CBD: the tiny chemical with a big reputation. From CBD supplements and creams to CBD-infused drinks and cookies, it’s safe to say it’s become a major buzzword across Canada. If you’ve been wondering…
What is CBD?
Does CBD get people high?
How will CBD affect me?
… Then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article we’re going small- but only in terms of size. In every other sense, this molecule is bigger than life.
Before we can dive into the world of CBD, we first need to make like Mrs. Frizzle and hop aboard the Magic School Bus. Get in learners, we’re going inside the human body!
Inside of each of us is something called the endocannabinoid system - a complicated biological network that runs throughout animals' bodies and brains. This system is partly composed of chemical receptors called CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. CB-1 receptors are found in the body, but are more densely packed in the brain. CB-2 receptors are found in the brain, but are more densely packed in the immune and gastrointestinal system.
The endocannabinoid system is especially concentrated in the areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood, appetite, concentration, coordination, and pain sensation.
Now that we know about the endocannabinoid system, let’s take a look at the molecules that affect it.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that bind with the endocannabinoid system. When cannabinoids connect with cannabinoid receptors, the body and brain are affected in the areas mentioned earlier (mood, appetite, coordination, etc).
Despite the suggestive name, not all cannabinoids come from the cannabis plant. Take Anandamide, for example. Originally the Sanskrit word for “Inner Bliss”, Anandamide binds to CB-1 receptors in the body specifically responsible for mood, memory, concentration, and coordination.
Unlike CBD or THC, Anandamide is not found in cannabis. Instead, it’s released by the body during exercise (often called the “runner’s high”), or experienced in a post-dessert bliss (it’s in chocolate).
Let’s bring our focus to cannabis-specific cannabinoids. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but the most common and sought-after are, of course, THC and CBD.
THC and CBD affect the brain and body differently because of the proteins (cannabinoid receptors) that they bind to.
While THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) currates psychoactive effects (it’s responsible for the feeling of being “high” or “stoned”), CBD is a little more docile.
It’s helpful to think of CBD as THC’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid cousin. Unlike THC and Anandamide, CBD doesn’t fit into the same CB-1 receptors connected to mood, memory, concentration, and coordination.
Because it’s a slightly different shape, CBD binds with other receptors involved with pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
In this way, CBD helps to soothe the body's system without generating the feeling of being high or stoned.
For those looking to use cannabis without getting high, CBD is a popular alternative. Consumers can use CBD-infused topicals on the skin, consume CBD in capsule, edible or tincture form, or vape/smoke CBD.
For folks looking to experience both, look to the label. Each cannabis product will have a specific ratio of THC to CBD. Cannabis higher in CBD will produce less psychoactive effects, while cannabis with a high THC ratio will produce greater psychoactive effects.
Each strain is unique, and it’s best to consume one that will meet your needs.
Keep in mind: Although CBD and THC compliment each other, CBD can inhibit THC from properly binding to the endocannabinoid system. Because of CBD’s biochemical shape, it can bind to CB-1 receptors, blocking THC from binding- a phenomena is called allosteric inhibition.
Take a look at some of our staff favourites and most popular CBD products! And, as always- talk to your local Sessions budtender to learn which products are right for you.