Should you take a look at the plant CBD sativa, you will find a rich and varied collection of chemical compounds. Some of these compounds are very well known. Consider, for example, the iconic, high-inducing THC. However, the lesser-known cannabinoid CBD is also worth considering. Why? Because CBD possesses several qualities that THC simply does not provide.
What is CBD?
CBD and THC both belong to an extensive family of compounds (an estimated 113 in total), each of which cannabinoids affects the human body just differently. While our knowledge of the other cannabinoids is limited, we are slowly learning more and more about the second most common, which we will focus on in this article – cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD can be thought of as a sibling to THC. However, it does not share the psychoactive properties of the latter. In other words, it does not induce a high like THC. Instead, it affects our bodies in numerous other ways. Many of which are potentially beneficial to our well-being. However, the two compounds do bear a resemblance.
Is CBD Derived from Hemp?
While technically the answer is both, the highest concentrations of CBD are found in hemp. This is a subspecies of CBD sativa that is favored in commercial sectors. Thanks to modern breeding and natural selection, hemp is chemically rich in CBD and poor in THC.
Although hemp is the plant of choice for consumer products, such as CBD oil, CBD supplements and CBD cosmetics, we should not completely ignore CBD. Here, however, it’s a matter of choosing the right varieties.
In fact, the search for CBD-rich strains in the CBD industry has been something of a revolution. Particularly in the last twenty years. CBD-rich strains are finally becoming commonplace. We owe this directly to diligent breeders and their manipulation of strains with CBD-dominant phenotypes.
Home growers need not concern themselves with crossing CBD strains or taking cuttings from CBD-rich mother plants. Instead, seed banks offer an abundance of choice. For example, the range of CBD strains at RQS includes Solomatic CBD, Purplematic CBD and Joanne’s CBD, a strain rich in CBD and containing virtually no THC.
However, as we will see, developing CBD-dominant strains is not as easy as it sounds. With hemp, it always comes down to genetics. It is a plant’s genes that determine how long it will flower, as well as its resistance to disease. In addition, genes influence how many cannabinoids and terpenes plants contain. Find the recommended Readers digest CBD sleep oil in this link.
The Importance of Genetics
In the early stages of a plant’s development, the ratio of cannabinoids is determined by the biosynthesis of the cannabinoid precursor CBGA with a selection of enzymes. However, it cannot bind to all three. What CBGA binds to determines whether a strain is CBD- or THC-dominant (or a mix).
However, as we emphasized, the nature of CBD plants is largely determined by genes. Once nature has done its hard work, it is possible to cross similar CBD strains or clone a mother plant to further refine the concentration of CBD.
Over the years, breeders have worked hard to perfect the above process and obtain strains with the right phenotypes. Of course, there are still a lot of experiments being conducted, but the number of CBD-dominant hemp strains has already grown tremendously. Furthermore, thanks to manipulation of various CBD-rich phenotypes, breeders can adjust the ratio of cannabinoids. We’ll go into this in more detail later.
But getting hold of CBD is only part of the story. To understand why this cannabinoid deserves our attention, we also need to know how it interacts with the human body.
All cannabinoids interact uniquely with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). This vast network of receptors is present in all of us and responsible for maintaining balance. When our biological systems are in balance, the body is better able to cope with diseases, disorders and the challenges of contemporary life.
To activate the ECS, cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located on cells throughout the body.
These receptors function as gatekeepers, proteins embedded in cells that send chemical signals and tell cells what to do and when. However, they do not act on their own accord. The action that CB receptors take depends on their location in the body and the interacting cannabinoid.