CBD is said by many to have a relaxing and soothing effect, but you're not going to feel this non-intoxicating cannabinoid the same way you would THC. To explain how CBD truly feels, we need to look at how both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors that cannabinoids bind to, and enzymes that break them down. While THC activates the CB1 receptors, CBD induces the opposite outcome, instead inhibiting activity in the CB1 receptors.
Aside from CB1 receptors, CBD also binds to several other targets throughout the body. For instance, this non-intoxicating cannabinoid has at least 12 sites of action in the brain and may elicit therapeutic effects by activating multiple pathways at once.
The interaction between CBD and the body may create a feeling of relaxation and improved mood. Studies and anecdotal evidence also suggest that CBD offers therapeutic value in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other ailments.
Does CBD make you feel good?
You might have heard about the various purported health benefits of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid, but how does CBD feel once it enters your system?
Many consumers and medical patients report several positive effects after taking CBD, including feelings of relaxation and calmness. But the exact feeling you'll get from CBD is contingent on several factors, including the type of CBD product, the total CBD dosage, and individual-specific factors.
Depending on the treatment or therapeutic relief you seek, the effects of CBD can vary. Different CBD products may prove more beneficial than others. For instance, CBD-infused topicals have been reported to provide relief in pain-specific areas, while a CBD oil with a 1:1 CBD-to-THC ratio could be better suited to help with falling asleep, perhaps also producing an intoxicated feeling, depending on the level of THC.
Individual-specific characteristics such as the consumer's weight, diet, metabolism, other medications, genetics, and medical conditions, as well as the formulation and quality of the CBD product itself could all influence the amount of therapeutic value that CBD will offer.
Not only does it depend on the individual, but also their ailment or condition. Depending on the therapeutic needs, different CBD products may prove more beneficial than others.
Different types of CBD oil deliver different effects
When you stumble upon a wide selection of CBD oil products, there might not appear to be much differentiating them. However, not all CBD oil will make you feel the same. In fact, the effects of various CBD oil products can differ drastically.
Hemp-derived vs. marijuana-derived CBD oil
There are two main classifications of cannabis plants that produce CBD: hemp and marijuana. Though the CBD molecular structure is identical regardless of source, there's a difference between the chemical makeup of hemp and marijuana plants, which can lead to CBD oil products with different effects.
Industrial hemp plants are typically grown for their fiber and seeds, and tend to be skinny and scarce in foliage. Hemp plants and hemp-derived products are considered legal under U.S. law, as long as the plant contains no more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, hemp-derived CBD oil will have little to no THC, which will prevent consumers from feeling any of the intoxicating effects that stem from this cannabinoid.
On the other hand, marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants that have thick, lush foliage and flowers, typically with higher levels of THC than CBD, although there are several CBD-rich cultivars on the market. Marijuana-derived CBD oil often contains much higher levels of THC than hemp-derived products, so consumers may want to brace for the effects of THC. These products are legally available on the adult-use market and in certain medical marijuana states, but remain illegal on the federal level.
Although the intoxicating feeling of THC might be something you wish to avoid, it's important to note that CBD and THC have actually demonstrated a synergistic relationship when taken in tandem, a phenomenon commonly known as the “entourage effect.” For example, when CBD is consumed alongside THC, people tend to experience less of the paranoia and anxiety associated with high THC concentrations. The inclusion of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes could also contribute to the experience and to how you ultimately end up feeling.
When it comes to the purported effects of CBD oil products, we're not only looking at hemp-derived and marijuana-derived products. The additional cannabis compounds and ingredients (or lack thereof) also play a significant role in the consumer experience. There are major differences between broad-spectrum CBD oil, full-spectrum CBD oil, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil
When a CBD oil product is labeled full-spectrum, that means the plant's original terpenes and other types of cannabinoids, including cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and importantly, THC, have not been filtered out during the extraction process.
Broad spectrum CBD oil
Broad-spectrum CBD oil derived from hemp is similar to full-spectrum, as the oil contains most of the cannabinoids from its original state. However, the key difference here is the additional extraction process that filters out all traces of THC. With the THC removed, consumers don't need to worry about encountering any feelings of being high, but can still reap the potential benefits of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Another option for consumers is CBD isolate, which comes in the form of a crystalline solid or white powder. Stripped of all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, CBD isolate is the most refined form of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, containing upwards of 99% pure CBD. With all THC and other compounds removed, CBD isolate is the purest possible form of CBD available.
What are the side effects of CBD oil?
Although CBD does not produce the same adverse side effects as THC, should you be concerned about feeling or encountering any other side effects from the cannabinoid?
While research has found that CBD has a much better side effect profile compared with most other drugs, a large dose of CBD can still have potentially adverse effects on the user. A 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research concluded that while CBD had a “favorable safety profile,” there were side effects reported by participants, including tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight.
In addition, CBD may cause other side effects in some individuals, including nausea and irritability. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and contributor to the Harvard Health Blog, discussed these potential side effects in a 2018 post, writing, “Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability...A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements.”
For this reason, it is vital to consult with your physician before beginning a regimen of CBD products, including CBD oil. Be sure to discuss any current prescription medications and possible drug interactions prior to starting CBD.