Animal and humans studies suggest that the two main constituents of cannabis sativa, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have quite different acute effects. However, to date the two compounds have largely been studied separately. To evaluate and compare the acute pharmacological effects of both THC and CBD in the same human volunteers. A randomised, double-blind, cross-over, placebo controlled trial was conducted in 16 healthy male subjects. Oral THC 10 mg or CBD 600 mg or placebo was administered in three consecutive sessions, at one-month interval. Physiological measures and symptom ratings were assessed before, and at 1, 2 and 3 hours post drug administration. The area under the curve (AUC) between baseline and 3 hours, and the maximum absolute change from baseline at 2 hours were analysed by one-way repeated measures analysis of variance, with drug condition (THC or CBD or placebo) as the factor. Relative to both placebo and CBD, administration of THC was associated with anxiety, dysphoria, positive psychotic symptoms, physical and mental sedation, subjective intoxication (AUC and effect at 2 hours: p < 0.01), an increase in heart rate (p < 0.05). There were no differences between CBD and placebo on any symptomatic, physiological variable. In healthy volunteers, THC has marked acute behavioural and physiological effects, whereas CBD has proven to be safe and well tolerated.