CBD oil has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to its purported calming effects. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health. Cornbread Hemp's full spectrum, organic CBD gummies, tinctures, and topicals feel like cannabis you’d get off a dispensary shelf. CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, but they can have differing effects on the body. Learn more about the differences in the effects and benefits of CBD vs, THC.
CBD Oil: 9 Science-Backed Benefits
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. When applied topically or consumed through smoke inhalation or edible consumption, CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system, which sends signals between your cells to help regulate your movement, mood, homeostasis and immune system.
You May Also Be Interested In CBD Oils From Our Featured Partner
Isolate CBD Oil
On Medterra’s Website
500mg,1000mg, 3000mg, 6000mg
True Full Spectrum™ CBD Oil
On Medterra’s Website
750mg,1500mg, 3000mg, 6000mg
Chocolate Mint, Citrus
Ultra Broad Spectrum™ CBD Oil
On Medterra’s Website
Citrus, Strawberry Mint, Unflavored
Immune Boost CBD Oil
On Medterra’s Website
On Medterra’s Website
(Note: Product details and price are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.)
CBD is often extracted from the cannabis sativa plant in oil form and mixed with an inert carrier oil like hemp seed oil for consumption. In fact, of the 60% of U.S. adults who report having used CBD before, 55% of them use CBD oils and tinctures specifically, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.
CBD research is growing, too. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health.
1. Offset Anxiety and Depression
CBD’s ability to calm is perhaps its most popular effect and the reason its use is so widespread. A 2017 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry tested the anxiety levels of 57 men in a simulated public speaking test. Some received a placebo while others received either 150 milligrams, 300 milligrams or 600 milligrams of CBD before their speeches. Those who received 300 milligrams of CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety during the test compared to those who received the placebo. Interestingly, participants who received either 150 or 600 milligrams of CBD experienced more anxiety during the test than the 300 milligrams group.
Meanwhile, at least one study in mice revealed CBD had effects similar to the antidepressant imipramine. Human trials are needed, though, to confirm whether CBD can induce this same antidepressant reaction in our bodies.
2. Treat Select Epilepsy Syndromes
In some instances, CBD can be used to treat epileptic seizures.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of CBD under the brand name Epidiolex to treat seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy—in patients at least 2 years old.
Three well-vetted studies provide the basis of support for the FDA’s decision. In these trials, 516 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome received either Epidiolex or a placebo. Epidiolex, when taken along with other prescribed medications, decreased the frequency of participants’ seizures compared to the placebo.
3. Reduce PTSD Symptoms
In a small 2018 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received CBD along with routine psychiatric care for eight weeks in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Ten of the 11 experienced a decrease in their PTSD symptoms. CBD was generally well tolerated, the researchers write.
Margaret Rajnic, a doctor of nursing practice experienced in medical cannabis and CBD, emphasizes the importance of using therapy in tandem with any type of cannabis or CBD for PTSD. “There is an amount of therapy that is needed for PTSD,” she says. “But CBD will give you that little bit of decreased anxiety.”
Four other human trials from 2012 to 2016 suggest CBD reduces PTSD symptoms, although some include THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering element in cannabis. When THC and CBD work together, they create what’s called an “entourage effect,” complementing each other’s benefits and potency. For example, taking the same dose of THC and CBD together tempers the “high” from THC, while just a little THC paired with more CBD enhances the effects of the CBD.
4. Treat Opioid Addiction
Some studies—both preclinical animal and human clinical trials—suggest CBD could be used to help treat people who are dependent on opioids.
In one such study, researchers administered CBD to people with heroin use disorder. Over the course of a week, CBD significantly reduced heroin users’ cue-induced cravings, withdrawal anxiety, resting heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. No serious adverse effects were found.
Other studies find CBD helpful in reducing various psychiatric and medical symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and pain in patients with substance use disorders, indicating that CBD may be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, further studies are necessary.
5. Alleviate ALS Symptoms
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate, resulting in loss of muscle control that worsens over time. It’s not yet understood exactly why ALS occurs, although it can be hereditary in some cases. There’s no known cure, and there are only two FDA-approved medications to help treat ALS symptoms.
