While the close relationship between the two compounds may lead some to assume that both have the same impact on the body, a comparison between the molecular structure of CBD vs THC reveals the exact opposite.

CBD and THC have the exact same chemical makeup: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The two are nearly identical twins. What differentiates the two compounds, however, is the arrangement of a single atom.

CB1 and CB2 receptors

Because THC and CBD have different molecular structures, they do not interact with the receptors in the same manner. This greatly differentiates the effects each has on the body. Likely the biggest concern when comparing CBD to THC.

While CBD and THC both bind to the CB2 receptor, they interact with the CB1 receptors in different ways.

Research shows that CBD does not bond directly with the CB1 receptor, and its presence can even negate the bond between THC and the CB1 receptors, effectively neutralizing the psychoactive effects induced by THC. While THC certainly offers tremendous health benefits, its mind-altering effects aren’t preferred by everyone. CBD, on the other hand, can deliver many of the same benefits of THC without inducing its psychoactive effects.