Cannabidiol (CBD) is known to be a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis, yet does it mean it does not influence the brain, in any way?
Avid cannabis users would know that the two most prominent compounds derived from cannabis are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD. The former one is psychoactive, or the primary compound to be blamed for the ‘high’ feeling users get from cannabis. The latter meanwhile is the non-psychoactive compound that is currently getting much attention because of its various therapeutic benefits.
For many years, cultivators and breeders have grown strains with a higher THC level. As such, there are now a lot of varieties featuring THC levels as high as30%+ as compared to just 5% THC of most strains in previous years. This is, however, changing as breeders not aim at producing strains rich in CBD for medicinal and recreational uses.
Yet the concern stays: does CBD really have no effect on the human brain? Not really.
CBD’s effect on the human psyche
Do you wonder why CBD can’t get you high while the THC can? This is because of the manner by which the two compounds interact with Cb1 receptors that are primarily concentrated in the central nervous system and the brain. Both CB1 and CBD2 are endogenous receptors found in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). While THC binds with CB1 receptors, CBD does not. Once they bind like a key in a lock, they activate the receptors immediately. The THC somewhat imitates the “bliss molecule” or known as the anandamide. It is naturally occurring endocannabinoid in the brain and serves as a neurotransmitter. It influences everything from memory to appetite to hampering the proliferation of cancer cells.
On the other hand, CBD is regarded as CB1 receptors’ antagonist. It suppresses THC qualities responsible for activating these receptors that eventually minimizes its psychoactive effects. There is a need for more studies to be done to identify precisely how the mechanism works, yet CBD advocates believe that the compound acts as CB1’s negative allosteric modulator of CB1. Simply put, CBD limits the psychoactivity “ceiling” of THC. This is the reason why both THC and CBD’s strains are often marketed to offering the best of both worlds for the typical user.
What is the CBD-induced High sensation?
The compound is not psychoactive, yet it affects the brain in a manner that is as helpful as the ‘high’ sensation that its THC counterpart provides. Studies have shown that CBD is more closely linked with CB2 receptors, even though THC largely binds with CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors are those found in the skin or in the peripheral organs, especially in cells connected with the immune system. Because of the close association of CBD with CB2 receptors, the sedative and calming effect of the compound on human beings can manage symptoms of mental conditions like anxiety and inflammation.
CBD can help improve cardiovascular functions like myocardial oxygen consumptions and coronary blood flow, thanks to its anxiolytic effects that can activate adenosine receptors. These receptors are also in charge of regulating both the glutamate and dopamine levels in the brain. As such, CBD comes with psychological benefits as a result of its mechanism of action despite not getting you high.
In particularly, CBD is seen to be effective in treating schizophrenia, PTSD, epilepsy, nausea, rheumatoid arthritis and many more. CBD-rich products and strains are also believed to replace current prescription medicines for treating neuropathic pain and muscle spasms.