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What is CBD and THC? (The Beginner’s Guide)

If you’re into the use of cannabis, or are just learning about it, then this question has probably come up at least once. What is CBD and THC? That’s what today’s article is all about.

When it comes to the subject of marijuana and cannabis, there seems to be a lot of confusing terminology being tossed around these days. Many casual and experienced users alike go their whole lives without ever knowing how their favorite medicine works.

Or what the little numbers on the bag mean.

What is a CBD anyway?

CBD is short for Cannabidiol, a chemical compound that is found in the Cannabis plant. Alongside THC, you’ll probably see the CBD amount listed on packages that you receive from a dispensary.

The higher the percentage, the higher the concentration of CBD is in the plant. On that note, typically the percentage of CBD is far lower than that of THC.

In fact, some strains of cannabis have virtually none whatsoever.

You can find CBD products in the form of plain ol’ bud, oils, creams, edibles, soaps, and more. Since everybody has a preferred method, there are many options available on the market whether you prefer to smoke, eat, or apply the substance some other way.

As for how long these products take before having any kind of noticeable effect, it varies for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons being the delivery method.

Smoking and vaping (for example) typically take effect faster than most edibles, but the effects also wear off faster too.

Also, the size and other factors about the body, like metabolism and tolerance, should be considered as well. A larger, heavier man that uses regularly will notice less of an effect than say, a smaller man that doesn’t use as much.


The health benefits of CBD are becoming a more popular talking point as the days go on. More funding is happening which means more research is getting done on the subject.

And now with Canada recently legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, more and more people are asking questions.

“Is it right for me at my age?” and “will it help with my back pain?” are only a couple of the many I hear people asking.

Though I can’t speak for everybody’s needs, nor am I a medical professional of any kind, I have researched further into the benefits of CBD usage as a whole. The effects have reportedly helped users with the following issues:

– Pain

– Anxiety

– Some Mental Disorders

– Inflammation

– Seizures

– Depression

– Headaches

That’s quite the fantastic list, kind of sounds like a miracle drug when you have it all laid out like that.

And though I can’t speak for all the possible effects, I will certainly vouch for things like pain, anxiety, and depression relief from my own experiences.

Amazingly enough, I have a friend that has Epilepsy and he has always been prone to having seizures. But after trying cannabis-products and eventually incorporating CBD into his daily life, he’s been dealing with far less seizures.

Another friend of mine has a member of their family that suffers from mad shakes on a regular basis. Turns out that cannabis consumption is the most effective way at getting their shakes to mellow out, even more so than their prescribed meds. Far out!

But it’s not without some kind of risk, right? That’s what we’ll go over next.


The associated risks for CBD are far lower than that of THC, thanks to the fact that CBD lacks the psychoactive effects, or the high that people often look for in their drug of choice.

Wait, it won’t get you high?

That’s right, CBD is safe to use in many circumstances where THC might cause you issues. The absence of psychoactive ingredients means hallucinations and things like that are out, but the good ol’ relief from other issues is still number one.

And thankfully CBD can be taken in vastly different doses without the fear of overdosing, unlike many other drugs.

However there is still one major issue that you may want to keep in mind, even if you are using for medical reasons, and that is the legalities of it all.

Here in Canada, marijuana and cannabis consumption is legal under both terms: medical and recreational usage. But in many places around the world, this is not the case.

In the US, cannabis is illegal on a federal level but its reinforcement varies heavily depending on which state you’re in. For example in states like Alaska, Colorado, California, and a few others, weed has been completely legalized. In other states (like Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, etc) it’s fully illegal.

And in other states, it’s been legalized for medical purposes only and not recreational.

For a full map of where it is legal in the US, click here.

THC stands for what, now?

You may have seen this word before, and boy she’s a mouthful: Tetrahydrocannabinol. That is what THC actually stands for and it’s no surprise that people steer away from the science. But a few big science words aren’t going to be enough to slow us down today.

THC in a nutshell is what causes the psychoactive behavior when you consume cannabis. In other words, it creates the “high feeling” that people mainly look for in their product.

It is also said to be related to the self-defense system of them plants themselves, for keeping insects and the like away.

And it also has a number of benefits as well, some of which crossover with the benefits from CBD such as pain, nausea, and anxiety relief.


It probably goes without saying that many people already know the wonderful health benefits of THC, but I dare say many of them don’t know which belong to what camp: THC or CBD.

Some of the issues THC can help with include:

– Pain Relief

– Anxiety

– Nausea

– Insomnia

– Muscle Spasms

– Loss of Appetite

So it goes to show that many issues are often tackled by this wonder drug, but I would like to point out that it doesn’t necessarily fix the things that are actually going wrong in your body.

For example, if you have chronic back pain and smoke a joint, the pain will start to subside relatively quickly and it may be enough for you to “feel better” for a while.

Eventually the effects of the drug will wear off, and whatever caused your pain to begin with will likely still be around.

