Until a few years ago, the cannabis varieties on the market contained no more than 1 percent CBD. This was due to the breeding processes used to increase THC levels, which, as we explained, reduced CBD levels. In recent years, however, seed banks have focused more on CBD, a cannabinoid that has demonstrated its many therapeutic properties as well as new recreational possibilities: CBD-rich varieties offer a more moderate effect, allowing you to continue your daily tasks.
THC action on the CB1 receptor
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effect usually associated with cannabis, also known as high or stone. The effect is produced as a result of THC’s action on the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, located mainly in the central nervous system, responsible, among other things, for motor activity and cognitive, learning or memory skills.
When this linkage occurs between THC and the CB1 receptor, this region of the brain is activated and stimulated. Also, several studies have shown that the effect of THC on these receptors is similar to anandamide, an endocannabinoid (an organic compound produced by the body) also capable of activating the CB1 receptors and often associated with increased appetite and “runner’s reward” (post-exercise sensation). Anandamide also plays an important role in memory, motivation and pain regulation. Knowing that THC is similar to anandamide, its effects on the body will obviously be similar.
Does CBD block the psychoactive effect of THC?
Several theories have been circulated on the subject. In the past, CBD was thought to act only on CB2 receptors, which are closely linked to the immune system, and not at all on CB1 receptors. This is why CBD earned its name “non-psychoactive cannabinoid” and why it tends to be associated with the medicinal field. CBD is useful in the treatment of some diseases, but its action on receptors in the endocannabinoid system is more complex than some people imagined.
As we were saying, cannabidiol was long thought not to act at all on CB1 receptors, but a theory has been put forward to contradict that because, in reality, CBD is a weak THC antagonist. In other words, it would join CB1 in the same way as THC and anandamide, partially blocking activation. However, a 2015 study showed that CBD functions as a negative allosteric effector, a molecule that also binds to a CB1 receptor, but differently.