Research suggests people with ALS can benefit from the entourage effect created by the combination of THC and CBD, similar to people with PTSD. In a 2019 study, patients received a combination of THC and CBD in varying doses depending on their needs and preferences. Those with mild, moderate or severe spasticity (muscle tightness and stiffness) due to ALS reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, and those with moderate to severe spasticity reported higher satisfaction rates than those with mild spasticity.
6. Relieve Unmanageable Pain
In 2005, Canada approved the use of Sativex, an oromucosal (absorbed in the lining of the mouth) spray with equal proportions of THC and CBD, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related central neuropathic pain. In 2007, Canada approved the medicine’s use again for cancer pain that proved unresponsive to other medications.
Meanwhile, continued studies in the U.S. indicate CBD is effective in treating chronic, non-cancer pain. In one 2020 study, researchers administered CBD topically to a group of patients with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy (a result of brain nerve and spinal cord nerve damage) while another group with the same condition received a placebo. Results showed a significant reduction in intense, sharp pains and cold, itchy sensations in those who used the topical CBD compared to those who used the placebo. No participants reported adverse side effects.
When introduced topically, CBD oil doesn’t affect the systemic issue as it might if it were introduced directly into the bloodstream. Instead, topical CBD is more localized and treats pain in a certain area. Since it’s more direct, it may have a more pronounced effect.
7. Ease Diabetic Complications
For starters, tests on human cells found that CBD helps reduce the effects of high glucose levels on other cells in the body, which typically precedes the development of diabetes and various complications. Researchers concluded that with further studies, CBD could have significant benefits when used in patients with diabetes, diabetic complications and plaque buildup in artery walls.
In another small study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes who weren’t on insulin treatment were given both CBD and a placebo (in lieu of insulin). Researchers found CBD decreased their levels of resistin (which causes resistance to insulin, the protein that regulates sugar levels) and increased their levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (a hormone that ensures a sufficient release of insulin from digested food) compared to their baselines before they started the test. These results suggest CBD could be a natural treatment for diabetes by helping the body regulate insulin-related hormone levels.
8. Protect Against Neurological Disease
Preclinical and clinical studies show that CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers deduce these characteristics can provide significant neuroprotection, or protection against numerous pathological disorders.
Several preclinical studies suggest CBD can produce beneficial effects against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Huntington’s disease and cerebral ischemia were also tested, although significant positive results were not recorded. Further clinical studies are needed to confirm CBD’s benefits when used as a treatment for these disorders.
9. Inhibit Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis involves the deterioration of the tissues in and around your joints. There are several types of arthritis, and symptoms include pain, stiffness and loss of motion. Arthritis treatment usually targets pain relief and improved joint function.
A 2006 study found that Sativex—a CBD-based botanical drug approved in the United Kingdom in 2010—promoted statistically significant improvements in quality of sleep, pain during movement and pain at rest in patients with rheumatoid arthritis when compared to a placebo. It was the first controlled trial of Sativex as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, involving 58 patients. CBD was found to have a pain-relieving effect, as well as an ability to suppress disease activity.
In 2018, in a study of more localized treatment, researchers administered a synthetic CBD gel in either 250-milligram or 500-milligram doses daily or a placebo to patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Patients also stopped taking any other anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers, with the exception of acetaminophen, before and during the study period.
The results were interesting, although not entirely conclusive. On one hand, those treated with CBD did not experience much change in pain when compared with placebo patients. On the other hand, there were statistically significant differences between the group receiving the 250-milligram dose and the placebo group when measuring the average weekly improvement of their worst pain levels and their WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index) physical function rating. Additionally, men seemed to benefit from CBD more significantly than women in this test.
Real THC is a must in true full spectrum CBD oil
Cannabis just feels different when it’s grown with love and care, especially when it’s cultivated by farmers with knowledge of the plant that runs deep. Consumers in THC-friendly states can identify an artisan crop fairly easily, but with CBD from hemp, it’s more difficult to find quality products in a sea of corporate CBD companies trying to make a buck. And now with laboratory-synthesized cannabinoids on the rise, it’s getting even harder to find the good stuff.
Kentucky-based hemp brand Cornbread Hemp is refreshingly straightforward: all-natural, full spectrum products made from locally grown, organic hemp flowers, just like you’d expect from a premium THC brand. It even includes up to 0.3 percent naturally occurring THC, the most allowed under the 2018 Farm Bill, not lab-grown cannabinoids like delta-8 and THC-O. It’s just as wholesome as homemade cornbread, with up to 2mg of THC per serving.
