Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two major cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. In recent years, CBD has been more widely discussed as preclinical and clinical studies suggest its therapeutic use across multiple conditions.
A published 2018 study sought to understand why consumers were flocking toward CBD products. It found that nearly 62% of CBD users reported using it to treat a medical condition. The odds of using CBD for these reasons was greater among non-regular users of cannabis than among regular users.
The regular cannabis user, who leans towards THC products of various strains may question: why add CBD to my current regimen? While it may not be for everyone, here are some reasons why you might want to consider it.
CBD + THC: Synergistic benefits
CBD and THC have researched benefits of their own. They also have benefits that may be amplified when administered in combination or that are complementary to one another. There is evidence to suggest that the observed therapeutic properties of THC are not solely dependent on the presence of THC, rather the interplay of phytocannabinoids. These cannabinoid combinations may mitigate side effects or improve the therapeutic activity of THC.
A recent study examined effects of THC-dominant cannabis, CBD-dominant cannabis, and THC/CBD-equivalent cannabis on self-reported anxiety among 26 healthy recreational cannabis users. It was found that, when baseline anxiety was low, CBD completely counteracted THC-induced anxiety. In conclusion, the study showed that THC/CBD-equivalent cannabis induces less state anxiety than THC-dominant cannabis.
THC and CBD are both known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and sleep benefits. It has also been proposed in research that targeting both cannabinoid anti-tumor pathways simultaneously, by combining THC and CBD, may lead to enhanced anti-tumor activity. Therefore, when taken in tandem, benefits may be realized more noticeably and/or at lower administration levels. Researchers believe that while they have impressive benefits on their own, they are best when they are taken in such a way that more closely resembles the plant’s natural state (taken together along with other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids). This synergy between the compounds in cannabis is commonly referred to as the entourage effect.
CBD is a negative-allosteric modulator (NAM)
Within our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) are cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are expressed in high levels throughout the central nervous system. THC binds to and activates CB1 and CB2 receptors. This action may have several therapeutic benefits for regulation of homeostasis. For example, activation of CB1 receptors may lead to an induction of sleep and activation of CB2 receptors can produce anti-inflammatory effects.
CBD is known to modulate the activity of receptors throughout the brain and body. It has long been proposed to reduce or block THC-associated euphoria. The ability of CBD to inhibit CB1 signaling, observed in one study, offers a potential mechanism for the reduction of select, unwanted THC side effects.
It is the same action of CBD that might contribute to its medicinal value. The negative allosteric modulation of CB2 activity by CBD might explain its action as an anti-seizure as well as benefits for other neural disorders.
CBD’s role in the brain’s hippocampus
A study published in 2019 looked at the counteractive effects CBD could have on the intoxicating side-effects of THC. They looked to the hippocampus, as the ventral hippocampus is responsible for emotional arousal through dopamine neuronal activity states.
Despite the complexity of cannabis, there is increasing evidence to suggest differing effects of THC and CBD, as they relate to euphoric effects. THC may induce dysregulation of subcortical dopamine transmission; therefore, when used at increased concentrations, may lead to short-term side effects to include anxiety, perceptual changes, disorientation, nausea, and/or headache. CBD normalizes dopamine signaling and regulates affective stimulus processing, therefore possesses antipsychotic and antianxiety properties.
Researchers in this study demonstrated that THC induced cognitive abnormalities resembling neuropsychiatric symptoms in the hippocampus, while dysregulating dopamine activity states by modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway. Comparatively, when coadministered with THC, CBD blocked the THC-induced ERK activity and prevented the THC-induced behavioral and neural abnormalities. The findings illustrate how the CBD molecule’s mechanism of action can mitigate side effects of THC.
How do I incorporate CBD into my cannabis regimen?
If you are looking for ways to enhance your current regimen by incorporating CBD, the first thing you can do is find a product to complement what you are already doing. The Realm of Caring is here for free guidance on understanding the additional, potential benefits as well as souring a quality product. You can reach our care team by calling 719-347-5400, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or scheduling an appointment.
When you are visiting your local dispensary, you can also keep an eye out for ratios. A cannabis product with a ratio on it is indicating the concentration of one cannabinoid to the other. Most often this will be a CBD to THC ratio, but more recently we have seen additional, minor cannabinoids represented in this way. Having more weight on the CBD or THC side depends on the outcome you desire. Again, our care team is here to help you navigate so you can step up to your dispensary counter feeling more confident in the decisions you are about to make for your health. Connect with us today!