From Reefer Madness to Pineapple Express and 420 - The Documentary to CBD Nation, cannabis has long been in the pop culture spotlight. But the public perception about cannabis, its uses, and its effects has been inconsistent, to say the least. Even now that marijuana has been legal for several years in many states and CBD is legal and widely-used in most, it’s not too surprising many people are still unsure or apprehensive about trying cannabis or cannabis extracts.
On the other hand, since the Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal in 2018, more people than ever are trying cannabis products. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 14% of American adults said they use CBD. And many are finding this natural health supplement to be a safe, effective solution to an array of ailments, from chronic pain and arthritis to anxiety and insomnia.
For many who’ve yet to try CBD, past negative experiences with marijuana stop them. And understandably so. For some, smoking marijuana at a college party, for example, may have led to a nausea-inducing Doritos, pizza, and Cap’n Crunch binge with a dollop of paranoia and brain fog.
No one wants that.
Fortunately, there’s much more publically-available (and research-based) information now to guide cannabis newbies and prevent a straight-up no-good time. Even better, you can get many of the medicinal effects of marijuana without any of the “high” in CBD.
So how does CBD make you feel? It depends on a few things.
How CBD Makes You Feel
Like pretty much anything, CBD affects everyone a bit differently. However, many people have similar experiences, particularly when using a similar type of product.
In addition to the physical inflammation-and-pain-reducing effects of CBD, most people report feeling calm and relaxed. Many also say they can focus better and more effectively handle situations that might usually trigger stress or anxiety. Basically, instead of the sense of euphoria you can get from THC, CBD usually produces more of a heightened sense of well-being, awareness, and clarity.
While CBD can positively affect most people, some don’t feel anything. But this is often a result of a subpar product or an improper dosage.
Depending on the kind of product you take, such as oils, topical ointments, edibles, or capsules, and factors such as your metabolism and weight, you may feel the results immediately or within 20 minutes to an hour. Typically, topical ointments produce effects (such as pain reduction) quickly, while edibles and capsules take longer.
The feeling you get will also depend on the kind of CBD you’re taking.
Hemp-Derived Vs. Marijuana-Derived
CBD can be extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant, both of which are varieties of cannabis. Its molecular structure is identical either way. However, because the hemp plant contains little or no THC and the marijuana plant contains quite a bit, CBD oils extracted from hemp typically have 0.3% THC or less. This is the maximum amount federally legal under the Farm Bill. With this trace amount of THC, you will not feel any of the intoxicating effects that occur at higher doses.
Marijuana-derived CBD typically has much more THC than its hemp-derived counterpart, though marijuana-derived products can still contain more CBD than THC, depending on the strain. These products are only available in states where marijuana is legal.
CBD and THC have a synergistic relationship, which is why taking them together can yield even better results than taking CBD alone. This phenomenon is known as the “entourage effect.” Essentially, CBD works better when surrounded by its support network. The same type of effect occurs when you take full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oils instead of CBD isolates. You’ll reap the benefits of CBD and other terpenes and cannabinoids (even if, as with broad-spectrum CBD, THC is not included).
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the naturally-available compounds, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant. This includes cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), THC, and CBD.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is exclusively derived from hemp. It’s similar to full-spectrum and contains an array of cannabinoids and terpenes. The big difference is it has no THC. You’ll still reap the benefits of the entourage effect to an extent, just without the potential perks of THC.
The other option is CBD isolate. This is the least potent variety and, as the name suggests, contains CBD alone without any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Usually, it consists of about 99% CBD. While it may be less potent, it can still be the extraction of choice for some conditions.
CBD has a very low risk of adverse side effects. A 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research concluded CBD has a “favorable safety profile,” and even the World Health Organization has confirmed CBD is quite safe.
But like just about anything in life, there is some risk involved.
The most common side effects are sleepiness, sedation, and lethargy, which might be positive if you are taking CBD for insomnia, but not so much if you’re taking it for other purposes. Other potential side effects include decreased appetite, elevated liver enzymes, diarrhea, nausea, and irritability. Also, while CBD can help some other supplements and medications work better, it may interfere with others. Before you try CBD or any supplement, talk with your doctor to get the all-clear.