CBD vs. THC: What's The Difference And Which One Is Best For Me?


Usually, acronyms are meant to make things less complicated. But between CBD and THC - not to mention CBG and CBN - cannabis plants have too many acronyms to keep track of!

Key Takeaways

  • CBD is derived from either the hemp or cannabis plant and does not contain any psychoactive effects
  • THC does produce psychoactive effects and therefore has more stringent laws around it
  • Products with less than 0.3% THC are considered federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill
  • A drug test will typically detect THC so consider opting for a CBD isolate product or forgoing any THC or CBD products altogether before an upcoming test

While CBD and THC both come from the same cannabis plant, they have drastically different personalities and properties to offer. But we're here to squash any confusion you might have once and for all.

Below, we'll go through the biggest differences between CBD and THC to restore the simplicity these acronyms are supposed to offer.

See Related: THC Oil 101: Everything You Need To Know

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What is CBD?

CBD can be extracted from either the cannabis plant or the hemp plant, both of which come from the plant Cannabis Sativa. CBD oil has been gaining immense popularity within the last couple of years due to its potential therapeutic effects.

But CBD remains only one of the many other cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants.

What is THC?

THC is one of the major chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that produces psychoactive effects. Both CBD and THC affect and interact with the endocannabinoid system as well as cannabinoid receptors found in the central nervous system and the brain.

These cannabinoid receptors are thought to help the body produce more of its own endocannabinoid chemicals.

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Bonus: 7 Best CBD Creams For Pain Relief 2023

Key differences between CBD and THC

Of course, the main difference in the battle between CBD vs. THC lies in the sensations and effects they produce. But here are some other major differences you'll want to be aware of.

Chemical structure

You might be surprised to learn that CBD and THC share the same chemical structure - but it's true! Both CBD and THC contain a molecular structure with 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. 

Chemically speaking, both CBD and THC tend to mimic your body's own endocannabinoid system. And this is what allows them to bind to your cannabinoid receptors.

Psychoactive effects

While CBD and THC share the same chemical formula, the difference between these compounds lies in how these atoms are arranged and how they interact with your body.

THC binds to the cannabinoid 1 receptor in the brain, producing psychoactive properties that can give users a high or a sense of euphoria. Recent research has shown that the psychoactive properties experienced may be stronger when THC is inhaled rather than ingested.

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CBD, on the other hand, does not bind as strongly to the cannabinoid 1 receptor. In fact, CBD needs THC in order to bind to that particular receptor in the first place.

Instead, when combined with THC, CBD can actually help to reduce some of the less desirable effects of THC such as euphoria or sedation. This is why you'll see many different CBD & THC products with different ratios of each compound.


The legality of CBD vs. THC is changing quickly. But according to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal under federal law.

That being said, state laws may vary so it's always best to check up on your local laws before enjoying some CBD oil that may have trace amounts of THC in it.

For the most part, laws tend to be more stringent around THC cannabis products due to their psychoactive effects. But we are still seeing more and more states make adult recreational use of cannabis and THC legal.

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CBD has long been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects, making it an ideal natural remedy for those looking to soothe inflammation and pain. New studies from 2020 even reported that CBD may potentially help with disorders like social anxiety, schizophrenia, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

That being said, CBD has yet to be approved by the FDA for these uses. But there are two synthetic THC formulations that have been FDA-approved in recent years.

Nabilone and Dronabinol have both been approved by the FDA to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Similarly, recent studies have looked into THC's potential ability to treat fibromyalgia and chronic neuropathic pain, though no conclusive evidence has been found yet.

All of this is to say that the research investigating the potential effects of both CBD and THC is promising for many who are seeking relief.

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Drug Testing

Both THC and CBD get stored in the body's fat cells and can show up on drug tests for up to several days or even weeks after you consume these cannabinoids. But not every drug test will be able to detect CBD.

For the most part, standard drug tests are typically looking for THC. Even if you use a CBD product that contains trace amounts of THC, you may test positive.

If you're looking to avoid that kind of situation, you may want to switch to a CBD isolate product that contains no THC whatsoever or simply forgo using any THC or CBD products for the time being.

Final thoughts

At Clean Remedies, we have products with both THC and CBD meant to soothe or stimulate your senses depending on what you're looking for. Using only USDA Certified Organic CBD and other hemp extracts, we are committed to providing you with the highest-quality CBD experience possible!

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced CBD user, we're here to offer you unique products that have your best interests in mind. 

Keep Reading: Psychedelic Mushroom Gummies: What Are They & How Do They Work?


Clean Remedies is a woman-owned, independent family business that uses USDA Certified Organic Hemp Extract to create products that are free from harmful chemicals, cruelty-free, and made in the USA, meant to benefit your well being and meet our own high standards of efficacy. For CBD facts, product discounts, and more, follow us on InstagramFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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