The first question I remember asking before I started my CBD journey was simple: does CBD get you high? Naturally, I was very worried that CBD would induce THC like hallucinations.
Luckily, I quickly realized that this was not the case. In my personal experience, the CBD I took made me feel relaxed, but not much else initially. Afterwards, I took the time to ask my mom about her CBD journey. Although she was convinced that taking CBD had helped to reduce her anxiety, further questions about the exact effects were met with a shrug of the shoulders.
She was not able to observe any concrete physical reactions. Several others I spoke to, corroborated this account. Their experience was characterized by a lack – whether that be of pain, anxiety, or otherwise. This seemed to point me in the direction that CBD doesn’t make you feel anything, rather it seems to take away certain negative effects.
That led me to a question – what physical effects should be attributed to CBD? Better yet, why does CBD product those effects? With the help of my friends at Envy Hemp, I decided to delve into the availed research and sentiment regarding CBD, and how it actually makes you feel.
Understanding your Endocannabinoid System
For some background: your body has two types of receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). We’ll talk more about these in another article. These receptors are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors which are a Class A family of G protein-coupled receptors. Endocannabinoids produced naturally by our body interact with these receptors, which send signals to our brain.
These signals control a number of vital functions within our body. It’s this interaction between endocannabinoids and our ECS that produces the myriad of benefits from CBD and THC.
CB1 receptors, for instance are heavily involved with processes that regulate your mental and physiological state. These include memory, higher level thought processes, emotion, and coordination.
Don’t worry too much about that for now, though.
CBD and THC are not the same
When cannabis is used, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) nominally binds to the <a href=” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120766/”>CB1</a> receptor in the brain as a partial antagonist. It goes on to inhibit the neurotransmitters normally modulated by endocannabinoids, which creates a reaction in your brain in response.
In other words, THC prevents these receptors from acting normally which is in part goes to explain the “high” that you feel from THC. The high is your brain responding to the chemicals interacting with your CB1 receptor.
CBD however, has the opposite effect. CBD on its own does not produce any motor impairment, body temperature change, or short-term memory effect on its own. In fact, with the correct dosage, current research indicates that CBD acts as an antagonist to THC, meaning that it inhibits the effects of THC, including anxiety produced by THC. In fact, CBD inhibits many psychotropic effects produced by THC.
<a href=“https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112460109>A great example of this effect comes from a 2012 study</a> in which researchers found that participants experienced significantly lowered anxiety and memory impairment when they were given a 600mg dose of oral CBD prior to receiving ahead of an IV dose of THC (1.5mg).
CBD inhibits most THC’s effects by not binding directly with the CB1 receptor, but potentially “blocking it” which prevents the THC from binding with the receptor and producing the mind-altering effects. This process still needs more research to be understood fully, but scientists are mostly confident in the effect’s column.
So, what does taking CBD actually feel like?
Put simply, research and anecdotal experience says that you shouldn’t feel anything from CBD.<a href= “https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589404/”>A study done in 2008</a> which examined which areas of the brain CBD specifically activated. While the study indicated that THC inhibits your reactions, they found that CBD only interacted with areas of the brain that do not have anything to do with reaction.
<a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19124693”>Another study conducted in 2009</a> went on to measure the response of THC and CBD on the brain during emotional processing. THC went on to increase anxiety, sedation, and psychotic symptoms, whereas CBD had trend of reducing anxiety. This study also corroborated that THC and CBD both work on different parts of the brain.
Regarding CBD, neither of these studies attributed short term memory loss, impairment of motor coordination, or increased anxiety to CBD.
On a more personal level, a quick search of the internet will tell you the same thing.
For instance, Reddit User <a href= “https://www.reddit.com/r/CBD/comments/78k3p6/what_does_cbd_feel_like_to_you/dovd7z1?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x”> JeamBim </a> described his experience with what CBD feels like as:
“CBD doesn't feel like anything, it's how it DOESN'T feel.
CBD doesn't feel like that nagging pain in my back on the left side. It doesn't feel like that point between the joints in my foot that has been bugging me for years.
It doesn't feel like the self-consciousness I often have in social situations. It doesn't feel that voice in my head wondering how things will go wrong. It doesn't feel like the anxiety that is making it difficult to make decisions”
Other replies mostly indicated the absence of feeling – along the lines of CBD helped relieve them of something. This is in line with available research.
What do the statistics say?
A 2017 study conducted by <a href=” https://www.hellomd.com/health-wellness/5a340a9d100a820006562ec4/largest-cbd-usage-study-published-by-hellomd-with-brightfield-group”>HelloMD and the Brightfield Group</a> studied 2,400 CBD users to measure their perceptions of CBD.
The survey group was asked what their favorite aspects of CBD Products were, to which the top results were:
- They provide the best medical relief (29%)
- They relax me (21.3%)
- CBD-only products do not get me high (19.4%)
- They do not cause anxiety or paranoia (14.1%)
Indeed, the survey went on to state that 42% of CBD users have stopped using traditional medications and use CBD instead.
Just as well more than 4 out of 5 respondents found CBD to be either extremely effective, or very effective in terms of in terms of treating their various conditions.
What is the consensus?
Based on current research, anecdotal accounts, and other research, I feel that we can safely make three conclusions regarding how CBD makes you feel.
- CBD alone will not make you feel any physical effects. You can take it comfortably at any time during the day without having to worry about impaired function, memory loss, etc.
- CBD may reduce the effects of anxiety, pain, stress, and related conditions. The feeling you experience after taking CBD could be attributed to the lack of effects from these conditions.
- CBD may reduce the effects of THC consumption.
After I came to this consensus, I felt much more comfortable with my CBD use. Although I would argue that you should always do your own research, the body of evidence we have right now indicates that CBD is safe and effective. We do advise that you monitor how your body reacts to CBD, because each experience will be different, however.