Why Doesn’t CBD Get You High Like THC?
By 2027, it’s projected that the global CBD market will top 57 billion USD. In just a matter of years, CBD treatments, such as tinctures, oils, and teas, have become one of the most quickly popularized health remedies of the twenty first century.
Despite all the positive mainstream press and research surrounding the treatment, some still walk away with the misconception that CBD is indistinguishable from THC. Many are worried that taking it will make them feel the classic marijuana high or will cause them to fail drug tests.
Surprisingly, not only does CBD not cause any psychoactive or euphoric effects – it can even counteract the high caused by substances like THC. Many want to know why and how CBD works in a way that is distinct from THC.
How is CBD Different From THC?
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid that naturally occurs in strains of cannabis and hemp seeds, stems, and flowers. Though THC and CBD are both technically cannabinoids, their physiological effect on the user is distinct.
Both THC and CBD interact with different groups of receptors in the brain, gut, immune system, and peripheral nervous system. These receptors are classified under the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, which is involved in regulating many aspects of physical and mental health.
In the brain, THC binds very strongly to CB-1 receptors in the lower to mid region of the prefrontal cortex. In this way, THC causes appreciable impacts on mood, cognition, memory, judgement, emotional reactivity, and appetite. Additionally, THC works to change the way that serotonin is transmitted in the brain, creating sensations of novelty, euphoria, or occasionally anxiety in some users.
On the other hand, CBD interacts with both the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors; however, it binds more weakly to CB-1 receptors than THC and doesn’t have as great a degree of influence over serotonin. CB-2 receptors are located in the immune system and peripheral nervous system, influencing sensations of physical pain, digestion, inflammation, and the immune response.
Unlike THC, CBD works to influence feelings of sober relaxation and drowsiness in addition to stabilizing the user’s mood. However, CBD also affects the physiological state of the body by potentially decreasing inflammation and the harmful autoimmune response.
In short, CBD and THC have a vastly different effect on the mental state of the user taking them due to the different ways they interact with receptor sites in the brain and body.
Users should keep in mind that if their CBD treatment contains trace amounts of THC that, while enough to cause any high, could result in a false positive on oral drug tests.