Kentucky-based hemp brand Cornbread Hemp is refreshingly straightforward: all-natural, full spectrum products made from locally grown, organic hemp flowers, just like you’d expect from a premium THC brand.
The brand’s full spectrum, USDA-certified organic CBD gummies, tinctures, capsules, and topicals feel like cannabis you’d get off a dispensary shelf, and that’s by design.
Cornbread Hemp was founded by former journalist Jim Higdon and his cousin Eric Zipperle, both fierce advocates for cannabis legalization. The pair don’t see hemp and traditional cannabis as separate, they simply cultivate cannabis that fits within the guidelines of federal law.
Other CBD brands either downplay their THC content, use the absence of THC as a selling point, or stuff their products with lab-derived THC like delta-8 or THC-O. Cornbread stands out as being not a CBD brand, but a cannabis brand—and by only including the natural cannabinoids from Kentucky-grown hemp flowers, with no stems, leaves, stalks, or funny business.
Here’s what journalists from Food & Wine, BuzzFeed, and Health Magazine are all raving about.
Cornbread Hemp co-founders Jim Higdon (left) and Eric Zipperle (right) surveying their field of USDA organic hemp. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
Kentucky’s hemp heritage
The first Kentucky hemp crop was planted in 1775, nearly 250 years ago, and for more than a century, the state was the top hemp producer in the United States. Following the “Hemp for Victory” effort during World War II, Kentucky’s booming hemp industry suddenly went dark, except for some farmers that would not go quietly.
Cornbread Hemp’s name comes from the subject of co-founder Higdon’s first nonfiction book, The Cornbread Mafia. It tells the tale of the country’s largest domestic cannabis syndicate, which was, of course, based in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State always goes big with cannabis. The Cornbread Mafia began its massive cannabis cultivation operations in the early 1970s, just as the federal government classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and they continued through the 1980s until a wave of more than 70 arrests on 30 farms in 10 states with 200 tons of cannabis in the late 80’s finally shut them down.
Kentucky was just one of a handful of states to create hemp production pilot programs when the 2014 Farm Bill opened the door—and with the 2018 Farm Bill fully legalizing hemp cultivation, hemp was once again part of the state’s booming agriculture industry.
Cornbread Hemp ties this local heritage together, growing high-quality crops on the 37th parallel, the same latitude line that runs through the Hindu Kush mountains. While writing his book, Higdon learned the ins and outs of the cannabis industry—and about Kentucky’s unique climate that makes it the best place to grow hemp. His cousin Eric Zipperle knew good products and the ins and outs of running a good business, making them the perfect match.
Together, they set out to make not just better hemp, but a whole industry that they could be proud of—and their commitment to cannabis has elevated them to thought leaders in the industry. They’re frequently turned to as experts in the field in publications like Bloomberg News, New York Daily News, and POLITICO.
The complete family of Cornbread Hemp organic full spectrum CBD+THC products includes gummies, oils, topicals, capsules, and pet oil. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
Flower-Only ™ and full spectrum for better cannabis
When someone picks up cannabis flower from a THC dispensary, typically they’re getting buds, not shake, and certainly not stems. Those in states without a legal THC cannabis market deserve the same quality, but they’re usually not getting it. High-quality CBD oil lives in the buds, but to save time and money, many producers just process the entire plant all at once and pass off the low-quality products to their customers. Cornbread Hemp gets their CBD oil straight from the source by taking the time to properly harvest their plants—which really should be the bare minimum that a hemp farmer does—for the Flower Only ™ difference.
Some hemp producers cut corners by only using CBD isolates, which lack the subtle compounds that work together to create more robust effects. The rich oil that Cornbread Hemp gets is truly full spectrum, with not just CBD, but minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and, yes, real delta-9 THC. Every single one of these elements makes the others work better, and CBD can’t be its best self without THC.
Unfortunately, it’s increasingly difficult to find CBD products that contain naturally occurring THC—many CBD brands that advertise THC in their products are using lab-synthesized alternates like delta-8. Cornbread’s THC was grown on an organic farm along with the rest of the plant, not concocted in a lab.
