CBD vs. THC: Top 5 Differences in Benefits & Effects

It’s easy to get confused between CBD and THC. However, these are two separate and distinct cannabinoids, each having entirely different sources, effects, benefits, risks and legality. The cannabis plant naturally produces both. This is why they are frequently mixed up, as each is extracted from a similar source. In Australia, though, CBD is drawn from low-THC industrial hemp plants, while products containing THC come from medical marijuana. This results in marked differences in the cannabinoid and chemical make-up of therapeutic products produced from these plants. CBD oil, for instance, is non-psychoactive but used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, arthritis and inflammation.

In contrast, medical marijuana products containing THC are used for nausea, pain and insomnia. Due to activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors directly, THC is psychoactive, having more significant side effects and risks of mental harm. As such, it’s more strictly controlled in Australia and requires a prescription to buy, unlike CBD. Let’s explore the differences between CBD and THC so you can easily compare them to decide what’s right for you.

Understanding CBD and THC

CBD and THC are both naturally occurring cannabinoids produced from cannabis. The two are the most abundant cannabinoids created by the plant. They’re also the most widely known and used. Both can be obtained in Australia through a doctor’s prescription as a medication. However, CBD can also be purchased over the counter in pharmacies without a prescription. That’s because laws were recently changed in 2021 to enable greater access to CBD after the government acknowledged its superior safety plus lower side effect risk versus THC. In contrast, THC is more rarely prescribed for a narrow range of conditions like nausea or severe pain.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid from cannabis sativa. It has a differing chemical structure and properties to THC, which means it doesn’t interact with cannabinoid receptors as strongly or cause a ‘high’ like THC. As such, it’s much safer to take and won’t risk causing psychosis like THC. You can take CBD in many ways, such as CBD oil, vapes, gummies, tablets or creams. It is offered in several formulations, reflecting varying strengths and cannabinoid content.

How CBD Works

When consumed, CBD works on the endocannabinoid system in the body and causes the release of endogenous cannabinoids, which are analgesic, anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory. These endocannabinoids, like anandamide, are responsible for CBD’s therapeutic effects and ability to combat anxiety, pain, inflammation and arthritis. CBD is particularly powerful for neuroprotection and the prevention of epilepsy. It is sold today in Australia as a specifically formulated epilepsy drug called Epidiolex, which has been clinically proven to reduce the incidence and severity of seizures. Further research is ongoing into CBD for its abilities to mitigate depression, offer antiviral effects and aid with sleep. 

CBD differs in its action on the endocannabinoid system from THC. It indirectly activates cannabinoid receptors of this system, weakly acting on them to stimulate more mild, therapeutic effects. This is very different to THC, which acts powerfully on the brain’s CB1 receptors, in particular, producing euphoric effects by modulating them directly. Both cannabinoids play a role in endocannabinoid activity but function through differing receptor pathways within the endocannabinoid system. Their impact on this system is often amplified when they are taken together. Many cannabinoids are synergistic and show increased efficacy when taken in combination. THC and CBD used at a 1:1 ratio for pain deliver the most significant reductions in pain symptoms versus either cannabinoid used standalone.

Industrial Hemp Source

CBD is primarily sourced from industrial hemp plants in Australia. This is a subspecies of cannabis that contains little to no levels of THC. It is specifically bred to have less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid. Most CBD oil is produced from this type of hemp to limit its THC content and avoid psychoactive effects in users. Industrial hemp is used for other commercial purposes, like making hemp protein or hemp fibre for textiles and building.

What is THC?

THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the infamous cannabinoid known for causing euphoria when consumed. In Australia, it can only be purchased through medical cannabis products that a physician prescribes. Most commonly, it is found as dried cannabis flower, cannabis oil or hash, which will all be rich in THC while usually containing a mix of other cannabinoids like CBD. Like CBD, it can be consumed orally as an edible, vaped, or used sublingually or topically. THC is both psychoactive and psychotropic. It causes intoxication, which makes it illegal to drive or operate heavy machinery while affected by it.

