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Are you still on the fence about taking CBD oil or enjoying smokable hemp flower?
These days most of us know someone who raves about the way adding CBD to their daily routine has improved their lives. And perhaps, you’re wondering what CBD can do for you, but you’d like to know more about the compound before trying it out.
One of the most common questions we receive from new customers is, “How does CBD make you feel?” If you’ve been wondering about CBD’s effects, stay tuned. This article will answer that question and many more you didn’t even know you had.
Let’s get started.
What is CBD, and How Does It Work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 known compounds that exist in cannabis plants. CBD belongs to a class of active compounds called cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC have the ability to stimulate receptors in our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). Originating over 600 million years ago, the ECS helps our bodies regulate various vital systems so we can maintain homeostasis, or internal balance.
Our endocannabinoid system serves as a kind of master regulator for functions, such as:
- body temperature
- pain responses
The ECS network includes two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors lie mainly in the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors can be found in the white blood cells, glands, and other organs involved in the immune system.
CBD can help strengthen the endocannabinoid system by indirectly modulating both CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD also helps the ECS by inhibiting the enzymes that break down natural endocannabinoids, leaving more to circulate through the body.
Will CBD Make Me Feel High?
Many people are understandably hesitant about taking CBD since the compound is derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant. Fortunately, you can take CBD even if you live a sober lifestyle or want to avoid the sometimes overwhelming effects of “marijuana.”
The “high” associated with traditional cannabis is produced by a cannabinoid called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD doesn’t produce the same psychoactive effects as THC because it doesn’t directly bond to CB1 receptors in the brain like THC does. However, CBD can block THC from binding to CB1 receptors and will reduce THC’s psychoactive effects.
Furthermore, CBD comes from industrial hemp plants that contain less than the legal limit of .3% THC. Humans need far more than .3% THC to experience any psychoactive effects. Even full-spectrum CBD products won’t produce a “high.” However, you can buy broad spectrum CBD products if you would like to avoid THC altogether.
How Does CBD Make You Feel?
CBD’s immediate effects are characterized by mental calm and physical relaxation. Most CBD consumers report feeling a clear-headed sense of peace instead of the intense feelings THC can sometimes produce. With CBD, instead of experiencing new sensations, you may be more likely to notice what’s absent, such as stress and tension.
Enjoying CBD vapes or smoking CBD-rich hemp flower are the quickest methods for feeling CBD’s relaxing effects. Consuming CBD through oils and edibles produces longer-lasting effects, but ingested methods take longer to kick in.
Let’s take a look at some of the science behind CBD’s immediate effects.
CBD Can Help Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that CBD can help with stress, and CBD’s anxiolytic effects are backed by an increasing body of research. Here’s a glance at some of the studies:
- CBD produces an antidepressant effect by interacting with 5-HT1a receptors, resulting in an increase in serotonin levels.
- CBD calms the amygdala, one of the primary parts of the brain involved in the body’s fight-or-flight response. When we perceive fear, the amygdala responds by telling the body to produce more cortisol, a hormone that prepares us to take action. Continually elevated cortisol increases overall anxiety and promotes a host of stress-related disorders, such as digestive difficulties and high blood pressure.
- CBD boosts anandamide levels by inhibiting the enzyme FAAH. Named after the sanskrit word for “bliss,” anandamide is associated with positive mental states like the pleasant feelings athletes get after a good workout.
CBD Can Ease Body Aches and Pains
Pain-management remains one of the main reasons people begin using CBD or traditional cannabis. CBD can help reduce pain by binding to TRPV1 receptors and boosting levels of the neurotransmitter, adenosine.
CBD also has a modulating effect on immune responses and fights excess inflammation. Additionally, CBD has shown promise for treating patients with chronic pain who are struggling with addiction to synthetic opioid drugs.
CBD Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Rest
Anxiety and chronic physical pain are two of the biggest contributors to insomnia. Since CBD helps with both stress and pain, it would make sense that the compound can help promote better sleep.
England’s Coventry University conducted a study investigating CBD’s effects on anxiety and sleep patterns. The participants who regularly took CBD reported better sleep quality and more regular sleep cycles than their non-consuming peers.
Another clinical study, published in the peer-reviewed Permanente Journal, followed 72 psychiatric patients struggling with anxiety and sleep problems. The doctors found a whopping 80% drop in anxiety scores after only one month of CBD use. The patients also showed a marked improvement in sleep scores.
CBD Side Effects
According to the 2018 Critical Review Report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), “CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.”
CBD’s side effects are relatively mild and directly related to the amount consumed. At higher dosages, CBD can produce side effects like:
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Lowered blood pressure
The best way to reduce the risk of side effects is to start by taking a lower dosage of CBD and gauging how you feel. If you notice any uncomfortable sensations, reduce the amount you take next time.
You may also want to avoid CBD if you’re taking regular prescription drugs. The aforementioned WHO report goes on to state that, “Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”
The liver uses the same enzyme to break down both pharmaceutical drugs and cannabinoids. With both CBD and the prescription medication competing for the enzyme, the result may be more of the pharmaceutical in your bloodstream. It’s critical that consumers who take regular prescription and over-the-counter drugs consult a qualified physician before using CBD. Some of the pharmaceuticals that interact with CBD include:
- heart medications
- blood pressure pills
Mixing Alcohol and CBD
Although companies are beginning to offer CBD-infused alcoholic beverages, the jury is still out on whether it’s a good idea to mix CBD with alcohol. The FDA warns that consuming alcohol and CBD together can increase sedation and drowsiness, which could lead to accidents and injuries. In addition, CBD and alcohol both act to dilate blood vessels, leading to a drop in blood pressure.
On the flip side, several studies note that CBD may help with some of alcohol’s damaging effects. CBD may protect the liver during binge drinking and reduce alcohol-induced chronic inflammation. CBD can also help with hangover symptoms like anxiety, headache, and nausea.
The best practice is to consume both CBD and alcohol in moderation when mixing them together. Maybe stick to one CBD-infused beer or cocktail instead of a whole 6-pack!
CBD’s Intermediate and Long-Term Effects
Some of CBD’s effects won’t seem to show up until you’ve been consuming the compound for one to three months. This is around the time that you might start noticing small improvements in your overall well-being.
Let’s take a look at some of CBD’s most common intermediate and long-term effects.
Glowing Skin and Hair
Human skin is packed with endocannabinoid receptors in the cells of nerve endings, lymph nodes, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles. The University of Modena in Italy conducted a clinical study of patients with various skin conditions. Every patient exhibited improved symptoms after three months of applying CBD topical cream.
CBD also possesses potent antioxidant properties, which can help reduce signs of aging like wrinkles, lines, and crepey skin. Additionally, CBD can moderate sebum production and may help with acne and dry skin.
With its potent antioxidant abilities, CBD combats the oxidative stress that contributes to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Several preliminary studies have concluded that CBD acts to protect neurons and may help with better cognition and motor functions.
Inflammation is at the root of many of today’s health problems. An exaggerated inflammatory response is involved in a range of conditions from digestive problems to full-blown auto-immune disorders. Scientific journals are bursting with studies examining CBD’s remarkable anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD may even help with conditions like migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS, which have been associated with a condition called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD). And did we mention that CBD can help reduce overall stress, promote healthy sleep patterns, and ease minor aches and pains?
Disclaimer: This article has been written for educational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of a health condition. A qualified physician can help you find out if CBD is right for you.