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CBD v THC – What is the difference ? All you Need to Know


What is the Difference between CBD v THC?

Not everyone is aware of what cannabidiol (CBD) is and how it differs from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As they are both cannabinoids that derive from the Cannabis plant, this is understandable. However, there are considerable differences when comparing CBD vs THC. This includes health and medical benefits,  in addition to  side-effects, which this article discusses. Before this, we examine what CBD and THC are, considering their respective molecular structures. But first, a bit of background information.

Background information

The cannabis plant is a genus from which both marijuana and hemp derive. Marijuana is the name commonly given to the THC rich strain of cannabis, with THC being its predominant psychoactive compound (Holland, 2020). In contrast, hemp is a strain of cannabis that CBD derives from. In the UK, it must legally contain less than 0.2% of THC (The Extract, 2019; Rory, 2020) from the plant, but be at 0 % in consumer products.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the one hundred cannabinoids discovered to belong to the cannabis plant. CBD also happens to be one of the most popular and most researched of the cannabis plant’s compounds. This is because CBD is recognised as providing its users with many health benefits (Rory, 2020). Furthermore, as CBD is non-intoxicant, it has no psychoactive compound, so won’t provide users with the high that comes with using Marijuana (Rory, 2020; The Extract, 2019).

What is THC?

THC is the compound of the cannabis plant that is infamously known for providing its users with a high. This is because it is an intoxicant. It contains the highest concentrations of THC than other compounds to provide the high that users tend to experience. It is listed as a schedule grade 2 drug by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (Rory, 2020). Yet, like CBD, THC also has health benefits.

How do the Structures of CBD v THC Differ?

They have the same molecular formula: C21H30O2 (C21 = 21 carbon atoms, H30 = 30 hydrogen atoms and O2 = 2 oxygen atoms) (Gunnels, 2020; Rory, 2020; Holland, 2020). But this is where the similarities end because the molecular formula arrangement for CBD differs to that of THC. It’s this minute difference in their molecular structures that causes the human body to react differently to the effects of each cannabinoid (The Extract, 2019; Holland, 2020).

How does the Human Body react?

The human body recognises CBD and THC as cannabinoids because it naturally produces similar cannabinoids itself. CBD and THC establish a connection with the endocannabinoid system, which is like a “chemical messaging system” (Rory, 2020:np). It has a series of networks also known as cannabinoid receptors, with the main receptors being CB1 and CB2.

The CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are found within body tissue and organs (The Extract, 2019). Therefore, the human body reacts differently to the effects of CBD and THC because of where CB1 and CB2 receptors are situated.

CBD Health Benefits explained
CBD Health Infograph

What are the Health Benefits of CBD?

CBD provides many  health benefits. For instance, it provides relief from chronic pain, reducing anxiety inflammation and insomnia (Gunnels, 2020; Observer Content Studio, 2020; The Extract, 2019). CBD can help with the management of depression, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, mental disorders, multiple sclerosis and diabetes (Observer Content Studio, 2020).

Benefits of CBD also include treating epilepsy, especially drug resistant strains of it, which some children suffer from (Observer Content Studio, 2020). One particular example of this is a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome (Lyons, 2020).

This is not an exhaustive list as the effects of CBD may also be able to help with the management of many other medical conditions.

What are the Health Benefits of THC?

THC, like CBD, is said to have many health benefits for several medical conditions. These include helping with chronic pain management, glaucoma, depression, vomiting and nausea (Observer Content Studio, 2020; The Extract, 2019). It is an effective treatment for asthmatics, by helping to dilate their airways via a bronchodilator (The Extract, 2019). THC can help reduces tremors, such as those experienced by suffers of Parkinson’s disease (Observer Content Studio, 2020). It can also be used as an appetite stimulant, as well as a sedative (Gunnels, 2020).

Some believe THC can help with insomnia by inducing sleep. But there is research which indicates that over time this effectiveness may dissipate (Shannon et al, 2019).

Like with CBD, this is not an exhaustive list of the health benefits of THC. But as THC is illegal, it cannot be legally purchased for use in the UK. However, it has been synthetically replicated as a drug, Nabilone. Its purpose is to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, if other drugs have failed to treat these symptoms (The Extract, 2019).

What are the Side-Effects of CBD?

