According to a study in the Permanente Journal – the Cannabis plant contains more than 80 different chemicals known as cannabinoids. [1]

The most abundant cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Different strains of the Cannabis plant have varying amounts of THC and CDB – with the broad classification of ‘hemp‘ used to indicate varieties of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight).

medical benefits of thc vs cbd

While CBD is the compound prized for its health benefits

THC is known for its ability to get you “high”.

The use of CBD to treat medical conditions became legal in 34 states of the United States in June 2018.

There is still some confusion around what kind of CBD Oil is legal and how safe it is to use, but generally speaking, CBD is legal provided it contains less than 0.3% THC.

Let's delve a little deeper into the the main differences between ‘THC vs CBD'. You can jump forward to sections in this article using the headings below…

CBD vs THC – The Main Difference?

Although both CBD and THC are found in hemp (<0.3% THC) and marijuana (>0.3% THC), they are present in different ratios and this is the main difference between these two plants lies:

  • Marijuana – is high in THC but low in CBD
  • Hemp or CBD oil – is high in CBD but low in THC

CBD does not contain psychoactive compounds and will not get you “high”. But it WILL provide a whole host of health benefits.

Even though high concentrations of THC may get you “high”, it also has medicinal and therapeutic effects.

In fact, THC plays an important part of the ‘Entourage Effect‘ – where a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes work together synergistically.

Key characteristics of CBD and THC:


  • Does not have any psychoactive properties
  • Has many potential medical benefits
  • Is legal in most states of the United States


  • Has psychoactive properties and at higher concentrations may get you “high”
  • Has many potential medical benefits
  • Is illegal in most states of the United States due to its psychoactive properties

CBD vs THC – Medicinal Usage?

Both CBD and THC have numerous health benefits and have be used in the treatment of many physical and mental conditions for thousands of years.

8 conditions where CBD therapies work well:

  1. Pain Relief – CBD has an anti-inflammatory property which helps relieve pain. It is good for both acute and chronic pain and is often used by patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. [2]
  2. Anxiety and Depression – related disorders have a debilitating effect on one's quality of life and CBD therapy has shown very positive results in helping relieve symptoms of most anxiety-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[1][3]
  3. Withdrawal Symptoms – Recent studies show that CBD therapy can help people cope with withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit smoking or use of drugs, and many patients reported reduced use of tobacco or drugs, while some even managed to eliminate the habit. [4]
  4. Epileptic Seizures – CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system and has been reported to reduce both the severity and frequency of the seizure. [5]
  5. Neurological Conditions – CBD therapy has shown promising results in helping patients cope with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.[6][7]
  6. Cancer – Evidence is emerging to suggest that CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread. [8]
  7. Acne – CBD's powerful anti-inflammatory properties help to calm inflamed skin.[9]
  8. Sleep – Clinical trials have shown that CBD can help to improve sleep and anxiety patterns. [1]

4 conditions that respond well to THC therapy:

  1. Neurologic Conditions – THC is a potent therapy for many neurological disorders that includes the relief of the symptoms caused by Tourette's and Multiple Sclerosis. [10][11]
  2. Cancer – Although THC is usually used to help patients cope with the symptoms of chemotherapy, new research suggests that it can also be successfully used to reduce the growth of tumors and cancer cell migration, adhesion, invasion and metastasization. [8]
  3. Pain Relief – THC can provide powerful relief from pain and is particularly effective with chronic nerve pain.[2]
  4. Nausea – It is no secret that smoking marijuana is generally far more effective in fighting nausea than prescribed medication.[12]

CBD vs THC – Side-Effects?


The use of CBD usually comes with very few side-effects and it is generally a very safe medicinal treatment. But if side-effects are experienced, they are reported to range from light-headedness, sedation, slow thoughts and motion to low blood pressure.

A recent review of potential side effects of CBD found that it was generally well tolerated by humans across a wide dose range, even as high as 1500 mg/day (orally). [13]


hemp cbd oil benefits

Given that THC has psychoactive properties, it means that instead of interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the THC binds to these receptors (i.e. weakens their reaction) and mimicks the bliss molecule, Anandamide (naturally produced in the body), ultimately affecting the body and mind.