How THC Works

THC’s potent activation of CB1 receptors causes it to influence neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin within the brain and CNS. It has dopaminergic effects that mean it can cause dependence due to altering motivation. In other words, THC can cause addiction. This is different to CBD, which isn’t addictive as it has no effects on dopamine. THC’s modulation of cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus also affects hunger levels. The hypothalamus is responsible for controlling hunger by triggering hunger hormone release. THC can stimulate it to release these hormones and cause appetite increases.

Additionally, THC has serotonin-modulating effects, which is part of why it causes euphoria. Much of THC’s relaxing, feel-good properties are the result of its serotonin modulation. While it helps users with short-term mood improvements and happy feelings, long-term use of THC can lead to impairments in memory or learning. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for these functions in the brain. Altering levels of serotonin can cause undesirable mental side effects, including loss of memory, reduced cognitive ability and impaired executive function.

Because it’s far more potent than CBD, THC has differing therapeutic applications. It is extensively used for treating nausea among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. In addition, THC is often prescribed for conditions that cause muscle spasms or nervous dysfunction. The cannabinoid is more effective than CBD for treating pain, mainly when used with CBD. Doctors often prescribe THC for pain in treating fibromyalgia, nerve pain or chronic pain, which doesn’t respond to other painkillers. In many, it’s a better choice versus traditional painkillers like opioids due to being less addictive and having fewer severe side effects when used long term.

Medical Marijuana Source

While CBD is extracted chiefly from industrial hemp, THC is drawn mainly from medical cannabis strains that include marijuana. Medical cannabis is strictly controlled because it contains high levels of THC. It can only be farmed commercially using a specific government-approved license in Australia. As opposed to industrial hemp, marijuana is often grown to maximize THC content for medical purposes. Most medical cannabis strains will also contain a mix of other cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, or CBN in differing strengths and quantities depending on the strain and how it’s grown. For example, strains that contain an equal blend of CBD and THC are often developed to produce medications for chronic pain treatment.

How Do CBD and THC differ?

CBD and THC differ significantly in their legality, side effects and risks, benefits, and product types.


CBD is not psychoactive like THC, which makes it more suitable for those who don’t want to get intoxicated while still obtaining the powerful health benefits that cannabinoids can offer. It’s much better suited for those who drive or operate machinery or who can’t risk motor impairment. THC slows reaction speeds, impairs cognition and reduces motor skills, which can be dangerous in many scenarios. Additionally, its psychoactivity poses a substantial risk of triggering or worsening many mental disorders. For example, those with genetic predispositions to dementia, psychosis, depression or Alzheimer’s are much more susceptible to mental harm if THC is consumed. While symptoms of anxiety do improve for some when taking THC, it often worsens anxiety disorders or causes paranoia as opposed to helping.


In Australia, both THC and CBD can be legally purchased for medical purposes. Both are available via doctor’s prescriptions. CBD can also be bought without a prescription over-the-counter since the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rescheduled CBD from a Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 medicine in 2021. Restrictions still apply to the strengths of these products, which can contain no more than 150mg of CBD dose per day. High-strength CBD products can also be purchased through the Special Access Scheme in Australia, which requires approval to use CBD as part of a pre-approved condition. 

THC is illegal without a medical prescription and can’t be purchased for recreational use. It’s classified as a Schedule 4 drug in Australia. Similarly, products with THC, like cannabis flower, can be prescribed for some conditions like chronic pain, insomnia or nausea. As THC carries a higher risk of harm, addiction, and side effects, its availability without a prescription is unlikely anytime soon in Australia. CBD, on the other hand, may well become fully legalized for non-prescription purchases in the near term because of its safety profile and non-psychoactivity.

