THC and CBD – What is it and What’s the difference?

This question is one that’s fast becoming more and more popular, due to all of the benefits that THC and CBD possess.

South Africa had recently undergone a change, in terms of legal Cannabis use and cultivation – Where the Constitutional Court had ruled in favour of Private Adult Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis at home.

This in turn, has started lifting the stigma around cannabis – Or “Dagga”, as many people still refer to is as. And now, more and more people are seeking information.

What is THC and CBD?

Many of you probably have a fair understanding of what these are – But for those of you who don’t, here is a quick rundown.


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Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. That means it doesn’t produce the “high” associated with THC.

THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria.

CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. In fact, it can interfere with the binding of THC and dampen the psychoactive effects.

CBD and THC both have medical benefits. They’re also both considered safe.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand what cannabinoids are and how they work with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

There are currently 85 known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, the most prominent of which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

A cannabinoid is a compound that interacts directly with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which in short, is a network of receptors that interact with cannabinoids to maintain vital functions throughout our body.

Scientists discovered the first cannabinoid receptor in 1988, and by 1993, they had identified a second receptor. In 1995, the two receptors were classified as the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

The interaction between the CB1 and CB2 receptors with cannabinoids like CBD and THC is the catalyst for health benefits such as pain relief, anxiety relief, appetite stimulation, mood management and more.

Because THC and CBD have different molecular structures, they do not interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same manner. This greatly differentiates the effects each has on the body, which is likely the biggest concern when comparing CBD to THC.


Both cannabinoids offer tremendous health benefits, and either both or one of the other could provide the relief you need.

To some, the psychoactive effects of THC could be a benefit instead of a negative side effect. It’s all based on the needs of the individual.

CBD and THC share many similarities, but they also have distinct differences. I want to clarify that neither CBD or THC is better than the other.


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