Taking the high road? Is CBD at all psychoactive?

There are a lot of people out there who confuse CBD with THC. That is, when users vape, smoke or eat CBD products, others mistakenly believe they’re simply consuming THC – and getting high; possibly illegally. In an awful lot of cases, this absolutely isn’t so.

The truth of the matter is that cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical derived from the cannabis/ hemp plant, just as is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, it’s truly the latter that’s psychoactive and so gets you ‘high’ (or, if you prefer, intoxicated); not the former.

This is fundamentally why people don’t turn to consumable CBD products (i.e. CBD vape juice and CBD flower) to get recreationally high – but do turn to them, entirely legally, for quite a different reason…

What does CBD do when it’s consumed?

As a cannabinoid, CBD – just as does THC – naturally interacts with specific receptors in the body to generate, to varying degrees, a number of different processes. The receptors we’re talking about here are part of a network in the body’s central and peripheral systems, referred to as the endocannabinoid system. When called into action by cannabinoids, the receptors are tasked with releasing neurotransmitters, such as glutamate and dopamine, thereby affecting the aforementioned processes – these include the likes of pain management, mood, memory, thought and appetite.

In particular, THC is notorious for affecting mood, thought, memory and appetite; plus, it can relieve nausea, too. Additionally, both THC and CBD (but especially CBD) are effective for pain relief and pain management. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that CBD possesses both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – and it’s proved to be capable of treating specific seizure disorders, too.

Is CBD psychoactive – can it intoxicate you?

In addition to its efficacy at treating and managing pain, CBD is known to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that the positive benefits for anxiety, stress and sleep issues are the most prominent reasons why people vape and ingest CBD.

Now, it’s certainly true that, for some people, CBD has the capacity to alter their mood – that is, it can induce a tangible or even deep sensation of calm and/ or relaxation – yet it doesn’t have the capacity to alter people’s sensory perception or their spatial awareness; nor can it generate euphoria. Basically, it doesn’t induce the extreme psychoactive sensations that THC does. So, although it’s technically true that both these kinds of cannabinoid are psychoactive, only THC is so psychoactive that it can actually intoxicate someone.

How does CBD leave you feeling?

As mentioned above, CBD’s primary sensation is one of relaxation. Users of CBD tend to describe a neutralisation of both discomfort and pain – and a decrease or even removal of stress and anxiety (for a limited period of time, it ought to be noted). These effects may, indeed, feel like experiencing a particular – almost psychoactive – sensation. However, for other people, this may go further; in that it can feel like an exaggerated calmness, sense of being at peace and loss of negativity – again, for a limited period of time.

It’s worth noting, too, that for those who vape or consume CBD-rich hemp flowers (or CBD buds UK, if you prefer to call them that), a tinge of THC-like psychoactive effects might be experienced. This would most likely be because CBD flowers/ buds comprise a slightly higher volume of THC than do other CBD consumables.

One further point, though; when buying CBD products, you’re highly advised to be careful of the THC content – if the product claims to contain more than 0.2% THC, it won’t be legal in the UK.