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CBD’s relationship to THC gets clearer as more studies add up


Distinguishing between marijuana, its active ingredient THC and CBD has been one of the challenges for many people as they struggle to understand the emerging legal cannabis industry.


Most fans of cannabis know by now that THC is the part of marijuana that gets the user high, while CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound that relaxes and offers many of marijuana’s benefits without the high. Tons of CBD users don’t smoke weed, but recent science is showing how THC and CBD are symbiotic.


According to ABC News, a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows the CBD compounds in marijuana can counter the “unpleasant side effects like paranoia, dissociative thoughts, impaired memory or even psychotic episodes” sometimes caused by THC. [1] [3]


ABC News reports that these side-effects increasingly worry people given the development of weed’s potency in recent years.


"We found that THC is overstimulating the [extracellular signal-regulated kinase] pathway, altering oscillation patterns in the brain linked to schizophrenia and disturbing the dopamine system," Steven Laviolette, head of the University of Western Ontario research team, told ABC News. [1]


The study featured rats in control groups exposed only to THC compounds while experimental groups also received CBD and didn’t show “did not show signs of anxiety, paranoia or memory loss in the behavioral tests.”


In support of many other studies so far, Laviolette told ABC News the pharmacological properties of CBD are “messy,” and demand more study. [1]


It’s no wonder. CBD was only legalized, along with industrial hemp in general, at the end of 2018 with the most recent Farm Bill.


Like the recent Journal of Neuropsychology study, most research has been done with animal subjects.


"People using it for pain relief, anxiety, multiple sclerosis or glaucoma are not looking to get high," Laviolette said. "If you want to avoid the negative effects, you may want to use strains that have a high CBD content.” [1]


As more people learn about the benefits of CBD and use the substance for their anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and other issues, more and more scientists will also turn to the substance and learn about the science and clear mechanisms behind it.


In the meantime, it is best practice for customers to use CBD providers that offer third-party lab tests and organic sourcing to ensure quality and consistency.


“It is well established that varieties of cannabis with high levels of THC and low levels of CBD are more likely to cause psychiatric side effects,” study author Dr. Roger Hudson told Inverse. “Our study identifies for the first time a novel molecular mechanism by which CBD may actually block these THC-related side effects.” [2]


Sources

[1] https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/cbd-thc-balance-marijuana/story?id=66113131

[2] https://www.inverse.com/article/59691-marijuana-thc-and-cbd-effects-on-the-brain

[3] https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2328961/press/2019-09-30/JNEUROSCI.0708-19.2019.pdf

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