We get this all too often. While many people readily know the differences and similarities between two compounds, it is very often easily misunderstood. So, let's dig in....
First, I believe its important to understand the difference between the two types of cannabis plants, then it becomes a little easier to clarify the CBD vs THC dilemma. Cannabis is a parent name for two types of plants: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is typically relatively high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and typically relatively low in CBD (cannabidiol). Hemp, on the other hand is typically relatively low in THC and relatively high in CBD. So, when people ask "why is THC illegal but CBD is not?", they are not fully understanding the situation. Typically, marijuana (not specifically THC) has legal issues across the country, which most of us know all about. Hemp, on the other hand, is 100% legal to own (but not necessarily grow) in all 50 states. So, the legal issue has nothing to do with CBD or THC. The legal issue has more to do with the actual plant. For instance, CBD extracted from marijuana typically falls under the same legal issues as THC extracted from marijuana. But, CBD extracted from hemp, just like hemp, is legal all across the country. So, CBD extracted from hemp is legal - period.
Now, THC & CBD, while both plant compounds (cannabinoids) of the two cannabis plants, generally have different effects on the body. Cannabidiol (CBD) tends to effect the endocannabinoid system much more intensely than THC, although THC does effect it some. The endocannabinoid system, among other things, controls nerve impulses and pain receptors. So, CBD can tend to soothe anxiety and lessen pain, among many other things. THC can also do this to a noticeable extent, but not necessarily quite as much. And, THC, as most of us know can make us feel 'high' or euphoric or even sleepy. But, CBD does not have any of this effect. CBD DOES help people with insomnia, but generally through the soothing and anxiety relieving effect and not so much due to it outright making you sleepy. And, many of us are aware the THC can make you hungry or want to eat ("get the munchies"), but CBD does not have any noticeable effect on one's desire to eat.
What I think is really important to mention here in the CBD vs THC debate here is that they are both cannabinoids with slightly different effects on the body. But, there are more cannabinoids. Without getting into all their big words and huge spellings, we'll just reference them as their abbreviations. In addition to CBD and THC, there are CBDA, THCA, THCV, CBN, CBC, CBCA. CBG and CBGA. All of these various cannabis plant compounds are cannabinoids. And, they all offer similar, but different effects to the body. The real point I want to make here is that an extract high in as many of these compounds as possible, generally give the most well-being effects that people seek. Obviously, THC is the one with the greatest direct "feeling-effect" that we know. So, most people today want an extract that is high in all the cannabinoids except THC so that they can still function in society without being 'high' or groggy. This "Full Spectrum Cannabinoid" blend is available easily through hemp extracts, although not all extracts provide the full spectrum. Rather, many only provide a CBD Rich extract while a select few focus on providing a full spectrum blend.
Hopefully, this has helped clarify the questions surrounding CBD vs THC.