CBD vs. THC: Understanding these Totally Different Compounds

CBD vs. THC: they both come from cannabis, but their effects on your body are totally different. Learn how they work in your body and more.

Cannabis sativa contains 100+ natural compounds, and no two are more famous than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Though they are found in the same plant, they couldn't be more different. Here, we will break down the differences between CBD vs. THC, starting with the fact that CBD will never ever get you high.

CBD Cannot Get You High
A "high" is caused by THC and THC alone. For decades, however, CBD has gotten a bad rap — it was unfairly lumped with THC and all components of cannabis as a narcotic. It wasn't until the compound was isolated and studied in the 1960s and '70s, that scientists were able to confirm that CBD has absolutely no psychogenic properties.

While THC is often used for recreational purposes, CBD is typically used for health and wellbeing. CBD has been used for health purposes dating back to 2900 B.C. Hemp and cannabis, (in which CBD is one of the most prevalent compounds) has been used for centuries. More recently, Epidiolex, a drug with active CBD as its main ingredient has already been approved by the FDA for the treatment of seizures. 

The World Health Organization published a 2017 report clearly stating that pure CBD has no addictive potential, nor is it possible to abuse it. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances.

Legality of CBD and THC

CBD products are now legal in every state, so long as they contain .03% THC or less. THC, on the other hand, is considered a controlled substance federally, but the legality varies by state. In the following states, THC can be consumed recreationally over the age of 21 and medically over the age of 18:
New Jersey
South Dakota
Washington, D.C.

THC can also be consumed only medically over the age of 18 in the following states:
West Virginia

CBD vs. THC: How They Work Inside Your Body

CBD and THC are both plant sourced and classified as phytocannabinoids. Your body makes similar compounds known as endocannabinoids which bind to receptors throughout your body in your endocannabinoid system. When CBD or THC are used on your skin or introduced into your body they bind to these same receptors. Some receptors have more affinity for THC and others for CBD. This gives these compounds different effects.

As an example THC binds to CB1 receptors, which are concentrated in the central nervous system and brain. THC binds to receptors that create a psychogenic ‘high’ effect. CBD does not bind to these receptors but rather inhibits THC’s ability to do so. As a result CBD reduces the psychogenic effect of THC.

CBD binds to other receptors throughout your body enhancing or inhibiting receptor functions. It can influence responses to hormones, neurotransmitters, and other signalling molecules.1

Understanding the Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp
There's another distinction to be made between CBD and THC, regarding the cannabis plant. Both come from the cannabis plant, but depending on the amount of THC within the plant, the law classifies the plant as marijuana or hemp. Hemp refers to any cannabis plant that contains .3 percent or less THC. Marijuana refers to any cannabis plant that has more than .3 percent THC—and when people talk about weed, they're referring specifically to marijuana.

Using CBD and THC Together
When CBD is combined with THC, it can mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC. Studies have shown that CBD is able to soften the euphoria and dysphoria brought on by THC. In other words: CBD is the yin to THC's yang.

The combination of CBD and THC can offer unique benefits. Research is currently being done into their combined effects and how they can work together for potential health benefits.

Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics' CBD Products
If you're wondering about Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics products, it is important to know that they focus on CBD. Our rich formulas are made with the highest quality Oregon-grown hemp extracts, which are refined further with chromatography to remove THC. Our products. produce no psychoactive effects.

We offer topical CBD products that are designed to help support your wellbeing in conjunction with your body's endocannabinoid system .

1. Johnson, S. A. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis: The Perfect Partnership for Self-Regulation and Healing. Scott A. Johnson Professional Writing Services LLC.
2. Lee, M. A. (2013). Smoke signals: A social history of marijuana-- medical, recreational and scientific. New York: Scribner.