than 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD being the most infamous. Cannabinoids are what cause the drug-like reactions to the body.

What is THC?

THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is best known for being the component that provides psychoactive effects also known as being “high.”

What is CBD?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol and is the second most active ingredient of cannabis (marijuana). It’s associated with pain management and its relaxation benefits.

THC vs CBD Benefits

THC and CBD have similar benefits and provide relief from several symptoms and conditions. Researchers are constantly learning more and more about these cannabinoids but for now, the following are the most common benefits:

CBD is used to help with conditions like:

  • Seizures

  • Inflammation

  • Pain

  • Psychosis or mental disorders

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Nausea

  • Migraine

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

THC helps with conditions like:

  • Pain

  • Muscle spasticity

  • Glaucoma

  • Insomnia

  • Low appetite

  • Nausea

  • Anxiety

THC vs CBD Side effects

THC temporary side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate

  • Coordination problems

  • Dry mouth

  • Red eyes

  • Slower reaction times

  • Memory loss

  • Anxiety

CBD temporary side effects include:

  • Appetite changes

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Dizziness

  • Diarrhea

What are the differences between THC and CBD?

Chemical Structure

Here’s some chemistry for you.

Both THC and CBD have 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen but the atoms are arranged differently giving them different chemical properties and causing them to have different effects on the body.

Effects on the Mind and Body

THC is what makes you high and CBD makes you feel relaxed. CBD does not intoxicate and can actually assist in blocking THC’s intoxicating effects because it blocks the cannabinoid receptors in the body.

Think of it like this, if there’s a parking lot and the parking spots are cannabinoid receptors while THC and CBD are the cars, there can be only one car in a parking spot. If CBD “parks” into the cannabinoid receptors then the THC won’t be able to “park.”

Back to cannabis, the consumer will have a less psychoactive high if they consume products that have both CBD and THC.

Are THC and CBD Legal in the United States?


Cannabis laws are always changing, especially as states legalize weed. Currently, marijuana is federally illegal. It is a schedule 1 drug and has not been given any clearance as a derivative compound for medical and recreational use.

In states that THC is legal, whether medical or recreational for adult use, there are laws on the limit of THC that can be purchased.


In December 2019, the Farm Bill was passed making industrial hemp a legal agricultural commodity in all 50 states. The DEA still classifies CBD as a Schedule 1 substance, but has a memo that says that trace amounts of CBD found in hemp stalks or seed are legal.

Hemp-derived CBD legality varies from state to state.

THC and CBD Products

Now that you know a little more about THC and CBD, where can you find products with them in it?

As stated above, depending on the state, you can find THC products only at dispensaries within that state.

Our favorite THC products are the Complement Cannabis canna gum and canna jello shots, dosed at 3 different potencies. It is perfect for beginners, regular consumers and people who want to try microdosing.

CBD products are starting to pop-up at your local supermarket, skincare stores and can be purchased online. Some CBD products we’ve found are drinks, gummies, creams, and even bath bombs.

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