Researching cannabis can be confusing and daunting, especially if you are brand new to the scene. Many are unfamiliar with the key differences between cannabis’ headlining cannabinoids THC and CBD. There can be a lot of conflicting information out there, and we’re here to set the record straight.
The Endocannabinoid System
Our bodies come equipped with an entire system that is responsible for managing a multitude of physiological processes. The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, is a map of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. At this time, there are two known receptors CB1 and CB2. Both are dispersed all over the body, however, CB1 receptors are mostly found in our brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are condensed in our organs and immune system. Each of the two types of receptors is, in one way or another, responsible for strategically keeping order of our immune and nervous system functions. In due time, we’ll be able to learn more about our other receptors and their effects when more research is conducted. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate a variety of bodily functions such as mood, memory, fertility, appetite, hormones, and responses to pain or stress. In the end, the ECS helps our bodies maintain homeostasis or balance.
Our receptors are activated by neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. Our body produces its own, however, we also react to external ones as well. Phytocannabinoids, phyto meaning plant-derived cannabinoids, also attach to our receptors that initiate a physiological response. Essentially, our receptors are the lock and cannabinoids are the keys that unlock feedback.
CBD and THC Functions
There are hundreds of different types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When ingested, all of these cannabinoids and other compounds work together and produce a complete well-rounded effect also known as the ‘entourage effect’. But most are familiar with the more popular cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the one that causes intoxicating and euphoric effects. THC’s molecular form is very similar to our bodies’ naturally occurring endogenous neurotransmitters. If you take the lock and key analogy and apply it here, THC adequately fits into the CB1 receptors’ lock which our bodies’ then accept. This subsequently activates and interferes with our brains’ natural response thus causing impairment.
The cannabinoid known as cannabidiol, or CBD, works a bit differently. Since CBD molecules do NOT adequately fit into our CB receptors like a lock and key, the activation does not occur. So, our brain and nervous system experience little to no disruption. However, this doesn’t mean that it is without effect! While CBD won’t provoke an intense response from our CB receptors like THC, it will adjust them and the way they operate. It’s not limited to just our CB receptors either! CBD can bind to other receptors in the body and influence them as well. For example, CBD has known effects on our serotonin receptors that reduce stress. While at the same time, it can also inhibit functions in others like our pain receptors.
Will CBD Get Me High?
The answer to this is a little complicated. CBD alone won’t produce an outright intoxicating response, however CBD is technically psychoactive. Some that are more perceptive of their physiology might feel a subtle uplift in their mood. But it won’t be enough to cause a mind-altered state. Though, be aware that there are some risks depending on what products you use.
Become familiar with the differences between Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum products utilize the entire plant and have very little THC in them. In order for CBD to be legal, it is required to have less than .3% THC. Although rare, those that are sensitive to THC might experience minimal intoxicating effects when using full-spectrum CBD goods. Broad-spectrum products have undergone processing that removes all THC compounds, therefore eliminating the risk of feeling high.
We emphasize doing your due diligence and make a point to only purchase CBD products that have been thoroughly lab tested. If you are in the market for quality CBD, Lifestyle CBD is a perfect example of what you’ll want to be looking for in a company. They offer transparency, publicly available lab results, and effective products.
It’s always important to be well informed on how remedies work and the effects that they may have on your body. Speak with your doctor before using CBD, especially if you are currently taking other medications, and see if it’s the right thing for you.