Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for farmers to grow hemp all across the United States, CBD products have flooded the market for herbal medications. Thanks to its many beneficial properties, CBD oil enjoys an ever-growing demand. Research into CBD shows that it is effective at treating inflammation, seizures, and anxiety.
But just as CBD products have grown in popularity, so have the rumors surrounding them. Can CBD make you high? Is it addictive? To settle that issue once and for all, here is everything you need to know about CBD and its safety.
CBD and THC: How Are They Different?
Both CBD and THC are compounds found in cannabis. However, of the two, only THC can make you high. CBD does not have any psychoactive properties whatsoever.
These compounds affect the human body via the endocannabinoid system. THC stimulates the nervous system when it interacts with the CB1 receptors in your body. This response is what gives marijuana its intoxicating properties.
On the other hand, CBD is the complete opposite. It can slow down the response of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system. For this reason, CBD is often recommended to help with anxiety. It is even included in epilepsy meds to relax overactive nervous systems and prevent seizures.
Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana
Cannabis is the name of the plant, while hemp and marijuana are different strains of it. Marijuana contains THC, CBD, and other compounds.
Hemp, on the other hand, has at most 0.3% THC, which is not enough to produce a high. In other words, hemp and hemp-derived products have no mind-altering effects.
Farming Cannabis Around the World
As mentioned above, it is legal to grow hemp everywhere in the United States. Moreover, several states have also legalized marijuana, and so farmers there can farm both plants.
However, the United States is not the only country opening up to cannabis. While the European Union is still having doubts about marijuana, hemp is legal to farm in all member states. The EU defines hemp as cannabis with 0.2% THC or less.
Canada is taking a more progressive stance, legalizing both hemp and marijuana in 2018. The southern neighbor of the United States, Mexico, is currently open to cannabis for medical purposes only. The situation with cannabis is similar in Brazil and Chile.
Cannabis and Addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a dangerous condition that affects the brain’s reward system. Simply put, addicts associate the drug they are abusing with positive feelings, developing a strong need for that substance.
Neither CBD nor THC has the same effect — they are not addictive. A 2017 8-week study confirmed this. The researchers divided the test subjects into two groups. They gave some people CBD only, while others took CBD and smoked marijuana during the study. The amount of CBD also varied, with some patients receiving placebo pills. The researchers concluded that none of the test subjects were abusing the dosage or developing an addiction.
While cannabis is not addictive, users may develop a dependency on marijuana, also known as Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). The symptoms of CUD are not as severe as those of addiction. People with CUD usually suffer from moodiness, insomnia, and a lack of appetite when they stop using marijuana.
You are not at risk of developing an addiction when using CBD products. However, it is possible to develop CUD, especially if you use products with a high concentration of THC.
The Source of CBD Matters
Using hemp-derived CBD is the safest choice if you want to avoid CUD. Research shows that CBD is pretty harmless in daily doses of up to 1,500mg. CBD did not produce any harmful physical or psychological effects in test subjects, even at high doses. Its ability to balance the nervous system is what makes it so mild.
However, beware of CBD oil that comes from states where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use. Farmers from those states likely grow both strains of cannabis. The CBD oil they produce might not be entirely THC-free due to cross-contamination.
Marijuana-derived CBD oil is also not entirely safe due to its higher THC concentration. Using CBD products that contain more than 0.3% of THC can potentially cause Cannabis Use Disorder.
Nevertheless, studies have found that CBD and THC work quite well together. Despite the risk of CUD, combination oils might be more effective at treating pain and anxiety, which is known as the entourage effect.
Rather than Causing It, CBD Treats Addiction
Different studies have found that CBD can help patients overcome cannabis withdrawal. One patient’s symptoms lessened after being treated with CBD for ten days.
A bigger study also found that CBD might be useful for treating cannabis dependence and, potentially, other forms of substance abuse. For example, a clinical trial in 2013 found that CBD helped treat cigarette addiction. CBD also had a similar effect on alcohol and cocaine addiction, though that study was performed with rats. A different study from 2019 showed that CBD also helps treat heroin addiction.
Are There Any Negative Effects of CBD Oil?
As established above, CBD oil is not addictive, and might even help you fight your dependency on harmful substances.
Still, like any other active ingredient, CBD has a list of possible side effects. Most commonly, these include:
- A lack of appetite
- Loose bowels
- A dry mouth
The most significant adverse effect of CBD is that it may increase liver toxicity. CBD affects the work of enzymes in your body. It may cause unmetabolized medication to build up in the body. As a result, your body might store a dangerous amount of any other drug you are taking. Be especially careful if you are taking blood thinners and CBD.
Aside from these possible side effects, CBD remains generally safe for use. Moreover, the risks associated with CBD products pale in comparison with the long list of their health benefits.