CBD doesn’t produce a “high” due to particular its interaction with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS was named after the plant that led to its discovery, cannabis. This system aims to maintain the homeostasis (balance) of our internal environment despite the fluctuations we experience in our external environment.
In this system, the receptors and transmitters act like “read” receipts to some of our vital systems, including those that control digestion, sleep-wake cycle, and stress, helping to keep all these systems performing optimally in balance.
Two of the main receptors in the ECS are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. While CBD vs THC has a very similar molecular structure, they differ in one key feature that makes THC psychoactive and CBD not.
THC happens to be the same shape as an internally produced cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) called anandamide. Anadamine’s name stems from the Sanskrit word, ananda meaning “bliss or joy.”
The CB1 receptors are particularly rich in the central nervous system (CNS), and it’s most sensitive to anandamide and THC molecules . CB2 receptors are found in immune tissues and play a significant role in the inflammatory response .
One of the tasks assigned to the CB1 receptor is to regulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. When the body ingests THC, the receptor believes it to be the “bliss” molecule. It opens the gates to release hormones that produce euphoric effects that may also alter our memory processing and motor control.
CBD doesn’t have the best molecular shape for unlocking the CB1 or CB2 receptors’ actions, so it’s not directly pushing the same buttons that release the flood of hormones that alter your state of mind. Rather, CBD may help with an endocannabinoid deficiency, boosting internally produced cannabinoids to help maintain the body’s homeostasis system .
CBD also helps slow the breakdown of internally produced cannabinoids, such as anandamide, so that it’s able to remain in your system for much longer, making it an effective breakdown inhibitor. CBD can also improve anandamide’s ability to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Hemp Extract Types
CBD and THC are only two of over a hundred cannabinoids detected in cannabis. These compounds are produced in the plant’s resin concentrated on the buds, stems, and leaves, which are then harvested and refined to produce different extracts.
The effect you feel from taking CBD oil can depend on which extract type you’re taking.
Full-spectrum CBD extracts contain the hemp plant’s original cannabinoid and terpene profile. This means that you’re not only getting CBD, but you also get traces of THC, CBG, CBC, and CBN, along with beneficial terpenes. This extract type is the strongest and will deliver the most balanced and natural effects of CBD compared to the next two extract types we’ll discuss.
In herbal medicine, there’s a concept called synergy. Synergy takes all the plant’s natural compounds into account to produce greater effects that one compound can’t do independently. The minor cannabinoids may not produce strong enough effects on their own in trace amounts, but they help to improve the effects of CBD. This is called the entourage effect.
You can think of the minor cannabinoids and trace terpenes as backup vocals to the show’s main star, CBD. While CBD is the main attraction, the backup vocals help CBD produce a richer sound, improving its overall performance.
CBD Isolate extracts undergo additional processing to completely remove all traces of other cannabinoids, terpenes, waxes, and fatty acids. What you’re left with is a crystal-like powder that’s up to 99.9% pure CBD.
CBD oil made from isolate won’t be as potent as its full spectrum counterpart. It’s also been reported to more likely produce unwanted side-effects, as it doesn’t have the help of the other cannabinoids to round-out its effects. Lastly, CBD isolate runs the risk of being synthetic or overly processed, with many lab-created variants circling the market due to the green rush of the last 5 years.
Not many companies offer a THC Free broad-spectrum CBD oil option, but this is the best extract type if you’re looking for diversity in cannabinoids and terpenes without THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a range of hemp phytonutrients alongside CBD but has THC completely removed. This is achieved either through a careful distillation process to isolate the THC compound, or it’s done by taking isolate cannabinoids and combining them together.
With THC Free Broad Spectrum CBD, you still get the benefits of the entourage effect. However, it may not be the same synergy level as full-spectrum oils. Researchers suggest that THC and CBD have a synergistic relationship that improves their benefits when taken together.
If you absolutely need a THC-free option, broad-spectrum is the way to go.