You’ve probably heard of THC. This is considered by most to be the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, causing you to enjoy all those good feelings that come during use. But the truth is that THC isn’t quite the whole picture. Increasing studies are showing the effects of CBD and the major role it also plays in marijuana products.
Some states have even loosened up usage laws around products that are dominant in CBD (as opposed to THC) because of the non-psychoactive physical effects. As CBD continues to become more prominent, it’s important to understand just what it is and what it does to the human body.
Let this be your guide to CBD and understanding how it affects you:
CBD is a Cannabinoid
Like its sibling Tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC”, Cannabidiol or “CBD” is what’s known as a “cannabinoid.” Both cannabinoids make up the two main chemical ingredients (the two most prominent out of the some 113 cannabinoids) in marijuana and help produce the “high” effects of consumption. Unlike THC, however, CBD is known for its lack of psychoactive effects. Some research has even indicated that it may have an adverse effect on the action of THC, helping to reduce sedation and intoxication or balance them out.
With growing acceptance of cannabis for medical and recreational use across North America, CBD now comes in a variety of forms. Oils and infused-edible forms have become very popular, and some states (like Oregon) even permit the sale of CBD-only products in some stores that are not licensed dispensaries.
What Exactly Does CBD Do to the Body?
There is still much we can learn about CBD and how it works within our bodies, but we do know that it blocks certain pain receptors in the brain. Depending how it is consumed, CBD is absorbed into the blood stream either through the mucus membranes in our mouth, air passageways or digestive tract, and from there it can make its way to the brain. Once there, it binds with our brain receptors and the physical effects can take hold.
While not psychoactive, CBD does prompt the release of serotonin (the brain’s “calm and happiness” chemical). The cannabinoid has even been shown to bind to other neural receptors that may, over time, work to fight certain illnesses like cancer. Which brings us to our next section:
CBD Comes with Health Benefits
People choose marijuana products that are high in CBD for a variety of reasons. For one, the lack of psychoactive effects have been shown to result in more of a physical ‘high’ rather than a mental one. This means more of a relaxed overall sensation, with a lower susceptibility to pain. Many people who use CBD-only products describe it as a way to feel good sensations throughout the body without their thinking or motor skills being affected. It also has dizziness- and nausea-reducing effects, making it a popular choice of treatment for chemo patients and the chronically ill.
And as if that weren’t reason enough to like CBD, a study from the University of Washington conducted in 2017 showed significant positive effects on mental health disorders. In particular, the cannabinoid improves symptoms of anxiety, even in tiny doses. And while THC was shown to have some negative effects in very large doses, CBD stayed positive throughout and did not appear to have adverse effects.
More research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of CBD, but there is already positive evidence that shows it may help treat various cognitive disorders, movement and motor function disorders, pain, and other detrimental health issues.