Drug Testing

Using CBD or THC products comes with risks for those who are drug tested. Many workplaces conduct regular drug testing of employees or require screening as part of pre-employment checks. Roadside drug tests are also done in all areas of Australia to test for the presence of THC metabolites in the systems of drivers. It is not legal to drive with any detectable amount of THC in your system in Australia, regardless of whether an individual is intoxicated. Yet, while THC is targeted in these drug testing protocols, CBD isn’t. It won’t be detected and is safe to use for drivers.

CBD doesn’t cause motor impairment or intoxication like CBD, so it is exempt from drug testing laws. Immunoassay drug tests only screen for CH-COOH, which is a metabolite of THC. No metabolites or derivatives of CBD are checked for. Unfortunately for those taking THC, these metabolites have a very long half-life in the body and are fat-soluble. It can take weeks or months after regular use of cannabis for them to be cleared, posing long-term risks. In contrast, someone could take CBD before driving and would be safe from drug tests as long as they used a pure product containing no THC. 

Side Effects

THC has a much greater risk of severe side effects compared to CBD. This is due to its more powerful, direct activation of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. THC’s resulting psychoactivity means it has more significant physical side effects and can exacerbate mental illnesses or trigger psychosis in the worst cases. Those with existing mental conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar should avoid using it entirely. In contrast, CBD has minimal side effects and is safe even at very high dosages.

THC Side Effects

THC has a variety of potential side effects. The risks of these side effects increase with higher usage frequency and dosages of THC consumed. Side effects can include dry mouth, motor function issues, reduced reaction speed, memory impairment, and irritability or paranoia. Chronic use of THC is linked to impaired memory and cognition. These risks are amplified among teenagers and children due to their developing brains being more susceptible to impairment. 

Addiction Potential

THC is dopaminergic because it acts on the brain’s pleasure centres, which also means it can cause addiction. Around 1 in 10 regular users of THC are expected to develop an addiction to the cannabinoid. Addiction tends to be more common for those with depression or genetic predispositions. CBD, in contrast, is non-addictive as it doesn’t have any direct interactions with dopamine or serotonin in the brain.

CBD Side Effects

CBD has weaker, indirect interactions with the neurotransmitter receptors, which means its health risks are substantially lower than those of THC. It’s been verified as safe by reputable health agencies, including the World Health Organisation. Studies have assessed the health risks of cannabidiol and found that even when using high doses daily, its side effect risks are low. It physically can’t cause addiction because it doesn’t affect dopamine. When side effects are encountered with CBD, they are almost always mild and transient. These side effects can include dry mouth, appetite changes, upset stomach, and drowsiness. Like with THC, the side effect risks of CBD increase at higher dosages or frequency of use.

Medication Interactions

The significant risk of using CBD comes from combining it with other medications which are broken down by the liver. CBD can dampen levels of the liver’s P450 enzyme, which is used for detoxification. Pharmaceutical drugs like NSAIDs, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics and blood pressure medications are often also processed through the liver detoxification pathway. If taken along with CBD, it can cause toxins to build up and adverse health reactions. For example, the liver could get damaged or impaired, plus other side effects such as dizziness or lethargy may worsen. Never mix CBD with other pharmaceutical drugs or prescriptions until you consult with your doctor. Combining medications like benzodiazepine or blood pressure medicine with CBD is potentially dangerous and could cause liver toxicity. The same applies to THC, although its risk level tends to be lower.

Dosages and Usage Periods

While both CBD and THC are generally safe to use therapeutically when dosed correctly, THC becomes more unsafe at higher dosages or strengths. It also has the potential to cause both short and long-term memory, cognition and coordination impairment. Studies have shown these effects are even worse comparatively than alcohol or tobacco use at similar dosages. THC affects the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and pre-frontal cortex, responsible for memory, attention, and learning. Using it for long periods can alter brain structure and cause long-term cognitive changes. These risks are also heightened when using products containing very high strengths of THC, such as dabs or ‘chronic’ strains of medical marijuana. 

