CBD VS. CBD: Know Your Cannabinoids!

Since the political, legislative and pharmaceutical corporations have lightened their heavy-handed stance on nature’s most beneficial medical plant, much has been learned about the fascinating way the secondary metabolites found in cannabis can benefit and modulate the functions of the body and even promote better health and mental sanity.

Secondary metabolites are special chemicals produced within a plant that aren’t directly related to the function of photosynthesis or the growth and reproduction of the plant. These secondary metabolites are produced for a wide variety of reason and are the chemically-composed “personality” of the plant. They give roses their scent, cinnamon its spice and in cannabis, secondary metabolites connect with the human body in a fascinating array of mind-bending and beneficial phenomena.

The secondary metabolites in the cannabis plant are cannabinoids and two have taken prominence in Cannabis Culture for their own important reasons. THC, is the mind-bending cannabinoid that has been the subject of much song and dance since the dawn of time. CBD, is a slightly less well-known cannabinoid that has been found highly beneficial to modulating the immune system, addressing chronic pain and host of other beneficial purposes.

This will provide an overview of these two organic substances, how they work and how their benefits can be maximized for a balanced and healthy life in this super-technological day and age.

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, has been made famous for its uncanny capacity to induce feelings of happiness, relaxation and euphoria. This is due to the way THC activates the CB1 receptors that form an important part of the body’s own endocannabinoid system. These receptors are located in the brain and scattered throughout all the major organs as well.

THC fits these receptors perfectly, unlike CBD. Consider the way the size and specific shape of key allows it to fling open certain locks. This special affinity is described as the capacity to bind well with these CB1 receptors. CBD lacks this affinity, and this is what causes the different reactions in the body. We will discuss the way CBD affects the body later in the article and take a closer look at how it works with the CB1 receptors.

For a host of reasons that are being explored and better understood as research and tests are concluded, the body produces its own “happy time” drug in the form of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. This endocannabinoid is produced within the body and released as part of the pleasurable experience array.

Anandamide fits the CB1 receptors perfectly and activates them during these times of happiness. THC has the singular capacity of partially mimicking the activities of this blissful neurotransmitter. In tests performed on animals, the experiences of this greatly affect the appetite and are also responsible for the feelings of euphoria after great physical exertion, called the “runner’s high”.

Anandamide also affects other experiences such as motivation and learned responses through experiences. More importantly, CB1 receptors modulate the experiences of pain and THC can be an effective analgesic. When THC is introduced into the body the experiences are therefore calming to sensory memory, relaxing to the mind, euphoric and often times pain-relieving as well. Because, many people are accustomed to overriding smaller pains as opposed to finding solutions, the effects can be drastic.

CBD: Cannabidiol

CBD has a very different effect on the body and because it is not psychoactive and “blissful”, as is THC, it has been found very effective for treating a wide variety of medical conditions. AS mentioned, CBD does not fit well with the CB1 receptors located throughout the body. Instead of activating them, CBD antagonizes them. This means it doesn’t really activate or suppress their activities but rather has a modulating effect on other activities that are affecting the function of CB1 receptors.

Therefore, when the recreational user is eating a marijuana infused edible or smoking from a bong or vaporizer, the THC is working to activate the CB1 receptors while CBD is modulating the activity of the THC. CBD opposes the psychoactive properties of THC at the receptors and this seeks to balance the body’s system of homeostasis.

This has actually been found highly suitable to those health enthusiasts looking to integrate the benefits of cannabis with the need for smooth mental function during professional activities. Certain strains of cannabis can be found that have a decidedly lower THC count and much higher CBD count. Whether smoked or ingested this provides the full list of CBD benefits and the pain-relieving power of THC, while modulating the psychoactive activity. This way there are no pink elephants gallivanting around your head while attempting to deliver an important message to the board of directors, for example.

As researchers delve deeper into the many medical wonders offered by this potent plant derived compound, the implications are vast. The role of cannabinoids and CBD specifically, in medical treatments have implications for immunological conditions like multiple sclerosis. The list of possible conditions that can be treated by THC and CBD are growing in popularity in both the medical and consumer communities.

This is partially due to the lack of side-effects that can be expected from these products. The synthetic pharmaceutical options that perform the very same purposes are fraught with terrible effects to the liver, kidneys and other internal organs.

Some of the conditions that CBD has been found to address include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • PTSD, stress and anxiety disorders
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Opioid withdrawal
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • In addition to the conditions listed above, there has been much debate, speculation and vast quantities of anecdotal evidence that indicates the benefits of cannabinoids and cannabis derived medications can form an important part of balancing life and health in many ways. Epilepsy has been treated with cannabis since the times of ancient Egypt and Rome and if with an unparalleled level of success. This is a condition that defies modern medications and therapeutic process.