Up until recently, people viewed cannabis as just another way to get high, meaning the emphasis was mostly on the THC side of the plant. Recently, however, the “superstars” of weed, THC and CBD, have come into focus. Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids found in cannabis, existing inside the crystalline resinous trichomes that are found all over the marijuana flower.
Known more for its therapeutic qualities, we all know that CBD doesn’t bring about the same psychoactivity or traditional “high” that we know and love from THC-heavy weed. Harvard Medical School reports that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
There was a time, not long ago, where THC levels in cannabis were much lower. During the 90s, we would see THC levels of around 3.7% in cannabis, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Thanks to modern methods, hybrid strains have been bred to incorporate high levels of THC, which has been known to bring in the best price when selling in the underground markets. Now, we’re seeing levels of nearly 20% in some strains. Our persistent pursuit of the best high unfortunately left a lot of potential research on hold.
With a strong focus on the “higher” properties that come with THC, we’ve seen a gradual phase-out of other cannabis compounds, such as CBD. In fact, as levels of THC have gone up, breeders have been decreasing the levels of CBD in newer strains. This leads to less and less knowledge of how the two work together. Fortunately, as we dig deeper, we are seeing more instances of how CBD works on the body, and ultimately how THC and CBD together can add positive effects to your day-to-day lives.
The Holistic Experience That We Have Been Missing Out On
Now that CBD use is coming more into the spotlight, we’re exploring and experimenting, and finally taking into account the interplay between THC and other cannabis compounds. Not only did focusing on the THC aspect help give cannabis it’s potentially damaging brand image, but we are now severely lacking data around the therapeutic possibilities and how the plant functions as a whole in relation to our human body.
Increasingly, we’re hearing conversations and seeing research popup around how different cannabis compounds work in tandem for a more holistic health experience. From analgesics to possible PTSD, schizophrenia and epilepsy cures, the latest finds are impressive. Research from Project CBD suggests that bringing together CBD and THC can improve the pain-fighting properties of the compounds.
Looking at it from a primarily therapeutic viewpoint, the cannabinoids affect one another best when ingested together. CBD prolongs the effects of THC by “inhibiting the breakdown process of THC in our liver” meaning that when THC is inhibited by CBD, you experience THC high for longer.
Further, CBD has shown to help protect against the typical cognitive impairment that tends to come with THC use, and can potentially help curb cognitive deficits. In fact, according to this study, those who smoke cannabis with higher levels of CBD have a higher level of memory recall over those who smoke with a lower dose. Not only aiding with memory issues, CBD has also been seen to help lessen both the appetite and sedative-inducing effects of THC. Ultimately, the two work in tandem.
A Whole New Cannabinoid World
The relationship between THC and CBD is just the tip of the iceberg: throw in consideration of any of the other 114 different cannabinoid compounds and the different terpene molecules into the mix and we have a whole other game on our hands.
Researchers are only just scratching the surface of CBN, CBG and CBC cannabinoids and their compounding effects with THC. Imagine if any of these combinations could help mitigate any of the negative effects that have been felt from THC, or prolong our favourite effects of either CBD or THC?
We know cannabis is a plant with a myriad of properties and our understanding of how it affects the human body is nascent, to say the least. As we progress with research and view cannabis compounds as a whole rather than separate as we have for the last few decades, I’m assured we will find more and more information about how we can get the most out of our CBD products with the help of THC.