Despite its recent meteoric success, there are still a lot of questions surrounding CBD – the most talked-about cannabinoid in the last few years. People who would truly benefit from vaping CBD oil – those struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, and a score of other illnesses and symptoms – are hesitant to try it because they equate it with “doing weed”. Marijuana is still taboo in most cultures but does CBD truly deserve to be put in the same basket? Some of the most common questions we hear at CalmVape all revolve around the same theme – is CBD psychoactive? The short answer is that it is, but not in the way that most people think. There’s no such thing as a CBD high, at least, not a high that’s similar to the one that you get when lighting a doobie. If you’re curious (and still a bit cautious) about CBD, continue reading to learn what kind of a high it really delivers.
Before we get into the details, let’s start with the big picture. Cannabis is a parent plant with dozens of different plant genetics going under the same name. Hemp – which is what most medicinal CBD is made from – is a cannabis variant that’s been known and used for thousands of years. Every cannabis strain, including hemp, contains dozens upon dozens of cannabinoids – biochemically active compounds that have an effect on the human endocannabinoid system. However, just a handful of these cannabinoids have a psychoactive effect, and none more potent than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Psychoactive means that it alters our consciousness, making us feel high, euphoric, happy, disoriented, or something else, depending on the potency and the dosage.
The hemp plant is a variant of cannabis that has very little THC in it – that’s just its genetics. Most help variants have less than 0.3% of THC, and CBD vape oils that are made from them are further processed to remove that THC (as is the case with the CalmVape CBD oil). All you’re left with is CBD with maybe minute traces of THC, as it is quite difficult to get rid of it 100%. However, that amount is negligible indeed, and usually can’t even be detected, even with very sophisticated tests.
And, although both THC and CBD are very similar in the molecular sense (as can be seen in the image above), the slight differences between them (that extra hydroxyl group that the CBD molecule has) makes all the difference in the world when it comes to CBD’s psychoactive effects.
It’s The THC That Will Make You High
Scientists have been studying the effects of THC and CBD since 1980ies very intensely, although we’re just getting to hear about that now. In these last 30 something years, they’ve collected a body of knowledge on the effects of cannabinoids on the human brain.
First and foremost, we now know that all cannabinoids affect us because they interact with our own internal endocannabinoid system. That system is a loose web of different receptors that are all over our body, including our skin, internal organs, lymphatic system, and the brain. Cannabinoids can affect those receptors, which, in turn, can send different signals and trigger different responses in various systems in our bodies, such as triggering increased insulin production, or a flood of specific neurotransmitters to the brain.
One of the more interesting receptors in the bunch is called CB1, and it’s the one that’s responsible for what you might call a “high” when properly triggered. The CB1 receptor can be affected by different cannabinoids to signal different things to the brain. The only time when it’s responsible for a classic, mind-altering high is when it’s triggered by THC. Imagine the CB1 receptor as having a very specific lock that needs to be unlocked order for it to produce a euphoric event – the only key to that lock is the THC molecular structure. No other cannabinoid has the exact same structure that can do that. And, that is why THC is the only one that is to blame for the mind-altering “highs” most people associate with doing weed.
CBD Produces A High – But It’s Not Mind-Altering
On the other hand, CBD is a differently shaped molecule, albeit just slightly. Still, those few tweaks in the molecular composition and shape mean that CBD does not fit the lock on the CB1 receptor, and it can’t trigger the same psychoactive effect that THC triggers.
More recent research into CBD has shown that it’s a negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptor. This means that it binds with it but in a completely different way than THC. The effect of CBD on the CB1 receptor is similar to the dimmer switch that you will find on a light – it triggers some other effects, and it also dampens the total effect of THC. Some studies have shown that CBD, as a negative allosteric modulator of CB1, is particularly useful for conditions that are characterized by endocannabinoid overactivity, such as metabolic disorders, liver disease, or obesity. On the other hand, THC is more useful for conditions that are related to endocannabinoid deficiency – anorexia, PTSD, and migraines are just a few that come to mind.
Scientists are also learning about the effects of CBD on other endocannabinoid receptors. The most interesting one seems to be CB2, to which CBD binds more freely. CB2 receptor is mostly found in peripheral organs and skin, as well as in the lymphatic system. There’s no definitive confirmation yet, but this indicates that CBD might have a bigger effect on the immune system than it was previously thought. Also, according to studies, CBD activates adenosine receptors, which responsible for regulating cardiovascular functions, coronary blood flow, and myocardial oxygen consumption. The adenosine receptors also regulate both the dopamine and glutamate levels in the brain.
So, the question: “Is CBD Psychoactive?” is obviously the wrong question to ask. We should ask “How psychoactive CBD is?” And, the answer is – in a very different way from THC.
Is There Such A Thing As A CBD High?
Although it’s often repeated that CBD won’t get you high – that is, that CBD is not psychoactive – that’s not entirely true. From what you’ve learned here, it’s pretty obvious that CBD has antipsychotic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic effects. This means that it can relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all, more or less, states of mind. In that sense, CBD is psychoactive.
CBD is not a mind-altering substance but it is a mood-altering substance. Its psychoactivity is not in any way, shape or form similar to that of – don’t expect euphoria or something similar when taking CBD. What you can expect is a relief of symptoms that affect your mood and your general state of mind.
On that note, a CBD high is nothing to be afraid of. It’s not going to impair your judgment or make you act like a fool. However, it can be extremely beneficial for certain mental conditions that cannot be effectively treated by conventional medicine. Researchers are looking into the many applications of CBD in that particular field, and are discovering new and exciting things on a daily basis.
If you want to explore the healing benefits of vaping CBD yourself, make sure to give the CalmVape a try. We’re here to answer any and all questions that you might have about CBD treatments so don’t hesitate to contact us!