The human body contains a specialised system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is an important signalling pathway that regulates stress, inflammation, anxiety, and depression. While THC and CBD have the same molecular structure, slight differences in the arrangement of their atoms impart very different effects on the ECS.
THC is known for producing psychoactive effects in the body through the activation of two receptors in the central nervous system called CB1 and CB2. The activation of these receptors triggers physiological processes across multiple organ systems, most notably the release of neurotransmitters from the central nervous system that impart the psychoactive effects associated with feeling “high”.
CBD binds to CB1 and CB2 at a much slower rate than THC, which results in the activation of similar physiological processes without the psychoactive or “high” effects. These physiologic effects make CBD promising for clinical benefits.