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Does CBD get you high? This is the question most people seem to have in mind these days. However, this is also an important matter to tackle considering that CBD offers medical benefits to its consumers.

But first, you need to understand how marijuana, hemp, and CBD differ from each other.

The taxonomic name for the cannabis plant is Cannabis sativa, which includes marijuana and hemp. Marijuana contains higher levels of cannabinoid and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than hemp. THC is the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Studies have revealed that cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids. THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the most notable. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Imagine CBD as the straight-edge cousin of THC. They are related, but they surely have differences.

Understanding cannabis and its components is more accessible today, thanks to the latest advancements in technology. It is now possible to determine how the specific components of marijuana act in our body. That being said, this is why taking CBD will not get you high.

“Cannabinoid” is the name given to any compound that interacts with the endocannabinoid system. They include the cannabinoids naturally found in both your body (endocannabinoids) and plants (phytocannabinoids). Your body is composed of receptors that are capable of interacting with cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. The endocannabinoid system is the catalyst behind the many medical benefits offered by CBD.

Your brain is composed of millions of receptors. THC is considered as an activator of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor. When you give cannabis to those with blocked receptors (blocked by another drug or an antagonist), cannabis will not get them high. In other words, the CB1 receptor is the main target to produce intoxication.

Researchers noticed an increased blood flow in the brain’s prefrontal cortex area during THC intoxication. This region is responsible for attention, decision making, and executive functions like motor skills.  There were also significant changes in pleasurable sensations and emotions.

On the other hand, saying CBD is non-psychoactive is not totally correct as any chemical that directly affects the brain’s function is considered psychoactive. However, CBD is not intoxicating. Instead of activating the CB1 receptor, CBD does the opposite and interferes with its activity, especially when THC is present.

However, the role of CBD does not inhibit the THC activity in the CB1 receptor only. CBD also activates other receptors, including the adenosine, serotonin, and vanilloid receptors. They are known to play a role in reducing anxiety, depression, and pain, respectively. Studies have also found CBD to be an effective treatment against seizures and patients with epilepsy.

Perhaps you are wondering: is it safe?

There are more and more studies being conducted about CBD, including its medical benefits and potential side effects. In December 2017, the World Health Organization stated that “cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” The WHO also noted its potential “therapeutic value” against epileptic seizures, although a more in-depth study is needed. In addition, Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based drug for epileptic seizures, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year. This is the first marijuana-derived drug that the agency has approved.

The FDA has warned companies that are falsely marketing and making unrealistic claims about CBD, including that it is a cure for cancer.

It cannot be denied that CBD products have grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, in 2017, consumer sales reached a staggering $350 million in the United States alone. The market for CBD products is predicted to hit the $2 billion mark in the next 2 to 5 years.