How CBD-heavy varieties of cannabis are changing people’s perception of cannabis’s impacts on humans
Americans are oddly enthralled by the chance to visit Disney World in Orlando. It seems to be every child’s dream to go there for Christmas. Even some adults opine over the chance to have a proper visit.
I was never one of those children. I never wanted to go, and I never understood why so many people thought it was the greatest thing ever.
Then, I took my daughter to Hong Kong Disneyland earlier this year and had way too much fun. I finally understand because I have seen it first-hand.
This is a classic case of having an idea about something in a negative way, experiencing it for yourself, and then having your mind changed.
This same type of situation is happening with cannabis.
In the past several decades, before the legalization movement picked up steam, cannabis cultivation took place largely underground, with many growers obsessively focusing on growing plants with the highest concentration of THC.
Now, as legalization has gone mainstream and more people are trying cannabis, they’re being introduced to varieties of cannabis that change their mind about what this plant is, and what it can do.
When under the assumption that cannabis only makes you space out and ‘super high,’ CBD-heavy varieties are surprising people.
In fact, consuming a cannabis plant with loads of CBD and just a few percentage points of THC will leave long-time cannabis consumers wanting. “Where’s the benefit for my head?”
Even varieties with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD don’t deliver the same psychoactive effects that people are expecting.
Why is that?
A 2007 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology had researchers surprised at just how effective CBD is as an antagonist of CB1 receptors, considering it has such a low binding-affinity to it: “cannabidiol can antagonize cannabinoid receptor agonists in this tissue with a greater potency than we would expect from its poor affinity for cannabinoid receptors.” 
In essence, varieties with substantial amounts of CBD interact with our brains differently than high-THC cultivars. Consumers can receive all the benefits without the tremendous ‘high’ that is generally associated with cannabis use.
Just as how Disney’s theme park surprised me with what it had to offer, CBD-dominant cultivars of cannabis are doing the same for new cannabis consumers.
- Thomas, A et al. “Cannabidiol displays unexpectedly high potency as an antagonist of CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists in vitro.” British Journal of Pharmacology. 2007, 150.5: 613-23. [Times Cited = 368. Journal Impact Factor = 6.81]