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CBD vs THC: Key Differences and Benefits

In 2021, CBD vs. THC is still a discussion. Both are natural compounds derived from cannabis Sativa. Both cannabis and hemp (the same plant variety as cannabis) produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol); however, hemp has a higher CBD concentration while cannabis has a higher THC concentration.

While CBD and THC have the same chemical formula, the body reacts differently to each compound. They interact with the endocannabinoid system, which controls memory, anxiety, sleep, inflammation levels, mood, and more. The question is, which one is better?

The Other Path puts these two players against each other in a battle, so let’s see who’s the winner.

CBD vs. THC: The Main Differences

CBD was first discovered in 1940, and since then, it has proven to be a natural remedy for various conditions. THC was discovered a few years later, in 1964. Let’s take a look at the main differences and what makes each compound so unique.

Psychoactive Properties

THC and CBD affect different brain receptors. CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects, meaning it won’t get you high, while THC produces the “high feeling” that people always associate with cannabis.

Although CBD contains small amounts of THC (up to 0.3%), it is not enough to provoke psychoactive effects.


After passing the Farm Bill in 2018, hemp became a legal product in all 50 states. Although the DEA still marks CBD as a Schedule I controlled substance, they explained that trace amounts of cannabidiol found in hemp seeds or stalks are legal.

The legality of hemp-derived cannabidiol varies between states, so it is essential to check local laws before you stock up on CBD products.

Cannabis products with a high THC to CBD ratio are legal only in states with regulated markets.

Drug Testing

Drug tests usually search for chemicals related to THC, so if you’ve consumed it before the test, expect it to show up on the results. In fact, THC is detectable for three days in urine, 48 hours in saliva, and 36 hours in blood.

Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC (0.3% or less), and in such an amount, it shouldn’t be enough to cause any psychoactive reactions, but it can show up on a drug test. It mainly depends on your frequency of use. Usually, CBD is detectable for three-seven days in urine.

CBD vs. THC Benefits

woman having a headache

While the research on the potential benefits of CBD vs. THC is still ongoing, some studies confirm that these two substances may be helpful for specific conditions and disorders, including:

People often use CBD and THC to treat many of the same conditions, but there are still slight differences in when and how they use them.

CBD Benefits

CBD can ease symptoms such as:

THC Benefits

Some doctors and specialists prescribe THC as medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of various conditions. They established that THC could be helpful for:

CBD vs. THC: Pain Relief

Studies show that both THC and CBD can relieve pain. Research suggests that THC could be helpful for those with chronic pain from AIDS, cancer, and movement disorders. However, when the pain is due to injuries or inflammation, CBD might be a better option due to its anti-inflammatory features.

While both players provide outstanding benefits regarding pain relief, THC is the winner.

CBD vs. THC: Migraines

Often, migraines manifest with noise or light sensitivity and nausea, which can be challenging to manage. Is CBD or THC the solution?

Although all migraine headaches tend to feel the same, they have different causes. People who experience migraines due to hormonal imbalance might notice worsening symptoms after consuming THC.

It is essential first to determine the cause of your migraine to choose the right product for your condition. For example, if you are dealing with hormonal imbalance, it might be better to use CBD for your migraine. However, if the cause for your headaches is something else, THC might also help alleviate your discomfort, so it is impossible to choose a winner in this case.

CBD vs. THC: Better Sleep

People who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep sometimes turn to CBD and THC products. The question is, which compound can help you sleep better?

With sleepiness and drowsiness being the main THC effects, you might assume THC would be the definite winner. However, the ease of falling asleep and the quality of sleep are two different things.

Some studies suggest that THC might impact the REM sleep phases, which are essential to enjoying a good night’s rest. CBD, on the other hand, will not impact REM. CBD can be more effective for helping you relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep without affecting your REM phases, which makes CBD the winner.

CBD vs. THC: Anxiety

Many people suffer from anxiety. Some experience chronic anxiety attacks, while for others, it’s from time to time. Whether it is due to family stress, a demanding job, or unexpected issues, like most people, you are probably looking for a solution to ease the symptoms and function normally. For some, THC and CBD are the go-to remedies, but which one is a better option?

Some studies confirm that THC has anxiety-inducing features when consumed by individuals prone to feeling uncomfortable and anxious, making it a bit risky. One of CBD’s many benefits is that it can counterbalance these THC effects.

According to one study, CBD reduces anxiety symptoms, including increased heart rate, difficulty concentrating, and uneasy behavior, making this compound a better option to ease your condition.

CBD vs. THC: Fibromyalgia

magnifying glass focusing on the word fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in different parts of the body. Recent research investigated the impact cannabis has on the lives of those who have fibromyalgia, and it revealed that most participants saw improvements in their condition.

However, the researchers used a combination of THC and CBD, which makes it challenging to establish which compound helped the most, so it is fair to call it a draw.

Possible Side Effects

Many studies suggest that THC and CBD are safe to consume in the proper dosage and rarely result in significant side effects. However, as with most substances, this doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any adverse reactions.

Potential CBD Side Effects

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite

Potential THC Side Effects

  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Slower reaction times
  • Coordination problems
  • Increased heart rate

How To Take CBD and THC

woman taking cbd tincture

One can consume CBD and THC in different forms. You can ingest THC by smoking or try other cannabis products such as:

  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Vape products
  • Sprays
  • Edibles (chocolates, muffins, and gummies)
  • Beverages with cannabis oil

Like THC, you can consume CBD through vaping, although it is not the best option as there have been some concerns about health issues caused by vaping. You can also apply CBD to the skin by using various creams and lotions. The effects of these topicals are local since you don’t ingest them.

Besides lotions, you can also take CBD as an oil, tincture, capsule, and spray. From edibles, you can try CBD candies and gummies.

Before You Take CBD or THC

Both cannabis compounds may affect certain health conditions and other disorders as well as interact with medications such as painkillers, sedatives, and heart pharmaceuticals, so you should always be careful when taking these substances. CBD and THC might impact how your body breaks down the medications.

If you decide to take CBD, it is also essential to consider the formulation:

  • Full-spectrum CBD products contain THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids
  • Broad-spectrum products contain CBD and other cannabinoids (without THC)
  • Isolate products contain CBD only

CBD vs. THC: Which One To Try?

The product you want to try depends on the results or effects you want to accomplish. If you want to sleep better or reduce stress, CBD might be a better option for you. If you currently deal with poor appetite, chronic pain, or tremors, THC might be a more appropriate compound.

Some studies reveal that the therapeutic effects of CBD and THC tend to be greater and more efficient when you combine the two cannabinoids, also known as the entourage effect.


Although THC and CBD come from the same plant, they have different properties, uses, and benefits that separate them from one another. Both cannabinoids alleviate symptoms related to mental and medical health conditions, but additional research is still necessary to confirm all benefits.

If you want to experience the entourage effect, full or broad-spectrum CBD products are an excellent option. If you are only interested in one option, CBD is the way to go.

At The Other Path, we offer a large selection of CBD products of the highest quality. Each product is laboratory-tested and made with high-end ingredients to ensure maximum satisfaction. Contact us today at (818) 825-2739 to learn more about CBD vs. THC and explore our product selection.

cbd tincture and thc tincture side by side

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