As the awareness and sale of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the UK increases and becomes more ubiquitous, so too does the confusion around what it is and what it actually does. In this article, we will shine a spotlight on what CBD is and attempt to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that surround this molecule.
The question of whether CBD will get you high or not is one that just won’t seem to go away and it is easy to see why there is such confusion when looking at the incredibly inconsistent way in which the mainstream media has been reporting on Cannabis.
The UK media still predominantly publishes prohibitionists propaganda that is to say they’re intentionally negative, scaremongering, reefer madness style articles.
This draconian attitude has unfortunately spilled over into the way the British media reports on CBD stories too. Often deliberately spreading misinformation and antiquated ideology while reporting as little fact and scientific evidence as possible.
So what is CBD and how is it different from THC?
Although the two are both Cannabinoids, they act differently and produce different effects in the brain and body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many naturally occurring compounds found in Cannabis known as Cannabinoids. There are over 100 different Cannabinoids currently known to science including but not limited to CBG, CBDA, CBN, CBC, THCA, THCV, THC.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is currently one of the illegal Cannabinoids in the UK and most of Europe as it is the Cannabinoid responsible for the “stoned” sensation, the quasi-euphoric “high” traditionally associated with the consumption of Cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand, isn’t psychoactive in the same way so it doesn’t produce the same psychological effects and subsequently hasn’t been banned.
So Does CBD Oil Get You High?
To answer this question we must first ascertain what is meant by getting high.
After all, getting high isn’t like getting drunk. Being intoxicated by Alcohol (Drunk) leads to fairly consistent results in most of its users, the impairment of physical and mental faculties increasing with the consumption of more Alcohol.
Where as “getting high” from consuming cannabis will vary depending on the consumer’s mood, the specific strains genetic make-up, the consumer’s tolerance, ingestion method and other factors.
Generally, the high from cannabis consists of a temporary alteration in your conscious perception of the world. A sense of Euphoria, a deep feeling of well being and of relaxation, increased Appetite, Libido, Creativity, Metacognition, Sensual awareness, Introspection and abstract philosophical thinking.
A small minority of consumers can also experience temporary negative effects such as paranoia, dysphoria, anxiety and a temporary disruption of linear memory.
Interestingly, however, we are discovering that CBD can be utilised to help negate or reduce the psychological effects of THC.
CBD seems to work, at least in part by blocking THC from bonding with the CB1 receptors in the brain and prevents the cannabinoid from bonding with the receptor. It also affects a liver enzyme that stops the metabolism of THC.
This results in less THC bonding with the receptors as the CBD molecules are a different shape to THC.
It is this mechanism among with the neutralising of liver enzyme Cytochrome P450 which leads researchers to suggest that CBD could be used to help titrate the psychotropic effects of THC and even potentially be utilised in the production of new novel anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications.
This isn’t to say this is an either-or choice here. Its all about synergy to ensure the maximise potential benefits from consuming cannabinoids.
CBD and THC work best together with natural Terpenes, the other Cannabinoids and the sum 400+ minor trace chemical constituents in what is known as the Entourage effect.
CBD isn’t psychoactive like THC, however, it is not exactly correct to declare it non-psychoactive either. CBD is a pleiotropic drug that interacts with over 60 neurological molecular pathways, so it would be fair to say that CBD just isn’t psychoactive in the same way as THC.
This classification allows CBD to be legally sold as a food supplement in the UK, as the products its contained in and a plants its extracted from have less than 0.2% THC in them (The current UK legal limit).
So the short answer is, no it doesn’t get you high. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any benefits to consuming this legal cannabinoid.
What does CBD do to the human body?
CBD and other cannabinoids interact in the body with a system that is known as the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). The Endocannabinoid system is the largest known receptor system in the body.
We actually produce our own endogenous cannabinoids called endocannabinoids.
These are responsible for regulating everything from Fertility to Mood, Appetite to Memory. We are discovering more every day about the ECS and how it functions as research restrictions in countries like Israel are lifted.
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t give you what is known as “couch lock” or the heady “stoned” feeling. CBD is generally described by consumers as having more of a “body high” inducing relaxing and anxiolytic effects.
It’s worth noting that different preparations are taken in different ways which will result in varied effects. Vaping or smoking CBD rich flowers or extracts will not be the same sensation as eating it or taking it sub-lingually. This is because the different means of ingestion breakdown at varied rates and in different parts of the body.
The preparations in which CBD is available in keeps growing as the industry grows. You can currently consume CBD as a balm, Cream, Vape juice, Raw flower, Wax, Crumble and shatter extracts, it can be eaten or even taken as a suppository.
