Is CBD Psychoactive? No – Here’s Why
Weed. Cannabis. Hemp. Marijuana. Whatever you call it, we’re all talking about the same plant family. But what’s inside is the confusing part. Does CBD get you high? Why is THC psychoactive but CBD isn’t?
As more people begin to openly talk about their cannabis use, you might be wondering if CBD is psychoactive like THC. After all, if you’re smoking ganja, it’s because you want to get stoned, right?
Why do people think CBD is psychoactive?
Misconceptions about THC vs. CBD come from mainstream sources of entertainment, such as movies or commercials. There’s a long tradition of stereotyping cannabis users as lazy, unproductive, washed-out stoners. The fact that marijuana had been listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA for so long doesn’t help matters either.
The United States has a sobering history of anti-cannabis legislation. President Nixon’s notorious War on Drugs comes to mind as one of the most significant actions backed by the American government to curb marijuana use. And that happened in the 1970s.
Fast forward forty years later, and we’re still working to sort out the confusion.
Is CBD psychoactive?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, doesn’t have the same effect as THC. Why? The answer is simpler than you’d think: pure CBD isn’t psychoactive because it doesn’t contain THC!
Understanding the difference comes down to basic plant chemistry. The Cannabis sativa plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, although you hear about CBD and THC so often since they account for two of the most prevalent ingredients in cannabis.
CBD isn’t as intense as THC due to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). To put two and two together: your body already contains naturally occurring cannabinoids! And using CBD boosts ECS functioning and helps you relax.
Your ECS works around the clock to ensure homeostasis in the body, otherwise known as internal balance. When you take CBD, receptors in the ECS trigger a therapeutic response, usually related to pain and anxiety.
The difference between CBD and THC
Explaining the different effects of CBD and THC circles back to the ECS. Rather than get lost in the acronyms, seeing the ECS in action is easier with an analogy.
Think about it like this: your ECS operates like a well-functioning, elaborate display of holiday lights in your central nervous and immune system. We’re talking hundreds of strings, hundreds of ECS pathways responsible for processes like sleep, pain response, appetite, mood, and more.
When you use cannabis, the ECS “lights up” or “fades” depending on the effect of CBD or THC.
THC “illuminates” the brain’s CB1 receptor, causing the euphoric sense of being high. CBD, on the other hand, “dims” both CB1 and CB2 receptors, which could explain why CBD doesn’t get you high, but has a therapeutic effect on the body.
Possible health effects of CBD
The specific details on how CBD works are still blurry, at least for now, until researchers conduct more in-depth clinical trials with humans. We do know that CBD treats epilepsy and seizures. But the bulk of the current findings remains speculative.
Here are the possible, non-psychoactive health effects of CBD:
- Relieves pain
A 2020 survey reported that people use CBD for chronic pain more than any other health condition. This proves that people who use CBD aren’t just looking to get high; they’re interested in cannabis for medicine!
Early findings point to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative abilities of CBD. You might benefit from a CBD roll-on if you experience annoying, persistent flare-ups. These tend to have a more localized effect on pain than CBD tinctures if you’re looking for quick relief.
- Lowers anxiety
Anxiety is another popular reason people are turning to CBD oil. Initial research suggests that CBD is good for panic attacks, PTSD, and OCD— to name a few anxiety-related disorders.
You might feel calm and uplifted after using CBD, in contrast to the paranoia some people experience with THC. In terms of form, taking a CBD daily supplement, such as NYOS, works quicker than CBD oil thanks to the faster rate of absorption in softgels.
- Restores sleep
Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the body’s endocannabinoid system, but sometimes the ECS tuckers out on us when it’s off-kilter. Supplementing with CBD may help increase sleep duration, which could benefit anxious night owls or insomniacs.
CBD side effects
Compared to other medications used to treat pain, anxiety, and insomnia, researchers believe CBD has a better side effect profile. But researchers mention the need for more trials over longer periods of time to understand why.
The physical side effects of CBD could be due to its effect on the ECS:
- Dry mouth
Is CBD legal?
Hemp-derived CBD has been federally legal since 2014. Individual states, however, ultimately decide how to control the sale and distribution of CBD.
Hemp refers to CBD with less than .03% THC, in case you’re wondering about the difference between hemp and marijuana. Remember, hemp is CBD-dominant, while marijuana is all about THC.
Are all cannabinoids psychoactive?
Nope, only THC is psychoactive. CBD and similar cannabinoids like CBN and CBD are all non-psychoactive and won’t make you high.
Does CBD do anything?
Yes! Among other things, CBD alleviates pain, lower anxiety, and prolong sleep. Research continues to pour in about the health benefits of CBD.
Are there CBD side effects?
Few. Side effects like dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, and weight change are associated with the use of CBD.
Is CBD addictive?
CBD isn’t addictive and won’t lead to dependence. No need to worry about getting hooked.
To sum it up
The bottom line is that CBD isn’t non-psychoactive like THC. Lumping these cannabinoids together leads to confusion about the versatile, medicinal properties of cannabis. Future research will— fingers crossed— lead to greater public knowledge and acceptance of CBD, in its own right.