CBD, on the other hand, can be used even at high dosages for long periods without any real risk of similar cognitive outcomes. Many clinical studies have used CBD in daily doses of beyond 600mg per day without any side effects presenting in subjects. It won’t cause long-term harm, which can occur with THC, and is much better suited for several chronic conditions. It’s a critical advantage that CBD has over comparable pharmaceutical drugs like NSAIDs. Many such drugs, like ibuprofen, cause toxicity or cardiovascular harm if taken over long periods, so they can’t be applied for chronic inflammation or pain. As such, CBD is well-positioned as a natural alternative anti-inflammatory in these instances.

Uses and Effects

Because of their differing mechanisms of action in the endocannabinoid system and therapeutic properties, THC is used in different ways than CBD. Both can be helpful in the right circumstances but must be provided with caution under the supervision of a doctor. CBD and THC even have crossover in their benefits due to both cannabinoids interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The two cannabinoids are synergistic and complement when taken together for specific conditions. 

Pain Relief

While both CBD and THC are effective in mitigating the perception and symptoms of certain pain types, such as neuropathic pain, in combination, they work even better. CBD, on its own, tends to be the least effective for treating pain. Most cannabis-derived pain medications use CBD in combination with THC at a 1:1 ratio. Because of its analgesic potency, THC offers more significant relief for acute pain and can be dosed to provide rapid relief from symptoms. In contrast, CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are better suited for assisting with underlying inflammation that can exacerbate pain. Both can assist in the reduction of nociception or pain perception. Nociceptors are the term for nerve cells that detect and signal pain in the body. By lowering their sensitivity and blocking some of their signalling, cannabinoids help to minimise how pain is experienced in users.

Stress and Anxiety

Both CBD and THC can lower anxiety and stress. However, these effects can vary across different people. For many, THC worsens anxiety because of its psychoactivity. Instead of calming people, THC often raises stress levels, stimulates panic or results in paranoia. CBD tends to be more applicable for its anxiolytic powers in combatting anxiety symptoms and helping with calmness. It offers stress-relieving benefits via cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus, which help to downregulate the stress response. CBD is more reliable for its anxiety-reducing properties, plus it is safer for those with mental disorders. CBD can also lower neuron excitation and bolster mood by acting on the brain’s serotonin and GABA receptors. It’s better suited as a holistic aid for mental calmness and well-being versus THC. Unlike THC, it may also offer complementary antidepressant effects, helping some people to normalise their mood and alleviate symptoms of mental lethargy.

Epilepsy and Neuroprotection

Unlike THC, CBD has substantial abilities to protect neurons and can help treat neurological conditions such as epilepsy. CBD has been directly shown in a range of clinical trials to help reduce both seizure incidence, length and severity. It’s used in a medication called Epidiolex for individuals suffering from conditions such as Dravet’s syndrome, which can cause periodic seizures. Some trials have even tested the use of CBD in helping children with epilepsy and displayed hugely positive results. For example, a 2013 study showed that CBD eliminated seizures in 11% of a group of children with epilepsy conditions, while more than 40% of the group displayed an 80% or more significant reduction in seizures. THC isn’t known to offer similar benefits and hasn’t shown efficacy in helping with neuroprotection.


Another difference in the uses of CBD and THC relates to their application for nausea. THC is used in modern medicine to help combat nausea symptoms. It’s classified as an antiemetic, which can help reduce vomiting, prevent nausea, and help counteract sick feelings. This is very useful in many scenarios. For example, those undergoing chemotherapy treatments can take THC medications to help with the nausea-stimulating side effects of chemotherapy drugs. Marinol is an example of an anti-nausea medicine targeted at helping to counteract the side effects of cancer treatments, such as vomiting. For these individuals, THC can also aid in building back appetite, minimising pain and offering some degree of mental relief. It is similarly used amongst anorexia patients or those with wasting disorders to help with appetite. CBD doesn’t have the same capacity to raise appetite, mitigate nausea or prevent vomiting.  