CBD can be thought of as a nutritional supplement the ingestion of which promotes homeostasis by feeding your ECS.
When ingesting cannabinoids you are not only supplementing your Endocannabinoid system, you’re also triggering multiple neurological pathways and processes, of which the potential positive functionalities we are only just starting to discover.
There has been a great deal of research done into CBD in the past few decades.
All the conditions listed below and their corresponding clinical studies have indicated that CBD could potentially provide new novel therapies and treatments for those condition
- Quitting Tobacco
- Novel anti-inflammatory drugs
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Intractable pediatric Epilepsy
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
So how is it that Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids seem to be able to treat so many conditions?
It’s not because they’re some sort of cure-all, panacea or miracle drug. It is all down to the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) and utilising certain exogenous Cannabinoids to help supplement our own deficient endogenous ones.
Where does CBD come from?
CBD is produced in the Trichomes on the buds, leaves, and stalks of Cannabis plants.
It can be extracted in a number of ways using C02, Ethanol, Alcohol or Butane.
It can be extracted using one of these solvents from Hemp plants (a subspecies of cannabis bred specifically with less than 0.2% THC) It can also be extracted from Cannabis that has had its THC levels intentionally bred down and its CBD content increased or it can be produced from CBD isolate which is then added to Hemp seed oil or another carrier such as olive oil.
The former and latter of these methods aren’t as effective as extracting it from whole plant Cannabis. This is because of the entourage effect.
Without the other 400+ vitally important chemical components such as terpenes, Flavonoids and the trace amounts of other cannabinoids the other final oils are simply inferior to its FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil) brethren.
CBD is thought to of originated in Indica dominant strains, however, through many generations of both the natural evolution and selective breeding practices it can now be found, at least in trace amounts, in almost all hybrids and new generation Sativa strains across the planet.
What are the side effects of CBD?
There have been very few side effects observed from the consumption of Cannabidiol (CBD) in clinical trials, however, this isn’t to say that CBD doesn’t have any unwanted side effects whatsoever.
- Sufferers of Glaucoma should not consume CBD as it has been shown to exacerbate the ocular pressure associated with this condition. Instead patients should stick to THC based medications.
- CBD oil products that are extracted from the whole plant which still has trace amounts of other Cannabinoids, can when consumed in excess increases the sedative and psychoactive properties of those Cannabinoids and can leave some consumers groggy or even feeling a little high.
- CBD can affect sleep cycles as well. In high doses it can induce drowsiness, however, it has also been shown in clinical research to be a wake-inducing agent at a moderate dose.
- As with its illegal cousin THC, CBD can cause dry mouth. This is because Cannabinoids activate CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the Submandibular glands which are responsible for the activation of these receptors and can alter the saliva production process and can lead to what is in cannabis parlance termed “cotton mouth”.
- CBD, especially in high doses can affect blood pressure. It has been observed to lower blood pressure within minutes of it entering your system. This can result in a temporary light-headed feeling when standing quickly.
- CBD can also inhibit hepatic drug metabolism. It can inhibit the liver enzyme Cytochrome P450 which is responsible for breaking down most pharmaceutical drugs. CBD actually temporarily neutralises the enzyme. This could be viewed as a side effect but also a benefit for some as it seems to be one of the mechanisms which stop the metabolism of THC.
Is CBD Oil Right For You?
Given that you, as with all other humans and vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system that is currently being under supplemented as a by-product of Cannabis prohibition, we’d vouch for it.
Don’t forget that CBD along with Cannabis generally is non-toxic and non-addictive. Consuming CBD won’t impair your driving, cognition or negatively impact on your daily life and routine.
The absence of Cannabinoids from the human food chain and diet as a result of prohibition is now being theorised to be a major cause of a number of the alignments and illnesses that afflict us.
This theory is known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD).
The theory suggests that some illnesses may actually be caused by a deficiency in the Endocannabinoid system ECS. This would explain how Cannabinoids have been found to be useful in the relieving of symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Migraines.
The current global legal status of Cannabis makes further research and study into these underlying deficiencies and how Cannabinoids can be utilised medicinally rather difficult.
In conclusion, CBD doesn’t get you high like its illegal cousin THC does, but that is not to say CBD doesn’t have a great deal of therapeutic potential in and of itself.
It also has masses of potential to help in creating new novel drugs to treat a multitude of different chronic conditions and illnesses.
Remember Cannabis and its derived Cannabinoids are among the safest compounds on Earth, it’s incapable of causing an overdose as it doesn’t switch off the respiratory system, unlike currently legal opioids which are currently responsible for more deaths in the UK than all illegal drugs combined.
So should you choose to try CBD for yourself, start small and work your way up until you find a dose that works for you.