There are many reasons why people make use of cannabis. One of the more popular such reasons is the sense of euphoria that they feel when doing it. This effect is present because of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient, THC has a euphoric effect, but there are also some undesirable side effects as well. Some of these are memory impairment, psychotic episodes, dissociative thinking, and even paranoia. There is no doubt that cannabis is now more potent than it has ever been before. This means that the likelihood of experiencing THC’s effects is higher than it ever has been before. There is, however, another compound that is present, which has been gaining a lot of popularity. This non-psychoactive cannabidiol has an opposite effect on THC, and it can even mitigate THC’s negative effects. Mr. Smoke has compiled this informative overview to highlight how the two compounds work.
Neuroscientist Steven Laviolette and his team did some research on how the two compounds affect the brain. The study also aimed to understand how cannabidiol (CBD) cancels out the psychoactive effects of THC. The results can be found in the Journal of Neuroscience.
highly potent THC
The study was done on rats, and the focus was on the ventral hippocampus area of the brain. This is the area that is responsible for the regulation of emotions. It was chosen because it is one of the most vulnerable areas to highly potent THC. When given the THC, the rats showed many of the known negative side effects of THC. They exhibited various behavioral changes such as interaction issues, memory problems, sensory filtration deficiency, and new environment anxiety. The rats’ brains were then examined once the test concluded. It was determined that the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) molecule was overactive, which led to the effects.
According to Laviolette, his team discovered that THC overstimulates ERK pathways. The result is an alteration in brain patterns that mess with dopamine levels. The alteration was also linked to schizophrenia.
On the flip side, the research team gave another group of rats both THC and CBD. These rats did not show the same issues that the first set did. There were no signs of memory loss, paranoia, or behavioral issues. The conclusion that the research team drew based on this is that the presence of the CBD disrupted THC’s natural effect on the ERK pathway. The lack of overstimulation resulted in normalcy. Neuroscientist Daniele Piomelli, who was not a part of the study, stated that it was an age-old belief that CBD had the potential to negate THC’s effects. The issue is that the way that it is done has always been unclear. Piomelli found Laviolette’s study very interesting as it gave some clarity at both a synaptic and a molecular level.
Previous studies stated that CBD prevented THC from binding to the brain’s CB1 receptor. This receptor is the main target of THC. Piomelli believes that the receptor may not be a factor in CBD’s ability to modulate THC effects. Laviolette described CBD as being “pharmacologically messy,” as it can bind to numerous body receptors. The result of his study shows that there is a pathway for the two compounds to affect each other’s ability, but there is no telling if it happens at the site of the CB1 receptor. He and his team intend to figure this out in the future. Piomelli believes the study is very important as it can provide the building blocks to understand how CBD impacts both the short and the long-term effects of THC.
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