Historically, THC (scientifically known as delta-9-tetreahydrocannabinol) has received all the plaudits for causing marijuana’s effects. And, while THC is a key compound in cannabis (and essential to recreational users seeking a high), CBD (cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid which deserves recognition for its powerful, all-encompassing, therapeutic traits.
It’s also said that CBD actually reduces the high of THC, by binding to the same receptors. Let’s investigate whether this is true, and if so, why this reaction happens.
Our bodies are made up of several systems (e.g. nervous system, respiratory system), but scientists were late to discover what would become known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which has the ability to influence mood, pain perception, appetite and other variables. Cannabinoids like THC, CBD and CBG bind to receptors in the ECS, in fairly complex fashion.
The CB-1 and CB-2 receptors are the most dominant receptors in the ECS, with CB-1 attracting the most attention for its interactions with THC, as the changes caused by it are what lead to the psychoactive high that we connect to smoking marijuana.
We know that CBD products and THC activate the same six parts of the brain, and that despite this their effects are not even slightly alike. Furthermore, comprehensive psychological tests have proven that CBD on its own has no impact on the body’s cognitive functions. This is even more fascinating considering the similar molecular composition of THC and CBD.
However, new research also suggests that CBD is able to suppress the high of THC. From a medical point of view, this is encouraging news, since THC-isolate medication caused cases of anxiety and paranoia in some participants. A few people are unable to smoke THC-dominant marijuana for the same reasons. It’s maybe thanks to its anxiolytic qualities that CBD is able to level out a THC high.
But with euphoric sensations not experienced from a THC-isolate high, surely CBD has a part to play in the “high” from smoking marijuana. And it’s euphoria which is most sought after by recreational smokers.
One could argue that the high comes completely from the THC, and that the CBD’s inhibiting effect helps bring it down to a more pleasant and manageable level. Or maybe CBD is synergistically modulating the THC.
We won’t really know until more research is conducted in the “entourage effect” area – this is the term to describe the multiplier effect from whole-plant medicine (meds containing CBD and THC). However, we can confidently say that if you want to get stoned, you’ll need the whole package – CBD, THC, CBG and every other cannabinoid, terpene and compound found in the plant or concentrate.
CBD is the ideal way to medicate with marijuana if your job requires you to pass drug tests, if it’s not practical for you to get stoned or if you have a principle against mind-altering substances. Thanks to the industry’s development, there are now suitable options for all potential users.
Now we just need the federal government to reassess its firm opposition to marijuana, so everybody can benefit from its therapeutic abilities.