THC is psychoactive while CBD is not. While both compounds are cannabinoids, they each interact with the body in different ways. THC directly engages the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which is concentrated largely in the central nervous system.
CBD, however, doesnt engage CB1 in the same way. As explained by neurologist and medical researcher Dr. Ethan Russo in an interview with Project CBD:
“CBD doesn’t tend to bind directly to what’s called the orthosteric site (on cannabinoid receptors) where THC binds. Rather, it binds on what’s called analostericsite, another site on the receptor, and so it alters the binding of both THC and the endogenous cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids.”
So, whats the verdict in a THC vs. CBD mashup CBD and THC both connect on receptors in different locations. While THC directly engages the cannabinoid through the orthosteric site, CBD seems to regulate or fine tune that interaction by connecting to a separate receptor location.
This fact is perhaps what enables CBD to modulate the psychoactivity of THC. Simply stated, if youre feeling a little anxious after some cannabis, it could mean too much THC and not enough CBD.Evidence suggests that CBD reduces the psychoactive high from THC.
As Russo suggests, CBD also alters the ability for the bodys own endocannabinoids to engage with the primary binding site. This is theorized to alter endocannabinoid tone, which could be quite beneficial for certain medical conditions.
In a 2008 paper, Russo hypothesizes that some people may experience an endocannabinoid deficiency. He speculates that this deficiency is one of the culprits behind migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
Should more trials of CBD show positive results, the cannabinoid may prove to be a powerful, therapeutic tool for conditions related to the ECS.