Non-Psychoactive Vs. Psychoactive Vs. Non-intoxicating

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most prominent cannabinoids found in cannabis, the plant genus that includes both hemp and marijuana. While there are over 100 different cannabinoids currently identified in cannabis by scientists, CBD and THC are by far the most extensively studied and best understood. Despite their similarities, CBD and THC have distinct differences that influence how they interact with the endocannabinoid system and subsequently the natural effects they elicit.

THC is psychoactive and intoxicating and will get you high. CBD is psychoactive in the sense that it acts on the central nervous system, but is non-intoxicating and no matter how much is consumed, it will not cause a cerebral high. In fact, CBD suppresses the psychoactive properties of THC. Both are found in various concentrations in hemp and marijuana.

chemical structure diagram for marijuana CBD cannabidiol
Chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD)
chemical structure diagram for marijuana THC
Chemical structure of Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)

More recently, cannabis plants have been carefully cultivated with the intent of maximizing their concentration of THC.  Hemp plants have been cultivated to limit the concentration of THC.  CBD is naturally abundant in hemp. To be legally classified as hemp it must contain no more than 0.3% THC, well below the psychoactive threshold.

THC is listed in the Federal Controlled Substances Act making it federally illegal, however many states have passed their own laws permitting the use of medical and recreational THC.  With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD are not listed in the Controlled Substances Act and are federally legal.

All cannabinoids, including plant based phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) through the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS regulates the body’s homeostasis or general state of balance. THC is considered an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors because it initiates a physiological response as it binds with and activates these receptors.


"Everyone in my office is using some form of CBD. It's crazy. There's a big age range and we all use it for different reasons- aches, sleep, anxiety and migraines.  We compare notes and all agree that if you get good quality CBD, it makes a difference."