SENTIA vs CBD
If you’re familiar with Sentia and the rest of the ever multiplying options in the functional drinks cabinet, you’re probably also clued into one ingredient that stands out amongst the pack: CBD, or, in psychopharmacological slang, cannabidiol. (If you’re not, we’ll get you up to speed here)
Cannabidiol is the quieter, less assuming partner in the cannabinoid double act THC & CBD. If THC, otherwise known as Tetrahydrocannabinol is Penn, then CBD is Teller.
Insane in the Membrain
In simple terms, THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis. When you get high on cannabis it’s because THC is increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, thereby increasing the blood-flow to your brain—it’s called a head rush for a reason. THC is also moderating the effects of other neurotransmitters in your brain and disrupting what is known as your Salience Network. In simple terms, this is a collection of regions of the brain working together to control sensory, emotional and cognitive information, filtering out relevant—or salient—information and disregarding what your brain deems to be irrelevant. This is why THC can cause deep introspection, a greater sense of time and space, and in the less pleasurable end of the scale, paranoia. THC is changing the way you process and prioritise information, taking your brain on the road less travelled.
CBD on the other hand is keeping THC in check. It works on neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain—and, we now know, all over your body—to reduce anxiety. CBD does this by moderating the release of Glutamate in your brain. Glutamate, you’ll know if you’ve been following Sentia Club for a while, is the neurotransmitter that keeps you awake; it excites the brain and allows you to lay down memories, but too much of it causes anxiety and at the extreme level, seizures. (This is one of the reasons that Cannabis and its extracts are used to treat epilepsy.)
CBD, Meet GABA
Ordinarily your Glutamate levels are moderated by our old friend GABA (you can find out more about GABA and Glutamate here), but CBD can also reduce your Glutamate release and chill you out. In this way, CBD is the only ingredient on the market at the moment that is playing something of the same game inside your brain as the ingredients in Sentia.
In a similar way to how Sentia allows your brain to release GABA and then moderate Glutamate to calm you down and make you more open to sociability, CBD causes your brain to release endocannabinoids, a neurotransmitter, that, like GABA isn’t ingested in the way that alcohol is, rather the ingesting of CBD, like the ingesting of the GABA enhancers in Sentia, causes your brain to create its own endocannabinoids, it is these DIY neurotransmitters that moderate your anxiety.
So in theory and in practice, CBD is an active ingredient in the same way that the ingredients of Sentia are. Sentia and drinks containing CBD can be understood as true functionals.
Pump up the Volume
But there’s a but, and Sir Mixalot would be a fan.
The trouble with slapping the functional label on a can of drink containing CBD is all down to quantities. Studies have proven the effects of CBD in treating epilepsy and reducing anxiety. Studies have also shown that CBD is moderating Glutamate release and even enhancing the effects of GABA.
But there is a problem for drinks claiming to repeat these effects out of the bottle or can. The dosing of CBD in these studies is far higher than anything you’re likely to find in a remotely palatable drink containing CBD. A quick review of the market for CBD drinks indicates that we’re talking about a dose of between 4 to 20mg of CBD per can or bottle. To produce verifiable effects on anxiety in patients and results that show up in a brain scanner, the doses need to be 600mg and above.
To put it in perspective, that would mean drinking 30 to 150 cans of your favourite CBD drink in one sitting, or alternatively pouring a good 15 to 20 millilitres of CBD oil into your favourite tipple—which wouldn't taste so great.
We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when
To really get the most out of cannabis at palatable levels you need a combination of THC and CBD (and the over 700 other cannabinoids that exist in your average cannabis bud). For sure, one day, when the powers that be have realised how wrong-headed making cannabis illegal is (or right now if you’re lucky enough to live in Amsterdam, Colorado or California), CBD and its wingman THC will be a viable alternative to alcohol for most of us, but right now we’re still in the proverbial dark ages when it comes to both the law, and even the science of Cannabis.
While you wait…
GABA Labs have accumulated decades of research and expertise into the study of GABA and its effects on the brain. In a few decades’ time there will no doubt be a gang of experts who’ve done the same for endocannabinoids, we’re just not there yet.
But Sentia is.