Cannabis is beautifully complex. Your average plant produces approximately 113 different cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active chemical ingredients in cannabis, and though there are upwards of a hundred, research focuses on two: tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, also known as THC and CBD.
These two compounds are the most well-known and the most well-studied because they are the most prevalent chemicals in cannabis. That said, each strain and each individual plant contains a rich and unique profile of cannabinoids that interact with our minds and our bodies in different ways. The simplified science behind these compounds goes something like this:
THC gets you high and CBD doesn’t.
Though this statement is essentially true, there is a lot more to the story. These extraordinary cannabinoids work in concert to produce subtle effects that transcend merely getting “high”.
THC and CBD are often referred to as “sister molecules” because they have the exact same molecular structure. These compounds are composed of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Their difference lies in the arrangement of these atoms.
The endocannabinoid system houses two cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors and the twist of fate that led to the slight difference in structure between THC and CBD, are the reason for the differing effects of these sister molecules.
Its structure allows THC to bind directly to CB1 receptors in the body, and this binding is responsible for the “high” or sense of euphoria felt from consuming cannabis. Through this binding, THC stimulates the body in very specific ways. On top of altering the senses, THC reportedly induces relaxation and hunger. The “munchies” are a famous side-effect of THC.
CBD, on the other hand, binds very weakly or not at all to CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is even believed to interfere with THC binding thus dampening its counterpart’s psychoactive effects. While CBD is not psychoactive, it does produce many other effects on the physiology of both body and mind.
CBD interacts indirectly with CB1 and CB2 receptors, a process called modulation. Through modulation, CBD increases the levels of the human body’s naturally-occurring cannabinoids which are called endocannabinoids. CBD’s therapeutic effects stem from this ability to influence a wide range of receptors throughout the body. CBD helps to moderate the effects of THC, while also providing relief from all sorts of bodily symptoms.
At Qwest, we’ve made it our mission to explore and leverage these complexities in order to produce the most extraordinary products possible. There are so many elements that contribute to making cannabis the incredible plant that it is, and they go far beyond just THC and CBD. Understanding these two common compounds is, however, a good place to start.
Our growers are carrying on the tradition of BC bud by honoring these complexities and embracing new advances in technology in order to create truly premium plants, and ultimately, to inspire experiences beyond the ordinary.