There is a lot of confusion about the differences between marijuana and hemp. They are two different types of cannabis plants. What does this mean for consumers of each of the plants? If you want to understand how they differ in practical application, then you must be knowledgeable about CBD vs. THC effects. First, let’s be clear about an important consideration: although marijuana is often a significant source of CBD, hemp is not a substantial source of THC. Hemp only contains trace amounts, so that you can get all the benefits of CBD found in both plants without the high.

Differences between CBD and THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical in marijuana that gets you high. CBD is the chemical in cannabis plants (both marijuana and hemp) that relieves pain, stress, anxiety, etc. One huge game-changer is that CBD does not make you paranoid. Paranoia is one of the main deterrents preventing people from enjoying marijuana use, whether they are using it recreationally or for medicinal purposes. CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects, so the ratio of CBD to THC is essential. In places where marijuana is legal, you can buy products that will explicitly tell you the CBD to THC ratio.

comparison infographic of cbd vs. thc effects

Disclaimer: clinical testing has been limited. Although CBD and THC have shown promising results, the infographic above reflects common effects experienced by users and isn't backed by adequate science at this point. For more information about What We Know and Don't Know (Harvard article), you should do more research.

CBD vs. THC for Anxiety

Sometimes the high from marijuana is a useful escape from reality if you are a cancer patient, or suffering in some other way. But if paranoia is a problem for you, then it can exacerbate the feelings of stress and anxiety, instead of relieving them. That’s why marijuana may not be an excellent choice for anybody who feels stressed out or suffers from chronic anxiety. CBD gives you relief without that undesirable side effect.

CBD vs. THC for Pain

Many who suffer from pain prefer to use both CBD and THC to treat their condition. The psychoactive high from THC, once again, provides an escape from whatever you are feeling. CBD offers something a little more substantial because it has a calming effect, but also patients have found it to be successful in reducing inflammation. Most specifically, people suffering from M.S. and arthritis have found comfort in CBD.

CBD vs. THC for Cancer

We must clear up one crucial thing up, neither of these is a clinically proven “cure” for cancer, as you may hear some claim. CBD and THC can be used to treat symptoms of cancer, as well as side effects of cancer treatments, like chemotherapy. However, CBD is not meant to treat cancer itself. Much like with stress and anxiety, choosing between CBD vs. THC effects for cancer comes down to whether or not you want the high and potential paranoia, or simply want the calming benefits of CBD.

One huge benefit of THC for cancer patients is that it increases appetite. This is extremely helpful to people who have lost weight because of constant feelings of nausea from their chemotherapy.

Here is a fascinating interview with an oncologist about the effects of cannabis on cancer patients:

Video: The Science of Medical Cannabis (Donald Abrams, M.D.)


Remember that CBD requires more clinical testing. Because of its short history of valid scientific research, we are still left with a lot of uncertainty about its efficacy. That being said, most of what we know is very encouraging, and the only known negative side effect is that it’s increased the occurrence of liver enzymes in a small percentage of users. That is why we encourage all CBD oil users to practice moderation. Start small with dosage and gradually increase until you feel adequate relief from whatever is bothering you. Every choice you make in life incurs risk. Though the chance of increased liver enzymes may be worrisome, chronic pain treated with opiates or other harmful drugs can be a lot worse for you. You will need to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for yourself. Your best option is to consult a physician, but make sure he/she is knowledgeable and up to date on CBD.

If you have more questions, please contact us or check out our other CBD resources. Of course, if you are looking for full-spectrum CBD products, we have natural solutions.