CBD has a remarkable ability to lower inflammation in the body and help with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis in comparison to THC. It is thought to activate the CB2 cannabinoid receptors, the predominant receptor type in the immune system. When modulated, these receptors and the endocannabinoids they produce help to modulate immune regulating proteins and enzymes such as cytokines. They help to alter signalling amongst these molecules, improving the regulation and function of immune cells like macrophages or T-cells. Correspondingly, CBD’s better ability to act on immunity means it can help users control inflammation more effectively, calming the immune response while soothing cellular excitation. For chronic inflammatory conditions like colitis or arthritis, this is particularly useful. The cannabinoid helps to counteract excessive cytokine activity and prevent irritation, redness, soreness and swelling from an overactive immune response. THC may offer similar properties but is less extensive or potent than CBD’s anti-inflammatory powers.

Product Types

CBD and THC can be consumed in many of the same ways. Both cannabinoids can be infused into various consumable products, including oils, tinctures, vapes, edibles, and gummies. Sprays, sublingual capsules and other options are also common today. You can even find THC and CBD in drinks or candies frequently, such as CBD chocolates. Usually, CBD is taken as an oil, while THC is generally ingested by smoking or vaping cannabis flowers. How they’re used is entirely up to an individual’s preferences.

No matter the consumption method, either cannabinoid will be absorbed into the bloodstream when consumed. Molecules of CBD or THC are transported to the liver and then metabolised to the cannabinoid receptors. While it offers faster absorption, we advise against vaping or smoking products because they are toxic to the lungs and can cause lung damage.

Many users prefer to apply CBD topically via creams to target inflammation or pain in particular body regions. For example, psoriasis patients often apply CBD cream to affected dry areas to help reduce inflammation and restore moisture levels. Individuals with arthritis frequently target symptoms in specific joints like the knees to help restore mobility, lower stiffness, and soothe inflammation. 

Choosing a CBD vs THC Product

Because CBD and THC have entirely different characteristics, effects and risks, deciding which cannabinoids to use and with what strengths is very important. Generally, you have the choice of buying pure CBD products (CBD isolates), pure THC products (THC isolates) or products that combine a blend of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids in varying concentrations (hybrids). Each can be useful amongst differing individuals and for specific conditions, but they must be selected with caution.

Deciding on which of these cannabinoid product formulations makes the most sense for your health goals or condition will require research, consideration and consultation with your doctor. Checking with your doctor is particularly important to help gauge the risks involved, avoid adverse medication interactions, and get the right personalised advice based on your health status.

One advantage of products containing both cannabinoids is that CBD and THC can be synergistic and work better together when combatting certain conditions like nausea and pain. The anxiolytic qualities of CBD also assist in mitigating some of the psychoactive effects of THC that can lead to anxiety and paranoia. In combination, their therapeutic effects can be amplified while lowering the downside side effects of THC. But for many, THC’s drawbacks and mental risks are not worth its potential benefits.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate products eliminate quantities of all other cannabinoids, including THC, creating a formulation with only CBD. The main advantages these products have are:

  • Non-psychoactive: CBD doesn’t activate the cannabinoid and serotonin receptors directly, meaning it won’t get you “high” or intoxicated. This is also useful because CBD doesn’t get drug tested or impair driving. It’s more suitable for those who have mental illnesses and can’t use THC because of its psychosis risks.
  • Minimal Side Effects: CBD is better tolerated than THC, is not as powerful, and has less impactful side effects. In particular, it doesn’t have the same risk level for mental harm or worsening mental illnesses as THC. Additionally, it can be used for more extended periods without leading to cognitive, memory and executive function impairment, which occurs with THC. 
  • Legal Status: CBD is more widely accepted and legally available than THC in Australia and other regions because it is non-intoxicating. In Australia, it can be purchased in pharmacies over the counter without a prescription, while THC is more strictly controlled and always requires a doctor’s prescription. This reflects the relative safety profile of each cannabinoid.

