CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products. CBD and THC are in both marijuana and hemp, two strains of cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). Marijuana contains much more THC than hemp, while hemp has a lot of CBD.
Both CBD and THC have the same chemical formula- 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference lies in the way the atoms are arranged. That gives CBD and THC different chemical properties, and they affect your body differently by acting on the endocannabinoid system.
THC is said to be psychoactive, and it gets you that buzzy feeling of being ‘high’. For that reason, products legal in the UK must contain little or no THC.
CBD, on the other hand, is simply one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in the plant and is completely legal.
There are more than 120 naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant, so the potential for beneficial effects from these chemicals as dietary supplements in their own right is endless. When you take full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD products, you’ll be taking in other cannabinoids and other aromatic compounds, all of which may act in concert to give you wide-ranging effects throughout your body.
On the other hand, if you buy CBD Isolate, cannabidiol has been chemically extracted and is pure. It contains no THC or other cannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system
Although the cannabis plant has been consumed for thousands of years, research into its biochemistry in the body began in earnest in the 1990s The endocannabinoid system, or ECS was characterised as a group of neurotransmitter chemicals made by the body, together with CB1 and CB2 cell receptors that react to them. The reaction produced effects that act to balance many body systems.
The neurotransmitter chemicals looked similar to those we get from cannabis and the cell receptor sites reacted in the same way whether the chemicals came from our own body, or from cannabis.
The ECS is one of the most influential systems in the human body, contributing to homeostasis or balance. The ECS is said to influence functions as diverse as stress, appetite, energy, reproduction, pain, and sleep.
Gradually, a picture of the endocannabinoid system as a network containing cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes began to form. Enzymes act to stop or modify those natural reactions.
While THC acts on the CB1 and CB2 receptors to mimic certain processes, CBD is thought to act on the enzymes which stop the body’s natural processes.
Uses and licensing of CBD
The World Health Organization considers CBD to have no potential for abuse or addiction. One product, Epidiolex® is licensed for treatment of certain types of epilepsy.
CBD is licensed in the UK as a food supplement and regulated by the Food Safety Standards regulations. Other than Epidiolex, CBD is not licensed for other medical conditions, and so our CBD products, which contain little or no THC, are licensed as a food supplement or for use on skins.
To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD. There may be some interactions if you are on existing medication, so check first. But anecdotally, although we make no medical claims, CBD effects may include an impact on:
inflammatory bowel disease