While we have previously discussed whether CBD will get you high or not, the question of whether CBD is psychoactive is a little trickier to answer. While CBD will not give you the traditional high associated with cannabis, it can have an effect on your mood, emotions and mind. However, does that actually make it psychoactive?
A quick check of the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “Psychoactive” rather simplistically as “affecting the mind”, so yes, we can conclude that CBD is technically psychoactive based on those rather broad parameters.
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So What Makes CBD Different from Cannabis?
As mentioned, CBD does not provide the mind-altering “high” that you might typically associate with cannabis usage. It is actually the THC contained inside the plant that gives cannabis users the high or euphoric feeling that makes cannabis so famous.
Because of this key difference, CBD is not generally considered to be psychoactive amongst users or medical professionals and for this reason, CBD is not used as a recreational drug.
However, CBD users will generally experience some effects on their brain and their mood. For this reason, some medical professionals are now arguing that CBD is, in fact, psychoactive, even if you won’t get a sudden case of the munchies from your latest dose of CBD oil.
How CBD Affects the Brain
While research into CBD and all it’s possible benefits have increased dramatically in recent months and years, so much more needs to be done for us to achieve a full understanding of how CBD affects our brain.
Still, with research steadily increasing as well as the ever-growing body of shared user testimony, more and more people are beginning to believe that CBD could provide some genuine relief to the millions who suffer from anxiety, depression or a variety of other illnesses and syndromes.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at some of the different ways in which CBD can actually affect our brains and our bodies:
More and more studies are now beginning to reveal that CBD could well provide a potential treatment for millions of people who are suffering from depression.
Depression is one of the biggest problems in the US today, with millions of Americans now seeking help through traditional treatments like Prozac. And while some antidepressants do prove effective for many, for many others, they simply do not. Additional side effects often prove painful or downright debilitating for the individual patient, marking a need for a safe alternative.
A 2016 study indicated that CBD causes a rapid increase in serotonin, the same compound targeted by antidepressants. In other words, a potential alternative to antidepressants is now emerging in the shape of CBD.
Another study also revealed that CBD may also help to prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids, which in turn may help to boost your mood.
Increasingly, we are seeing a growing number of people turning to CBD as an alternative for their depression, but given the scale of this industry, it will be a huge challenge for CBD to gain the acceptance it deserves in this particular sphere of health treatment.
Like depression, more analysis is beginning to suggest that CBD may well provide a tremendous and rapid source of relief for sufferers of anxiety.
A 2015 study revealed that CBD oil is a promising potential treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
With so many people suffering from anxiety, wouldn’t it be incredible if CBD could really help to solve that issue? Just imagine; A world free of anxiety, where stress and worries become rare events and not something that plagues our daily lives. Sounds pretty good to me! While such ideals may sound starry-eyed, we must strive to live in a world where our collective anxiety is greatly reduced at the very least. In this area, CBD really does seem to excel and it is vital that an increased level of analysis focuses on this particular issue.
Further studies on human test cases also indicated that CBD performed well when used as a treatment for Schizophrenia, although much more testing and information needs to be collected before any solid conclusions can be reached on CBD’s overall effectiveness in this particular area.
Recent clinical trials have also revealed that CBD was successful when used as a treatment for epilepsy. Patients who added CBD to their existing treatments experienced a significant reduction of up to 50% in the number of seizures they were enduring on a daily basis. This particular treatment proved to be significantly beneficial in patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes (in children aged 2 or over). Both conditions are considered severe forms of epilepsy that are also highly resistant to many of the existing medical treatments.
These trials have found that CBD is a powerful anti-seizure medication, helping to quieten excitability in the brain.
Furthermore, the video evidence that showcases the remarkable and almost instantaneous recoveries from epileptic seizures are gaining more and more recognition. You can actually see some patients, in the midst of a seizure, recover in just a matter of moments following the consumption of just a few drops of CBD oil.
Now, the legalization of the first CBD treatment for epilepsy is on the verge of being approved by the FDA in a development that would seem to offer tremendous hope to the CBD industry.
CBD is Psychoactive, but...
So, while we can conclude that CBD doesn’t get you high, it is indeed somewhat psychoactive with the potential to make some really positive changes to your mind and brain.
However, when most people hear the word “psychoactive”, they will usually relate it to the feeling of getting high. While this is actually nothing more than a popular misconception, it has created a lot of confusion amongst those with a more limited knowledge.
A long-time cannabinoid researcher, Dr Ethan Russo, has suggested an alternative description for CBD to help remove the misunderstandings:
“More accurately, CBD should be preferably labelled as ‘non-intoxicating’, and lacking associated reinforcement, craving, compulsive use, etc., that would indicate a significant drug abuse liability.”
It certainly makes sense. While CBD is certainly not dangerous, it does indeed have an effect on our brain, which, as we learned earlier, makes it psychoactive by definition. Given the misconceptions and misunderstandings, it really would be ideal if CBD is instead recognized as “non-intoxicating” rather than “non-psychoactive”.
Clarity and understanding is the gateway to progress and while these minor misunderstandings may seem small on their face, it is vital for our future that we remove all the stigma and misinformation that still continue to plague the medical cannabis and CBD industries to this day.
Only then, will we recognize the incredible power of a plant that has been figuratively trodden on for far too long.