We thought that would get your attention. Actually, any substance that directly affects brain function is considered to be psychoactive.
Of the two, only THC is intoxicating. The small difference in molecular structure between THC and CBD allows only THC to bind to certain neuroreceptors called CB1 receptors in your brain that triggers the production of dopamine resulting in the feeling of ‘high’.
In contrast, CBD does not activate the CB1 neuroreceptor. CBD instead activates other receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CBD is also thought to ‘block’ the ability of THC to bind to the CB1 receptor.
You know that the feeling of ‘high’ is achieved by THC triggering your brain to produce a lot of dopamine. Well, your brain’s number one role is to regulate your body chemistry and if THC is causing it to produce too much dopamine, it will try to slow down that production. Your brain will actually remove some CB1 receptors that the THC is activating to bring production of dopamine back to an acceptable level.
This is a completely reversible process as when you take a break from THC for a while (3-12 days based on mice studies) then the body will bring back these CB1 receptors.
The names Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa are only useful in identifying visual differences between the two common gene pools in Cannabis. Indica plants are short and have broad leaves. Sativa plants are tall and have thin leaves. The names have nothing to do with the biochemical content of the plants themselves.
‘Cannabis sativa’ and ‘Cannabis indica’ originate from Jean Baptiste Lamarck who, in the late 1700s, described the high from the indica plant as sedating and calming and Sativa was described as having uplifting, mood enhancing effects.
The terms Indica and Sativa these days are mostly marketing jargon that can, but not always, indicate the ratio of THC to CBD.
Edibles or ‘infused beverages’ are food items that are infused with THC so that you can ingest the molecule rather than absorbing it through your lungs. Because THC you ingest has to pass though your digestive tract you will feel a delayed onset of effects ~ 20min to a few hours after consumption.
An edible high feels different from a normal THC high because as THC passes through your system it is metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC. Studies have found 11-hydoxy-THC is 1.5 to 7 times more potent than THC. It appears the increased potency is because 11-hydroxy-THC has a higher binding affinity for the CB1 receptor than THC.
Here are some more questions we are constantly asked by friends and family!
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A tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. It is used to produce hemp fiber and as a drug.
Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis (a little known cousin to the other two varieties).
Cannabis or marijuana are the common names for the plants that produce high amounts of THC.
Hemp is actually the same species, the only difference is Hemp is a low-THC producing variety of Cannabis Sativa grown for industrial use. It looks the same, smells the same, but the important thing is it has been bred to produce less THC than its marijuana cousins.
The 2014 US Farm Bill defined hemp as “the plant Cannabis Sativa and any part of the plant with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis”
Think of cannabis like you would alcohol, there are fun effects and side effects. It’s important to know both so you can consume responsibly.
The short-term effects of cannabis can also vary based on your method of consumption. If you smoke cannabis, you’ll feel the effects within minutes. But if you orally ingest something, such as a capsule, tincture, or food item, it may be several hours before you feel anything.
Seriously, an excellent question – no one knows. Experts are still trying to fully understand the long-term effects of using cannabis. There’s lots of conflicting research on this topic, and many of the existing studies have only looked at animals. Many more large, long-term studies in humans are needed to fully understand the lasting effects of cannabis use.
A 2014 review of existing studies highlights the potential impact of cannabis on brain development when used during adolescence.
According to this review, people who start using cannabis in their teens tend to have more memory and learning problems than those who didn’t use cannabis in their teens. But it’s unclear if these effects are permanent.
People who start using cannabis in their teens may also have a higher risk for mental health issues later in life, including schizophrenia. But experts still aren’t sure how strong this link is.
Some people can also become dependent on cannabis. Others even experience withdrawal symptoms when not using cannabis, such as irritability, low appetite, and mood swings.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people who start using cannabis before the age of 18 are 4–7 times more likely to develop a cannabis use disorder than those who start using it later in life.
Smoking cannabis carries similar risks to smoking tobacco. For example, people who smoke cannabis have higher rates of respiratory infections and pneumonia. This may be due to inflammation and irritation of the airways.