That’s why it’s important to remind people that medicine and drugs of any kind are often not the solution, but instead they help us tolerate issues while we get to the bottom of things.

In the case of a back injury, cannabis can alleviate much of the pain and help you sleep, but it won’t teach you to improve your posture or how to stretch properly. It’s only a tool, not a solution.


The associated risks with THC are definitely where you want to pay attention if you’re a new user, as this is where people sometimes find themselves getting into trouble.

Like I mentioned before, THC produces the “high” feeling in your brain that you may be familiar with. This happens by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors and creating a feeling of euphoria.

It’s a very nice feeling, for sure, but as I mentioned it is not the actual cure for many of these issues. In fact, it can be a hazard depending on your personality type and lifestyle that you live.

Some of the side effects include:

– Dry Mouth and Eyes

– Loss of Reflexes and Coordination

– Memory Lapses

– Misperception of Time

– Increased Heart Rate

– Heightened Anxiety

Individuals with addictive personalities should be cautious when consuming cannabis. It may not be addictive in the way other drugs (both legal and illegal) are, but anything can be addictive under the right circumstances. You might not get addicted to the drug itself, but you can get hooked on the feeling of relief, so just be mindful in your usage.

If you have anxiety issues prior to using cannabis or plan to use to relieve your anxiety, do so with some manner of caution in mind. THC can help us mellow out and beat the anxiousness, but it can also make it worse too. If you’ve ever had or discussed “pot paranoia” before, you’ll know what I mean.

Another and more obvious factor would be for how THC can affect your daily lifestyle. I do not recommend operating vehicles, heavy equipment, or doing anything that puts yourself and others in danger while under the influence.

Treat THC consumption in a similar fashion that you’d handle alcohol, as both can impair your judgment, mood, motor skills, and awareness.


All in all I’d say cannabis has earned its place in the modern medical world, helping people from all around cope with their ailments both physical and mental. It certainly deserves more funding and research so that we can further discover the uses and non-uses of it, and enable proper education on the subject.

Even as a regular user for both medicinal and recreational purposes, I know that there is still much untapped potential just waiting for scientists to have another breakthrough.

But until the stigmas are lifted and people can get past the stereotypes, progress will be slower than it could be. Especially where it’s still illegal in most places around the world.

Anyway I’d love to know what others have to say about all this! If you or someone you know has had experience with any cannabis-related products, share your stories down in the comments! There’s no signup required, it’s an open door policy here for discussions.

Lastly, thank you very much for reading and remember to be safe out there!


6 thoughts on “What is CBD and THC? (The Beginner’s Guide)

  • Hi. It is still illegal over here in the UK, although it is tolerated in general as our Police do not bother chasing after recreational usage. I like the way that you have presented all sides of the argument and how you have tried to distinguish the different and harmful aspects.

    I do believe that a lot more research needs to be done to allow this drug to be used as an everyday medicine with rules and controls.I do however object to people walking the streets and smoking it openly which is happening more over here.
    Also if you are not a user of this drug it Stinks.

    At the end of the day it probably does less damage than alcohol so it is probably less of a problem.

    • Hey Mark!
      Haha I do agree the smoke and smell can be very off-putting for non-smokers. Hell, even as a smoker I get annoyed sometimes when people are lighting up at bus stops or in crowded areas. It all comes back to being mindful of things.

      After seeing how quickly things have progressed since legalization here in Canada, I’ve a bit o’ hope for other parts of the world moving forward. I think more countries are going to open up to the idea of cannabis, at least for medicinal purposes, as time goes on.


  • Congratulation on such a controversial subject. Your position shows a great degree of responsibility toward your self and to our society. Personally, I ignore almos all of the information you have exposed. The subject is so taboo and me been so conservative never felt the passion of reading about it. Thanks, ones more and if you do not gain Ranking in such a complete and informative pease of work frankly I do not who will. RRamosR

    • Hey Rafael that’s really cool of you to say man!

      I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, but the only way to grow is to open up and talk about it, yeah? There’s things we can all learn about cannabis, even for those that never seek to use themselves.

      Take care!

  • Ivan Brozincevic -

    Thanks for sharing this article. I learned a lot about the difference between CBD and THC. Like many people, I thought it’s the same.

    Anyway, I agree with you. Cannabis has a vast potential to help people who are suffering from many diseases and conditions. Whether physical or mental, it’s proven to help! I used to be a user to calm my nerves (born in Croatia during the Independence War in ’91). It helped me to process many things. I don’t use it anymore but, I do recommend cannabis as a therapy.

    Great site man, keep up the good work!

    • Hey Ivan, thanks for stopping by!

      It’s always nice to hear when people are using it productively and really taking advantage of the medicinal benefits. I get that we all like to just “chill out” too, I’m guilty of that as any.

      As long as we’re being safe and responsible, it’s all good I say.

      Thanks again!

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