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What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?


CBD is the short form for Cannabidiol; a well-known compound that is found in both the Marijuana and Hemp plant. The cannabis plant is composed of both a male and female part. The male part of the plant is most commonly known as the Hemp plant, contrarily the Marijuana plant is more often referred to as the female part of the plant. Although both parts of the plant derived from Cannabis, it is important to note that the difference between CBD and THC is solely in their chemical makeup.

Scientists have discovered over 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are one of many cannabinoids that are present in both the hemp and marijuana plant. The hemp plant can be characterized by any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. Respectively, marijuana is characterized by a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% THC. 

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is well known for its psychoactive properties yielding a high sensation. Similarly to CBD, THC can be consumed via edibles, oil, capsules, tinctures etc. While both compounds can yield very different effects on the body and mind, both compounds interact with the body’s central nervous system and peripheral system while still having very different effects on the body

The Chemical Structure 

Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol have the same molecular arrangement: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. Although, the organization of these atoms being different allows for unique effects on the body. 

The endocannabinoid system contributes to the way in which we interpret pain, stress and fear.  Both chemical compounds interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. As a result, this causes neurotransmitters to be released in the brain. 

These transmitters trigger a chemical response that relays messages between our cells. These responses help us interpret pain, stress and sleep. 

THC connects to CB1 receptors, in order to produce a high sensation. CBD binds to CB2 receptors strongly while very weakly binding to CB1 receptors in order to promote homeostasis in the body and mind. Research shows that CBD can interfere with the binding of THC while suppressing psychoactive effects. It is said that marijuana containing lower amounts of CBD can enhance psychoactive effects. 

Does CBD oil have THC in it?

The short answer is yes, however it is very unlikely to fail a drug test by taking CBD oil products

CBD oil does contain THC, however, the amount of THC will determine whether or not the CBD oil has the ability to yield psychoactive effects. CBD oil can be derived from both the hemp and marijuana plant. It is important to note that the hemp plant contains 0.3% THC, which is unable to generate a high sensation in the human body. CBD oil that is derived from the hemp plant is legal and is able to be consumed without yielding any psychoactive effects. Contrarily, the marijuana plant is typically “high” in THC amounts and low in CBD content, CBD oil created from the marijuana plant will likely produce a high sensation and will be traceable on a drug test. However, CBD oil created from marijuana is less common. 

How much THC is in CBD oil?

All CBD oil products derived from the hemp plant will be below 0.3% THC. Many products derived from the hemp plant are even lower than that.  The best way to avoid THC is to source a CBD oil product that is specifically made from CBD isolate. 

Will CBD oil test positive for THC? 

Yes, it will. Any THC in the human body is traceable. 

However, In order to fail a marijuana drug test in Canada, you must have 5ng or more of THC per ml of blood. When ingesting CBD oil derived from the hemp plant 0.3% THC, you will pass a drug test. Overdosing on anything isn’t wise, be sure to follow the dosage instructions in order to remain compliant. 

What are the side effects of CBD vs THC?

The side effects of CBD are very minimal. Research shows that side effects caused by CBD are more often produced when CBD is combined with other drugs.

However, THC amounts that are over 0.3% are known to cause temporary side effects such as:

  • Increased heart rate 
  • Mouth Dehydration
  • Irritated Eyes (Redness)
  • Delayed Reaction time
  • Loss of Memory 
  • Coordination Challenges 

However, THC & CBD are not fatal. 


Amongst over 100 other cannabinoids, the significant difference between CBD and THC is related to the arrangement of their atoms. CBD and THC both contain “21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms”. The arrangement of these atoms allows for THC to be considered a psychoactive compound while CBD remains non-psychoactive. Although THC does have a psychoactive effect, THC yields many medicinal benefits similarly to CBD. 

It is important to understand what health ailment you are treating in order to leverage the benefits of Cannabidiol treatment effectively. 

The hemp plant and marijuana plant are very similar in their chemical make-up. A hemp plant can be characterized by any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. The hemp plant is well known for its health and medicinal benefits and is most commonly used to produce CBD oil. 

When sourcing CBD oil, it is important to ensure that you are purchasing a high-quality CBD oil. Before purchasing be sure to understand the extraction process being used. A CBD isolate oil is safe for users who are looking to benefit from the medicinal benefits of CBD while avoiding THC. However, THC yields many health benefits and could potentially aid in relieving several health ailments. 

Many individuals are curious about whether or not CBD oil will test positive for THC. The answer is yes, however this doesn’t mean that you will fail a drug test. 

The legal amount of THC that is permitted in the bloodstream is 5ng/1ml of blood. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions on hemp-derived CBD oil in order to make sure that you are remaining compliant with the legalities in your community.

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