Fads come and go in the health and wellness industry. In the past few years, the mainstream has cycled through countless trends, like the ketogenic diet, turmeric, and kombucha. The latest trend is CBD.
Whenever these products come to market, so do questions. It’s natural to wonder whether it is safe, what are the benefits, and what it feels like. We are here to answer all those questions and more.
Our goal is to provide an informative overview of CBD and what you can expect when using it. We want you to make an informed decision when it comes to your health. Here is everything you need to know about CBD.
CBD is short for cannabidiol. Specifically, it is one of 113 cannabinoids unique to the cannabis plant. While it does affect the brain, the compound is not psychoactive and, therefore, CBD does not create a “high” sensation.
Research shows CBD can impact a range of experiences, such as appetite, anxiety, and pain. Today, it is still unclear how the compound works.
The scientific understanding, up to this point, is that cannabinoids influence receptors primarily in the endocannabinoid system. The human body also produces cannabinoids on its own and has CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead of directly attaching to these receptors, CBD stimulates the body to produce more of its own cannabinoids.
CBD is found in all forms of the cannabis plant—hemp and marijuana—depending on THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol levels, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, also known as “weed.” Growers who have plants with less than 0.3 percent THC are legally allowed to call it hemp. Hemp is also the primary source of CBD oil.
On that note, it’s important to recognize that hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil. Likewise, CBD can be made from marijuana or hemp. All three options feel different and have different health goals. The most popular of these options—thanks to its effectiveness and legality—is hemp-based CBD.
The information presented here primarily focuses on how hemp-based CBD products make you feel, which may differ from marijuana-based CBD.
THC and CBD have many similarities. For instance, they have the same chemical formula – 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference, however, is how the compound is arranged.
The structural differences lead to distinct results. One of the most consequential is that THC has psychoactive effects, while CBD does not. As a result, THC users will feel “high” as the compound actives the parts of the brain with the most receptors. Some of the common effects of THC include:
On the other hand, CBD works to generate feelings of well-being and has no psychoactive effects. CBD works on parts of the central and peripheral nervous system, which control pain sensation, inflammatory response, and sleep. It can also lead to a mood uptick because it releases anandamide, otherwise known as the “bliss molecule.”
The million-dollar question is, “what does CBD feel like?” The answer: it depends. Many compounding factors impact the feel and effects of CBD oil. CBD effects are subtle. In fact, they are more nuanced than alcohol or THC. This characteristic makes it challenging to describe the impact. Plus, everyone has a unique reaction, and reactions can vary by dosage, CBD quality, type, and more.
One common analogy used to describe what CBD feels like is that it’s like a small glass of wine or a massage. CBD users will feel positive and relaxed without being intoxicated or inhibited. These feelings may contribute to a lowered sense of anxiety or edginess.
Of course, CBD can have side effects and impact the medicines you take. If you have any concerns about taking CBD, you should consult with a doctor first. Here are some of the possible side effects of CBD:
Some of these side effects may be related to what method of ingestion is used. For instance, a 2015 study suggested that diarrhea may be a side effect of CBD carrier oils rather than the CBD itself. In this regard, the dosage taken would also play a role.
How quickly you’ll feel CBD’s effects varies by the ingestion method of the CBD product you purchase but can range from 10 minutes to several hours. This timeframe encompasses the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of the cannabinoids into your bloodstream.
The magnitude of the impact will depend on your medication, health, diet, and the potency of the CBD product used.
Your weight can change how quickly CBD affects you, as well. Larger individuals generally have slower metabolisms and more mass to dilute the CBD concentration. Therefore, a 200-pound individual would require a significantly larger dose than someone half their weight if they wanted to use CBD to treat insomnia.
The explosion in CBDs’ popularity is far ahead of the scientific evidence. While many of the claims may be 100 percent valid, they don’t have the factual grounding that comes from rigorous clinical testing. Still, these are some of the potential benefits of CBD.
The odds are if there is one reason to try CBD, it is for the improved relaxation. According to research, 55 percent of CBD users take CBD in an attempt to relax, and there is some scientific evidence to back up this belief. Researchers speculate that it stems from the reaction of cannabinoids within the brain and nervous system. CBD works like a dimmer switch to gradually set the mind and body at ease.
There is evidence that CBD, as well as THC, can limit feelings of nausea. The National Cancer Institute encourages the use of licensed and approved CBD treatments, such as dronabinol, for chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting. When researchers tested CBD for treatment is nausea, they found it performed better than leading treatments.
Furthermore, CBD does not lead to statistically meaningful weight gain, even though patients report improved appetites. As a result, dronabinol has been used to stimulate appetite improvement in AIDS patients since the 1980s. The drug has also been used to treat appetite problems related to HIV and anorexia.
Laboratory studies suggest CBD can act as an antidepressant. One study involved Brazilian scientists injecting mice with one of three doses: CBD, a placebo, or imipramine, which is a prescription antidepressant. The scientists then placed mice in containers of water and forced them to tread water for six minutes.
This process measures the efficacy of antidepressants through what is known as the behavioral despair test. The goal is to see when the mice would give in to despair and stop swimming. The study concluded that “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine.”
The most studied benefit of CBD is related to its inhibition of chronic pain. There is evidence showing that cannabinoids affect the brain to reduce pain sensation and inflammation. Similarly, several studies with human subjects found CBD and THC together can treat pain associated with multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
One study saw rats experience lowered pain response during surgery after CBD injections. Another study found rats that receive oral CBD tablets have less sciatic nerve pain and swelling. When it comes to humans, a 58-person trial found significant improvements in movement and pain tolerance after patients with rheumatoid arthritis took CBD.