CBD is generally better used than products containing THC for:

  • Anxiety and Stress: CBD is anxiolytic without being psychoactive, meaning it’s better suited for anxiety disorders. THC can worsen anxiety in many people or cause long-term mental health problems, even if it helps in treating short-term stress. CBD is often used for anxiety disorders, PTSD, phobias and chronic stress for these reasons. It helps stabilise mood while reducing stress response sensitivity in individuals.
  • Epilepsy: CBD is highly effective in mitigating epilepsy and the seizures it causes. It’s used in clinically approved medicines for multiple types of epilepsy, including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The neuroprotective capacities of the cannabinoid help it to prevent seizures and dampen their severity.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: CBD has better anti-inflammatory properties than THC. It’s better suited to fight inflammatory conditions like IBS, arthritis or endometriosis. 

THC Isolate

Pure THC products that contain little to no other cannabinoids can be more valuable than CBD products in specific scenarios. These medications are usually more difficult to find as THC is most often delivered with other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and CBD in hybrid forms.

  • Pain Relief: THC is more effective for pain reduction than CBD. It can be used as an alternative to more potent pharmaceutical painkillers in some cases. It’s used today for nerve and cancer pain in particular, but many find it useful for symptoms of chronic pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting: unlike CBD, THC is mighty at lowering nausea and its symptoms. It is often prescribed for those with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. It helps decrease feelings of upset stomach, vomiting, illness and dizziness to improve day-to-day quality of life.
  • Appetite Stimulation: THC is known to increase appetite and promote eating. This is useful in combating appetite loss from certain health conditions, anorexia, and eating disorders. It is often applied to help cancer patients who have nausea but need to eat to avoid weight loss.
  • Sleep: Some people find THC helps them get to sleep. It can help with some forms of insomnia but also reduces REM-stage sleep, so it shouldn’t be used long-term. It aids many in calming down before bed to rest more easily. Relying on it as a sleep aid 

Hybrid Cannabis Products

Combining CBD and THC as a hybrid product can have certain advantages over using either cannabinoid on its own. In particular, these types of products are great for:

  • Enhanced Therapeutic Effects: When used together, CBD and THC can have amplified effects in areas like pain reduction and nausea alleviation. This is particularly acute when combined with terpenes that elevate cannabinoid absorption. For example, 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD are better at treating chronic pain, neuropathic pain, or pain associated with conditions like arthritis. 
  • Balancing Effects: CBD can help balance out the heightened anxiety and adverse side effects of THC. It calms the mind and helps avoid negative thought patterns that can cause bad experiences with THC. It doesn’t eliminate the risks of THC, however, but can help to dampen some of its subjective effects, which increase anxiety.
  • Personalized Treatment: Combining CBD and THC allows for more precise customization of the treatment to address specific symptoms or conditions. The ratio of CBD or THC can be increased or decreased to offer a distinct, targeted method of optimising the cannabinoid mix used in the treatment.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

While CBD and THC are different, it is possible that your CBD product also contains THC. Most CBD products are produced in similar locations and even with the same equipment as products that contain THC. This creates a risk of cross-contamination with THC in your CBD oil. The extraction method used for the CBD was not thorough enough and resulted in THC making its way into the final product. This is relatively common amongst CBD oils extracted using solvents like ethanol, which are less effective at removing THC than using a supercritical CO2 gas extraction. Low-quality CBD extracted with solvents has a much higher risk of containing THC than high-purity CO2 extract oil.

Full-spectrum CBD Oil and THC

Full-spectrum CBD oils have a higher risk of containing some concentrations of THC due to being less refined versus CBD isolate. During extraction, much of the hemp plant matter and minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBN are retained in the final full-spectrum CBD product. Having a higher concentration of the ‘full-spectrum’ of cannabinoids in hemp also means a higher concentration of THC. Many of these products in the market contain much greater THC levels than advertised. In Australia, this type of oil is permitted to contain up to 0.3% THC, which is considered a trace quantity. 