These days strain names are marketing jargon. No-one is going around and verifying that the “Pineapple Express” at your local dispensary is in fact, “Pineapple Express”. Many brands decide to call a product by a specific name just because “it’s the in flavor this week” rather than performing any genetic/chemical analysis.
When it comes to distillate cartridges (practically all cartridges out there), the strain names get even less meaningful. We separate out the compounds (cannabinoids, waxes and terpenes) and then recombine the desired components to create the perfect distillate. In part because of the prohibition of cannabis and hemp study, science doesn’t know that much about the hundreds of compounds in the plant. So, when marketers say they are staying ‘true to the plant’ it’s appropriate to be skeptical.
If you remember the vaping epidemic of 2019 then you are probably familiar with the name “Vitamin E acetate”. Vitamin E is the common name for a type of chemical called “tocopherols” commonly found in vegetable oil or synthetically produced from petroleum. It is often found in dietary supplements, foods and cosmetics.
Vitamin E acetate is believed to be the likely culprit of the vape-associated lung injuries and deaths. Vitamin E acetate is found naturally in cannabis plant in tiny amounts. Some brands, many on the black market, were adding large quantities to ‘water-down’ their product because Vitamin E acetate is cheap and they could advertise they were only using stuff found naturally in the plant.
This led to a symptom called ‘pop corn lung’. Basically, people were unknowingly inhaling vitamin E acetate and it would fill up the lungs and coat the lungs which blocks the oxygen transfer to your blood stream. This gave them pneumonia-like symptoms and was noticeable by a ‘popping’ sound. We had some friends who would use these types of pens and it was concerning to say the least.
This is why we recommend that you only purchase products from sources you trust. While CDC does not greenlight inhaling any substance into your lungs, including THC, vitamin E acetate was a substance they found in 48/51 subjects the CDC analyzed with the condition.
We do not add any thinning agents or additives, especially Vitamin E acetate, and every product batch is rigorously tested by third party labs to confirm this as required by law.
This is a new topic that we will definitely revisit and update you all as more research comes out, but here is what we know.
Delta-8-THC is similar to Delta-9-THC (the common name of Delta-9 is THC as discussed in our THC vs CBD post. The difference between the two molecules is a double bond in the molecule is shifted by over one atom (see picture). The difference is subtle so we tried to highlight it for you! While this is only a slight difference, these small molecular changes can have a huge difference in how molecules interact. In this case, research has indicated Delta-8’s binds less efficiently to cannabinoid receptors than Delta-9 does. Therefore, Delta-8 is slightly less potent than Delta-9-THC, but its physiological effects are similar to Delta-9-THC.
Delta-8 has had a surge in interest recently because anecdotal reports (see this reddit forum) claim that it results in a high similar to THC minus the potential anxiety. Some also see it as a way to get an ‘entourage effect’ which is the idea that THC works better when taken in combination with other cannabinoids, terpenes and compounds found in the plant.
At this time, the research articles we have found indicate it effects the same receptors as delta-9 and so will give you the same ‘high’. If this turns out to be true, it will end up as just a marketing term rather than giving you a different feeling, but hey, placebos do work. We are excited to see more research come out about this molecule because if it is shown to produce a different high, then we will update this immediately! Until then, think of the two as interchangeable.
One final fun fact about Delta-8 is the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and hemp extracts provided they have a Delta-9 THC concentration below 0.3%. This is funny because they did not set a limit on hemp derived Delta-8 THC. This is probably because Delta-9 THC is the molecule with the notorious stigma. So, it is in a legal grey area, but technically you can order it online in 38 states (provided you are over 21 years old of course).
Here are links to researched information which we promised – the good, the bad, the ugly – so you are informed and knowledgeable. We’re geared to de-mystify cannabis for everybody’s benefit. For more info don’t hesitate to ask us a question!
Submit an article for review and inclusion on our site @ firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll read it (because who doesn’t love a good scientific reading before bed) and if it’s peer-reviewed and adds to our viewers knowledge, we’ll include it.