What Does CBD Feel Like?
If you’ve heard about cannabis and THC then you’ve probably heard about CBD (also known as Cannabidiol) as well. If you haven’t, then a brief summary is that both THC and CBD are two compounds that are found in cannabis, but they each have their own distinct features.
THC (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that causes the psychological effects in marijuana. It can affect your movement, thinking, concentration, pleasure, senses, and memory. CBD, on the other hand, has a different, calming effect on your body that we will be going through in detail below.
You may have heard that there are many health benefits to taking CBD in your daily life. However, there may be a lot that you need to understand about CBD before you introduce it into your daily life.
Even though CBD is derived from the same plant as THC, they cause quite different reactions to your body. To extract the CBD, cannabis is taken through an extraction process wherein the CBD and THC components are isolated. The CBD is then converted into pills, liquids, balms, or edibles that humans consume to enjoy the benefits, without feeling the “high” associated with marijuana.
During the early 1900s, CBD was considered to be similar to cannabis having the same properties. It was first extracted in 1940 and then later determined that the chemical components were different from marijuana in the 1960s. However, further research was hampered at the time due to the prohibition when marijuana was outlawed and made illegal during the 70s. Due to this, there are many conflicting rumors about CBD and its benefits (or its drawbacks) that you may have come across. We explore this more in our blog on the history of CBD.
In recent years, however, more studies and research has gone into both THC and CBD use. Each year, researchers go deeper into understanding the compounds and what it does to the human body. From what we have learned so far, most CBD compounds contain less than 0.3% THC. For most humans, at least 2 grams of THC needs to be ingested in order to become intoxicated.
This shows, at least at a research level, that properly sourced CBD is safe to consume without feeling the effects of THC. This is only true when it comes to naturally-sourced CBD without the addition of other chemicals, and so people have to be careful about where and who they get their CBD from.
CBD in essence does make you feel something after ingesting it, but it is not the same or as potent as THC. It can take about 20 – 45 minutes to feel the effects of the CBD, which is usually calm and relaxing, after consuming it.
Cannabis therapy is used medically to treat ailments such as chronic pain, depression, and anorexia. CBD, on the other hand, is mostly used to help with symptoms of anxiety, pain, or inflammation. Unlike cannabis which can make you feel the effects (such as pain fading away) almost immediately, CBD treatment requires consistent dosing of a period ranging from a week to a month to start noticing positive mental and physical changes.
Here’s what to expect when start consuming CBD:
- Increased alertness and focus
CBD can be a great “waking up” tool whenever you’re feeling sluggish or drowsy (mostly during the day). Ingesting CBD has been shown to increase dopamine production in your body which helps with improved attention and mood. It can also activate neurons in your brain that promote wakefulness.
- Improved mood and energy levels
Sure, CBD can help improve your mood by affecting your brain, but that alone is not enough to get the full benefits. CBD has been researched to have antioxidant properties that improves your immune system, thus helping you increase your energy levels. It produces a feeling of being “chilled out”, thereby reducing stress levels and anxiety associated with it.
- Produces a calming effect
CBD has been shown to relax the mind and the body by creating a warm, soothing effect that eases the mind. It has non-psychoactive properties, but still creates a slight tingle along your body that can help you reduce stress and fall asleep more easily. You don’t feel the jitteriness or restlessness that comes along with other chemicals such as caffeine.
As is the case with most “drugs”, consuming more should mean you feel the effects more right? Well, this is not entirely the case with CBD. Research has shown that the effects of CBD begin to fall after a certain dose, meaning that as you consume more the effectiveness will begin to decrease. This is known as a U-Shaped Dose Response.
There are three reasons to avoid going above the recommended dose for CBD:
- Too much CBD will become ineffective and stop working
- Consuming high doses frequently will cause your body to develop a tolerance for its effects.
- Side effects of CBD can increase
How these compounds affect you is caused by its impact on the cannabinoid receptors (CB1) in your brain. However, they both have opposite effects, which is why they feel different.
When ingested, the THC chemicals bind strongly and activate a lot of these receptors. This causes that feeling of being “high” and euphoric. The more you consume, the more receptors are activated. You will feel happy, relaxed, giddy, creative, and be more sensitive to your five senses.
The side effects of THC include dry mouth, memory loss, increased heart rate and anxiety, and red eyes.
CBD also binds with these receptors but not very strongly. It is not enough to activate the receptors and can actually block a high from ever happening. In fact, if you consume both THC and CBD together, you will likely find that it wouldn’t get you as high as only consuming the THC.
The best effects you can get from CBD is a sense of calm and relaxation. This can help with everything from reducing pain to alleviating depressive episodes. For the most part, the feeling of CBD is considered positive but there are a few side effects which are discussed further below.
How long before you feel the effects of CBD?
How you consume CBD can affect when you feel the effects as well:
CBD also comes in the form of balms, creams, and lotions that you apply topically, usually to the affected areas of your body. Once applied, you will start to feel the effects of relief after around fifteen minutes.
You can use either tinctures (left under the tongue until absorbed) or other consumable forms (foods, liquids, gummies). With tinctures, the effect will start to occur around fifteen minutes after absorption. With other consumables, it can take anywhere between forty minutes to two hours.
There are a few common side effects that people may incur when consuming CBD. The most common are the feelings of drowsiness and diarrhea. Let’s outline some of them:
Taking too much CBD can sometimes lead to feeling more drowsy. However, this may be exacerbated by the use of additional sedative medications while taking CBD.
People who have a medical history of gastrointestinal or liver problems can suffer from additional negative effects such as diarrhea. This varies between individuals so it is always recommended to first check with a doctor before you consume it.
How sensitive you are to CBD and how much you ingest can cause feelings of nausea. Due to how many types of CBD consumables there are, you need to be especially wary of the dose before consuming.
Just like with THC, dry mouth is also a side effect of too much CBD. You may find that both your mouth and eyes become dry a few minutes after consumption.