5 minute read

CBD & THC

5 minute read

CBD vs. THC – Important Differences

Cannabinoids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds in hemp plants. Of the 80+ known cannabinoids, two are important to highlight: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC and CBD are of special interest because each chemical has the potential to provide individuals with significant bodily effects. THC and CBD act on receptors found throughout the human body and brain. However, the effects of CBD and THC differ dramatically from each other. This guide will breakdown the major similarities and differences between the two chemicals.

woman waking up in the morning with cbd and coffee for a sense of calmness

CBD doesn’t get you high – THC does

Instead of getting you high, research shows CBD has the following effects:

  • Decreases social anxiety and relieves stress from a long day
  • Helps support movement and healthy joint functions
  • Reduce painful aches from over-exertion

Different Molecular Structure

Chemical structures of CBD & THC cannabinoids

The way individual molecules¹ are arranged in CBD and THC are not the same. Not surprisingly, these slight structural differences cause a dramatic change for how the two cannabinoid molecules interact with receptors in the human body.

THC binds to cell receptors, whereas CBD indirectly regulates the receptors and manages how they respond to other chemicals (see image below). This slight variance causes the psychoactive effect of THC while allowing CBD to help regulate pain, inflammation, mood, and stress without the psychoactive effects.

Cell receptor binding & interaction diagram for CBD and THC
Direct (THC) and indirect (CBD) binding of cannabinoids with receptors.

A different way to think about the way a chemical interacts with a receptor is a bit like a lock and key. The chemical needs to have a structure that lets it bind, or connect, in order to activate a receptor. If the chemical structure is slightly different it won’t have an impact on the receptor. So, the tiny differences in a chemical structure are like the tiny differences in a key. If it doesn’t match up perfectly, the key won’t work. THC activates the receptor in the body, whereas CBD regulates how the receptors interact with other chemicals.

CBD is dominant in Hemp – THC is dominant other plant strains

While CBD and THC can both be found in multiple strains of plants, their chemical ratios vary highly from one plant to the other. The main differentiator is the ratio of THC in the plants.

High THC plants that are specifically grown for recreational use tend to have significantly higher levels of THC because of the desire for its psychoactive effects.

  • For hemp plants, CBD is present in large amounts, up to 40%, and has less than 0.3% THC.
  • For high THC strains of plants, THC is present in large amounts, a minimum of 0.3% and up to 35% – with has far less CBD.

Legal Status

While some states have taken the full legalization path, most states still have strict laws surrounding high-THC plant use and possession. In fact, high THC plants remain a Schedule 1 controlled substance² according to federal law and are considered to have a high potential for abuse, due to THC.

Hemp and its byproducts (including CBD) enjoy a much more relaxed legal status. According to the 2018 Farm Bill³, as long as the plant has less than 0.3% THC it is considered a legal agricultural product. This means that it is legal to own and use CBD products made from hemp anywhere in the United States.

It is essential to reinforce that only products containing hemp-derived CBD are legal in the US on the federal level. If the CBD is derived from a plant with greater than 0.3% THC, it is considered an illegal controlled substance.

There are 85+ cannabinoids

THC and CBD are the highest concentrated cannabinoids with the most testing and research. But there are 80+ additional cannabinoids (depending on how the scientific source classifies the chemicals). When buying a CBD product you can either get CBD isolate or a full spectrum CBD which includes some of the other natural cannabinoids from the whole plant. Some other cannabinoids worth noting as topics of future research include:

  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
Benefits of full spectrum CBD
Written by:

Alex Zorniger

Alex is an employee at Daddy Burt Hemp Co. He studied nutrition, the environment, and entrepreneurship at Tufts University before joining the Daddy Burt team as the director of business development. While working at Daddy Burt Hemp Co. Alex is also pursuing his MBA at the Fisher School of Business (Ohio State University). Alex has a passion for helping people learn about the constantly evolving Hemp industry.Alex has been featured in articles published on Forbes.com and the Cannabis Business Times.

