Understanding why, and how, CBD products like Lucent differ from products that will “get you high” comes down to understanding the core difference between two very important compounds: CBD and THC.
Let’s dive in...
First Things First: Cannabis and CannabinoidsOur story begins with the cannabis plant.
The cannabis plant is comprised of over over 100 different cannabinoids, with more constantly being discovered and studied by scientists. Once inside your body, these cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid (EC) system, which is your body’s natural system of communication between your body and mind.
With that in mind, the two most prominent and well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, and for centuries growers have been breeding different varieties of the cannabis plant for different purposes.
For example, many people have come to think of marijuana and cannabis as being synonymous, but that’s not true. Marijuana is only a variety of cannabis that’s chemically dominated by THC.
On the other hand, hemp - another variety of cannabis that’s completely distinct from marijuana - is comprised primarily of CBD, with essentially no THC (less than .3%).
And from there, modern manufacturers can further extract and isolate cannabinoids from cannabis plants to produce products with just about any combination of TCH and CBD you can think of (more on that later).
Short story, it’s all cannabis, but the amount of THC and/or CBD in whatever cannabis product you’re using makes all the difference when it comes to the effect on your body and mind.
Inside THC (The One That Gets You High)We’ll spend less time here because THC is both more well-known and because our focus here is on CBD. Still, knowing what CBD is also means knowing what it isn’t, so it’s well worth spending a minute on THC.
As we covered above, THC dominates in the marijuana plant and is known for its ability to make people feel a sense of euphoria. To continue the analogy above, THC is the “key” that unlocks your cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1), which are found primarily in the brain and the central nervous system, producing psychoactive effects.
The exact nature of those psychoactive effects vary by the type of of marijuana - some may put you to sleep, others make you imagine you’re dancing on a cloud - but invariably, if we’re talking about feeling “high” then we’re talking about THC.
THC is a complicated world to itself, but for our purposes here, that foundation should give you a foundation for understanding CBD.
Inside CBD (The One That Doesn’t Get You High)
If THC is the wilder one in the cannabinoid family, CBD is its older sibling who chose to settle down and raise a family.
In contrast to THC, CBD is typically derived from hemp, not marijuana, and doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects. Even at particularly high doses used to treat very ill patients, CBD is completely non-psychoactive. In fact, because it shows little affinity for the same receptors that THC so strongly binds to (CB1 and CB2 receptors if you like specifics), CBD can actually help suppress the effects of THC.
So if CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects, what does CBD do? Great question.
Upfront we should point out that the complex nuances of interplay between CBD and the body/mind are only beginning to be truly understood, hampered by years of misguided “War on Drugs” restrictions on medical cannabis research that are only just beginning to be be lifted.
With that said, because the EC system connects to a wide-variety of body systems, including digestion, sleep, pain, immune-system responses and more, CBD is unique in its potential to treat a wide-range of systems.
For example, CBD is being shown to decrease the body’s absorption of anandamide, a neurochemical linked to feeling of bliss. Slowed absorption can mean increased levels of anandamide, which in turn can help people feel a lift in their mood and a decrease in anxiety. And CBD has also been shown to de-sensitize the TRPV1 receptor, which has been linked to the kind of burning sensation pain felt by those with nerve damage.
In addition, Lucent Botanicals is pioneering the use of terpenes - oils found in cannabis and other fruits and herbs - that also bind to receptors in the brain. Lucent believes that when unique terpenes are combined with CBD the effect can be even more highly targeted than “pure” CBD products, helping to treat pain, or inflammation, or sleep problems specifically. (We’ll dive deeper into terpenes in a future post.)
Bottom line, the science is only starting to catch up with the potential of CBD, but without the psychoactive effect of CBD and without the damaging and addictive qualities of opiates, more and more people are turning to CBD as a wellness alternative.
The Entourage Effect: When THC and CBD Get TogetherAgain, for our purposes here won’t spend much time on THC here because Lucent mints don’t contain any THC, but it is worth noting how THC and CBD can work together; often called the entourage effect.
In short, some studies have shown that even by having a smaller amount of THC alongside CBD can be more effective in producing certain effects than when THC or CBD are isolated individually. This is why you might encounter products with CBD to THC ratios in the realm of 18:1 for starters, all the way up to a direct 1:1 ratio.
However, while potentially effective, the addition of THC also means some psychoactive effect, and practically speaking, the presence of THC dramatically changes consumer access to a product. CBD derived from hemp - that is CBD with less than .3% THC - is now widely available in all 50 states to sell and own, but the presence of THC makes each product subject to each state’s cannabis laws.
In ClosingWhile we hope you now feel thoroughly educated and empowered, if all you remember from this article is that CBD doesn’t get you high, and THC does, you’re off to a solid start.
As always, that means that whether you’re using Lucent mints or any other product, be sure to closely check if it contains any THC. And after you have purchased your CBD product, the next step is to find the ideal dosage for you.