What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol (canna-bih-dial) Cannabis has roughly 60 different compounds, but the two with the highest concentrations are THC and CBD. Most people know that THC is psychoactive and that CBD is not, but why is that?
We all have CB1 receptors, which are concentrated in the brain and the central nervous system. The basic difference between THC and CBD is how each one interacts with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor. THC binds well with CB1 cannabinoid receptors while CBD has low binding affinity for CB1 receptors.
How does CBD work?
Think of it like an electrical plug connecting to a wall socket. A THC molecule is perfectly shaped to connect with CB1 receptors. When that connection happens, THC activates, or stimulates, those CB1 receptors. Researchers call THC a CB1 receptor agonist, which means THC works to activate those CB1 receptors. CBD, by contrast, is not a good fit with CB1 receptors. It’s categorized as an antagonist of CB1 agonists. This means that it doesn’t act directly to activate or suppress CB1 receptors—rather, it acts to suppress the CB1-activating qualities of a cannabinoid like THC. In other words, when you ingest THC and CBD, the THC directly stimulates those CB1 receptors, while the CBD acts as a kind of modulating influence on the THC.