Why THC Matters


November 18, 2021

Everybody has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Yours has been functioning literally every second of every day since you were born. In your early life it guided your brain and nervous system development; now it largely acts to regulate your mood, your memory, your immune response, your appetite, your metabolism, your pain perception, and so much more. 

Most of the magic of cannabis can be attributed to a fascinating and unique class of compounds known as phytocannabinoids. Cannabis’ two power hitters are THC and CBD, as they are the most abundant phytocannabinoids made by the plant, and each has their own respective therapeutic properties. The THC and CBD molecules display extremely high similarity to one another in a chemical sense but these two cannabinoids actually work in vastly different ways within our bodies!  

The majority of effects elicited by THC can be attributed to its ability to activate our bodies’ two natural cannabinoid receptors (called CB1 and CB2) and thereby ‘stimulating’ the ECS. You may be surprised to learn that not all cannabinoids are able to interact with cannabinoid receptors. Even though CBD is considered to be particularly pleiotropic (meaning that it’s able to interact with lots of our different receptors and bodily systems), taking CBD does not activate our cannabinoid receptors or ECS. This is the underlying reason that consuming even very large doses of CBD will not cause intoxication in the way that THC does. 

While CBD may be able to influence our body’s ECS signaling in some indirect and subtle ways, if it’s ECS stimulation that your body craves for whatever reason then taking CBD alone probably won’t cut it. Please note that this isn’t to say that you need to get “high” for cannabis to benefit you. It’s a common misconception that ECS stimulation necessarily causes a subjective high…after all, consider that our bodies constantly produce natural cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) which activate our ECS without eliciting any observable high. THC essentially works by mimicking our endocannabinoids to ‘trick’ our bodies into boosting its ECS signaling. Consuming even small, sub-intoxicating quantities of THC will go on to directly engage your cannabinoid receptors, and this can certainly have powerful and readily-noticeable effects. 

Care By Design has always believed that THC and CBD are best when paired together. THC usually works better by having some CBD around and CBD usually works better along with a little THC. This is precisely why Care By Design pioneered the ‘Ratio’ approach to cannabis dosing, going all the way from the 1:1 products (equal parts THC & CBD) to the 40:1’s (40 times more CBD than THC). Everything you will find in Care By Design’s lineup contains THC because we know it’s needed to engage your cannabinoid receptors and tickle your ECS. 

THC matters because it’s one of the very few known ways that we are able to acutely influence our body’s ECS, and it is directly responsible for so many of the beneficial effects of cannabis. We regard THC as the Yin to CBD’s Yang. So CBD is important too, of course, but how it works in our bodies is different and comparatively more nuanced…stay tuned for a follow-up blog on “Why CBD Matters” to learn more.