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Is CBD Psychoactive?

Is CBD Psychoactive?

When searching for CBD products, most websites will list the compound as “non-psychoactive”, because “psychoactive” is a popular term used to describe the effects of marijuana and THC. Keep reading to find out if CBD really is non-psychoactive.


Psychoactive versus psychotropic

By defining CBD as non-psychoactive, it helps to position the compound as the safer option and distance it from cannabis, which is still illegal throughout much of the world.

In reality, however, the distinction between psychoactive and non-psychoactive is not as straightforward as it appears. There’s also another term we need to consider—psychotropic. Both psychoactive and psychotropic describe how a substance changes the way we think and feel. But, it’s the slight variation between these two terms that could alter the proper description of CBD.

This becomes easier to understand once we look at the definitions of both terms:

• Psychotropic: “Denoting drugs that affect a person’s mental state”.

Psychotropic substances affect our mental state, our sense of reality, and our perception of the world. Although it’s a term that can refer to prescription drugs, it’s most commonly used to describe recreational drugs.

• Psychoactive: “A substance affecting the mind”.

The term “psychoactive” implies a substance that affects the mind, and while this can have negative repercussions, there are dozens of psychoactive foods and compounds that we consume daily without risk. Just because something can alter our mind doesn’t necessarily mean that the effect is dangerous or undesirable.

Psychoactive substances are more common than you think

It may be hard to believe, but something we all eat and enjoy regularly contains psychoactive compounds. We are, of course, talking about chocolate! Specifically dark chocolate, but chocolate nonetheless.

Cacao (the raw seeds from which chocolate is derived) is one of the most popular food products on the planet. And because the compounds within it can reduce tension—this makes chocolate a psychoactive substance. But what about CBD?

How does CBD affect the mind?

The example of chocolate as a psychoactive substance was provided on purpose. Both the sweet treat and CBD share a common trait—their activation of serotonin receptors (5-HT).

If you’ve ever wondered why eating chocolate makes you feel so good, the answer is serotonin—a neurotransmitter responsible for transporting signals to different areas of the brain. It is believed to help regulate the mood, as low levels of serotonin are associated with various harmful psychological conditions. And preclinical evidence suggests that CBD may have a similar effect.

Working along the same lines as chocolate, CBD is thought to influence serotonin receptors and help in the regulation of tension, uneasiness and low mood. Obviously, with any mechanism involving sophisticated neurochemicals, there are a lot of variables to explore. Researchers are keen to understand the full scope of the interaction between CBD and 5-HT receptors, with studies underway.

Is CBD Psychoactive?

Is CBD really psychoactive?

With an understanding of how CBD might influence the mind, we now come back to the original question: Is CBD psychoactive?

Yes, based on current evidence, CBD can be classed as psychoactive. And, although there’s still a lot we don’t know about the effects of the cannabinoid, it’s believed to have a promising future, helping various mood-related conditions.

Like chocolate, CBD can positively affect our mind, just as a psychoactive substance should. However, we haven’t based CBD’s comparison to chocolate purely on the interaction with serotonin receptors. Both compounds are likely to have adverse effects when taken in excess. Even substances that are good for our health need a balanced approach, especially as part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the therapeutic qualities of CBD for yourself, why not browse the Cibdol store for a complete selection of CBD oils, capsules, cosmetics and supplements. Or, if you still have more questions about CBD and how it affects the mind, explore our CBD Encyclopedia for a series of beginner-friendly guides and articles.

Click the link to find out if we can really call CBD non-psychoactive, and what this means for the relationship between CBD and mood-related conditions.

What is CBD? The ‘miracle’ cannabis compound that doesn’t get you high

‘Many users believe CBD helps them relax . and some believe regular doses help stave off Alzheimer’s and heart disease.’ Illustration: George Wylesol

‘Many users believe CBD helps them relax . and some believe regular doses help stave off Alzheimer’s and heart disease.’ Illustration: George Wylesol

The cannabis-derived chemical is non-psychoactive, and – while federally illegal – has been hailed as a cure for disease

Last modified on Mon 28 May 2018 18.09 BST

In early May, a federal court declined to protect cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical produced by the cannabis plant, from federal law enforcement, despite widespread belief in its medical value.

The ruling was contrary to existing evidence, which suggests the chemical is safe and could have multiple important uses as medicine. Many cannabis advocates consider it a miracle medicine, capable of relieving conditions as disparate as depression, arthritis and diabetes.

The perception of its widespread medical benefits have made the chemical a rallying cry for legalization advocates.

The first thing to know about CBD is that it is not psychoactive; it doesn’t get people high. The primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But THC is only one of the scores of chemicals – known as cannabinoids – produced by the cannabis plant.

So far, CBD is the most promising compound from both a marketing and a medical perspective. Many users believe it helps them relax, despite it not being psychoactive, and some believe regular doses help stave off Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

While studies have shown CBD to have anti-inflammatory, anti-pain and anti-psychotic properties, it has seen only minimal testing in human clinical trials, where scientists determine what a drug does, how much patients should take, its side effects and so on.

Despite the government ruling, CBD is widely available over the counter in dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal.

CBD first came to public attention in a 2013 CNN documentary called Weed. The piece, reported by Dr Sanjay Gupta, featured a little girl in Colorado named Charlotte, who had a rare life-threatening form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.

At age five, Charlotte suffered 300 grand mal seizures a week, and was constantly on the brink of a medical emergency. Through online research, Charlotte’s desperate parents heard of treating Dravet with CBD. It was controversial to pursue medical marijuana for such a young patient, but when they gave Charlotte oil extracted from high-CBD cannabis, her seizures stopped almost completely. In honor of her progress, high-CBD cannabis is sometimes known as Charlotte’s Web.

CBD has been sought for its healing properties. Illustration: George Wylesol

After Charlotte’s story got out, hundreds of families relocated to Colorado where they could procure CBD for their children, though not all experienced such life-changing results. Instead of moving, other families obtained CBD oil through the illegal distribution networks.

In late June, the US Food and Drug Administration could approve the Epidiolex, a pharmaceuticalized form of CBD for several severe pediatric seizure disorders. According to data recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug can reduce seizures by more than 40%. If Epidiolex wins approval it would be the first time the agency approves a drug derived from the marijuana plant. (The FDA has approved synthetic THC to treat chemotherapy-related nausea.)

Epidiolex was developed by the London-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which grows cannabis on tightly controlled farms in the UK. It embarked on the Epidiolex project in 2013, as anecdotes of CBD’s value as an epilepsy drug began emerging from the US.

While parents treating their children with CBD had to proceed based on trial and error, like a folk medicine, they also had to wonder whether dispensary purchased CBD was professionally manufactured and contained what the package said it did. GW brought a scientific understanding and pharmaceutical grade manufacturing to this promising compound.

Fortunately, like THC, CBD appears to be well tolerated; as far as I can tell, there are no recorded incidents of fatal CBD overdoses.

Since Weed first aired, GW’s stock has climbed 1,500%.

The cannabis-derived chemical is non-psychoactive, and – while federally illegal – has been hailed as a cure for disease<br>