Previously in Puff Puff Pass: The Tale of THC, we discussed the journey that d9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) takes as it traverses our bodies, and into our brains. We learned that the chemical mechanism that gives us our “high” is produced as a result of THC binding to Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CB-1).
Many wonder if the second most recognizable cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) will also get you high.
In short, the answer is no, but surely you would like to know why!
Often when we crack open a cold bag of buds, we take for granted that we are about to perform a chemistry experiment. Every minute detail of the structure of THC—from how it behaves around water (hydrophobicity), to its electrostatics (distribution of positive and negative charges)—determines how tightly it will bind to its target, CB-1 (Figure 1).
Though there are minor differences between THC and CBD, the later’s bond with CB-1 is remarkably looser than it’s cousin, THC, by 3-5 fold.
You might think that despite its weaker attraction to CB-1, CBD would still cause a similar effect as it is still moderately bound, but you’d be mistaken.
There are a few perspectives that we must observe to get even a sliver of the story. Biochemistry does a stupendous job of being exceedingly complex!
The first perspective comes from the structure of CBD, which, as stated previously, is different from THC in its specific shape and distribution of charge. These differences, no matter how minute, can have drastically different effects on CB-1.
Now, let us look at the perspective of the receptor itself.
You may recall CB-1, a structure which was only recently determined, belongs to a class of receptor/signaling proteins known as G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). There are entire textbooks dedicated to these proteins, so I will give you the quick and dirty.
The helices that permeate through the cellular membrane are very dynamic, and their movements are determined by the molecule that binds to it (i.e. THC or CBD), and they are extremely sensitive.
Despite the striking similarities between THC and CBD, the differences are distinct enough to have differential effects on these sensitive helices; moving in such a way to elicit opposing effects. Though these effects may seem minor, this type a receptor results in large multiplicative signaling cascades within cells.
Remember how I said biochemistry is exceedingly complex? We only observed one interaction, setting aside the myriad of resulting chemical reactions inside the cell. Furthermore, differences in how they affect our consciousness occur on a larger scale—more biology than chemistry if you will!
Though these atomic interactions are seemingly insignificant, they cannot be taken for granted when observing biology. After all, biology is an intimate, intricate, intertwining of physics, mathematics and of course, chemistry.
‘Fox & Friends’ Hosts Blame Homelessness, Teen Drug Use on Legal Marijuana
Canadian Company Launches Rolling Papers Printed with The Cannabis Act
50 Pounds of Weed, 5 Pounds of Fentanyl Found in Suitcases in Nashville Airport
Sober Up and Stay the Course: CBD Takes on Alcohol Addiction
Cafe Selling CBD Flower and Infused Coffee Opens in Ireland
Big Cannabis is Creating Big Waste—And it Needs to Stop
Wheeler Walker Jr. On His New Song ‘I Like Smoking Pot (A Lot)’
Ted Nugent Vehemently Disapproves of Legalizing Marijuana in Michigan
Legalization5 days ago
Canadian Delivery Service Announces Willy Wonka Lottery to Celebrate Legalization
News5 days ago
Cannabis Consumption Will Be Permitted in Canada’s National Parks
Celebrities6 days ago
Georgia Cops Called About Potential Domestic Abuse Arrest Actress Erica Mena For Weed Instead
Legalization6 days ago
Dispensaries in British Columbia Told to Shut Down Before Legalization
Medical Marijuana5 days ago
Rhode Island Approves Medical Marijuana as Autism Treatment
Legalization4 days ago
Canadian Police Urge People to Stop Calling Them About Cannabis
Legalization4 days ago
One Hour Into Legalization, Canadian Cops Write First Weed-Related Traffic Ticket
News7 days ago
Researchers Find Cannabis May Limit Some Driving Abilities