CBD vs THC: The Key Differences Explained


One of the emerging trends in healthcare is the use of medicinal cannabis products. We are seeing an increasing acceptance and legalization of cannabis, and as a result, we are seeing more consumers interested in trying medicinal cannabis products.

But when you do your research on medicinal cannabis products you come across two terms you aren’t familiar with: CBD and THC.

What do these terms refer to? What are the key differences between CBD vs THC?

We’ve prepared this detailed guide so you can learn about these differences so you can determine what to purchase for your needs.

CBD VS THC: What You Need To Know

Before you decide to use a cannabis product, you should always speak to your doctor first on whether it’s advisable for you to do so. You should also ask about which consumption methods are best for you.

For example, newcomers often wonder “can you smoke CBD?” or do you take it as an edible? There are many ways to consume cannabis products and your doctor can advise you on the best method.

Here’s what you need to know about what is the difference between CBD and THC:

1. The Key Differences

CBD stands for Cannabidiol while THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. Both of these are compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis products will have a certain percentage of each compound.

In medicinal cannabis products, there is a greater focus on CBD than THC. In fact, the amount of THC in a medicinal cannabis product is usually around 0.3%

This is because THC is what causes the euphoric and psychoactive effects (the “high”) that we experience when consuming cannabis for recreational purposes. CBD is not intoxicating and is used for helping ailments such as with pain management.

If you are purchasing a cannabis product for recreational use, you’ll be looking for one with a higher amount of THC. For a medicinal product, go for high CBD and very low THC.

2. Legality

You’ll have to do your research on the legality of any cannabis product (medicinal or recreational) in your jurisdiction. 

Your jurisdiction might state that a certain ratio of CBD and THC is acceptable whereas going above this ratio is illegal. You should also understand any regulations that may exist regarding cannabis products in your jurisdiction.

When purchasing cannabis products, you should always do it from an authorized retailer. If purchasing medicinal cannabis products, you can seek advice from your doctor on the best retailers in your area.

3. Why Choose CBD

With the increased adoption of CBD products as an alternative medicinal supplement, you might be wondering how they can treat various ailments. While research continues to be conducted, scientists and medical professionals alike have found numerous benefits to CBD products.

CBD products are often used for pain management including for ailing chronic pain. It can also help with reducing inflammation within the body. Patients who suffer from epilepsy or experience frequent seizures use CBD products to prevent attacks.

Furthermore, CBD products have been used for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.

The list of ailments that CBD products have helped continues to increase. If you have a particular ailment, you want to do your research to see if a CBD product can help with it.

4. What About THC?

Apart from the psychoactive effects, you might be wondering if THC has any medical benefits. 

While THC doesn’t have the strength of CBD (in terms of medical benefits) it has been found to help with certain ailments. 

THC has provided treatment for a number of ailments. These include nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia, and others. You do, however, want to make sure that you can handle the psychoactive effects of THC before consuming a product abundant with THC.

This is why medicinal products have a higher concentration of CBD and a lower concentration of THC.

5. What Are The Strains?

There are different ratios of CBD vs THC that make up strains. These strains are then added to the cannabis product.

While there are countless strains available, here are the most common ratios:

  • High CBD, Low THC – up to 20% CBD with less than 5% of THC
  • Low CBD, High THC – Very little CBD (trace amount) and up to 30% of THC
  • Balanced – 5-15% of CBD and THC each

The first strain is the most common one you’ll find in a pharmacy or medicinal cannabis retailer. This is preferred by most consumers as you won’t experience the psychoactive effects of THC.

If you have not consumed cannabis for recreational purposes, this is probably the strain you’ll most prefer.

The first strain is also ideal if you need to take medicinal cannabis regularly throughout the day. The lack of psychoactive effects ensures that you get your treatment without having to worry about feeling impaired by the “high.” 

Balanced strains will bring more of the “high” but also are less likely to produce any side effects (such as insomnia, anxiety, etc.) These are best if you are an occasional user and you will not need to be out or operating machinery etc.

The “high” might impair you to perform your necessary work functions, so its best to take this on a day off.

Some patients will also find that the Low CBD, High THC strain works best for them. Again, this should only be taken if you have experience with the “high” and are not particularly sensitive to it.

This shouldn’t be taken unless you are going to be home all day. Even if you have experience with high levels of THC, you must consult your doctor first.

Choose Your Product

Now that you know the differences between CBD vs THC, you can decide on which cannabis products and strains are best for you. You can choose to smoke or vaporize these strains, eat them as CBD edibles, or use CBD or THC oil in your cooking!

Make sure you shop around to find the best products available. Ask around for the best brands and trusted retailers before making your purchase.

Be sure to read more about cannabis products and the cannabis industry on our website.