Researchers discover how CBD offsets one of cannabis’s biggest downsides

    CBD has a newfound reputation for helping millennials stay calm, for forming the basis for epilepsy drugs, and maybe even more effects that have yet to be discovered, for better or worse. The one thing it can’t claim responsibility for is producing Cannabis’s high, though it may play an important supporting role in one feeling that’s been overlooked.

Both CBD and THC are naturally occurring chemicals in Cannabis. CBD does not have these psychoactive properties, which is why it’s legally mixed into food items and sold in restaurants However, THC also has negative side effects. Like cottonmouth, red eyes and couch lock.

But going by scientifically research published on Monday in The Journal of Neuroscience, CBD may balance THC’s more negative side effects, turning a THC high from an anxious experience into a more euphoric or relaxed one. Hudson Roger’s, a Ph.D. candidate and Vanier scholar at The University of Western Ontario shows Inverse that his results explain a new kind of way that THC and CBD  interact in the brain of mice and humans.

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The market for CBD Bath Bombs has exploded this year. Now researchers are getting one step closer to understanding how it works with the human brain.

“It has become well established that varieties of cannabis with higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD are more than likely to cause psychiatric side effects,” Roger explains. “Our research study identifies for the very first time a novel molecular mechanism by which CBD may actually stop these THC-related side conditions.”

His research, that was done on mice, is concentrated on how THC and CBD actually change the brain cells in the ventral hippocampus, the part of the brain that is associated with reward-related circuitry. Roger’s research experiment dives further into the way that the brain cells in that part of the brain behaves, and focuses on a signaling pathway, which is a group of communications that get transmitted through a cell.

This particular condition is set in motion by a protein called ERK, which is affected by both CBD and THC, going by Rogers’s research experiments. When their research team gave the rodents a single serving of the only THC, they realized that this ERK gets sent into an excited state and activates a signaling “cascade” in the rodent’s brain. That chemical flow, says Roger’s, made the mice behave anxious and docile. The more THC the mice got, the more they stayed around the edges of their cages, less wanting to spend time in the middle of the cage.

Rogers adds that increasing ERK activity of the mice could be one of the reasons that potent cannabis use has been linked to issues with high-level THC in the past, says Roger’s, could “increase the salience of affective contextual stimuli” or in other words, turns up the volume on emotionally stressful experiences that are already located in the test subject.

But Cannabinols, on the other hand, may help lessen this effect.

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CBD and THC both naturally occur within the cannabis plant. This scientifically research suggests that THC and CBD affect the same neurons in the brain but in opposite ways.

When rats received CBD and THC, they seemed very happy to spend time front and center in their cages. And when they examine deep into the ERK pathway in their brain cells, they found that they had balanced levels of ERK activity. In other terms, it helped turn that emotional volume back down to a normal balanced level and “also stopped many of the emotional and anxiety memory processing disturbances caused by THC,” Roger’s adds.

At this point, Roger believes that they’re the first research team to show exactly where in the brain CBD and THC understand the unique interplay for these two popular marijuana chemicals. Especially, he adds, for consumers who consume Cannabis to treat conditions like chronic pain.

But outside the lab, Roger’s results explain that CBD and THC could help make a natural balance in the high brains of people everywhere. While THC may be the compound that gets things moving, CBD may be what keeps it from getting out of control this why more and more consumers are choosing full-spectrum CBD instead of zero THC products.

Significance statement:

Specific strains of Cannabis with large levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC

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) and smaller levels of cannabidiol (CBD) have been shown to lessen neuropsychiatric risks associated with higher potency cannabis use. However, the mechanisms by which CBD lessens the side effects of the THC compound have not been identified by researchers. Roger’s CBD co-administration blocked THC-induced ERK phosphorylation and reduced THC-induced behavioral and neural caused abnormalities. These research findings identify a new molecular mechanism that may account for how CBD chemical structure balances’ the neuropsychiatric side-effects of the THC compound.