As marijuana legalization sweeps across the nation, health-conscious consumers are growing more aware of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound called cannabidiol (CBD). CBD products like cannabis flower, oils, edibles, and topicals are now widely available online and in brick and mortar health food locations. Part of the reason that CBD has gained acceptance and popularity is due to its ease-of-use, therapeutic effects, and a completely high-free experience.
CBD & THC
CBD is just one of over 100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another popular compound known for its intoxicating effects on a person’s memory, attention, motor skills, and decision-making. THC works by activating cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors found most densely in the brain as well as the spine, liver, lungs, and kidney. THC also activates the brain’s reward circuits producing euphoria and pleasure.
CBD Is Psychoactive
Oftentimes, CBD brands will state that their product is non-psychoactive, but that can be misleading. Psychoactive is a term that is used to describe substances that affect the mind, specifically, a person’s central nervous system. After THC, CBD is the second most abundant compound in cannabis plants. While CBD doesn’t produce the same intoxicating effects that THC does, it can affect a person’s mental state due to its anti-anxiety and anti-seizure effects.
CBD Works With THC
Unlike THC that activates the CB1 receptor, CBD actually can inhibit THC activation of these receptors. A study in 2015 found that CBD acted as a “negative allosteric modulator” by occupying a binding site on CB1 receptors. CBD changes the shape of the receptor, thereby, altering the effects of THC. That’s why users that consume products with THC and high levels of CBD can feel less paranoid and more relaxed and clear-headed. New research is uncovering how other cannabinoids can also enhance, limit, or affect the effects of THC.
So, What Does CBD Oil Do?
For users that don’t want to mix THC and CBD, there are many CBD-rich products out there ranging from edibles to oils to transdermal patches. Most of these products are made using CBD oil extracted from marijuana or hemp (a cannabis cultivar). Hemp-derived CBD can contain below 0.3% THC, which is not enough to produce effects, even when taken in excessive amounts (although that’s not recommended).
When ingested orally, the effects of the CBD oil can take an hour or two kick in. All edibles are digested by acids and enzymes in the stomach that break down the edible into its individual compounds. CBD is absorbed in the stomach lining and taken to the liver where its biotransformed into a metabolite. Oral ingestion can produce long-lasting effects, while sublingual tincture delivery has a faster onset and shorter-lasting effects. Mentally, CBD can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and reduce pain sensitivity.
Everyone’s body is different, which is why different CBD oils can affect everyone differently. Regardless of body chemistry, most CBD oils will not get a user high, not even a little bit. Certain marijuana-derived CBD oils, however, can contain THC levels higher than 0.3%. Users can stick with lab-tested hemp-derived CBD oils to avoid the high and enjoy the beneficial effects associated with cannabis.