CBD comes from cannabis. That’s enough to put some close-minded people off of it. Such is the stigma surrounding this controversial and enigmatic plant. Most people, however, are now recognizing the immense value of cannabis. They are realizing that what they had been told about it was lies.
Some of this renewed faith in cannabis is due to CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is exciting the medical and wellness worlds for its therapeutic value. Studies have found CBD to reduce anxiety and stress, fight inflammation, enhance sleep, strengthen bones, protect the brain, and much more.
And one the most important qualities of CBD; it won’t get you ‘high’. That’s right. No intoxication whatsoever. Taking CBD also won’t make you lazy, snack incessantly, or wear tie-dye t-shirts and call people ‘dude’.
But how does it feel to take CBD, you may be wondering. Let’s discuss...
What is CBD, hemp, medical cannabis, and marijuana?
Before we get to the crux of the matter, it’s important to first understand just what CBD is. We’re also going to clear up the confusion surrounding hemp, medical cannabis and marijuana.
CBD - Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in cannabis. It is what’s known as a cannabinoid. It has no intoxicating effects, while science is showing to offer vast health benefits. We will discuss these later in the article. CBD is usually extracted from hemp plants, which means it’s legal in most countries.
Hemp - Hemp is a name given to a type of cannabis that is traditionally grown for industrial purposes, such as rope and paper-making. Hemp is completely legal to grow in most of the world. That is provided it contains very little THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that is responsible for the ‘high’ associated with cannabis use.
More and more, hemp is now being grown for its CBD content. While THC levels are restricted in hemp farming, CBD levels are not. Thanks to the recent boom in demand for CBD products, hemp farmers are now rushing to fill that demand.
Medical cannabis - Cannabis is the proper name of the plant. Medical cannabis is simply cannabis that has been grown and used for medicinal purposes. It can have varying levels of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. It can also be processed into other preparations such as oils, pills, balms, etc.
Marijuana - Marijuana is not the exact word to describe cannabis. It was introduced in the early 20th century in America as a way to stigmatize immigrants. The word ‘marijuana’ was originally used as a term for wild tobacco plants used by Mexicans. In actuality, it has nothing to do with the cannabis plant.
How does CBD work?
CBD is a cannabinoid. But did you know that your very own body makes its own cannabinoids? These are called endocannabinoids (the prefix ‘endo’ meaning ‘within’ in greek). They interact with your body via numerous receptors. This system of receptors is what’s known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This is where it can get confusing. You see, while you would think that CBD activates the receptors of the ECS, it actually doesn’t. THC does, and that’s how it exerts its psychoactive effect. CBD, on the other hand, actually affects how other cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the ECS (CB1 and CB2 are the two primary endocannabinoid receptors).
Confusing, huh? But keep up...
While CBD has a low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does interact with multiple other molecular pathways. Scientists are only just starting to get their heads around all of these pathways. Detailing them is an ongoing study. But we are aware of the seemingly main pathways that CBD acts upon. These include:
Adenosine receptors - These play a role in bone and heart health
Serotonin receptors - Responsible for regulating mood.
TrpV1 receptors - Helps regulate your body temperature and plays an important part in inflammation and pain management.
This overview is far from extensive. There is a lot more to the way CBD works. Many more processes are at play and scientists have their work cut out. Due to its vast medical potential, however, CBD is currently being widely studied by numerous researchers around the globe.
Slowly but surely we are building a picture up of this miraculous molecule and how best to utilize its potent therapeutic power.
The benefits of CBD
When it comes to the health benefits of CBD, it’s hard to know where to start. Scientists have been studying the effects of CBD for over 20 years now. And it that time CBD has surprised many with its numerous health-promoting effects. Here’s a rundown of the benefits of CBD:
CBD is used by many as a way to lower their anxiety. This 2011 study looked at a group of people who had to speak in front of a large audience, which, as you probably know, can be petrifying. The researchers found all subject that had used CBD prior to their speech had significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort during their speech.