Reviewed by:

Bob Estes

Bob is the founder and CEO of Daddy Burt Hemp Co. Bob has quickly become an authority and expert in the hemp & CBD industry. He originally developed an interest in science and engineering and received a degree in Industrial Engineering, which led him to a career in the nation’s space program. Bob worked for several aerospace companies supporting the space launch for NASA and the Department of Defense. Since Hemp farming has been revitalized in America over the last decade, his family legacy has called to him. Daddy Burt Hemp Co. is the rekindling of Bob's family's hemp farming legacy, dating back to the early 1800s.Bob has been profiled by Smiley Pete Publishing and has been featured in articles about CBD/Hemp on Forbes.com, Kentucky.com, MiamiHerald.com, NewsObserver.com and many more.

Sign up for our newsletter:

Subscribe for Daddy Burt’s newsletter for alerts on future deals & announcements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

further reading

Mar. 1st, 2019

Making & Processing CBD

CBD is rising in popularity due to its versatility and wellness benefits. This article will help you understand how CBD is made. What do you need to know about processing CBD products, like CBD oil? What Is CBD? First of all, it is important to understand that CBD (also called cannabidiol) is a chemical compound […]

SEE MORE

Can CBD Get You High?

No. CBD Doesn’t Get You High! CBD does not have any intoxicating or psychoactive properties. Instead, it is the answer for people looking for health and wellness benefits without the feeling of being high. What is CBD? Cannabidiol (commonly referred to as CBD) is one of the 85+ chemicals found in hemp plants. Cannabidiol has […]

SEE MORE

Differences in Hemp oil & CBD Oil

The CBD industry has grown with significant interest in natural wellness products. As a trending topic, people are frequently talking about buying CBD oil, Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil. This article will clarify the difference to help you choose the product best suited for your needs. Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil CBD oil and […]

SEE MORE

Mar. 26th, 2019

MCT Oil, Hempseed Oil and CBD Oil

When researching CBD Oil, the variety of oils that companies offer can make it confusing. Some sites mention hemp oil, hempseed oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, among many others. So, how do you know what you are looking for when you are buying CBD oil? It is important to start from the very beginning to […]

SEE MORE

Apr. 23rd, 2019

Glossary & Common Term Definitions

If you are new to CBD there may be a few terms throughout our website that are confusing or that you are not familiar with. We have added some of the more specific or detailed terms to this glossary page for a quick reference so that you can look up a specific word or phrase. […]

SEE MORE

Mar. 1st, 2019

What Is Hemp?

Hemp is an extremely versatile plant. It has been used throughout history to produce food, ropes, paper, homeopathic medicine, and even fuel. The plant’s benefits make it one of the most diverse and useful crops on the planet. Although hemp has virtually none (less than 0.3%) of the chemical that gets you high: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). […]

SEE MORE

CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate – Everything You Need To Know There is a bit of a learning curve to fully understand CBD, as with any new health and wellness product. For starters, it is important to note that all CBD is not created equal. There are two major types of CBD, isolate and full spectrum, with significant […]

SEE MORE

Aug. 18th, 2019

What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

You may have heard about the different forms of CBD: full spectrum, isolate, and broad spectrum. But, which is the best? Full spectrum, isolate, and broad spectrum all have unique qualities and beneficial effects for health and wellness. This article will help us to understand the differences of these different types of CBD (cannabidiol) to […]

SEE MORE

Jun. 27th, 2019

Where To Buy CBD

Where can I buy CBD near me? How do I differentiate between high-quality and low-quality products? What should I look for before making a purchase? This article is designed to answer all of your questions about where to buy CBD and what you need to know to purchase high-quality and effective CBD products.

SEE MORE

Feb. 26th, 2019

How To Take CBD

The variety of options for taking CBD can be confusing. To help figure out the best way for you, we’ve put together a helpful guide. This guide covers important topics that will be valuable for new and experienced CBD users.

SEE MORE