A new study finds that the more cannabidiol (CBD) present in a cannabis strain, the less mental impairment this strain will produce on users.
Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, this study is one of the first to use fMRI technology to get a glimpse of how the brain functions while under the influence of cannabis. The research monitored the brain activity of 17 participants who used different strains of cannabis and compared them to each other. The two strains the study used had equal amounts of THC but differed with their amount of CBD content; one had high amounts while the other had very little of it.
Researchers learned that the strain with low CBD content impaired functional connectivity in the brain, while the strain with high CBD showed none of these impairments. Participants who consumed the low CBD strain also reported feeling more high than participants who consumed the high CBD strain, implying that CBD blocks some of THC’s effects.
“Over the last two decades, rates of addiction and psychosis linked to cannabis have been on the rise, while at the same time stronger strains of cannabis with more THC and less CBD have become increasingly common. We have now found that CBD appears to buffer the user against some of the acute effects of THC on the brain,” says Dr. Matt Wall, lead author of the study.
Studies like this are very useful in determining the properties of CBD and learning more about its interaction with THC. While researchers know that THC is the more psychoactive compound and that CBD is the more therapeutic, it’s beneficial to have a bigger understanding of the relationship between the two and how they can impact and improve people’s lives.