CBD has been growing in popularity thanks to its pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing benefits, but does CBD get you high?
Often associated with impairment thanks to its mind-altering “bud”dy, CBD does so much more than affect how high you are.
And to further the confusion, many people tend to use “cannabis” and “CBD” interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two.
Keep reading to learn all about how and why CBD works including a lesson on plant synergy and CBD delivery methods along with anti-inflammatory foods to enhance and extend CBD’s effects!
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 100+ cannabinoids found in both hemp and cannabis, both relatives of the cannabis sativa L plant family.
And depending on which plant it’s derived from determines its legality in your state.
This phytocannabinoid was first discovered in 1964 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. Research on the medicinal benefits of cannabis now exists today thanks to him! (1)
Benefits of CBD
CBD offers analgesic (pain-alleviating), anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-spasmodic (hello, muscle recovery agent!), and sleep-assisting properties that can also provide mental clarity & focus.
It’s an excellent choice for children, the elderly, pets, those sensitive to the effects of THC or who don’t want impairment, and for those in states in which cannabis is not yet fully legal.
Ideal for daytime use and times when you need to be alert, focused, and productive (i.e. work, school, caregiving, etc.). So have you figured out the answer yet?? Keep reading, there’s lots more.
“For myself, adopting a consistent CBD regimen throughout the day has made me a more responsible cannabis user at night and in my free time.”— Sam Coogan, The Pineapple Expressionist
The Entourage Effect
The hemp and cannabis plants contain harmonious cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that work together beautifully as a unit, or what I like to call “plant synergy”.
While beneficial on its own, CBD (like any other cannabinoid) is most effective when combined with the other complementary components of the plant due to the activity and sensitivity of our cannabinoid receptors.
For this reason, isolates/concentrates just aren’t as effective because they’ve singled out one cannabinoid while removing all other beneficial parts.
And depending on what type of effect you want AND where your cannabinoids are sourced from will help you determine which ratio is most ideal for you.
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD
Sourcing where your hemp, cannabis, and CBD comes from should always be priority #1.
Furthermore, cannabis and CBD are often used interchangeably which causes some confusion when referring to legality.
Cannabis refers to the THC-containing plant whereas CBD is referring to cannabidiol on its own.
CBD can be derived from either industrial hemp OR cannabis, and the difference between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD lies in their THC profiles.
Hemp should have less than 0.3% THC whereas cannabis could have up to 30% THC depending on the strain and other growing/environmental factors.
Hemp is also a bioaccumulator, meaning that it can absorb the good and the bad from the soil, and was actually used at the Chernobyl devastation site to clean up the nuclear toxins & contaminants left behind. And that’s why I’m a Green Compass Advocate.
Hemp is used for far more than cannabinoid extraction including fibers for textiles, paper & rope, grains, and seeds (I know you’ve seen hemp seeds next to chia and flaxseeds at the store!).
In fact, the 2018 Farm Bill officially removed hemp from the Schedule 1 class of illicit and illegal substances.
Broad Spectrum vs Full Spectrum
You’re likely no stranger to these terms at this point in the ganja game, but what do they mean?
Broad spectrum hemp & cannabis flower and products contain all synergistic parts of the hemp and cannabis plants without THC.
This is a good choice for children, the elderly, pets, and those new to cannabis for daytime use since it’s non-impairing.
Broad spectrum products are great for chronic pain and are commonly found in CBD sublingual tinctures, gummies or jellies, lotions, roll-ons, bath soaks, and salves.
Full spectrum hemp & cannabis flower and products contain all synergistic parts of the hemp and cannabis plants with THC (i.e. The Entourage Effect).
Depending on THC levels, it can be impairing. And even at trace amounts (0.3%), there’s still the potential for you to test positive on a drug test.
This is a good choice for those with severe pain and in need of heightened mental relief who are NOT subjected to drug testing.
Full spectrum products are best for chronic pain and are commonly found in hemp and cannabis flower, sublingual tinctures, gummies, lotions, and roll-ons.
Federally legal full-spectrum CBD products will contain no more than 0.3% THC with little to no impairment/euphoria. THC levels will vary depending on the manufacturer, product type, and state legality.
So, Does CBD Get You High?
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how the cannabinoids best interact with one another, you’ve probably already come to your own conclusion about this non-impairing chemical compound.
CBD can’t bind to certain cannabinoid receptors in the brain without the presence of THC, causing no euphoric effect on its own.
Level Up by Adjusting Yout CBD-to-THC Ratios
Generally, an even,1:1 CBD-to-THC ratio is ideal to experience the greatest benefits of the Entourage Effect and is the best ratio for chronic diseases and neuropathic pain.
This is largely due to the fact that CBD alters the shape of CB1 receptors in the brain with greater difficulty for THC to bind to that particular receptor. This then tempers the high induced by THC.
Essentially, the “higher” the CBD:THC ratio, the “lower” you’ll feel. Ya know what they say…opposites attract!
So, if euphoria/psychoactivity gets too intense, trial different ratios of 2:1, 3:1, even 30:1 CBD:THC OR opt for broad or full spectrum hemp-derived flower and products with less than 0.3% THC to lessen psychoactivity from the start.
