Disclaimer: My Rationale for Understanding the Science. Not everyone loves learning the scientific specifics, but lucky for you I do. And what I like to do with this information is gather it up, trim the fat, translate the jargon, and present it to you. Everything I explain has a point. I want you to experience an Informed High. I want to help create informed consumers making informed decisions.
THC and CBD
I will briefly explain the science behind Cannabis, specifically the Cannabinoids: Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD)
Previously, we explored the family of Cannabinoids and their Receptors in the human body. Today, we will dive deeper into the main psychoactive ingredient in Cannabinoids, called Tetrahydrocannabinol (say that word five times quickly) or better known as “THC” (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol).
The highest concentration of THC is in the oil of the flowering tops and lowest in the seeds. The declining concentration follows this order:
Weed prepared with the dried flowering tops and leaves have a THC concentration of about 4.5% (according to the source at the end of this paragraph. A search through medicinal strains sold here in BC appear to be in the 10-20% range) . Pure hash oil is said to have the highest content at 14.1-19.5%. THC content varies across various Cannabis strains. Keep in mind that technological and agricultural advancements around indoor growing continue to make new varieties of strains.
Generally, Cannabis Indica is considered to be THC-dominant. Hemp is genetically more similar to Cannabis Indica than Cannabis Sativa. Regulations in Canada dictate that there must be less than 0.3% THC in the Industrial Hemp plant.
Cannabidiol appears to be largely inactive psychotropically. This means that is does not make you feel high. It does not bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is the action of THC on the CB1 receptor that is thought to lead to the intoxicating, behavioral, and physiological effects of Cannabis. Generally, the species considered to be CBD-dominant is Cannabis Sativa.
What does CBD do?
It is shown to have anti-arthritic properties in mouse models, along with anti-anxiety-like and anti-psychotic-like effects in animal models (Animals don’t exactly experience anxiety or psychosis as far as I know. By this they mean similar physiological and behavioral reactions). CBD may limit the effects of THC. Analogues of THC (Synthetic versions) have been approved for medical uses. These include nausea and vomiting in Patients undergoing chemotherapy.
What Do We Know?
We know that THC is a Cannabinoid that causes its psychoactive effects mainly through the CB1 receptor, distributed most densely in the brain. On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive and operates on CB2 receptors throughout our body. We know that these CB1 receptors are involved with fine-tuning the many incoming sensations. We know that CB2 receptors are involved with immune functioning and inflammation.
What Don’t We Know?
What exactly are these psychoactive and non-psychoactive effects I keep mentioning? This is a question I will explore in a future post. For now, I will emphasize once again that THC is known to create those effects we label as being ‘high’ or ‘baked’ and that make music sound sweeter and sunsets prettier. Alternatively, CBD does not lead to the effects we feel, moreso affecting our underlying physiology. So if you hear someone mention a CBD pill or some other form of CBD concentrate, you will now know that this does not affect their consciousness.