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CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a natural chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. It is one of the several powerful cannabinoids found in cannabis. The lure of CBD lies in its alleged ability to treat a wide range of physical and mental health conditions. Scientific research has concluded that even though there may be relatively mild side effects for a minority of users, it is considered safe for human consumption generally.

CBD is non-psychoactive, which essentially means it doesn’t get you ‘high’. There are at least 105 other types of known cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, some of which are psychoactive. Among the well-known cannabinoids are the Big Six.

  • CBD (cannabidiol)
  • CBC (cannabichromene)
  • CNB (cannabinol)
  • CBG (cannibigerol)
  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin)

Cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is non-psychoactive. It binds well with receptors such as TRPV1 and TRPA1 which are associated with pain perception. Even though it can have positive effects on its own, it works best alongside other cannabinoids. When CBC gets to work activating these receptors it increases the bodies level of endocannabinoids such as anandamide.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG is an interesting cannabinoid which has science and medical communities excited. Early studies have seen CBG having analgesic and anti-depressant qualities as well as the ability to block cancer cell growth. More studies are being conducted, and like CBD it is non-psychoactive and shows promising signs of medical benefits.

Cannabinol (CBN)

Is one of the numerous compounds found in cannabis, produced by THC-a which makes it mildly psychoactive. CBN has sedative properties, stimulates appetite, anti-inflammatory, but to achieve this it needs to work together with other cannabinoids.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. It interacts and binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor to give humans a feeling of euphoria or being ‘high’. Even with its psychoactive effects it has short term benefits of elation, relaxation, sedation and pain relief. But can have negative impact to health in the long run such as addiction, memory impairment and even psychosis.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV binds with CB1 and CB2 in the endocannabinoid system. Most cannabis strains contain small amounts of THCV. Research is on-going to find if there are any medical benefits of THCV.

How CBD differs from other cannabinoids 

In cannabis, CBD is found in larger amounts compared to other cannabinoids. It is effective in binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies which help manage a wide variety of mental and physical ailments.

It’s generally considered tolerable by the human body and safe for human consumption. It has no psychoactive effects like that of THC. And unlike other cannabinoids, CBD can be effective on its own. Although, similar to other cannabinoids it is reported to work better alongside its cannabinoid counterparts.

Although CBD and THC have a similar chemical formula (21 carbons, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms), both chemicals are arranged differently containing different properties. This is the reason why the endocannabinoid system reacts differently to both cannabinoids.

cbd-vs-thc

CBD Uses

 There is still much to be learnt about CBD and how effective it can be as an alternative remedy for health issues. A lot of research is being conducted into CBD which does look promising, but it is important to note that a lot more research is required – especially into the long-term usage and effects around CBD. In light of this, there is no certainty that CBD is a cure or should be treated as medication. CBD can have side effects which we’ve discussed in a previous post.

With that being said, research, studies and literature around CBD have shown favourable qualities in helping with the following physical and mental ailments.

 Physical
  • Chronic pain
  • Reducing inflammatiom
  • Pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Nerve-related pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Acne
  • Immune system response
  • Autoimmunity
  • Appetite
 Mental
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Regulating mood and behaviour
  • (Potential for) preventing psychosis and reducing symptoms in schizophrenia.
 Cancer related symptoms:

 (1, 2, 3)

Does CBD get you high?

The answer is No.

This is one of the most commonly asked questions, and understandably so. We’ve only ever really known Cannabis for its recreational drug use and so it’s associated with getting you high. The main cannabinoid in cannabis that’s responsible for getting you high is THC, which is stripped out almost entirely when it comes to CBD. There can be traces of THC which do exist but not enough to give you any sort of psychoactive trip. And to answer your next question – it is also legal in the UK, as long as the CBD product contains less than 0.2% THC.

Psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids

Of all the cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC stands out for its psychoactive effect and has always been the most popular. It goes without saying that this is due to the role it plays in recreational drug use. THCV has the potential for intoxicating effects, but only really noticeable if consuming large dosages. However, these compounds are found but in low quantities in commercial varieties and cannabis-infused products and therefore play a minor practical role. CBN is also considered mildly psychoactive. The levels of CBN should also be noted by producers of CBD products to ensure that the level of CBN is below the legal threshold.

The non-psychoactive cannabinoids, mainly being CBD can actually counteract the effects of THC. More importantly, the combination of the cannabinoids actually work better together than in isolation. So CBD having traces of the other cannabinoids can work a lot more efficiently as opposed to CBD strictly on its own (such as CBD isolates). This is known as ‘full spectrum’ or the ‘entourage effect’.

cannabinoid-profile
Conclusion

CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in abundance in Cannabis or Hemp plants. CBD is extracted and is often used in a variety of different CBD products which can be taken in many different ways. It is safe to consume and legal in the UK and various states in the US. The reason for its increasing popularity is due to its potential to remedy various health problems, both physical and mental, however more research into its potential benefits are still being conducted.


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