Oftentimes, when discussing anything related to cannabis, people immediately think of THC. There is more than cannabis then this psychoactive component though, which we’ve seen with the emergence of a flourishing CBD industry. While CBD and THC are surely related in some capacity, they are not the same. For once and for all, let’s get to the bottom of CBD vs THC.

CBD and THC Are Both Cannabinoids

The cannabis plant (indica or sativa) contains numerous cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds within the cannabis plant, but they can be found in our organisms as well. There are over 100 distinct cannabinoids, and more are discovered as cannabis research progresses. In 1895, the first cannabinoid was isolated, making CBN the first cannabinoid to be discovered. Since then, more and more research has been conducted to isolate the hundreds of cannabinoids we now know of.

While CBD was discovered in 1940, THC was discovered in 1942.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD is found in high concentrations in the hemp plant. While the hemp plant is cannabis, it contains 0.3% or less of THC. Due to this distinction in the plant, CBD is legal in all 50 states. CBD has no psychoactive effects, but still benefits the endocannabinoid system. According to numerous research studies, CBD is a proved anti-inflammatory, can treat seizures and numerous mental health disorders, and can have a beneficial impact on many problematic chronic and acute health conditions.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC is very well-known in the cannabis community and in popular culture. The cannabinoid with psychoactive effects is responsible for making you feel high. Under federal law, any cannabis plant containing more than 0.3% of THC is considered a controlled substance. This means that it is classified as a Schedule I drug. While various states have state-run cannabis programs (either recreational or medical) some states still have very strict laws if you are found to be in possession of marijuana. If found guilty some sentences can even carry quite a bit of jail time. In states with cannabis programs, users report that THC helps to alleviate a number of their medical conditions, including but not limited to PTSD, anxiety, as well as numerous chronic conditions. Research also shows THC can be an effective anticancer agent for adults and children.

CBD and THC Have Been Studied

Contrary to popular belief, both CBD and THC have been studied. While opponents of all things cannabis refute this, there is a depth of research, which has been conducted over decades. In fact, Israel is the epicenter of cannabis research. Who knew, right? This is why numerous pharmaceutical companies have set up research centers in the country, hoping to cash in on research in anticipation that the US might decide to view cannabis more favorably on the federal level. While there are numerous studies, here is a good place to start if you’re interested in learning more about cannabis research.


While CBD and THC are derived from the same plant, they are very different cannabinoids. CBD has been at the forefront of many discussions in the cannabis, health, and research communities. Its non-psychoactive effects and evidence-based benefits are truly intriguing. On the other hand, THC continues to face scrutiny under federal law but has certainly helped patients find relief through legal state-run cannabis programs. While people will always associate CBD and THC with one another, their differences are clear.