Because CBD and THC are not two dueling rap groups from the 80’s. They are very popular topics when it comes to cannabis. They are two important chemicals in marijuana, but what are the differences between CBD and THC? Inside of us is the ECS, still not a rap group but rather the Endocannabinoid System, which regulates a variety of physiological and cognitive processes including fertility, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory (among other things) and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis. THC and CBD hijacks the ECS and interacts with receptors found within the system. However, CBD is non-psychotropic and therefore does not elicit a high, whereas THC is psychotropic and is the only known cannabis-derived compound to illicit a high.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) may sound like lyrics from a mumble rap, but they are also two of the most abundant of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis. They affect the ECS in distinct ways. Their chemical structure is mostly identical.
They have the same molecular formula, C21H30O2, both having masses of 314g/mol. but one important difference is that THC contains a cyclic ring and CBD, a hydroxyl group. This seemingly insignificant difference in biochemistry actually controls whether or not you feel high.
In your unstoned/sober body, the Cannabinoid Receptor 1, known on the streets as CB1, is activated by endocannabinoids, a group of retrograde neurotransmitters that include anandamide. Anandamide is a brain lipid that binds to cannabinoid receptors with high affinity. Anandamide plays a role in the regulation of feeding behavior and the neural generation of motivation and pleasure. Levels of anandamide also increase when you run which is what can give a runner a runner’s high. Anandamide is also found in chocolate, not surprisingly.
THC’s structure is so similar to anandamide, that it fits perfectly into the CB1 Receptor therefore causing highness. CBD, on the other hand, because of the hydroxyl group structure and shape, does not fit into the
CB1 Receptor and therefore does not make you high. CBD does bind to other receptors in the cannabinoid system affecting you in other ways. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce symptoms of social anxiety, has anti inflammatory properties and can help with chronic pain.
But what happens when you consume both at the same time? Research shows that CBD binds to the CB1 Receptor and turns it off. CBD makes THC unable to bind as well decreasing how high you can get. For instance, if you vape cannabis with a 25% level of THC and 0.2 % CBD, you get high with little interference from CBD. If the ratio is 25% THC with 12% CBD, there is more CBD to
inhibit THC, decreasing THC’s effects. You are then, less high. Be sure to carefully examine information on products you use or consume in order to understand the effects it will have on your body and what best suits your needs.
By Kelly Nguyen
*Drops mic...on foot and goes in search of CBD oil