Will CBD get me high?
The landscape of alternative medicine and recreational substances has undergone a significant shift with the ascent of cannabis-based products. Central to this change are two compounds: CBD and THC. While the names are often used interchangeably in popular culture, they are strikingly different.
So, will CBD induce the famed ‘high’ of cannabis? Let’s embark on a deeper exploration.
Understanding the Origins
Both CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, but from different strains. Hemp plants produce CBD in higher amounts, whereas marijuana is rich in THC.
At a molecular level, CBD and THC have the same chemical formula, with 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. However, the arrangement of these atoms is different, leading to varied interactions with our brain’s receptors.
It's important to note there are three main CBD types.
- Full Spectrum CBD can contain up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad Spectrum CBD is THC-free.
- CBD Isolate is also THC-free.
THC’s Binding Power: THC fits perfectly with the brain’s cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, leading to its psychoactive effects.
CBD’s Modulating Role: CBD, on the other hand, doesn't bond with CB1 receptors as effectively. Instead, it influences other receptors, such as serotonin and vanilloid, which are linked to pain regulation and mood.
Experience: THC vs. CBD
THC is responsible for the euphoric feelings or the ‘high.’ Symptoms can include heightened sensory perception, altered time perception, and increased appetite. On the flip side, overconsumption can lead to anxiety and paranoia.
CBD doesn’t produce these psychoactive effects. Instead, users often report feelings of relaxation, with more clarity than intoxication. It's this non-intoxicating nature of CBD that has led to its surge in popularity as a therapeutic substance.
Therapeutic Potential of CBD
CBD has been explored for a multitude of potential therapeutic benefits:
- Neurological Disorders: The FDA-approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, is used for treating certain types of epilepsy.
- Pain Management: Some studies hint at CBD’s potential in treating chronic pain conditions.
- Mental Health: There’s growing interest in using CBD for disorders like anxiety and depression.
THC, while primarily known for recreational use, has therapeutic applications too, such as pain relief and as an appetite stimulant.
The legality of CBD and THC products varies globally:
United States: Federally, CBD is legal if derived from hemp. Meanwhile, THC remains a Schedule I substance but is legal for recreational use in certain states.
Europe: The European Union has a more permissive stance on CBD, but THC regulations can vary among member nations.
Asia and Africa: Here, laws can be more stringent, with some countries having zero tolerance for any cannabis derivatives.
So, Will CBD Get Me High?
In short, no, CBD will not get you high. The reasons lie in the molecular structures and interactions of CBD and THC with the endocannabinoid system:
While THC binds directly with CB1 receptors, responsible for mood and perception, CBD doesn't. Instead, CBD has a more complex interaction, modulating several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.
CBD is known to dampen the psychoactive effects of THC. In essence, when consumed together, CBD can reduce the intensity of a THC-induced high.
CBD vs. THC: A Comparison
Understanding the differences between CBD and THC is crucial for anyone considering cannabis-based products:
THC is psychoactive; CBD is not. This fundamental difference is what sets the two apart in the context of recreational and therapeutic use.
Both compounds have therapeutic properties. THC is often used for pain relief, appetite stimulation, and glaucoma, among other conditions. CBD, on the other hand, is researched for its potential benefits in anxiety reduction, seizure control, and inflammation reduction.
Globally, laws around CBD and THC vary significantly. In many places, CBD derived from hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC) is legal, while THC-rich products are not.
However, regulations are continually changing, so it’s essential to be updated on local laws.
THC is usually the target of drug tests. However, since some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, there's a slight possibility that heavy CBD consumption could lead to a positive drug test.
Side Effects of CBD and THC.
Both CBD and THC have shown to be relatively safe for human consumption, but like any substance, they can have potential side effects. It's crucial to note that the experience and intensity of these side effects can vary based on individual differences, dosages, and other factors. Here's a detailed breakdown:
CBD is generally well-tolerated and considered safe. However, some people may experience:
- Fatigue: Some individuals report feeling drowsy or fatigued after taking higher doses of CBD.
- Diarrhea: High doses of CBD can result in digestive issues for some.
- Appetite Changes: Some users have reported changes in appetite.
- Weight Changes: Weight gain or loss might be observed, possibly related to the changes in appetite.
- Dry Mouth: This is a common side effect with many cannabinoids.
- Lowered Blood Pressure: High doses of CBD can cause a small drop in blood pressure, leading to lightheadedness in some people.
- Liver Issues: Elevated liver enzymes have been noted in some studies, suggesting potential liver damage in rare cases, especially with chronic use of high doses.
- Drug Interactions: CBD can interact with some medications, including blood thinners. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you're on medications.
Being the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC can induce a range of effects:
- Euphoria and "High": The most well-known effect, leading to altered perceptions and mood.
- Memory Impairments: Short-term memory can be affected while under the influence.
- Dry Mouth and Red Eyes: These are common side effects.
- Increased Heart Rate: Some people might experience tachycardia, which is an increase in heart rate.
- Coordination Problems: THC can impair motor skills and coordination, making activities like driving dangerous.
- Delayed Reaction Times: This, combined with coordination problems, is another reason driving under the influence is risky.
- Anxiety and Paranoia: Especially at high doses or in individuals not accustomed to THC.
- Increased Appetite: Often referred to as the "munchies."
- Dizziness: Some individuals might feel lightheaded or dizzy after consuming THC.
- Potential for Addiction: While marijuana is generally considered to have a lower potential for addiction compared to substances like opioids or alcohol, chronic use can lead to cannabis use disorder.
Like THC, CBD can interact with other medications.
In both cases, the list provided is not exhaustive. If considering the use of CBD, THC, or any cannabis-derived product, always consult with a medical professional to discuss potential risks and benefits.
And always source products from reputable outlets to ensure you're getting what's on the label and nothing more.
CBD and THC, though siblings from the same plant, have carved out distinct identities. CBD's non-intoxicating nature, combined with its potential therapeutic benefits, offers promise in the world of medicine.
THC, with its recreational and therapeutic applications, has its own space. For consumers, understanding these differences is crucial in making informed decisions about cannabis use.