In the on-going debates that still rage around the world over CBD, THC, cannabis, its legal status, medicinal potential and health benefits, there seems to be only one factor that all sources agree on, and that is the fact that CBD does counter the THC high in cannabis. Both the pro and anti-camps in the cannabis struggle seem to accept the presence of a balancing act function between the two compounds.
CBD Cannabidiols and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most active of more than one hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high”. The two appear to see-saw: If the content of one is high, the other is low, and which cannabinoid has the highest concentration depends on what the plant is grown to produce.
The manipulation of cannabis plants for different uses is nothing new – Some believe cannabis growers have over centuries manipulated the cannabis plant from the same original species to encourage certain results. According to the particular result cultivators wanted, farming methods and approaches were developed to meet the required outcome. As the offshoot varieties from the original cannabis sativa species continued to be developed, the CBD and THC balance varied too.
Meeting the needs
The prime example is industrial hemp that has been refined over centuries into a plant even more suitable for the purpose of hemp foods and hemp fibre production, but not for recreational use. It is planted and cultivated differently to recreational cannabis (marijuana), also a cannabis plant. The THC content of the industrial hemp plant is minimal (and has to be by law) and the CBD is high enough to meet increasing demand from consumers wanting to buy hemp seeds or hemp oils for their nutritional value.
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Chasing the high
When people realised the flower heads of the same cannabis sativa plant could produce a psychoactive “high” when smoked, besides producing fibre, fuel and food, the same cannabis subspecies was developed in a whole new direction. For recreational use, the obvious requirement was for a high THC content – one with low THC and high CBD would be considered a failure as the required high would not be there. Strains were cultivated and categorized accordingly.