CBD tends to have minimal side-effects, which are usually temporary. But not everyone will experience side-effects from using it. WHO appear to agree as they state in a report, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effect indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…To date, there is no evidence of public related health problems associated with the use of pure CBD” (Grinspoon, 2018:np).

It’s possible that side-effects may be experienced as a result of CBD interacting with other medication (Fletcher, 2019; Observer Content Studio, 2020; WHO, 2017).

Side-effects of high dosage CBD can include dizziness, lethargy, weight loss, appetite changes, dry mouth and diarrhoea.

Some people who have tried CBD sublingually have commented that the taste of CBD oil is an unpleasant side-effect. Many adapt to it, or don’t mind it, others look for other ways to take it. However, CBD oil can be added to food and drinks to mask its taste, whilst still providing you with its benefits. Our CBD oils are not only certified organic, they are full spectrum, to provide you with the best quality ingredients, along with the healing properties of CBD.

If CBD oil still isn’t for you, we have many other products such as cbd vape oil and e-liquids. These come in a variety of flavours of pharmaceutical quality crystals, which are nicotine free. By using these with a compatible vaporiser, you can get instant benefits of our CBD.

Alternatively you can try our cbd tablets, made of the purest ingredients and highest quality CBD. Our tablets will provide you with a slow release of the benefits of CBD, without the taste.

But if you would rather not ingest CBD, you can still benefit from CBD oil by using our CBD skin care products, especially for their anti-inflammatory properties.

What are the Side-Effects of THC?

Using THC may also cause temporary side-effects such as memory loss, anxiety, increased heart rate, slower reaction times or issues with coordination, red eyes, (Holland, 2020), poor coordination and nausea (Fletcher, 2019; Observer Content Studio, 2020)

For individuals who may be predisposed to psychological conditions, THC could induce the onset of psychosis (The Extract, 2019). Furthermore, it is argued that teenagers should avoid using THC because it can lead to “adverse psychiatric effects” (Fletcher, 2019), could cause brain damage (Observer Content Studio, 2020) or long term complications (Gunnels, 2020).


What is the legality surrounding CBD v THC?

In the UK, CBD is legal if it derives from Hemp plants containing less than 0.2% THC (Rory, 2020). This is because THC is illegal in the UK, whereas CBD and other cannabinoids are legal (The Extract, 2019). Even if the THC is removed, CBD marijuana derived products are illegal in the UK. The reasoning behind this is that the marijuana from which the CBD came from was initially illegally grown unless the grower has a medical license. The extraction process of CBD is an essential element of the product quality. How is CBD extractced?

As ULU CBD products contain no THC, you will never fail a drugs test using any of our products. You can check our lab reports to find out more.



What are the Key Differences  CBD V THC?


  • isn’t a controlled substance
  • is legal in the UK if it doesn’t contain more than 0.2% THC
  • Is legal in most countries
  • has no psychoactive component to make you experience a high
  • can stop the psychoactive effects of THC
  • doesn’t cause toxicity, regardless of how much you use
  • has many examples of animals  use
  • is known for many health and medical benefits
  • encourages endocannabinoids in the human body to increase


  • is a controlled substance and is illegal to use without medical permission
  • Is illegal in most countries
  • will provide the high people associate with it because it is a psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant
  • can provide different effects depending on dosage; for instance, lower doses can reduce anxiety whereas as higher doses can increase it
  • has many health benefits, despite being known for its recreational use
  • sends signals to the brain by binding to receptors and using neurotransmitters
  • maybe help users relax
  • can reduce aggression
  • potentially help people suffering from PTSD

In Conclusion

Use of CBD and THC is common amongst society, despite THC being illegal. This has led to many people asking what is the difference between CBD and THC. Perhaps this is because research and clinical testing can take time, thus tending to move slower than legislation (Lyons, 2020). Most research is completed on animals to discover the advantages and disadvantages of both CBD and THC (Rory, 2020). However, there is little UK research concerning cannabinoids and the human body.

Therefore knowing the ingredients of the CBD products you are using is vital. Always ensure you can access lab reports from the companies that you purchase them from. Lab reports should be readily available if there’s nothing to hide.

ULU CBD products are of premium quality and contain 0.0005% of THC, thus making THC virtually undetectable in them. Our lab reports confirm this. This means you get no side-effects from THC, whilst obtaining the many health benefits that CBD provides. Our lab reports also detail the high quality ingredients of our products, which make them a premium range of CBD in the UK CBD market.

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