CBD-dominant hemp can be just as life-changing as THC-dominant cannabis, so why should hemp consumers get shortchanged?
Flower-Only ™ CBD products for everyone
Cornbread Hemp’s gummies are USDA certified organic, vegan-friendly, and flavored with organic blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
By sticking to the power of the flower itself, Cornbread Hemp crafts convenient products that can ship nationwide, so even those still under cannabis prohibition can feel the difference of true full spectrum cannabis—and with a wide variety of safe, convenient consumables.
Cornbread can be an upgrade to most CBD products you already have. Each and every product comes from a single USDA-certified organic hemp farm in Kentucky, and a single hybrid strain of federally legal cannabis, otherwise known as hemp. And as Cornbread Hemp proves every day—hemp is cannabis.
Full Spectrum Organic Berry CBD Gummies: For stressful days or sleepless nights, these could be your new go-to full spectrum gummy. Made with certified organic hemp flower extract, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and sugarcane, Cornbread Hemp’s gummies are vegan, gluten-free, and are made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Whether you’re a first-timer or a connoisseur, they have 300 milligram and 1500 milligram 30-count varieties available, which include up to 50 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC per gummy.
Whole Flower CBD Oil: Cornbread Hemp’s Whole Flower CBD oil is like yoga in a bottle. That’s because Cornbread only uses hemp flowers, not the whole plant. Using certified organic sugarcane ethanol, they carefully obtain every bit of naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids, then they blend the extract with certified organic coconut MCT oil. No flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. With up to 50 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC per serving, it’s the perfect cannabis oil for evening use.
Distilled CBD Oil: This tincture, designed for daytime use, is lighter on the THC without sacrificing full spectrum quality. Instead of blending the first pass cannabis extract, Cornbread lightly distills this extract just a bit longer. This creates a final product that’s smooth, refined, and works great for daytime comfort and focus.
Full Spectrum CBD Capsules: Perhaps the most convenient cannabis delivery method, these full spectrum capsules are Cornbread’s hidden gem. That’s because they contain higher levels of CBDa than any other product in their selection, which works great for exercise-induced inflammation and other forms of physical discomfort. If you’re an athlete, these are for you.
Organic CBD Balm: Designed for sore muscles and joints, this balm stick adds the power of cannabis to organic arnica and peppermint for soothing, targeted relief. If you’ve never used a CBD+THC topical to support your body, like after a long hike or working all day on your feet, you’re seriously missing out.
Cornbread Hemp’s field of hemp flowers at sunrise, just before harvest. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
CBD Lotions: Available with or without menthol, Cornbread’s lotions contain their signature hemp flower extract blended with botanicals like organic peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary. These lotions smell and feel great, without the greasy residue of other salves and balms. For hands and feet that need quick, soothing support, the CBD Lotion + Menthol is your new best friend. And for irritated skin that needs a boost, the CBD Lotion Skin Formula is for you!
CBD Oil for Pets: We dare you to find another pet CBD product that’s (vegan) corn dog flavored. We also dare you to find one that contains 17 milligrams of CBD and 1 milligram of THC per serving, which is why Cornbread’s products for pets actually work. One full dropper is formulated for an 80-pound dog, and the dosage for smaller pets can be easily measured using the marked dropper. If you’ve got a furry friend in need of comfort, whether cat or dog, this product has your name on it. Made with distilled hemp flower extract, this is perfect for picky pets that turn their noses up at other CBD products.
To find these products and even more of the good stuff from Cornbread Hemp, hit the link below.
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
Both come from cannabis, but THC is psychoactive and CBD is not
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images
Cannabis contains over 113 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two types of chemical compounds derived from cannabis. In recent years, interest has grown in the potential health effects and benefits of cannabis. Much of this interest has centered on these two cannabinoids.
This interest will likely grow as cannabis and marijuana products become legal in more states. A number of different products have emerged that contain CBD, THC, or both that are designed to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. To understand these products’ side effects and potential benefits, it is important to first understand the differences between CBD and THC.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, usually referred to as CBD, is the second most prevalent chemical compound found in cannabis. First discovered during the 1940s, CBD has recently become more popular as a natural treatment for a range of conditions. It can be derived from hemp or from marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD still contains trace amounts of THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain more.
