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What is the difference between CBD and THC

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What is the difference between CBD and THC?

Well, in simple terms, CBD makes you high and THC does not – that is the main takeaway. It is simple as that.

Let’s learn more about this though. What lies behind this, so you can understand the whole process closer.

CBD and THC are as well both cannabinoids. There are chemical compounds that interfere with endocannabinoid system we all have. More precisely we can say that they make up this system.

Up until now, scientific village did show much effort to explore its function in our bodies.

Well, things are changing, marijuana is getting closer and closer to become legal and that spikes interest in scientific community.

Every day there is more evidence that cannabinoids play a substantial role in regulating physiological and cognitive processes.


You can check this vdeo to give a brief explanation what is the difference between CBD and THC.

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

Thc is psychoactive and CBD not.

This is what a person who has tried both usually tells you.  

THC makes you high and CBD won’t.

A more erudite version of this statement is something like: THC is psychoactive, CBD is not.

The term psychoactive should be used cautiously though. 

When we hear psychoactive we usually think of changes in the perception of our consciousness.

We suddenly feel and act differently than our “normal selves”. It’s being high. 

In a broader term, we understand psychoactive as something simply affecting the mind. It can be affecting our central nervous system and its adjacent biochemistry. 

In this definition the statement – “CBD is not psychoactive” is untrue. 

CBD influences the mind – its reported anxiolytic effects are proof that CBD has mind-altering qualities. 

It works differently in our system than THC though. 

We have two main types of receptors in our endocannabinoid system. If you have never heard of endocannabinoid system, click

THC is activating CB1 and CB2.

CBD is inhibiting them.

It works opposite to THC. 

CBD is not intoxicating

Better than to talk about “psycho – activity” is to talk about intoxication.

Intoxication is a good pointer where everybody knows that it is bringing us to states where we are no longer in total control

THC is intoxicating. 

It is the strong agonist of CB1 receptors.

If you put the person under MRI to scan his brain, you would see that THC is influencing the blood flow to the prefrontal cortex.

These areas of brain control attention, executive function, different motor skills

It is also certain that THC is influencing a reward system of the brain. People who smoke THC or “pot” experience food cravings for instance.

It’s because their sensory and reward circuitry is influenced by THC.

CBD does not do that.

It influences many endocannabinoid receptors we have all over our bodies. But, it is not activating CB1 receptor. 

In fact, there is a study that concludes that CBD is actively inhibiting the metabolism of THC – Pubmed

What is interesting enough is that the same study concludes that when inducing CBD, it had minimal impact on THC-induced behavior.

Once you get smoke THC you just gotta wait till it goes away. It is not going to help that nausea too much. 

CBD is not intoxicating though. 

What is the difference between CBD and THC
CBD and THC share the same home on the plant – in the trichomes.

What is the difference between CBD and THC – they are sisters

CBD and THC are not that different really.

In fact they reside in the same place of the plant.

It’s were all of the natural beauty happens – the trichomes.

Trichomes are little buds on the leafs.

The word is from Greek and it literally means “hair”.

Yes, there are some hemp products derived from seeds.

Cannabis sativa or Indica produce cannabinoids all over. But, these parts of the plant are meant to influence the environment where the plant grows.

You have to understand the beautiful world of terpenes – the chemicals that plants products all over to influence their environment.

With terpenes plants fight the intruders – viruses or bacteria or influence behaviors of the insects for reproduction purposes.

The “Devil” is in detail.

They posses different chemicals that in effect are active on different endocannabinoid receptors.

However, in the ends thanks to terpenes these two major cannabinoids will also make feel different.

CBD and THC terpenes
They are shooting terpenes in the environment all the time

Terpenes make up the difference between CBD vs. THC too

Almost nobody talks about terpenes when it comes to CBD, THC or other cannabinoids.

It’s a shame, because terpenes are basically regulating living nature.

We wrote that before that it’s a shame not to include terpenes in all the CBD talks.

Terpenes are precursors of hormones. Chemical compounds that are regulating many physiological processes.

We don’t have to talk about hormones right?

We know what they are capable of.

Terpenes are building chemicals or hormones. Just five atoms of carbon and eight of hydrogen can have a significant effect what qualities does a plant possess.

In another word, it’s terpenes that give CBD or THC its character.

You might have experienced cannabis that did turned you off in the past. You were chilled, you did not want to do anything, just to have a laugh or just watch a movie.

In another hand, there you had a plant that turned you on completely – party take, being social, laugh, socialize, bring it on!

Whether you feel like just watching a move or it’s party time, let’s socialize – it’s all determined by Terpenes present in the plant.

How terpenes work

Terpenes are aromatic oils that modulate mood and improve feelings of well – being, not just because they smell good.

They have an incredible power over basic bodily functions.

These chemicals evolved because they help to protect an ecosystem and they maintain homeostasis.

The glandular hairs of the plant is the main terpene productions site that gives off a strong odor when their vapors are released.

Generally, it is understood that there are two main functions.

Either, terpenes repel potential predators to a plant.

And we are not just talking insects, but most of all bacterias and viruses.

Or on the other hand, they lure insects for reproduction purposes.

Either way, they play a major role in biology as such.

CBD terpenes benefits

Terpenes are substances that are made to product and prevail homeostasis.

Plants evolve together with new mutations of viruses and bacterias – and terpenes evolve along this process.

We can consider several effects on human body:

  • Anti-inflammatory Effects
  • Anti-tumor properties
  • Neurological Health
  • Skin healing effects

Pinene, a common terpene found in rosemary and conferous trees, has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with bronchitis, ear edema, pulmonary diseases and etc.

Pretreatment of rat models showed a marked decrease in allergic reactions, especially when used in conjunction with terpenes from linalool and 1 – octanol.

It is fascinating that linalool is to be found in cannabis plant as well.

Limonene has significant antioxidant qualities.

It was shown to reduce cell migration – the birth and collection of new cells, cytokine production – an inflammation trigger.

It is likely that other terpenes have significant anti – inflammatory and thus neuroprotective effects.

We can just recommend you spending as much time forest bathing as you can.


The biggest difference between THC and CBD is definitely intoxication.

CBD does not even impair your driving, with that being said does not impair your motoric capabilities.

Another thing is that, what is not talked about a lot, is that every plant, actually every strain is bit different.

That is know, but what is not being stressed enough is that it is thanks to terpenes.

And thanks to terpenes THC can be different from THC.

But, as a general rule of thumb with THC it’s more likely you are going to crave food, feel more high, maybe laugh more.

With CBD it’s more likely you will feel less anxious and more present.

Both have healing, anti – inflammatory effects.

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