Cannabis’ “Power Couple”
At the present time, we know the most about the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are sometimes called “the power couple” of cannabis. Among cannabis’ many cannabinoids-there are more than 100- THC produces the well-known psychoactive effects of cannabis and is equally responsible for the majority of other pharmacological impacts, acting on both CB1 and CB2 receptors.6 Activating the CB1 receptors in the brain induces a sensation of “being high,” which is often described as a feeling of intoxication, relaxation, giddiness, introspective dreaminess, sleepiness, and time distortion.6 Activating CB2 receptors is known to relieve inflammation and allergic reactions.6
CBD is non-euphoric and does not appear to bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors.4 Cannabidiol shows great promise in treating many conditions, most notably seizure control in pediatric epilepsy patients. In addition, CBD offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, antipsychotic and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Effective use of medical cannabis often requires finding a balance between the “power couple’s” desired therapeutic effects and mitigating unwanted psychoactive effects. The extensive therapeutic action of THC is a very important component and should not be discounted.