What Is THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC activates the brain’s reward system by signaling the release of the brain chemical dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and pleasure. By triggering a higher-than-normal release of dopamine, THC causes people to experience feelings of euphoria. THC is often administered by smoking marijuana, but it can also be found as an ingredient in capsules, edibles, and oils.
CBD vs. THC: Key Differences
THC and CBD have an effect on the endocannabinoid system, a system that plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis. Researchers are still working to understand the ins and outs of this complex system, but they do know that it is associated with processes including memory, appetite, sleep, mood, and fertility.
While THC and CBD share similarities, there are some key differences between the two compounds.
Psychoactive (produces a high)
Sourced from marijuana
Non-psychoactive (does not produce a high)
Typically sourced from hemp
CBD vs. THC: Psychoactive Properties
CBD and THC affect different receptors in the brain. Because of this, CBD typically does not have psychoactive effects—in other words, it won’t cause you to get high.
THC, on the other hand, does have psychoactive effects. It is the compound that produces the high that people associate with marijuana.
CBD vs. THC: Chemical Structure
Both CBD and THC have a chemical structure that is similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that act in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells in the body. They play an important role in a wide range of functions including sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and the immune system.
CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, but there are differences in how these molecules are arranged that are responsible for the differing effects they have. By mimicking endocannabinoids, they bind with receptors and cause different effects in the body.
CBD vs. THC: Sources
While CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana, it is often derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, on the other hand, is derived from marijuana.
CBD that comes from marijuana may contain more THC, which may not be ideal for people who are trying to avoid THC. Some CBD products that are produced from cannabis, for example, may contain more THC than the label suggests.
CBD vs. THC: Potential Benefits
While research on the potential health benefits of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids is still in the early stages, there is evidence that these substances may be helpful for conditions including:
- Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
- Opioid dependence
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep difficulties
- Movement disorders
While CBD and THC often have similar effects and are often used to treat many of the same ailments, there are some differences.
CBD is often used to alleviate symptoms associated with:
THC, which may be administered as medical marijuana, may be used to alleviate symptoms of a number of conditions. It may be helpful for conditions such as:
- Nausea; it may help alleviate nausea caused by cancer treatment
- Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches
- Poor appetite; including appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
CBD vs. THC for Pain Relief
Both CBD and THC can both be beneficial for pain relief. Because THC has psychoactive effects, it may produce more immediate pain relief. However, CBD can help reduce inflammation, which is useful for long-term effectiveness. Some evidence suggests that taking both CBD and THC may provide the greatest pain relief. In one study, people who took a combination of CBD and THC experienced greater pain relief than those who took THC alone.
While cannabis itself has not been FDA approved to treat any condition, there are a few drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contain CBD or THC.
- Epidiolex contains CBD and has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Marinol and Syndros are drugs that contain dronabinol, a synthetic THC. These drugs are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
- Cesamet contains nabilone, a synthetic substance that is similar to THC. This drug is used to treat weight loss and appetite problems associated with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS.
CBD vs. THC: Side Effects
Some research suggests that CBD and THC are generally safe and result in few side effects.
However, while these substances appear safe, that does not necessarily mean that you won’t experience some unwanted effects. Some adverse effects that have been reported include:
- Changes in mood and appetite
- Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
- Nausea and dizziness
THC use may also result in unpleasant side effects such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and memory loss.
Marijuana itself can have a number of short-term and long-term adverse effects, including impaired short-term memory, altered judgment, and impaired coordination. Research also suggests that marijuana can alter brain development and may lead to cognitive impairment.
NIDA also notes that THC alters how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex function. These areas of the brain are important in the formation of new memories and the ability to shift attention from one thing to the next. This not only affects a person’s ability to learn and form new memories, but it also makes it difficult for people to perform difficult tasks.
Legality of CBD and THC
When choosing CBD or THC products, it is also important to consider their legality. Both marijuana and THC are included in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means that they are not legal under federal law.
As of July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted policies allowing medical marijuana and products containing THC to be prescribed by a doctor. Some states also allow recreational use of marijuana and THC-containing products.
Although CBD in certain forms is legal in most states, the specifics of the legality of any THC or CBD product can vary from one state to the next. Several states have also approved the use of marijuana and THC for recreational purposes.
Because the laws regarding the use of cannabis and cannabis products are rapidly changing, you should always check your state’s laws before using products containing CBD or THC.
