The marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, has long been a controversial topic of discussion. Marijuana is now legalized for recreational use and commercially sold in several US states and countries such as Canada and the Netherlands. As a result, the research into the Cannabis sativa plant and the effects it truly exhibits has taken off.
Together with marijuana and its main psychoactive component, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), you often hear about cannabidiol (CBD). You may assume that these are two similar compounds, with similar effects and under similar regulations. However, that is not the case.
In this post, we’re going to talk about CBD, the second most prevalent active ingredient in the marijuana plant and one that our product line focuses on. We will start with the history of CBD, explain where it comes from, and, most importantly, we will discuss the main differences between CBD and THC and why it is not illegal to use CBD oil products.
It starts with the Cannabis sativa plant. Two strains of the Cannabis sativa are the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. The former has higher concentrations of THC, while the latter is more abundant in CBD.
This ancient plant was naturally found in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Approximately twelve thousand years ago, great empires such as China and Japan used it for making fabric and rope. No one is exactly sure when the psychoactive effects of the plant were discovered.
Fast forward to the 19th century, authorities in many countries banned the plant and its non-industrial usage due to these psychoactive effects. Because of the restrictions, it wasn’t until the 20th century that research into Cannabis sativa really started taking shape.
Scientists initially discovered THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active ingredient in Cannabis sativa. In 1940, they discovered cannabidiol, CBD, the second principal ingredient of the plant. In 1963, the chemical structure of CBD was finally determined.
How CBD Works
The human body is outfitted with what is called an endocannabinoid system. This system contains cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. THC mostly targets CB1 receptors, which leads to its effects on mood, memory, and anxiety.
However, CBD works differently. It doesn’t display much affinity for CB1, and its action is on CB2. Aside from its receptor activity, CBD is involved in modulating several chemicals in the body, such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, and others. All of these mechanisms of action lead to various biological effects and are the main reason CBD is under testing for a wide range of potential health benefits.
CBD and THC have a near-identical chemical structure, however, they have a significantly different effect on the body.
THC is the reason you get high when you use marijuana in any form (whether through edibles or by smoking). This compound alters your state of consciousness, and it’s the reason why marijuana plants are restricted in most countries across the world.
CBD, in contrast, doesn’t make you high. It is not a psychoactive compound (as confirmed by the World Health Organization).
These two substances work in almost opposite ways because of their different mechanisms of action that we described above. THC has a high affinity for CB1 receptors, while CBD mostly interacts with CB2 receptors. CBD also has other, more indirect ways of stimulating the endocannabinoid system.
As our knowledge of cannabis grows, so does interest in all the different ingredients and compounds this plant contains. There are phytocannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN) and dozens more.
The CBD vs CBG debate has been on trend in the cannabis science community for a while now.
CBG is similar to CBD in many ways, but also different in some others. Unlike CBD which has low affinity for cannabinoid receptors, CBG actively interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Because there’s a significant lack of scientific research into CBG, we are still figuring out what this difference in the mechanism of action truly means.
However, there’s a kink in the extraction of CBG that makes its products less widespread than CBD ones. Namely, it is relatively time consuming, delicate, and expensive to isolate CBG.
The three main reasons for this are:
All of this is why you won’t find many CBG products on the market. In fact, our broad-spectrum CBG oil is one of the few you will come across. This high-quality broad-spectrum oil also exhibits the entourage effect because it contains other cannabinoids (except THC) and terpenes. The entourage effect will enhance the effects of each ingredient in the oil, giving you a more potent result.
Regardless of your reason for taking CBD, it is understandable that you are concerned about its adverse effects. You’ll be happy to know that the WHO confirmed that CBD is mostly well-tolerated. Potential adverse effects include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and similar issues with digestive health. They usually affect those sensitive to OTC drugs, such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (paracetamol).
That being said, CBD is still undergoing testing against drug-drug interactions. Because of limited findings, you should be cautious if you are already taking anti-epilepsy medication and drugs like warfarin (drugs that interact with grapefruit). CBD may interfere with the metabolism of these compounds, so please always consult your doctor before trying any CBD products.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t currently regulate the use of this ingredient, which has sent CBD companies about making unsubstantiated claims on the therapeutic benefits of their products. This is why you need to buy from trustworthy sources that are cautious with the purity and the formula of their products and don’t make claims that CBD dietary supplements can cure your medical condition.
Look for a product that is not merely hemp seed oil, because hemp oil alone contains only a trace amount of CBD or none at all. The formula needs to be free of any pesticides, and the CBD should be extracted from the industrial hemp plant. It should also be tested for mycotoxins and heavy metals.
When choosing from full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate, speak to someone you trust with your health and wellness. This should be your physician who has been giving you medical advice on various health conditions for years or someone well-versed in the different CBD products currently available on the market.
CBD is one of over 100 active ingredients found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is not psychoactive like THC, and yet it has a host of potential benefits. We are eagerly awaiting more scientific evidence that will shed light on exactly how CBD and its companion cannabinoids affect the body.
That being said, with few adverse effects reported in the use of CBD, there is really nothing to lose by trying out your first CBD product. Our line contains no gluten and is 100% free of harmful pesticides. Take a look at our selection and choose a product that will change your life for the better.