If you strictly enjoy cannabis for the THC, why should you care about cannabidiol (CBD) at all? Even if you are purely a recreational consumer, CBD is the little compound that could. It's a compound with a lot of potential. Many recreational lovers of cannabis ignore the perks of CBD, on their quest for ever higher potencies of THC strains.
In our humble opinion there is a lot to learn about this underestimated molecule. Cannabidiol shapes the entire experience and plays a crucial role in defining a strain. If you love the plant as much as we do, we think you should know the fundamentals of this secondary cannabinoid.
This is your crash course on everything CBD, and how it relates to your total cannabis experience. This guide covers the basics, starting with what it is, and how it works in the human body. This exploration also covers how CBD positively impacts the high and the reasons why you'll want to start paying attention to the CBD ratio as well as the THC ratio.
What is CBD?
Most of us who use cannabis recreationally are very familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s the compound responsible for the high. Until recently THC was the only cannabinoid recreational users really cared about. But today, another cannabinoid is at the center of the recreational world- and that compound is CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is also a cannabinoid found in the plant. There are more than 113 cannabinoids in the plant including THC, CBD, CBN, THCA, CBG, and over a hundred more. The cannabinoid primarily responsible for the high is THC, but that doesn’t mean all the other cannabinoids are useless.
All the other cannabinoids, including CBD, play a role in shaping that high. Researchers now think that it’s these other cannabinoids which define the specific experience. It's these other cannabinoids that can heavily dictate the creative, energetic, sedative, and relaxing experiences - not just the THC.
What Happens to CBD in Your Body?
So why does one cannabinoid trigger an intoxicating response (the high), while the others don’t? It all comes down to how they work inside our body. We reap the rewards of cannabinoids thanks to our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for pain modulation, mood, appetite, memory, gastrointestinal function, and plays a role in our immune system. It is a system of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and chemical transmissions to those receptors called endocannabinoids. Shockingly, for playing such an essential role in our bodies biological function - it was only discovered in the early 1990s.
When we consume THC, it heads straight to the CB1 receptors concentrated primarily within the brain. THC locks into the CB1 receptor - like a hand into a glove. It's this direct interaction, in the brain, which triggers the mind-altering high.
On the other hand, CBD and the many other non-intoxicating compounds in the plant, don’t form such a direct connection. They still influence the endocannabinoid system but in far more nuanced ways. When it comes to CBD, instead of activating the CB1 receptor it antagonizes it, turning it off or reducing its activity.
How Does CBD Affect Your High?
If you are into super-high-potency strains of cannabis and only care about the ratio of THC why you should care at all about CBD? Cannabidiol plays a crucial role in mellowing out the experience, it turns a one-note high into a well rounded one. Just because you don’t feel the effects of CBD as strongly or loudly as those of THC, doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a role in the final result.
Part of the magic of cannabis is the way the cannabinoids work together once consumed. This is often called a synergistic relationship or the Entourage Effect. One of the most understood synergies in cannabis is the way THC and CBD work together.
As mentioned, THC forms a strong bond with our CB1 receptor: the more THC, the longer lasting and stronger the high. When CBD comes into the equation, it gently reduces the length and strength of the high by disconnecting the THC from the CB1 receptor. By removing the THC molecule from this neurological receptor, CBD helps mellow out the experience. A CBD component can reduce the adverse side effects some people have from potent strains, including anxiety and paranoia. The higher the ratio of CBD to THC, the less intense the adventure.
There are some strains available today pushing 25 percent THC potency. For some, this might be a little too potent. The experience is just too strong and isn’t as pleasant as you’d hoped. If THC hits you too strongly, look for strains with 25 to 50 percent CBD. You’ll still enjoy the benefits of THC, but with less intensity.
What’s the Difference Between Hemp CBD Oil vs. Cannabis CBD Oil?
If you are new to the world of CBD, it can be a little confusing. There are a lot of different names and product details you might not fully grasp. For example, what’s the difference between hemp CBD oil and cannabis CBD oil?
Hemp is from the same family as cannabis but doesn’t contain high levels of THC. Both hemp and cannabis are types of cannabis, but farmers grow them for different purposes. Cultivators grow cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes (flowers and trichomes), and hemp for industrial uses (cooking oils, fiber, and seeds).
Hemp CBD oil, not surprisingly, is sourced from hemp. Hemp contains lower concentrations of CBD and little measurable THC. You can also source CBD from certain strains of cannabis, and these products are labeled cannabis CBD oil. Cannabis CBD oil has much higher concentrations of cannabinoids which means more synergy between all the compounds.
The difference between the two is mostly the source material. Check the label for the cannabinoid content, as some non-hemp sourced CBD oils may contain higher levels of THC.
How to Buy Legal Cannabis CBD
Still confused about the many different CBD products, and how to buy them? Check out our in-depth resource on what to look for on the label, and ingredient listing. Once you’ve got the basics down, the world of cannabinoids isn’t as confusing as all the, and jargon makes it seem.
The good news about cannabis CBD? We live in Canada! We are lucky enough to have completely legal access to cannabis of all sorts because of our medicinal and recreational laws. No matter if you source hemp CBD oils or cannabis CBD oils, if you are over the legal age limit (which varies by province), you can legally purchase across this great country of ours.
Cannabidiol gets most of the attention for its medicinal applications, but we've tried to make a case for its importance in the recreational world. THC is not the single defining feature of a strain. The many other compounds, like CBD, help influence the end results. Cannabidiol plays an essential role in the cannabis experience.