By Amanda Saylor, Pharm D
Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, people often assume that it is intoxicating. THC, the intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, is what is responsible for the “high” effect. Even though CBD infused products may contain some level of THC, small concentrations will not cause euphoria or intoxication. While CBD is not intoxicating, it is misleading to say that it is not psychoactive. A psychoactive substance is one that interacts with the central nervous system and affects a person’s mind and behavior. CBD is thought to affect certain brain functions that are associated with mood, anxiety and other mental states which means that CBD is psychoactive despite not being intoxicating. A good analogy to demonstrate this is by comparing CBD and THC to coffee and beer. CBD is psychoactive but not intoxicating (like coffee), and THC is psychoactive and intoxicating (like beer).
CBD is an example of a substance that has a biphasic effect. A biphasic drug is one that has different effects on the body at different blood concentration levels. Low to moderate doses of CBD are mildly energizing or stimulating, but very high doses of CBD may trigger a biphasic effect making CBD relaxing. The way that CBD combats insomnia and other sleep-related disorders is by improving and restoring our stress response thus leading to relaxation which in turn encourages drowsiness. The sedating effect that is attributed to CBD may also be due to the amount of Myrcene (a sedating terpene) found in a CBD product.
Unlike THC that produces immediate effects, the same cannot be said for CBD. Depending on the application method, dose, and reason for taking it, one might not feel any immediate difference at all. CBD interacts with your individual biochemistry and no two people are the same. Because of this, some individuals may feel effects after the first few uses, while others take time to experience any difference. CBD is lipophilic, or fat soluble, which means it compounds in your body over time, increasing the potential health benefits. For optimal results, CBD should be taken consistently on a daily basis.
THC and CBD can be considered the “power couple” of cannabis compounds—they work best together! Studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects along with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This phenomenon is known as Entourage Effect. There are basically three types of CBD that people use; isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. In CBD isolate, the CBD component is the only active compound of the product without the addition of other cannabinoids. In broad-spectrum CBD, there is a variety of different cannabinoids without THC traces. Full-spectrum products include all cannabinoids from the cannabis plant with permitted amounts of THC. The full-spectrum products are also rich in terpenes and flavonoids that possess therapeutic properties and add to the overall synergistic medicinal effect.
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