After decades of being regarded with suspicion, positive attention has begun to color people’s perception…
Cannabidiol or CBD is getting a lot of attention right now as a natural remedy for pain and inflammation.
As CBD is a non-addictive substance, it’s considered a viable alternative for pain relievers such as opioids, which can be addictive and have other harmful side effects.
In this post, we’re going to look at five common questions about CBD and its effects and try to answer them.
1. What is CBD? Can it make me high?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of more than 100 chemical compounds collectively known as cannabinoids that are naturally produced by plants from the cannabis family.
Yes, you heard right, the cannabis family of which marijuana is a member. This fact is something that may give people pause when advised to take CBD for inflammation or pain relief.
CBD is found in a marijuana plant, but as we mentioned, it is one of MANY compounds produced by this plant. Another cannabinoid is what’s called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short.
Of all the cannabinoids, it is THC that has psychoactive properties. A psychoactive substance is one that can produce changes in brain function, resulting in alternations in mood, perception, consciousness and even behavior.
In short, it is the THC in marijuana and other cannabis plants that get you “high”. CBD may be found in the same plant as THC, but it does not have psychoactive properties.
2. Can I get addicted to CBD? Is it safe?
CBD does not have any addictive properties. This is a fact that is backed up by research from the World Health Organization. In 2017, they released a report where they said that extensive studies showed that CBD doesn’t have any “abuse or dependence potential”. Because of this, the WHO does not see any evidence that the use of CBD could cause public health-related problems.
Because CBD is non-addictive, you can’t overdose on it. Or at least, not fatally, like with opioids and sleeping pills. This is important because CBD is being touted as effective for both pain relief and insomnia.
The side effects of CBD are very mild, more uncomfortable then fatal. Taking too much CBD might result in diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue.
3. How is CBD used?
Most therapeutic use of CBD entails getting the compound into your blood stream, usually orally or through your skin.
A component of any CBD product is CBD oil. This oil is extracted from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis family but different from the marijuana plant.
Incidentally, just in case you’re still worried about “getting high”, there is very little THC found in the hemp plant. Of the cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, THC makes up 17% while in the hemp plant, it amounts to less than 0.3%.
Conversely, CBD consists of around 12-18% of the cannabinoids found in a Hemp plant. This large concentration of CBD is why Hemp is the preferred plant to extract CBD oil from.
This oil can be used either on its own or mixed into other products. You can put a few drops of CBD oil onto your skin and rub it in to get it into your bloodstream. Another popular way to use this oil is in CBD cream for pain relief. This is basically a cream with CBD oil which you can rub into sore muscles.
CBD oil can also be mixed into food, to create CBD edibles like gummies or cookies. The oil can be ingested in pill and capsule form as well. CBD pills are taken daily for anxiety and stress relief and can help with insomnia.
4. What health problems can CBD help with?
The most common reasons to use CBD is for pain and inflammation relief. It is also used to relieve anxiety and depression. It is also considered a way to treat insomnia.
The most medically recognized use of CBD is to prevent or reduce epileptic seizures in children. It’s proven to be effective, even in children who are resistant to other anti-seizure drugs.
The use of CBD is also rising among cancer patients. CBD has been used successfully to mitigate cancer-related pain. It can also help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatments such as nausea and dizziness.
5. Does CBD and alcohol consumption mix?
One rather controversial way to take CBD is through alcoholic beverages. Some alcohol manufacturers have released lines of CBD-infused drinks such as shots or even beers.
Those who say that you can mix CBD and alcohol believe it amplifies some of the good effects of CBD. Alcohol can make you feel relaxed and CBD is supposed to relax you as well in ways that can reduce anxiety and stress. Combining the relaxing effects of these two substances can make both of them more effective.
Conversely, however, these substances can amplify some negative effects as well. Taking alcohol and CBD can impair motor performance and alter your perception of time. Take note, on its own, CBD doesn’t do that.
There is also some evidence, however, that CBD can protect you from the side effects of alcohol.
Since excessive alcohol consumption causes inflammation and damage to cells and CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, it could protect you from this effect of alcohol. However, all current study about this is animal-based. There has been no definitive study that shows that CBD can prevent damage to cells due to alcohol in humans.
Some researchers also think that CBD might help people who are trying to quit drinking or who have alcohol use disorders. This is because animal studies have shown that CBD can reduce symptoms of addiction and withdrawal for reduced alcohol intake. There have also been a few human studies where people who were trying to quit smoking found taking CBD helpful in reducing “cravings”.
There is no definitive proof that you can’t mix CBD and alcohol, however, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution here. Whether your drink has CBD or not, drink moderately and don’t drive.