How to Take CBD and THC
Both THC and CBD can be consumed in a number of different forms. THC may be consumed as marijuana by smoking, but a number of other cannabis products are also available including:
- Vape products
- Edibles including gummies and chocolates
- Beverages containing marijuana oil
Like THC, CBD can also be consumed in a number of different forms. CBD oils can be formulated for vaping, although there have been recent concerns about the health dangers posed by vaping.
It can also be added to lotions and salves to apply to skin. It is important to note that the effects of these topical products will be localized since they are not being ingested.
CBD can also be taken orally as a tincture, oil, capsule, or spray. Edible CBD products are also popular and include gummies, candies, and beverages.
When choosing CBD products, it is also important to consider its formulation. Isolate products contain only CBD. Broad-spectrum products contain other cannabinoids with the exception of THC, while full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
Which One Should You Take?
The product you choose may depend on the effects you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to reduce stress or sleep better, for example, CBD may provide benefits without the negative side effects associated with THC. THC might be a better choice for symptoms or conditions for which the substance has demonstrated benefits, such as tremors or poor appetite.
The Entourage Effect
Some research suggests that the potential therapeutic effects of THC and CBD tend to be greater when the two cannabinoids are taken together at the same time. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
Taking CBD along with THC has also been shown to help reduce some of the unwanted effects that THC may have. For example, one study suggests that CBD may potentially reduce some of the negative cognitive effects of regular cannabis use.
For example, people who use cannabis, particularly when it has high THC levels, may have a greater risk of experiencing psychiatric symptoms such as paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis. Studies have found, however, that CBD may help mitigate these effects.
One study found that CBD helped block some of the potential psychiatric effects of THC. The authors of the study suggest that such findings have important implications for the use of cannabis products. People who are prone to unwanted side effects, for example, may be able to still gain the potential health benefits by sticking to products that are low in THC and higher in CBD content.
It is also important to remember that CBD and THC work in a number of different areas of the brain, and researchers do not yet fully understand the effects that these cannabinoids have, either alone or in conjunction with one another.
Some evidence suggests that the combined effects of CBD and THC may be dependent on dose. A 2019 study, for example, found that low doses of CBD actually played a role in amplifying the psychoactive effects of THC, while high doses of CBD reduced THC’s effects.
Drug Testing CBD or THC
Because THC is the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, it can be detected on most standard drug tests. CBD may be detectable as well, but many drug tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol.
However, many CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC. While these amounts are small, they may still be detectable if you are consuming large quantities of CBD or if the products you are using contain more THC than the packaging label claims.
Research has found, for example, that as many as 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and contain significantly more THC than labels suggest. Because of the lack of regulation of these products, it is difficult to know exactly how much THC you are actually getting.
There is no way to tell between THC and CBD based on appearance, smell, taste, or texture. Purchasing products from reputable manufacturers and retailers may help ensure that you are getting the type of product you want.
Both THC and CBD are stored in body fat, which means that both can potentially be detected on drug tests for some time after you have stopped using them.
Before You Take CBD or THC
THC and CBD may also have an effect on some health conditions and can interact with certain medications, so you should always use caution before taking these products. These substances might impact how medications are metabolized by your body. They can also heighten feelings of anxiety in some cases.
Before choosing a THC or CBD product, it is important to check your state laws to ensure that these products are legal where you live. Federal law mandates that hemp-derived CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC, but even those trace amounts are still illegal in some states.
A Word From Verywell
Both THC and CBD may have a number of benefits, but you should always talk to your doctor first before you try any products containing these cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC hold promise for alleviating symptoms and even treating some medical and mental health conditions, but research in this area is still relatively new and further investigation is needed.
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Cannabis (marijuana) and cannabinoids: what you need to know.
Perry D, Ton J, Allan GM. Evidence for THC versus CBD in cannabinoids. Can Fam Physician. 2018;64(7):519. PMID: 30002029; PMCID: PMC6042662.
Volkow ND, Baler RD, Compton WM, Weiss SR. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(23):2219-2227. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1402309
Morgan CJ, Schafer G, Freeman TP, Curran HV. Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: naturalistic study: naturalistic study [corrected] [published correction appears in Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Nov;197:416]. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;197(4):285-290. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077503
Bonn-miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909