What’s the Deal With CBD?
So. What’s the deal with CBD?
Cannabis’ second most dominant cannabinoid is experiencing a wave of popularity right now. Whether it’s the fact that cannabidiol is non-intoxicating, or that people have heard it’s good for what ails them, CBD has never been more popular. The popularization of the molecule has a lot to do with a little girl named Charlotte Figi, and a cannabis plant previously known as ‘Hippie’s Disappointment’ due to its lack of intoxicating properties. Charlotte has Dravet syndrome, a rare and serious seizure disorder, and consuming oil made from this cannabis plant, now known as ‘Charlotte’s Web’, has had a huge impact on helping manage her daily seizures. Currently, CBD is in clinical trials for managing pediatric epilepsy, with results expected in the next year.
For those of us that are lucky enough to live seizure-free, CBD can be a wonderful entry point to the wonderful world of cannabis use. Consuming even small amounts of CBD can help reduce anxiety, make you feel happier, and melt some tension from muscles that seem to never let you forget the weight of the world. Oh, and did we mention it can make THC more approachable? Just how does it work, you ask? Well, we’re here to clarify.
CBD and THC are very similar chemically, so much so that even researchers synthetically producing CBD generally end up with some THC. The differences are large enough, however, that the molecules work in completely different ways in the body. CBD doesn’t directly activate the CB1 or CB2 receptors – the receptors that are responsible most of THC’s famously intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD binds to a few other receptors and works on channels to affect other compounds in the body. Notably, it activates the serotonin receptor, and can increase the amount of GABA-A in the brain, another happy-making brain chemical. For those of you who are interested in topicals, it also activates the TRPV-1, or ‘vanilloid’, receptor – the same receptor that causes anti-inflammatory effects when capsaicin is applied, but without the burning.
CBD and THC play very well together. While CBD doesn’t directly activate the CB1 receptor, it does change that receptor’s shape – making it harder for THC to activate it. This is great news if you’ve ever over-done it on THC, or if you’re nervous about trying THC for the first time, because CBD effectively lessens THC’s psychoactive effects and highlights the more muscle-relaxing, anxiety relieving properties both compounds can effect.
Alright, enough with the science. Tune in next time to learn more about why CBD is so hard to find, if it’s legal (it’s complicated), and what the difference is between hemp- and cannabis- derived CBD oils.