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The Difference Between CBD vs THC Explained

The Difference Between CBD vs THC Explained

Understanding the difference between CBD and THC is very important when you’re looking to buy cannabis seeds, as it can directly impact which strains you pick for your collection - maybe you want seeds high in CBD or seeds high in THC?

As we look into the properties and compare CBD vs THC is this beginner’s guide, think about your own preferences and the qualities that interest you. A common question we’ll answer is which of these cannabinoids is psychoactive, and which isn’t?

What is CBD?

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is an active compound found in the hemp plant which is extracted in a number of different ways, including CO2 extraction. CBD by itself is non-psychoactive and does not lead to any feelings of ‘being high’.

A completely natural compound, it is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis and in recent years has become the most prominent of these in the news. This is a result of more and more people choosing it to help with a range of ailments and conditions.

What is THC?

THC is also an active compound from the hemp plant and is otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the cannabinoid in marijuana that causes feelings of ‘being high’ and is psychoactive.

Due to the fact it is psychoactive, THC is often illegal - always check the up-to-date information in the country you’re in. In the UK, CBD is legal and THC is illegal.

CBD vs THC - how are they similar?

Both active compound in cannabis
React with the endocannabinoid system
Can be found in the same product types - oils, vapes, edibles etc


Whilst CBD and THC have very different impacts on the human body, largely based on how they react with our endocannabinoid system, they are similar in that they are both active cannabinoids found in cannabis and can be ingested or absorbed using the same product types.

The endocannabinoid system performs a range of functions in the body in regards to regulating physiological and cognitive processes. It can impact mood, pain, memory and appetite and the cannabinoids CBD and THC can both interact with this system. For example, CBD can reportedly reduce pain and THC has been linked to increasing appetite.

Yet, the similarities between the two are far outweighed by their differences, both in importance and quantity.

CBD vs THC - how are they different?

Non-psychoactive psychoactive
Legal in many countries Illegal in most countries
Possibly reduces anxiety Likely increases anxiety
Most commonly found in hemp Most commonly found in other varieties of cannabis
Atomic arrangement (open ring) Atomic arrangement (closed ring)
Minimal side effects. Benefits can include:
  • - anti-inflammatory
  • - anti-oxidant
  • - relaxation
  • -pain relief
Side effects can include:
  • - anxiety
  • - drowsiness
  • - paranoia
  • - euphoria
  • - increased appetite


CBD doesn’t get you high

The biggest and most discussed difference is that CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get you high, whereas THC is psychoactive and creates the feeling of being high. It is also this difference that makes CBD mostly legal and THC mostly illegal around the world.

As a result, CBD products have seen huge growth recently as they have become more mainstream. Now, probably more than ever, the general population understands that CBD is a non-psychoactive, non-controlled substance.

Why doesn’t CBD get you high, but THC does?

Whilst they’re both cannabinoids, they interact with the endocannabinoid system differently, meaning they have different effects. THC binds with CBD1 receptors (cannabinoid 1 receptors) responsible for the central nervous system, sleep and appetite to name a few, and it is this binding which produces the high feeling. CBD on the other hand does not bind with these receptors.

It is thought that their atomic differences are why they interact differently with the receptors; CBD has an open ring and THC has a closed ring.

CBD can reduce anxiety, THC can increase it

Whilst CBD has become hugely popular as a natural product to help reduce pain, anxiety, even to help people with insomnia and skin conditions, THC has been found to cause side-effects such as increasing feelings of anxiety, and drowsiness.

CBD is most commonly found in hemp

Both are found in cannabis but most CBD products will more often than not be produced from industrially grown hemp as it is most prominent in this type of plant. Hemp is essentially a cannabis plant with o.3% THC content or less.

Do you get CBD with THC in it?

Pure CBD itself doesn’t contain any THC but you’ll notice that a lot of CBD based products like oils and edibles will contain trace amounts of THC. This is typically less than 0.2% THC which is a small enough percentage that the end product is still classed as non-psychoactive.

CBD and THC cannabis seeds

Breeders have long created premium quality cannabis seeds that are:

  1. high in CBD
  2. high in THC
  3. a variety of combinations and ratios

Those bred to be high in CBD and to have only trace levels of THC are generally developed as more medical strains that could be used for the reported health benefits, whereas high in THC strains would result in psychoactive results.

However, in cannabis seeds, these are more qualities to look at to help you with your collection and understanding their genetics.

Recommended seeds

Some recommended brands to look at are Sensi Seeds, Royal Queen Seeds and Big Buddha Seeds. These are all premium varieties with lots of choice to suit anyone’s collection.

At ICE Cannabis Seeds we have thousands of seeds available to buy online - if you’re new, start by browsing our top ten categories, including our bestsellers.

Speak with our team

If you’ve got a question around this topic that we haven’t answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team is very experienced in cannabis seeds and can recommend those with high levels of CBD or THC. Otherwise, happy shopping!