There is no denying that Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained attention globally, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee, or a "cure" for any number of diseases or disorders. So what exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular? What is the difference between CBD and Marijuana/THC?
Well, first things first, you have to understand what CBD is and where it comes from, only then can you begin to understand how CBD works so well within your body. The CBD industry came out of nowhere, one day you were driving down the highway and you noticed a sign in the local gas station “CBD Here”, and next thing you know, products are available on every website in every state in the US. But what is CBD? How do I know what brand to buy from, and if it is safe for me to use?
With so many new products and options available, it’s hard not to have a million questions. But first, let's tackle the big question on everyone’s mind!
Will CBD Get Me “High”?
First things first: CBD is NOT ∆9- tetrahydrocannabinol (aka ∆9-THC), it will not get you “high” or “stoned”, but it does help with anxiety and stress, so you may feel a bit more relaxed after consuming CBD. You will often hear the term “cannabis”, and while “cannabis” is often used by recreational consumers of ∆9-THC rich products, the term “cannabis” is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. All plants within the cannabis genus contain compounds called “phytocannabinoids” and there are over 60+ phytocannabinoids that have been identified and structurally characterized. The most potent psychoactive agents derived from cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other plant-derived cannabinoids include CannaBiNol (CBN) and CannaBiDiol (CBD).
The most well known are of course ∆9-THC and CBD. And THC is the only one that gets you “high”.
So, let’s break down the Cannabis Plant:
The leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plants are used to make cannabinoid rich oils, these oils are used in tinctures, gummies, creams and other health and wellness products. Female plants with ∆9-THC rich profiles (generally 15-20% ∆9-THC) are considered “marijuana”, the oil produced from this ∆9-THC rich plant are used to induce a psychoactive effect in the human body. CBD oils are made from the Industrial Cannabis (or “Hemp”) plants, which contain, at most, 0.3% ∆9-THC*. That’s why CBD oils do not get you high.
You will often see products with “THCa” listed on their nutritional information profile – the “a” that is listed in “THCa” refers to the carbolic acid present in the molecular structure. THCa will not get you “high” if consumed raw, THCa is the precursor to the intoxicating THC compound. In order to produce THC, the cannabis plant material needs to be exposed to heat, or some other driving force, that is capable of initiating thermal decarboxylation – the process through which THCA loses its acidic carbonyl group to become THC. If you are planning on consuming a THCa rich profile, remember that the introduction of heat will isomerize into ∆9-THC, and this new molecule will get you “High” in greater percentages.
It’s easy to get caught up with the science behind the CBD industry, especially when you’re just trying to figure out how CBD oil can do so much, from reducing tumors to reducing anxiety and all without the high of the marijuana and or the hangover often associated with alcohol. But, even though the science can be complex, learning about the way CBD oils interact with your body’s chemistry is fascinating!
Our Endocannabinoid System (ECS)