Avoiding the confusion: THC vs CBD

Cannabis is something that has seen its fair share of the news spotlight in recent months. There is a lot of terminology that is thrown around, and there may be some confusion as to what the chemicals in the plant actually are.

 In this blog we will focus on the two main cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant, which are also the most famous: THC and CBD.

Broadly, the two chemicals have a very similar molecular structure, they both are: C21H30O2 and they both affect the Endocannabinoid system 

The reason why they affect the brain in different ways can be explained by biochemistry, so let’s look at the two chemicals in more detail.


THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol and is infamously known as the chemical that is responsible for cannabis leaving users feeling high.

The reason why this is effect is felt is because THC can bind to the CB1 receptor – a receptor responsible for feelings of pleasure, normally, this receptor is stimulated by Anandamide, however THC can slot so well into the receptor it can actively mimic these effects.


CBD stands for Cannabinol. CBD will not make you feel high, because it is shaped differently to THC and therefore will not bind to the CB1 receptor in the way in which THC does.


In the UK, THC is illegal because it is psychoactive – it will get you high. CBD however, is legal provided it has been correctly extracted from the plant to ensure that there is no THC in your CBD oil- so you will not get high. What this means is that you can enjoy the benefits that the plant can offer, without having to experience the high.


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