By Justyna Kulpa, PhD, and Robert Menardi, DVM
While cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both phytocannabinoids derived from cannabis plants, differences in their chemical structures allow each to interact with unique receptors, resulting in distinct molecular targets and physiological effects. Namely, THC shows high affinity toward CB1 receptors, which are present in central and peripheral neurons, resulting in the euphoric effect commonly attributed to cannabis intoxication. In contrast, CBD does not bind CB1 at relevant concentrations and is nonintoxicating. Instead, CBD interacts, to various degrees, with other receptors (agonism at TRPV1 and 5-HT1A, antagonism at TNFα, GPR55, and GPR18), which may be relevant for its suggested therapeutic effects.
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