Some adverse effects to high concentrations of THC include loss of memory, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, speedy heartbeat, possible psychosis and even schizophrenia. However, the THC in CBD oil is at such low concentrations that such side effects are generally not experienced.

So how can these two different strains of the Cannabis plant be used for pain relief?

THC vs CBD Pain Relief?

Numerous studies confirm that CBD possesses a wide range of therapeutic properties including: antipsychotic, analgesic, neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, antiemetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, and antineoplastic properties. [13]

With the widespread legalization of medical cannabis, many people have now turned to CBD for a more natural pain relief method. Some CBD experts refer to pharmaceutical drugs as being like eating ‘junk food', with CBD like eating ‘natural wholefood'. Which one would you rather take?

When it comes to pain relief, cannabis-derived products have successfully been used for treating back pain, chronic migraine, muscle aches, nerve pain, digestive pain and sports injuries.[14]

THC for Pain Relief

As we have previously learnt, THC is the component of marijuana responsible for an altered state of consciousness, but it also has some powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. [14]

THC has been successfully used to treat severe pain caused by inflammation (e.g. in arthritic patients) and new studies show scientifically backed methods of managing symptoms of cancer with the help of medicinal marijuana.

Given that THC is known to relax the nervous system, it also helps in spasm-related pain such as in Multiple Sclerosis.

CBD for Pain Relief

CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps to relieve pain by suppressing pain receptors.

Our bodies contain two cannabinoid receptors:

  • CB1 receptors – found mostly in the brain
  • CB2 receptors – found throughout the body

Whenever you experience some kind of pain, that means there has been a change in the CB2 receptor function.

We now know that CBD is a very successful and 100% natural pain suppresant, however, scientists are still not sure exactly how it works.

Research suggests that CBD most likely binds to some CB2 receptors, or that it indirectly helps relieve pain by activating non-cannabinoid receptors.

CBD treatment has been shown to be very efficient in relieving joint pain, back pain, muscle pain and spasms as well as preventing nerve damage and neuropathic pain. [2]

The Best CBD with THC?

CBD comes in three types of extract – full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and as an isloate.

If you want to find a CBD with all the synergistic benefits of having a low concentration of THC (<0.3% THC) then you will want to find a CBD oil that is:

  1. Full-spectrum – Full spectrum (or “whole plant”) products contain CBD as well as all other cannabinoids and trace amounts of THC. This type of CBD is recommended for maximum health benefits.

The best brands of CBD oil need to be laboratory certified, GMO & Pesticide Free and third-party lab tested.

Some of the best quality CBD products have been extracted using carbon dioxide (CO2) under high pressure at extremely low temperatures.

To find out what our current Top 5 organic and full-spectrum CBD Oil products are GO HERE:

The Best CBD without THC?

If you are worried about having THC in your CBD Oil, or would rather CBD in it's pure form then you are looking for a CBD that is:

  1. Broad-spectrum – Broad spectrum products contain most of the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, but has had all the THC removed. This type of CBD is useful for patients who seek a broad range of plant compounds but live in states where THC is illegal or do not wish to consume THC. However, it may not be as effective as full-spectrum CBD.
  2. Isolate – This is pure CBD from which all other plant compounds have been removed, leaving only the single Cannabidiol molecule. It is for patients who want a 100% THC-free product, however, it doesn’t have all of the other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found in full-spectrum CBD.

Our favourite brand for a high-quality CBD isolate is the Green Garden Gold Pure CBD Crystalline Isolate.

This product is made from USDA certified organic hemp grown in Colorado and is available in three sizes:

  • 0.5 Gram (500 mg CBD)
  • 1 Gram (1000 mg CBD)
  • 2 Grams (2000 mg CBD)

As an added bonus you can download the certificate of laboratory analysis on their product page.


We hope that out review of THC vs CBD has brought you some clarity about what these cannabinoids are and how they can be of benefit to you.

Although most cannabis-derived products can help with pain relief, when considering THC vs CBD for pain – perhaps ask yourself whether you are ok with the psychoactive properties and review the conditions that respond best to each compound above.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below – we would love to hear from you…

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Organic CBD Oil Review or its staff. Always check with your physician before starting a new dietary supplement program.

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