by Laura Geftman, LCSW
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about CBD. It’s been referred to as a “magical elixir” and the new “super food.” Many people are intrigued by knowing it’s a “non-toxicant” that’s “non-psychoactive” and doesn’t get you “high.” Only one of those three assumptions are actually true. So let’s review…
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the know 113 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is a naturally occurring substance that has significant medical and mental health benefits and is now being thought to best treat various ailments.
CBD can reduce the psychoactive effects of cannabis. A strain that has high THC and high CBD will have fewer mental effects and more physical ones. High CBD strains are especially effective for illnesses with strong physical symptoms.
CBD effects include:
- reduced pain
- reduced anxiety
- reduced nausea
- sedative effects
- arrests the spread of cancer
If you want to learn more about CBD, check out 11 Misconceptions About CBD.
HOW CBD EFFECS THE BDOY
Understanding how CBD effects human physiology is continuing to be researched and understood. What we now know is that THC and CBD have similar molecular structures but CBD doesn’t stimulate brain and central nervous system receptors (CB1 receptors) the same way THC does. Stimulation of the CB1 can deliver many therapeutic benefits but it also creates a “high”effect. THC binds to receptors while CBD does not.
“What people should think of, is that the primary intoxicating molecule in cannabis is THC.” Dr. Ethan Russo, the Director of Research and Development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, Has been quoted trying to set the record straight.
Both elements, however, have a psychoactive effect on the body. The results or effects of their activity is different.
“Very simply stated, what is clear about CBD is that it must be considered psychoactive because of its ability to act as an anti-anxiety agent and an anti-psychotic agent,” Russo continued. “It is not intoxicating in the way THC is, it does not produce a high, nor does it produce any raving or withdrawal effects.”
CBD AND STIGMA
Cannabis has been adversely stigmatized due its psychoactive effects that have not made a distinction between the use of its different elements. New users are curious about the benefits of cannabis and/or CBD but are concerned about what they’d heard about getting “high” and addiction.
Zach Walsh a professor and researcher of cannabis and mental health at the University of British Columbia has been quoted saying that “[CBD] doesn’t create a euphoric high. It doesn’t create cognitive alterations that are obvious or overt.”
CBD AND ADDICTION
Getting “high” isn’t the only concern of curious consumers, addiction carry its own constellation of questions. Those in sobriety are concerned that using CBD will break their sobriety and trigger their addiction.
Research has shown that cannabis can ben addictive for a minority of people (9%). Research like Russo claim “…it has no drug abuse liability that’s been observed.”
Research points to cannabis being non-addictive. Using cannabis and/or CBD will have health consequences for some users.
“People like simple explanations,” said Russo. “But anything about cannabis deserves paragraphs, not single phrases.”
About Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.
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