Why CBD helps to make you less high
Smoking cannabis induces an intense psychoactive experience that for most people is very enjoyable, providing they were in a comfortable psychological state beforehand. However, sometimes, the effects of cannabis can be distinctly unpleasant, triggering waves of anxiety and paranoia that makes a trip feel like a nightmare. Ultimately, all of these effects are in the mind and we’ll eventually be fine again, but it can be a horrible thing to go through.
The good news is that there is a way to alleviate the side effects of a bad cannabis session by essentially resetting the chemical balance in you body. Somewhat ironically, this comes from harnessing the therapeutic value of the totally non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. In that sense, CBD is the antithesis of the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabinoid.
How CBD suppresses the psychoactive effects of cannabis
The recreational cannabis which most people consume today is far more potent than that which was used by ancient cultures thousands of years ago, and even that your parents may have smoked back in the 1960s and 70s. There are two reasons for this: the growing percentage of active THC in a strain, and the declining quantities of CBD.
It became possible to start strengthening cannabis when researchers first isolated these two compounds in the 1960s, and began to understand their specific effects. Once growers knew that THC caused the herb’s psychoactive effects and could measure percentages of it, they started to cross-breed strains with the sole intention of boosting the THC content.
Our knowledge of cannabinoids was practically zero until midway through the 20th century, and the next big leap in cannabinoid science didn’t come until the 1990s, which was when the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered. Finding the ECS has helped to show us how CBD produces its therapeutic effects, a it’s not an agonist of the CB1 or CB2 receptors, but a regulator of the ECS as a whole.
THC is a psychoactive compound because of the potent effect it has an agonist, or activator of the CB1 receptor, which is found ubiquitously throughout the central nervous system. CB1 receptor agonists are regulators of mood, appetite and pain sensitivity. In stark contrast, CBD is a CB1 receptor antagonist, or blocker. Therefore, when CBD interacts with a THC molecule that is latched onto a CB1 receptor, it suppresses overall activity and reduces the “high” being experienced.
More on CBD’s antipsychotic effects
CBD’s effect as a CB1 receptor antagonist and also negative allosteric modulator is the focus of antipsychotic drug researchers, who are looking for new therapeutic options for patients. The hope is that CBD can be as effective as existing antipsychotic drugs are for the likes of schizophrenia and psychosis, without causing harsh side effects.
It’s almost amusing that a cannabis extract is being touted as a future treatment for any mental illness, not least for conditions as severe as those mentioned, since one of the most prominent arguments for keeping the plant prohibited is the detrimental effect it can have on mental health.
How to reduce a high using CBD
As a cannabis “high” subsides after around three hours if you smoked and six hours if you took an edible, any CBD product being used for its calming effects needs to start working rapidly. Hence, smoking and vaping are the standout consumption methods. High-CBD strains or a wholesale CBD vape oil will begin to reduce your high after a couple of minutes.
Non-smoking cannabis users probably won’t want to start vaping now, so would be better off with a CBD tincture oil. These work more quickly than orally-consumed products as the CBD doesn’t have to be digested, rather it passes into the bloodstream via mouth tissues. Give it around 10 to 15 minutes for the CBD to start producing its relaxing effects. Hold the oil under the tongue as long as possible to maximize the benefits of the tincture. Not everybody likes the earthy flavor of the oil, so keep a full glass of water on hand to wash down the taste afterwards.
With cannabis going legal in more US states and countries, the number of recreational users is set to increase over the next few years, and they’ll be sampling a different, stronger kind of pot. Therefore, it’s vital to spread awareness on how the plant affects the body, and how it’s possible to naturally manage the strength of a high with wholesale CBD products.