CBD is one of the hottest topics in the medical community in the last year. Recently, CBD has seen a massive surge in attention, thanks to its easy availability in various high-street shops. Unfortunately, many people still don’t understand what CBD is or what it can do.
What is CBD?
The first thing you need to know is that CBD and cannabis is not the same thing. The hemp plant that was originally domesticated in China produces more than 400 organic compounds, and there are two main groups of molecules that have bioactive potential in hemp. Cannabinoids make up around 104 of the chemical compounds in Hemp, and CBD is one of the molecules in that family.
Cannabinoids are special molecules that can affect the way that the human nervous system works. The hemp plant creates many of these molecules, including CBG, THC, and CBD. Each molecule has a unique structure, and an individual affects on the human body. CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in Hemp.
CBD doesn’t have the same psychoactive properties of the more famous THC, which is the substance in hemp that gives users a feeling of “euphoria” or “being high.”
Why is CBD Different From THC?
There has been a lot of confusion in the market around the legality of CBD. However, it’s important to note that CBD is legal, but there are restrictions in place to control how much THC can be present within a CBD product. For a CBD substance to be legal in the UK, it cannot contain more than 0.2% THC.
Both CBD and THC come from the marijuana plant and belong to the Cannabinoid family. However, THC has a very different effect on the body to CBD. While CBD doesn’t has any side effects, and actually helps to prevent the psychoactive effects of THC, THC is the substance known for giving users a “high.” THC is a psychoactive substance with dangerous side effects like anxiety and paranoia. THC is illegal in most countries, and it is not a significant part of most CBD products.
If THC is present within a CBD product, the manufacturers must be able to adhere to the percentage standards held by the UK, and they must also be able to prove that it is not easy to separate the THC from the CBD.
The Science Behind CBD
CBD is an impressive and highly unique natural substance that can do a wide range of things in the right circumstances. Wild cannabis plants produce a vast array of organic compounds, and CBD is just one of the many molecules that can be extracted from these plants. Like many of the other plants we see in the world today, Cannabis sativa is one of the plants that is now selected to produce specific molecules in higher quantities than others. Many illegal cannabis growers focus on producing as much THC in their plants as possible, often to the detriment of the more useful compounds in the plant. Alternatively, modern hemp cultivars focus on the beneficial medical uses of the plant and have bred new strains to produce higher quantities of CBD.
From a chemical point of view, Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are very closely related to other plant-derived compounds that you might be aware of, like the curcuminoids in turmeric, or menthol. Terpenoids are a class of large organic molecules used in traditional cuisine for their aromatic qualities. Additionally, these substances are also beginning to play more of a part in the typical herbal remedies you see in local high street health shops. For instance, you may have seen turmeric in many weight loss solutions lately.
To produce both CBD and THC, most growers use the same biosynthesis pathway as you would expect for Terpenoids. The plants have the same molecular precursor, otherwise known as CBGA.