The Entourage Effect
Do certain concentrations of a specific non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound have an adverse effect on another psychoactive compound? This is the fundamental question behind a topic which has seen its fair share of fame. Although there is no definitive evidence to support the claims associated with the aforementioned effect, there is an immense amount of evidence which lends its support, if you consider the average processing speed of a human brain is approximately sixty bits per second.
Our brain is divided into two parts, with each part responsible for various functions within our bodies. However, our brain functions as a singularity that is capable of processing fragments of data throughout our lives. THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, which are the most abundant in our bodies and can be found specifically in our limbic system. These limbic systems are the set structures that can be found on either side of the Thalamus, located at the centre of the brain. The system is made up of the Hippocampus, Hypothalamus and Amygdala and includes other networks located in the same area. Certain responses are triggered by this area, which include emotional as well as physical reactions on consuming edibles and smoking cannabis.
The exact understanding of how CBD (Cannibidiol) affects THC is still unclear, largely due to the varied spectrum of effects. There are simply too many variables to precisely measure the nature of interaction, but science has narrowed down the three main types of mechanisms which may result in either diminished psychoactive reactions, or may simply reduce them. By altering THC in blood levels through a process known as pharmacokinetics, whereby the enzyme(CYP2C9) responsible for THC metabolism is inhibited, a substantial increase in psychoactive factors were noted. Experiments conducted using rodents showed that administering CBD prior to consumption of THC increased the notable psychoactive properties .
The second method is achieved when a cannabinoid binds to a different receptor in the brain. There is endless data available on the anti-anxiety effects patients using CBD extracts have attested to. CBD binds to the serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, resulting in that feeling of a weight being lifted from your shoulders. Myrcene is a terpene found in the cannabis plant. It too has displayed the ability to act on GABA-A receptors in the brain, resulting in a sedative effect. A number of terpenes and cannabinoids have been cited as increasing the effects of THC at the CB1 receptor sites.
The last mechanism is referred to as pharmacodynamics and is achieved through the CBD cannabinoid bonding with CB1 receptors. This action results in reduced interaction of THC on the receptor, thereby diminishing its psychoactive effects. While the receptor is dealing with one cannabinoid it has less interaction with another.
Although the theory is based on no specific rodent study, it certainly does make for a sound argument. The delicate combination of THC and CBD has been a well guarded secret of many long term smokers, however with the eyes of the world finally opening to the miracle of cannabis, this mystery should soon be cleaned and rolled.