CBD Delivery Methods
There are so many ways to use CBD orally or topically nowadays. These delivery method options are available for both hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD:
- Inhalation (smoke) via broad or full spectrum CBD vape pen or pipe, joint, blunt, bong, or vaporizer using CBD hemp flower
- Ingestion via hemp flower extract capsules, drinks, or edibles (i.e. gummies or jellies)
- Sublingually via hemp flower extract tinctures/droppers, sprays, and lozenges
- Topically via hemp flower extract lotions, salves, balms, bath soaks, and roll-ons
- Transdermally via hemp flower extract gels or patches (not widely popular)
Best Ways to Ingest CBD
Ingestion (including sublingually) is one of the best ways to use CBD because you can easily control dosing.
Plus the effects will last longer since the time to onset takes slightly longer. Delay that satisfaction and you’ll be rewarded for doing so!
On the other hand, topicals are great for immediate relief.
For example, this Women’s Monthly Blend roll-on can be rolled right onto the abdomen during a menstrual cycle or while breastfeeding to combat the pain associated with uterine contractions.
Although, I don’t see it being nearly as powerful as an epidural during childbirth. As much as I love cannabis and CBD, they’re not miracle workers or cure-alls.
Gummies & Jellies
Gummies and jellies are simple to dose because you can easily control the amount by physically cutting them into halves or quarters, especially as you’re first getting started.
As long as the dosing information is presented clearly on the package, one gummy or jelly should equal the amount displayed on the front in mg (but double-check the serving size label anyway).
This can take some trial and error, so tracking your doses and symptoms will be most helpful in determining your maximum effective dose.
>>> Download your Cannabis & CBD Tracking Sheet here <<<
Sublingual tinctures can be very easy to dose using the measurement lines of the dropper.
But don’t let the label confuse you. The dose you see on the front is per full dropper serving NOT the entire contents of the bottle.
Let’s use a 500mg bottle that comes with a 1 mL dropper as our example (1 mL = 1 full dropper).
1 mL = 500mg dose, 0.5 mL = 250mg dose, etc.
1 full dropper = 500mg, 1/2 a dropper = 250mg, etc.
The important thing to remember is to hold it under your tongue for 15-20 seconds so that it can be absorbed into the tissue of your gums.
However, you could also add these droplets right into your coffee, tea, or other favorite beverage!
Or try making your own, non-psychoactive tea by steeping raw hemp or cannabis flower in hot water for the calming effects of the inactive cannabinoid precursor, CBDA.
COVID and CBDA
Slightly off-topic for this article, but not in terms of current events, recently emerging research is showing promise for the use of the acidic cannabinoids, specifically CBDA and CBGA, to “potentially combat the coronavirus”.
While it’s likely too early to get super excited about this finding, the fact that virologists are even considering cannabis as a treatment tool is exciting enough on its own!
Benefits of CBD Flower
Full spectrum, hemp-derived CBD flower can be just as beneficial as full spectrum cannabis flower with the same anti-inflammatory, pain-alleviating benefits.
While it may not provide the same recreational benefits as cannabis, it certainly provides the same medicinal ones.
It’s an excellent alternative for those in states in which cannabis is not yet legal, too sensitive to high doses of THC, or if you’re under the age of 21.
This is where sourcing becomes very critical. Keep the bioaccumulating properties of hemp and the potential for impurities in mind.
PRO TIP: If you ever see mold or other contaminants on your hemp or cannabis flower, THROW IT OUT!
Boost the Benefits of CBD Through Nurturing Nutrition
Now that we know that CBD does not get you high, how can we amplify its medicinal benefits? Through food!
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble and protein-binding, meaning that they’re best absorbed in the presence of a fat and/or protein source.
Luckily, there are lots of things we can do outside of using hemp or cannabis to boost the benefits of CBD, and one very effective way is through our diet.
A healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid sources along with adequate protein may help to intensify the activity of the ECS.
>>> For more ECS Diet suggestions pop over to my article on The Endocannabinoid Diet: An Endocannabinoid System Booster <<<
One of CBD’s greatest benefits is its ability to fight inflammation. Why not magnify those benefits by incorporating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants into your daily routine?
“Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation.”—Dr. Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Dept. of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health
And the longer we keep using these foods, the further we extend the inflammatory process. Try cutting back on these foods to reduce inflammation:
- Fast food or convenience foods like microwave meals
- Fried foods
- High-sodium foods like fast, convenience & fried foods and processed meats
- Processed meats like deli meat or hot dogs
- Red meats
- Refined carbs like white bread and pasta
- Shortening, margarine, and lard
Any useful anti-inflammatory diet will include the following staple foods (if no food allergies or intolerances are of concern):
- Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Fibrous fruit like berries, apples, and citrus fruits
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Ginger root
- Nuts like walnuts or almonds
- Olive oil (at room temperature) for dressings, especially if EVOO
- Avocado & coconut oil are more ideal for high-heat cooking
- Tomatoes (avoid if allergic/intolerant to nightshade vegetables)
CBD: Cannabis for Better Days
I hope that after reading this that you’ve developed some new ideas and ways to incorporate CBD into your daily routine without fear of impairment or intoxication.
Although we know that CBD stands for cannabidiol, I like to think that it actually stands for “Cannabis for Better Days” because that’s exactly what it can do for you!
Share this article with Cannaconsumer in need of Better Days.
Until next time, go Pineapple Express Yourself!
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1. Newell Bissex, J., MS, RDN, FAND. (n.d.). Simple Guide to CBD: Fact, Fiction, and a Path Forward. Melrose, MA: JNB Press.