The Emerald Network


1:34 pm EDT 9/23/2020

CBD and THC are two acronyms that are very widely used, and, sadly, wildly misunderstood. So misunderstood, in fact, that it isn’t actually rare to see both terms being used interchangeably as though they meant the same things. 

They don’t.

Chances are you’ve also probably come across these terms somewhere and couldn’t quite place their meanings, similarities, and differences. You don’t have to worry anymore, though. Our aim is to ensure that by the time you’re through with this article you’re able to not only identify each compound by its meaning and properties, but also understand the importance and limitations of each.

Below we’ll be taking a look at the meaning of each, their differences, chemical structures, effects on the body when consumed, and so much more.

CBD vs THC – What They Are and What Joins Them Together

CBD is an acronym for Cannabidiol, while THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. Seeing as both these compounds are used so interchangeably, and are commonly found in the same sentences – surely something must join them together, right? a sort of mutual relationship between the two compounds? 

Well certainly. 

To understand what this relationship is, it is important to understand how these compounds are extracted and where they are found in the first place. Both CBD and THC, you see, are compounds obtained from the cannabis sativa plant. This is what, quite literally, joins them together.

They also share a lot of therapeutic properties that make them so popular, but one thing worth mentioning above all others is that while CBD is majorly derived from hemp, THC is majorly sourced from cannabis.

The reason for this difference in sources, as we explain further below, can be traced to the difference in psychoactivity between the two.

A Brief History of CBD and THC

CBD and THC, as mentioned above, are two of the most active components of the cannabis flowering plant. Decades ago, however, scientists found out that only one compound, THC, was responsible for the psychoactive properties experienced when we consume cannabis.

The psychoactivity of cannabis, as is well known, is one of the major reasons for its questionable legal status all over the world. But, as research studies showed, when you take away the THC component of cannabis, you’re left with CBD and other cannabinoids that do not induce an ecstatic “high” or any other psychoactive feeling in the human body.

Hemp and Cannabis

Hemp and cannabis both come from the cannabis sativa plant, but with a profound difference. While cannabis is cultivated directly to contain upwards of 12% THC content, for its psychoactive properties, hemp, on the other hand, is cultivated majorly for its industrial usage and as such does not contain more than 0.3% THC (which is the threshold at which the THC is NOT enough to cause a high.)


As seen above, THC is derived majorly from cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, is derived from hemp, thanks to its low THC content (less than .3%). Thanks to this fact, it became possible to enjoy the therapeutic qualities of CBD without having to worry about the health effects of the psychoactive properties induced by a high dosage of THC.

Subsequently, then, the .3% THC level became a threshold/benchmark for the legality of hemp and other cannabis-derived products. 

CBD and THC Chemical Structure

Moving on, it should interest you to know that both CBD and THC share the same chemical structure. The both have the same molecular formula of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. 

Given that they both have this same molecular structure, why then is one psychoactive while the other is not? Good question. You see, this is so because even though CBD and THC share the same molecular components, these atoms are not arranged in the same way. 

And it is this slight difference in their atomic arrangement that causes the different effects we experience after consumption.

CBD and THC both operate similarly to our bodies’ endocannabinoids, which gives them the unique opportunity to interact with our cannabinoid receptors. It is after this interaction takes place, that chemicals known as neurotransmitters are released into the brain, causing the corresponding effects associated with each compound.

Effects on the Body

The effects of consuming THC and CBD respectively are quite different. This is because THC binds strongly to the cannabinoid receptor 1, thereby causing the euphoric experience, whereas CBD does not have the ability to bind as strongly to the same receptor, thereby no “high” effect is experienced.

CBD, though, does have what it takes to work with other elements in the body that are responsible for general well-being. 

Below are some of the health benefits to be gotten from consuming THC and CBD.

CBD Medical Benefits

The benefits of consuming CBD include:

1. Pain Relief

Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever through thousands of years in human history. And since the discovery that CBD can be extracted alone, and provide even higher efficacy for the same purpose, more and more people have employed CBD products towards this end to great results.

2. Anxiety Treatment

Apart from its pain-relieving properties, it has also been found that CBD can in fact reduce anxiety and depression. And what’s more, it has been found to do so with less side effects than traditional pharmaceutical drugs.

3. Alleviating Cancer-Related Symptoms

Thirdly, CBD products have also proven to be capable of reducing cancer related symptoms and side effects such as nausea, vomiting and pain. 

A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a combination of CBD and THC reduced nausea and vomiting much better than standard medications.

4. Huge Benefits to the Heart

Lastly, recent research studies have also linked CBD to huge benefits to the heart and circulatory system. It was found that CBD does, in fact, possess the ability to lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation and cell deaths associated with heart diseases.

THC Medical Benefits

As part of medicinal marijuana, THC can help in the treatment of various conditions such as:

1. Multiple sclerosis 

2. Nerve pain

3. Parkinson’s disease tremors

4. Nausea

5. Glaucoma

6. Low appetite

7. Insomnia and anxiety

CBD and THC – Legality

The legality of both THC and cannabis is a quite controversial topic that ultimately comes down to respective states and their legislations on the subject. The compound in all its forms is legal in some states, partly legal in some, while considered illegal in others. 

To understand the legality of concentrated THC and cannabis, you should always refer to the state law where you reside or where you’d like to have the product shipped.

With CBD, however, the situation becomes a lot less complex. CBD is considered legal in all 50 states thanks to the federal law that ensures that all hemp products with an accepted level of THC (i.e. less than 0.3%) are considered legal.

At The Emerald Corp Shop, as you will find below, all our CBD products are highly compliant and fall squarely within the federally accepted range of legal CBD formula.

CBD and THC on The Emerald Corp

At The Emerald Corp, and on The Emerald Corp Shop, you will find CBD products with less than 0.3% percent THC, and those without any THC whatsoever, all of which, in the end, are considered legal.

Also, for what it’s worth, these CBD spectrums are divided based on their components and purity into three categories: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.

Full Spectrum CBD 

CBD is considered “full spectrum” when it contains cannabidiol (actual CBD) along with other compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, along with an accepted level of THC (below 0.3%) present.

Full spectrum CBD is completely safe, legal, and does NOT induce any psychoactive property that may get you high.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that has been extracted from the source plant with other cannabinoids present, but NO THC. 

Broad spectrum CBD is a sort of hybrid between the full spectrum THC, with all possible compounds present, and pure isolates that we discuss below.

Broad spectrum CBD offers the full benefits of the cannabis plants, the full benefits of CBD, and the full benefits of other cannabinoids present without producing the psychoactive properties to be gotten from the consumption of THC.

CBD Isolate

When we refer to a “CBD isolate”, we are referring to the form of CBD extracts considered to be the purest form, that js that contains only CBD with all other compounds and cannabinoids completely removed. 

And yes, this also includes THC. So, in short, a CBD isolate does NOT contain THC, and as such is tasteless, odorless, and does not have psychoactive properties.

CBD isolate is great for individuals who are sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids; those who want to consume a high dose of CBD; those who are about to take drug screening tests, and those who live in states with strict cannabis laws.


CBD and THC are both beneficial compounds derived from cannabis sativa flowering plant. While THC is derived from cannabis and responsible for the “high” effect experienced when consumed, CBD is derived from hemp and does not cause any form of euphoric psycho-excitation.