As CBD continues its meteoric rise, it’s no surprise to see it finally popping across the high street and the mainstream media. One of the most common statements you have likely come across is that “CBD is non-psychoactive.” But is CBD really non-psychoactive? The short answer to this question is no! CBD is actually psychoactive so why is it commonly purported as non-psychoactive? And why is there so much confusion over the topic? We explore this and exactly why it is psychoactive below..

What does psychoactive really mean?

To get to the bottom of this once and for all first we need to understand what psychoactive means. According to Merrian Webster Dictionary the word psychoactive is defined as “affecting the mind or behaviour.” So does CBD affect the mind or behaviour?

CBD does not provide a high unlike the other famous cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It does however clearly have an affect on the mind by improving mood, dulling pain and dissolving anxiety. This is evidently a psychoactive effect as it has the ability to change how we feel.

Further proof of CBD’s psychoactivity is found in its ability to cross the blood brain barrier. It does so to interact with cannabinoid receptors (CB1) in our central nervous system, for example when taken with THC, CBD can actually reduce the high. It does this by occupying the cannabinoid receptors making them unavailable for THC thus reducing the high.

How CBD affects the mind

While CBD does not produce a high, any obvious cognitive alterations or withdrawal effects, it can affect our mind. For example cannabinoids such as CBD have the ability to activate cannabinoid receptors across the body and in the central nervous system. In doing so it can promote a response of relieved anxiety, improved pain, mood and more. With this said perhaps it is better to describe CBD as non-intoxicating as opposed to non-impairing.

CBD doesn’t just activate our cannabinoid receptors however, research has shown that it also activates other pathological systems in the body. For instance CBD has been found to interact our 5-HT receptors, the receptors responsible for producing serotonin. Perhaps this is why so many CBD users report such improvements in mood. It can also interact with our TRPV1 receptors among up to 60 other molecular pathways within the body.

Moreover CBD, in the form of Epidiolex, is available as an anti-epileptic medication. This medicine is used to treat two specific kinds of treatment resistant, infantile epilepsy – Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome. Any substance with the ability to stop seizures is clearly affecting the mind therefore by definition, CBD is psychoactive.

Close up of a brain with activated receptors with a zoom in on an operating cannabinoid receptor in blue with purple background

Why the confusion?

With even the big brands making this mistake you are forgiven for being a little confused. Let’s be honest learning CBD is confusing enough at times without misinformation like this.. Even googling “is CBD psychoactive” will bring up contradicting answers so its no surprise there is confusion. Luckily we are here to continue dispelling cannabis related myths and keep you on the right track. There are a number of potential reasons a company may use the misnomer that “CBD is non-psychoactive.”

Perhaps some companies are confusing the term psychoactive with psychotropic. They are very similar in both appearance and definition after all. While both psychoactive and psychotropic describe how a substance changes the way we think and feel, psychotropic pertains to drugs which affect perception and behaviour. CBD of course is not psychotropic but you could forgive someone for mixing these two up.

Equally plausible is that CBD has been labelled non-psychoactive in the clamour to differentiate CBD from the stigmatised THC. Due to the mind altering effects of THC, it has been subject to some sensational negative press over the past one hundred years. With that in mind it is no surprise that serious CBD businesses want to distance themselves from that stigma.

CBD is psychoactive

Whatever the reason for this misnomer, it is quite clear that CBD is indeed psychoactive. This may seem like a small technicality but we believe that given how the cannabis plant has been subject to some of the most sinister misinformation in history, it is our responsibility as industry pioneers to move the industry forward in the most transparent way possible. This means using correct terminology and avoiding misnomers such as CBD is non-psychoactive because it is incorrect. CBD, as demonstrated above is indeed psychoactive.

If you would like to experience the therapeutic and psychoactive qualities of CBD for yourself, why not browse our store? We have an extensive selection of CBD oil, capsules, skincare, vape goods and more. Or if you have any questions around CBD or would like to learn more contact us or explore our CBD blog for a series of beginner guides and articles.

Want to know more about CBD?

If you’ve enjoyed this post you may like to read more about the science of CBD. Here are some of our most popular posts on Learning CBD.

Alternatively check out our other blog categories to learn all about – Using CBD | Buying CBD

Any questions?

We would love to help if you have any questions around this topic. Let us know by dropping us an email or comment on one of our social channels. We will endeavour to get back to you asap but while you wait the answer to your query may lie in our CBD FAQs.

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