CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

CBD, THC and the Entourage Effect

We love these two compounds and the resulting effect that makes cannabis such a beneficial medicine.  But what exactly are CBD and THC and how do they work in the body? Our bodies have a set of receptors found in our endocannabinoid system that interacts with cannabis compounds called cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. Research has shown that using both CBD and THC together, especially when other cannabis compounds are present, create an “entourage effect” which can provide even more benefits than when taking THC or CBD alone. 

What is the Difference Between CBD & THC?

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that influences cannabinoid receptor activity and encourages production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids. It does not activate the same cannabinoid receptors as THC so it does not produce the euphoric, psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD is commonly used to manage the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Inflammatory and neuropathic pain
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Pain and inflammation
  • PTSD and anxiety
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Opioid withdrawal

The capabilities of CBD throughout the body suggests encouraging potential for further research and use in psychiatry and medicine! 

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC is the compound responsible for creating the psychoactive effect. It attaches to cannabinoid receptors concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. THC stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine, creating the classic cannabis euphoria.

How do CBD & THC Work Together?

Medicine with both compounds will show a CBD:THC ratio. Which ratios work best will vary from person to person depending on how this combo is used and for what purpose. As mentioned above, the combination of the two cannabinoids with other cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis creates an “entourage effect.” When more than one cannabinoid is present, the benefits of each compound work together as a whole to create a fuller effect.


Together, CBD and THC can help manage:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Cancer side effects
  • Epilepsy
  • Fungal infections

Things to know:

  • If you are new to cannabis, start with a low dose (2.5-15mg) of each
  • Ingesting a product with a high CBD to low THC ratio will likely result in a lower psychoactive effect with the benefits of both compounds
  • An equal ratio of the two can create a balanced, euphoric high that is less likely to induce anxiety, paranoia or potential other negative side effects of THC.

CBD can also mitigate the effects of THC! If you find yourself beyond your comfort level of euphoria, CBD can help even out or reduce your high, but the dosage is important. Studies have shown that a low dose of CBD (5mg) may actually increase your high. However, a higher dosage of CBD (50mg+) can be effective in reducing a euphoric high. 


What are my Options?

Edibles: CBD or CBD:THC ratio edibles usually come in the form of gummies. Wana has some great options with different rations of CBD:THC to try out!  Head to our edibles blog to learn more!

Tinctures: You can find THC only, CBD only and CBD:THC ratio tinctures at The Prime Leaf! These are a great edible alternative and are fast acting when absorbed sublingually (beneath the tongue). 


Topicals: Topicals are cannabis-infused ointments, lotions and balms that are absorbed through the skin to help relieve localized pain, muscle pain and inflammation. Topicals are non-intoxicating and are an effective way to relieve topical pain without the high. Many CBD-only topicals are available as well as CBD:THC and THC only!

As always, talk to your patient consultant about the best options for your needs!