Cannabidiol is Psychoactive, so why does everyone say that it's not?
Updated: Feb 14, 2019
I can’t count the number of times I’ve read or heard the following phrase “Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis.” I know what people mean, but what they say and what they mean are completely different.
First let’s understand what the word psychoactive means.
Psychoactive, psy·cho·ac·tive [ˌsīkōˈaktiv] (adjective), Definition: (Chiefly of a drug) affecting the mind or mental processes.
CBD is 100% psychoactive. I know this because CBD is being investigated for a number of psychiatric disorders. From schizophrenia and substance use disorders to Autism and chronic pain. Studies show that CBD exhibits, antiepileptic, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic properties.
CBD also mitigates the psychoactive effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Some of the positive effects of CBD were actually discovered when the negative effects of THC were found to be more profound in strains of cannabis with low CBD content. This prompted investigators to see if CBD blocked the effects of THC. CBD doesn’t completely block the effects of THC (it’s not an antagonist). However, it dampens some of the negative effects (it’s what you call a negative allosteric modulator).
What people really mean when they say that CBD is non-psychoactive, is that CBD doesn’t produce euphoria. Euphoria is the feeling of being high. Euphoric effects and psychoactive effects are not synonymous.
If we’re going to have a scientific discussion about the benefits of cannabis we need to be on the same page with the language we use, we need a lingua franca. We need to be specific and we need to be accurate. Saying CBD is non-psychoactive isn’t specific because psychoactive can refer to a number of effects, positive or negative in nature, and it’s not accurate for the reasons discussed above.