Cannabidiol, known as CBD for short, is found in high concentrations in the Cannabis plant. CBD use has exploded in popularity in recent years due to its numerous and powerful therapeutic effects. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the more infamous cannabinoid found in marijuana, CBD doesn’t produce a “high.” As a result, CBD tends to be far less tightly regulated than the whole cannabis plant or extracts that contain THC.
THC produces the “high” that most cannabis users seek. As such, farmers and growers have, over the past few decades, bred strains of marijuana with increasingly high levels of THC. More recently, as the benefits of CBD have become known, some growers have turned to hemp, another strain of the cannabis plant with negligible levels of THC, to make their CBD products. As CBD and THC both come from the same plant, you may be wondering if CBD gives the same “high” as consuming cannabis, or indeed if it has any psychoactive effects at all. Read on to find out more.
Does CBD Get you High?
CBD is often touted as being “non-psychoactive,” but this is categorically untrue. For a substance to be deemed as psychoactive it must affect the user’s mental state or impact the way that they feel. Psychoactive substances often, but not always, have an intoxicating effect.
THC and CBD are both psychoactive substances, in that they alter the way that a person feels, but CBD, unlike THC, is not an intoxicant.
THC has a profound effect on the way that the user feels and their overall mental state. Using THC can result in euphoria, relaxation, changes in thought, and an altering of the perception of space and time. The experiences of music, food, and conversation are often enhanced with THC use, but this compound does sometimes come with unintended side effects.
CBD, on the other hand, has a subtler, sometimes barely noticeable psychotropic effect. In addition to the therapeutic effects of CBD on insomnia, inflammation, and chronic pain, it also has some mood-altering effects and can increase calmness and overall relaxation.
So does CBD get you “high”? Not exactly. Its psychoactive effects, though they occur, are much milder than those of THC.
Drug screening programs tend not to test for CBD, so as long as you are cautious in where you source your CBD products from, you can use them without fear of affecting your work life.
What is CBD’s Mechanism of Action?
Inside every one of us is an incredibly complex and finely tuned system of hormones, endocrines, nerves, and receptors that function together to produce every thought, feeling, and desire you will ever experience.
Different endocrine systems serve various respective functions. One of these, known as the endocannabinoid system, affects a large number of physical operations inside the human body, such as mood, pain, hunger, and more. The endocannabinoid system consists of two receptors, CB1 and CB2, as well as endogenous cannabinoids (produced in our bodies), other neurotransmitters, and specific enzymes.
Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC mimic in part the structure of our endogenous cannabinoids. As such, they bind in different ways to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These exogenous (produced outside the body) cannabinoids cause a variety of effects and modulate some of the physical processes that occur in our bodies.
The stereotypical “munchies” effect is often reported by cannabis users. The “munchies” refers to the state of intense hunger that regularly follows cannabis consumption, and is one example of how these exogenous cannabinoids affect processes within us.
Both THC and CBD are effective analgesics, meaning that they reduce pain. CBD has been shown to have numerous other positive effects as well, which we shall look at in greater detail.
What effects does CBD have on the body?
Fortunately, the endocannabinoid system does not affect any of our vital, life-giving processes. Unlike opiates, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD will never signal your heart or lungs to stop, and therefore it is nearly impossible to overdose. To even approach a lethal dose of THC, you would have to consume a whopping 53 grams of the stuff (pure, which even the most expensive shatter is not), all at the same time – A feat even the most dedicated of stoners would likely find impossible.
CBD has a large number of purported beneficial effects, many of which have been confirmed by scientific studies. CBD has been shown to be effective at treating pain, battling treatment-resistant seizures, alleviating anxiety, and improving sleep.
Is CBD Psychoactive
Often you may hear people claim that CBD isn’t psychoactive, but even a superficial examination shows that this isn’t true. Of the many conditions and disorders that people take CBD for, anxiety and insomnia are two of the most common.
Both insomnia and anxiety are mental experiences. For CBD to be able to treat these two disorders of the mind, it must, by definition, be psychoactive.
Today’s high-THC powered weed strains have, in comparison to their cousin strains that people smoked 30, 40 years ago, a much higher THC to CBD ratio, as well as being higher in overall THC concentration.
Strains of cannabis that have a more even amount of CBD and THC are far less likely to create unwanted side effects in the user, such as paranoia, anxiety, and a racing heart. It appears that both cannabinoids compete for the same receptors and therefore dilute each other’s effect.
What does using CBD feel like?
By far the most commonly reported experience in people who use CBD is a sense of relaxation. Pains can feel lessened, as can mental stresses and anxieties. For other people, the feeling can be as simple as an absence of the negative things that were in their conscious awareness previously.
CBD has a proven anti-inflammatory effect, and this may in part contribute to the pleasant subjective feelings commonly described in people who consume it.
Generally, CBD extracts contain less than 0.3% THC. Contrast this with CBD flower, a type of hemp grown to maximize CBD and minimize THC, that can still contain enough of the more intoxicating compound to produce a notable euphoric high. Users who want to avoid any intoxicating effect should be mindful of the type of CBD product they consume.
How do you take CBD
There are many ways to consume CBD, each with varying levels of bioavailability and speed of absorption. Both vaping and smoking CBD products gets them into the bloodstream and over the blood-brain barrier much faster than other methods, and more of the consumed product ends up being absorbed.
A slightly slower, but still effective and controllable way to take CBD is by letting it pass through the mucosal membranes of the mouth. In practice, this involves dropping CBD tincture under your tongue and holding it there for as long as possible. Sublingual dosing in this way isn’t as quick to act as smoking or vaping, but it is still reasonably swift. Taking CBD orally in capsules or edibles is the method with the slowest onset.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
CBD, being a legal and non-intoxicating substance, is seldom tested for on standard drug tests. However, that doesn’t mean you can ingest every CBD product out there entirely without risk.
There are many different types of CBD products available. Some of these are “isolates,” meaning they contain little to no CBD at all. Other products, sometimes marketed as “full-spectrum,” can contain traces of THC and other cannabinoids that could, in theory, give a positive drug test.
As long as you buy your CBD from a reputable source and check the third-party laboratory tests (which should be clearly displayed on the manufacturer’s website) you shouldn’t run into any issues with drug testing.
The legality of THC and CBD, as well as the severity of penalties if you are found to be using these substances, varies drastically from country to country. To avoid falling foul of the law, make sure you read up properly on the regulations regarding CBD, THC, and cannabis products for your jurisdiction.