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.
Cannabis Use Disorder is on the Rise. Scientists are Trying to Find Out Why
Senate Could Vote on Trump-Backed Federal Cannabis Legalization Tuesday
10 Comedies to Watch this Holiday that put the Green in Christmas
Survey Shows Teen Vaping Increasing While Other Substance Use is Decreasing
The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Weed Smoking Nature Lover
[UPDATED]: The Ultimate Guide for Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday Deals
The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Highest of Holidays
Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow
News6 days ago
78-Year-Old Man Evicted For Using Medical Marijuana (UPDATED)
Legalization7 days ago
There Are Now 50 New Jersey Towns Who Banned Weed Ahead of Impending Legalization
News7 days ago
Kansas Supreme Court Rules Smell of Pot Enough to Justify Police Searching a Home
News6 days ago
2018 Farm Bill Passes Through Congress, Will Now Go to Trump’s Desk
Products7 days ago
The 24 Best CBD Products in America
News6 days ago
Scientists Are Trying to Breed Cannabis Plants With Consistent Cannabinoid Levels
News4 days ago
Student Convicted After Being Tricked Into Trafficking Over $125k Worth of Weed
News5 days ago
Evicted Elderly Medical Marijuana Patient Dropped from Healthcare Program