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Unlike THC, CBD does not interact directly with the two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). This is why CBD does not cause any psychoactive effect. Instead, CBD inhibits the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, leading to an increase in your body’s naturally-produced cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids comprise a group of related component chemicals found uniquely in cannabis. Although well over 100 distinct cannabinoids have been identified, the most prevalent, most studied and most bioactive are: THC (Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene) and CBN (cannabinol). See below:
CBD (cannabidiol): CBD is the second most common phytogenic cannibinoid, making up to 40% of the plant’s profile and is only very mildly psychoactive (reduces anxiety). It has been proven effective as a treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including chronic pain and depression.
There are several ways to deliver CBD to the body depending on the condition being treated – as well as personal preference. Methods differ in bioavailability of the respective cannabinoids. Your doctor will lay out a plan and method(s) based on your medical needs. These methods include:
Smoking / vaping (inhalation): Smoking provides the quickest relief and almost immediate cannabinioid bioavailability (peak at ten minutes). While roughly 30% of the cannabinoids are absorbed by the body, this can be increased to up to 45% bioavailability when using a vaporizer.
in an oil or fat (ingestion): Cannabinoids are highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) and many preparations can be made when they are dissolved in fats. Bioabsorption, however, is low (only about 5%) and the process is longer (40-90 minutes) as the cannabinoids have to pass through the GI tract and be processed in the liver.
as a tincture (mucosal absorption): Cannabinoids that are absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth (buccal mucosal application) have bioavailabilities of around 13% and a faster absorption than ingestion as they bypass the liver.
as a cream, lotion or ointment (topically applied): Bioavailability varies greatly depending on the concentration and makeup of the cream. Topical remedies are preferred when the condition presents on or close to the skin, as the application works directly (and almost exclusively) on the target area.