How Is CBD Different From Marijuana?

Marijuana is an alternative word for Cannabis and a variety of Cannabis plant. CBD is different from Marijuana as CBD actually comes from Marijuana/Cannabis. CBD is a cannabinoid (a compound found in

The range of terminology relating to weed/Marijuana/Cannabis can be overwhelming and confusing. As can the difference between CBD, THC, Cannabis and Hemp. This article will clear this confusion up.

Marijuana is an alternative word for Cannabis and a variety of Cannabis plant. CBD is different from Marijuana as CBD actually comes from Marijuana/Cannabis. CBD is a cannabinoid (a compound found in Cannabis plants) and it is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid unlike THC (also a cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant) which gives you that ‘high’. It has many potential health benefits without giving you that ‘high’.


Marijuana is often used as an alternative word for Cannabis. The Cannabis plant has many different varieties and classifications – Hemp and Marijuana are two of them. These two classifications may be related to the same plant species but differ vastly.

Cannabis is widely illegal across the world (check here for legality), it is however going through a period of potential change as Canada recently fully legalized it, with many calling for their countries to do the same. It has many medical usages and can be recreationally used to get a ‘high’. Medical uses include: Helping patients with cancer who are going through chemotherapy to regain their appetite and stop potential vomiting.

Hemp has been used for millennia with evidence of its use found from over 10,000 years ago. It can be used to make textiles such as clothes or building materials, paper and many other things. It is a variety/classification of Cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC content (the compound in Cannabis which has psychoactive effects and gets you ‘high’). Due to this fact, with a licence, growth and sale of Hemp is entirely legal.

As Hemp is a variety of Cannabis plant, From Hemp comes CBD. CBD does not have any psychoactive properties and studies have shown that it can help with reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression and also help in alleviating chronic pain.

What is CBD?

So, Marijuana is a variety of the Cannabis plant and CBD is one of the compounds (cannabinoids) found in the Cannabis plant. In the Cannabis plant there are many cannabinoids. The two most commonly known are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). CBD and THC both share the same chemical formula but are arranged differently. This difference means THC gives you the ‘high’ and CBD does not.

How does CBD work?

In the human body there are two receptors for cannabinoids, and the body actually produces its own cannabinoids. The receptors are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are usually  found in the brain and are linked with many functions including coordination, movement, emotions, mood, appetite, memories and pain. Explaining how THC affects these functions, as it attaches to the CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, they affect pain and inflammation.

CBD itself does not actually attach to these receptors as was once believed, rather, CBD helps the body to use more of its own cannabinoids. Some of CBD’s health benefits are explained by how it is used/how it works in the body. The cannabinoids, which it helps to use more efficiently, have an anti-inflammatory effect. So, they block pain signals from reaching the CB1 receptors. As these receptors relate to memories, pain etc, this in turn affects mood, memories and also pain. Explaining some of the ailments which CBD has been shown to help with.

How does CBD make you feel?

CBD doesn’t produce any actual feelings in people. You won’t feel a sudden boost in energy. Its effects are more subtle. You will feel from the fact that you won’t feel anymore. The health benefits associated (depression, anxiety, chronic pain) all relate to feeling something, CBD numbs these and limits how much you can feel of them.

The effect and feeling is different in everybody because people take it for different reasons. There is no recommended daily amount due to the wide ranging health benefits CBD has. The feeling is difficult to describe, it’s about getting rid of whatever is getting in the way of living your life (depression, anxiety, chronic pain).

How can I take CBD?

The most common ways to take CBD include:

  • Edibles
  • Pills
  • Oils/tinctures
  • Creams
  • Vapes

Each method of intake has its benefits. Edibles, pills, oils and creams are all easy to use and convenient with limited to no negative side effects. Vaping is not fully researched and has been shown to damage lung tissue however. It does provide a much faster release of CBD through inhalation to the lungs. Typically for edibles, pills and oils the time to reach peak bloodstream levels of CBD can take anywhere between 1 to 6 hours but effects should be felt after 20-30 minutes.

With vapes peak bloodstream levels can take just 10 minutes. Picking your preferred method of intake is an individual choice and recommendations are difficult to make as people may need different dosages. If you want to read more on dosages or go into more detail on methods of intake look here. ***LINK HOW DO I TAKE CBD ARTICLE?***

Different types of CBD to consider

There are 3 different types of CBD:

  • Full spectrum
  • Broad spectrum
  • CBD isolate

Full spectrum

Contains all of the compounds that are found in the plant they are extracted from (CBD as well as THC, flavonoids and terpenes). It is the most commonly found and sold type of CBD and can be found in all the product types listed above.

Broad spectrum

NO THC is in this type of CBD but it does contain all the other compounds (CBD, terpenes and flavonoids). Due to this, it is one of the most expensive types and is usually less widely available. Research has shown that THC helps CBD to work better, meaning that this type of CBD may be less effective in treatment.

CBD Isolate

This is purely only CBD, it does not contain any additional compounds like flavonoids or THC. Less commonly found it can be bought as a block which can be broken up and eaten. The issue of THC relating to the effectiveness of CBD should again be brought up, again, this type may not be as useful in treating ailments.

In taking CBD there is a risk of failing drug tests, due to the presence of THC – however minimal. The absence of THC in broad spectrum and CBD isolate eliminates the risk of failed drug tests. If you are worried about failing a drug test from taking CBD, try these types. The risk is there with full spectrum but purchasing from trustworthy, reputable sources minimises this risk.


CBD comes from the Cannabis plant. Marijuana is a variety of the Cannabis plant. CBD is a cannabinoid and is found in all varieties of the plant, whether that is Hemp or Marijuana. Hemp is legally required to have less than 0.3% THC content, where Marijuana is not and is illegal in most countries around the world. THC is the psychoactive compound in any Cannabis plant which gives you that ‘high’.

CBD is a non psychoactive and does not provide a high, rather a variety of health benefits with minimal side effects including fatigue, appetite change and diarrhoea.

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