One of the most popular CBD claims is that it reduces anxiety. This evidence is mostly anecdotal, which means that while it may be true, there isn’t conclusive evidence. One of the complicating factors is that marijuana-derived CBD can make users more susceptible to anxiety.
A 2010 study found that CBD can reduce symptoms associated with a social anxiety disorder. The researchers looked at patients’ brains to measure the differences in blood flow that correspond with anxiety. A 2011 study founded similar results. People who had CBD or the placebo had significantly lower SPIN (Social Phobia Inventory) scores than their counterparts.
CBD can improve focus levels because it allows more serotonin to the brain. Serotonin is an essential neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior. In this case, the higher flow reduces levels of anxiety, which is known to hinder focus. Likewise, CBD can aid the attention of individuals with ADHD.
This process is why many people report being in a better mood after taking CBD. A 2017 study had participants take CBD over a period ranging from one month to a year. All 15 participants reported an improvement in their mood as a result of CBD treatment.
Many of the claims regarding CBD circle around the treatment of chronic pain and anxiety, but it may also have direct health benefits, too. One study looked at the correlation between CBD usage and complications from diabetes.
Researchers administered CBD to mice who had less blood flow to their brain, which is a common side effect of diabetes. The mice who received CBD ended up having lower cholesterol, hyperglycemia, and “bad fat levels.” They also saw an increase in insulin production.
Like any drug, CBD has the potential to induce adverse side effects. While it is safe to consume, users may not get the intended reaction, especially if the CBD product is tainted or impure. Here are a couple of potential drawbacks.
CBD can impact the ability to produce saliva because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body. This inhibition results in a feeling of dry mouth or “cottonmouth.” The condition is temporary and can cause mild discomfort.
Understanding dry mouth involves the function of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are responsible for producing saliva in the mouth, and a 2006 study showed that when CBD activates them, it can alter the amount of spit they produce and can contribute to feelings of thirst.
Mixing CBD with other drugs can be problematic because it impacts enzyme production. Specifically, it inhibits the creation of cytochrome P450. Cytochrome P450 is a type of liver enzyme that breaks down toxins and drugs.
When consuming CBD, users will not be readily able to metabolize these products. As a result, other medications being taken may become less effective or lose their effectiveness sooner. If you have any questions or concerns about mixing CBD with current medicines, make sure to contact your physician.
Biphasic drugs can have different effects on the body, depending on their concentration in the blood. CBD is a biphasic drug, in addition to caffeine, opiates, and caffeine. The complication is that CBD can have opposite effects depending on the concentration.
Low doses of CBD can contribute to a sense of alertness and elevated energy levels. Conversely, high levels of CBD can cause drowsiness or calmness. The biphasic characteristics of CBD can make it challenging to gauge the effects of the drug accurately.
The boring, but true answer, is that it depends. Whether you are a first-time user or a veteran, understanding the effects of CBD and your tolerance will make a significant difference in the overall experience. Additionally, because CBD does not have a fixed serving size and isn’t regulated by the FDA, there is no recommended standard dosage.
The first thing to know is that not all CBD is equal. Individual doses can be more or less potent, depending on the overall cannabinoid content. Other factors can also influence serving size, like body weight, body chemistry, and medical conditions.
CBD does not have a one size fits all approach. As a result, you may have to experiment to find the proper dosage for you. Of course, it is better to be conservative with your initial trials to minimize potential side effects.
The best way to measure CBD dosage is to compare it to your body weight. The rule of thumb is that you should take one to six milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, 15 to 90 milligrams per serving is appropriate.
It’s always best to start at the lower end of that range, gradually increasing the dosage until you feel the desired effects. When in doubt, use a dosage calculator as a guide.
Over time, you may also need to increase the dosage. Your body will become more tolerant of the CBD, and, based on your reactions and medications, it may be in your best interest to take more. Taking more CBD is a gradual process and should come with consistent monitoring.
These measuring techniques require precise numbers, which is a little harder with CBD tincture or vaporizers. While there is nothing wrong with using either product, if you want the most accurate dosage, make sure to take CBD tablets.
You may also find tablets more palatable. CBD can have a strong, earthy, and sometimes bitter flavor that not everyone enjoys. However, there are also pros and cons of each ingestion method.
A year ago, you would be forgiven for not knowing what CBD was. Today, it is everywhere. Many people purchase it through a licensed retailer, like NuLeaf Naturals, Fab CBD, or Lazarus Naturals. CBD is also available in foods, creams, cosmetics, candles, vitamins, lubricants, extracts, supplements, smoothies, oils, and more.
It is borderline impossible to say why so many people are turning to CBD. At the simplest level, it could be that it is an effective and relaxing product that comes with few side effects. Users don’t have to worry about a mind-altering state. Instead, they can experience the same soothing sensation they would feel after a yoga or meditation quickly.
Many others take the benefits one step further. They see CBD as a source of anxiety relief and a more balanced lifestyle. Additionally, it may take care of pain, swelling, and other ailments.
CBD also offers a solution that does not come with the malaise of typical side effects. While it is possible to have an unfavorable experience, more often than not, people find the non-toxic and natural compounds do their job. The rise of CBD could mark a lack of faith in traditional institutions or medicines, in favor of new ones, too.
Using CBD is a personal choice. While many people take it as a way to treat pain or medical ailments, you don’t need these prerequisites. You can enjoy the benefits of CBD on a purely recreational level.
Deciding when to take CBD will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, people that use it as a sleeping aid should take an oral supplement a few hours before bed. Those individuals who want anxiety or pain reduction should take CBD one to three times per day with potential topical applications as a supplement. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions on how to get the best possible results with CBD use.
We hope this has answered all of your questions about CBD, including “what does CBD feel like?”