What Makes CBD Non-Psychoactive and What Can it Be Used For?

hand holds pot leaf on stem

Although cannabis is becoming more popular amongst the general public for everything from pain reduction to stress management, not everyone likes the feeling of being high. For those that want the benefits of cannabis but are afraid of being high or do not want to be high, there are other options out there. The two main compounds that give cannabis its medicinal properties are THC and CBD.

CBD is quickly becoming one of the most well-known and widely available cannabis-derived supplements, mainly because it is nonpsychoactive and can be derived from the hemp plant, which means it has no traces of THC and can be sold in states where marijuana is illegal.

As of 2018, places like Wal-Mart and Target are even carrying hemp-derived CBD products. If you are new to cannabis, all of the terms associated with it can be pretty confusing. Most people who are interested in cannabis but don’t want to be high, want to know two things: “Is CBD nonpsychoactive and is CBD non-intoxicating?” In short, the answer to both is yes!

Breakdown of Marijuana Terms “THC” and “CBD”

Here’s a quick little lesson in marijuana terms: There are two main compounds you will encounter when shopping for cannabis products, THC and CBD. THC is an abbreviation for “tetrahydrocannabinol,” the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes you feel high. It’s important to note that THC is also the main active ingredient in cannabis. CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” and unlike THC, it has the following properties:

  • CBD nonpsychoactive (you don’t feel any mind or body high – you just feel like your regular self)
  • CBD non-intoxicating (you can still drive, work, care for children, and do all of the things you normally do without any mind-altering effects)
  • CBD hemp-derived (CBD can be extracted from both the male or female marijuana plant, but when it’s extracted from the male plant it has zero THC, is called “hemp-derived,” and can be sold with fewer restrictions)

How THC and CBD Affect Your Brain

If you are completely new to cannabis, it can be a little mind-blowing to learn that CBD products do not have the same effect as THC products even though they come from the same plant. It really comes down to the science of how each compound interacts with the endocannabinoid system in your body.

THC activates the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor in your mind and body. When THC activates the CB1 receptor, you experience increased blood flow to the prefrontal and frontal cortex area of the brain ? this is the area responsible for planning, judgment, and motor skills. It also activates the area of the brain connected to the reward system, which could be why it gives people a feeling of euphoria.

In 2001, researchers studied the effects of THC on animals that were given a drug that blocked their CB1 receptor. The result was that the THC didn’t get them high ? proving that if the CB1 receptor is blocked, you won’t feel the effects of THC.

That’s where CBD comes in. While THC activates the CB1 receptor to give you the feeling of being high, CBD blocks it. This is an important fact that proves why products can claim to be “CBD nonpsychoactive” and “CBD non-intoxicating.” It is also why CBD can be a treatment for combatting that overwhelming feeling of accidentally being too high. If you’ve ever eaten too many edibles, you know what I’m talking about!

In fact, if you ever do give THC products a try and get too high or feel uncomfortable, you can use CBD to counteract THC. Or, for those that are lightweights when it comes to cannabis, you can always try products that have an equal amount of THC and CBD, as this will balance out the intense feeling of the high and give you something a little more chill.

At this point you may be wondering, if CBD doesn’t get you high, then what exactly do people use them for? The list of uses for CBD is very long – it is becoming known as the “boy scout drug,” meaning it does the right thing in almost any given situation. This is largely because CBD brings the body back into homeostasis, so whatever disease or condition has come about due to imbalance, it can bring things back into balance. Listed below are some of the most popular applications for CBD products.

CBD Can Be Used For Pain Relief

One of the main benefits of CBD is that it provides pain relief without mind-altering effects, unlike THC products or even opioid products. (Remember, it’s CBD nonpsychoactive and THC psychoactive). It also doesn’t light up the same reward center of the brain so it is safe for recovering addicts to use as well. According to an article by NPR, seniors are becoming more interested in cannabis than ever before – even though they come from a generation that was given a lot of anti-marijuana propaganda. Most of the seniors are interested in cannabis for its pain-relief properties but want products that won’t make them feel high, making CBD a great option.

However, it’s important to note that if you are using CBD for extreme pain – like the kind that comes from arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – you probably want to look into CBD products that are half THC and half CBD (otherwise known as 1:1). This means they have equal amounts of THC and CBD, which will lessen the intense feeling of being high. The THC plays an important role in activating the pain-relieving properties of the product and works in tandem with CBD to provide full-spectrum pain relief.

You will only be able to get these products in states where cannabis is legal, and you will have to buy it from a cannabis dispensary. Also, it won’t have the exactly the same non-intoxicating effects, so you’ll want to be mindful of that when it comes to driving, working, etc.

CBD Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Even though CBD is nonpsychoactive and non-intoxicating, it still has the ability to change your state of mind. In fact, CBD can be used as a natural treatment for both anxiety and depression. Many mood disorders are treated with pharmaceuticals like benzodiazepines which are addictive and have tons of side effects like sexual dysfunction and insomnia. The medication prescribed for depression and anxiety can have side effects that lower your quality of life just as much as your condition itself! CBD has almost no side effects, aside from drowsiness when taken in large doses, and even that can be mitigated if you select CBD products that also have energizing terpenes like limonene.

And, because CBD is nonpsychoactive and non-intoxicating, it is even safe to give to children and animals. In 2016, researchers proved that CBD is an effective treatment for helping children with PTSD induced insomnia and anxiety. In that case, though, make sure you are giving them products that are hemp-derived, that way you know there are zero traces of THC in the product.

CBD Can Help Addicts Recover and Avoid Backsliding

As mentioned before, CBD is also helpful for people recovering from substance abuse. For example, if you are a recovered addict and pull a muscle in your back, you might not want to go the traditional route and use opioids to treat your pain if you don’t have to. One option could be using CBD for pain relief instead. Additionally, CBD can actually help addicts recover and avoid backsliding into old behaviors as it treats many of the factors that lead to relapse – including stress and challenging emotions.

CBD Reduces Inflammation (Including Acne!)

Because CBD doesn’t make you high or intoxicated, it is really a great option for anyone who wants the benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering or body high effects. One amazing benefit that cannabis offers is how it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to all kinds of health issues – from serious to cosmetic. One popular application for hemp-derived CBD is for teenagers seeking help with acne. CBD reduces inflammation, lowers sebum production, and lowers the number of oily secretions made by sebaceous glands. It also helps to lessen the emotional and hormonal causes of acne and inflammation in general.