A significant problem in the CBD industry is the need for more regulation of products and the accuracy of their labelling. Accidental mislabelling of CBD products is expected. Many pure CBD isolate oils, which are meant to contain 0% THC, frequently contain much greater THC concentrations. Often, providers don’t even lab test their CBD product to assess its cannabinoid concentrations and understand whether it contains THC or not. Always look for objective 3rd party lab tests from a provider to get confidence your product does not contain THC. If it has more than 0.3% THC, it is considered a cannabis oil as opposed to CBD oil, which can only be purchased with a prescription in Australia.


What is the Main Difference Between CBD and THC?

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant, but they have different chemical structures and effects. THC is psychoactive and produces the euphoric “high” that cannabis is infamous for due to powerfully activating CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In contrast, CBD is non-psychoactive and won’t cause any intoxicating effects. THC can trigger the presentation of mental disorders like depression or schizophrenia in people with underlying predispositions. It can be a high risk to use for those who have mental illnesses. CBD, on the other hand, has more mild effects and interactions with CB1 and CB2 receptors. It acts on them indirectly, providing therapeutic effects without being addictive or having mental illness risks.

Is CBD Effective Without THC?

CBD can be effective on its own and does not require the presence of THC to exert its potential therapeutic effects. To take CBD without any THC, you’ll need to seek out a CBD isolate product that only contains CBD and eliminates concentrations of other cannabinoids such as THC. As a standalone product, CBD can provide you with a range of therapeutic health benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower anxiety, reduced arthritis symptoms and better mood. It’s also non-addictive and non-intoxicating, making it safer than THC. CBD products with no THC content are widely available and legal in Australia without a prescription. They can be purchased in pharmacies and many hemp stores. 

Is CBD the Same Feeling as THC?

CBD and THC have distinct effects, meaning the “feeling” associated with each is markedly different. After taking THC, most people will experience euphoria, altered cognition, impaired motor skills and a happy feeling of being ‘high’. At high doses, it can even cause hallucinations and shifts in perception. CBD is not known for producing a euphoric or intoxicating sensation. Instead, most report feelings of relaxation, calmness, and reduced anxiety after taking it. In many, experiences of contented bliss and ease are common.

Is CBD Just as Effective as THC?

CBD and THC have different therapeutic properties, and their efficacy depends on the specific condition being addressed. CBD has more significant effects as an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and neuroprotective compound. It’s more effective at treating epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety and inflammation than THC. THC is primarily known for its ability to alleviate pain, reduce nausea, and stimulate appetite. It is commonly used for chronic pain, sickness, and muscle spasms.

Does CBD Become THC?

There is no evidence to suggest that CBD converts into THC in the body. Although the liver metabolises both, they follow separate pathways to be metabolised, and there is no commonality in the metabolites they produce in the body. High doses of CBD can potentially lead to the presence of trace amounts of THC being detected in some drug tests, but this isn’t a result of CBD converting to THC. Instead, trace amounts of THC can sometimes be found in low-quality products or those that are full-spectrum, meaning small quantities of THC were incidentally consumed.


Although the same plant produces CBD and THC, they strongly differ in their effects, benefits, legality, risks, and side effects. Both have their place in assisting people with their health and treating many chronic conditions. CBD is safer to use and has fewer side effects due to being non-psychoactive, non-addictive and non-intoxicating. It’s better taken for anxiety, inflammation, arthritis and epilepsy. Many also use it for sleep, stress and general wellbeing. CBD won’t cause psychosis or risk exacerbating mental illness.

On the other hand, THC is psychoactive and activates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors strongly. It can be applied to specific conditions like chronic pain, nausea and appetite problems in the right circumstances but has higher side effect risks. It’s also habit-forming and can cause addiction, so it shouldn’t be relied on long term. If you’re considering either cannabinoid for your health, check in with your doctor first. Ensure you avoid any risks, such as adverse interactions with existing medications.