CBD has been proven to be one potent anti-inflammatory. It’s especially useful for treating long-term (or chronic) inflammation. CBD is becoming increasingly popular in the worlds of sport and athletics for its inflammation-reducing abilities.
Recent research has shown that broken bones in mice repair quicker and stronger in those mice that consumed CBD. Remarkably, the researchers estimated that bones treated with pure CBD were 35-50% stronger than bones left to heal by themselves. This even makes them far less likely to break again in the future.
An area that is sure to see CBD used more commonly is in contact sports. More specifically, in sports where head injuries are common. This is because CBD has been found to have neuroprotective qualities. This means it can protect the brain from injury and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
A 2017 study found that just one dose of CBD was enough to reduce blood pressure in healthy subject. This suggests CBD may be a viable option for improving cardiovascular health.
Pain relief is a common reason for people to use CBD. A number of studies attest to its pain-reducing properties. One in particular found that CBD reduced pain during chemotherapy.
Amazing, CBD not only protects the brain. It can also induce new brain cells to grow. That’s right, CBD can actually make you smarter. This effect was found in this 2013 study on mice.
We all know how important sleep into a healthy life. Well, taking CBD is proving to be an effective way of getting your full forty winks. You can read more about how CBD can help you sleep in this extensive article.
So, what does it feel like to take CBD?
We’ve looked at the effects and benefits of CBD, now let’s focus on how it feels when you take CBD.
To start with, however, it’s worth pointing out that not everyone will feel the same effects when they consume CBD. Along with the method of application, there are countless variables that will affect how you feel when you take CBD. These can include your height and weight, your diet and when you last ate, even your state of mind when taking CBD.
Having said that, there are some similar feelings that many people report after taking CBD. The most commonly experienced feeling is a sense of relaxation or relief coming over you. Particularly when you take CBD for the first time, you may well feel this sense of calm slowly sweep through your body. Some describe it as a warm and fuzzy feeling.
It can be accompanied by a calming of the mind. Almost like your thoughts slow. This is often noticeable in people who suffer from anxiety or a racing mind. Many have described using CBD as “turning down the volume in their head”.
When it comes to small doses - which is what you should start with when using CBD for the first time - the effects may be very subtle. Larger doses can have a more pronounced effect. They may also even cause drowsiness or tiredness. This isn’t very common but does happen to some.
Safety of CBD
CBD is surprisingly safe. It has been shown time and time again to be well tolerated in humans. Even at very high doses. This is in stark contrast to so many traditional pharmaceuticals, which can be toxic even at the recommended dose. It also highlights just how valuable CBD could be to the medical world.
Side-effects of CBD
With so many positives, there must be a catch, right? And that’s what makes CBD even more remarkable. It has minimal side effects. A recent review from the World Health Organization (WHO) even said that naturally-occurring CBD is safe and well tolerated in humans and animals, has no potential for abuse, and is not associated with any negative public health effects.
Despite this, there has been a small number of reports of drowsiness at high doses. Some have also complained dry mouth, low blood pressure and lightheadedness. But that’s about as serious as it gets.
It is worth being aware that CBD can interact with a certain type of pharmaceuticals. This is because it inhibits the activity of a liver enzyme called cytochrome P450. This enzyme metabolizes a certain type of drug. Grapefruit can also do this. Therefore, if your medication warns against consuming grapefruit while using it, it’s best not to use CBD, also.
The cannabis plant is highly controversial. This stigma is quickly eroding, however. As more people become aware of the potent medical power of the plant - and particularly of CBD - the more cannabis and cannabis-derived preparations will move into the mainstream.
This stigma is a big roadblock to some people trying CBD for the first time. They may have been warned of the horrors of cannabis. They may be concerned about any psychoactive effect.
Their fear is unwarranted, however. Not only does CBD provide many health benefits, it is completely non-intoxicating. This means it will not get you ‘high’ whatsoever.
In fact, the most likely feeling you will experience when taking CBD is a warm sense of calm and peace.