Weed’s intoxicating mental high is due to one of cannabis’ 133 active chemical compounds called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short). But while THC has the party boy reputation for increasing euphoria — and appetite — it also has a relaxed, non-intoxicating little sister called cannabidiol (or CBD) that is often prescribed to reduce chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation and seizures.
With the legalization of recreational marijuana in eight U.S. states and medical marijuana in 29, now’s a good time to take a closer look at pot with higher CBD levels and the ways it can benefit people who dislike the disorientation, fatigue and anxiety sometimes associated with typical marijuana.
Does weed cause anxiety? Not exactly.
While marijuana doesn’t “cause anxiety” per se, many experts agree that THC can potentially amplify one’s pre-existing anxiety. That is, if you’re an anxious person, THC’s physical and mental effects can make your anxiety seem worse because THC can increase one’s heart rate and create poor coordination, trouble breathing, disrupted thinking, lightheadedness and a disorienting out-of-body feeling.
THC vs. CBD: How is cannabidiol different from THC?
CBD creates none of these “anxiety inducing” psychotropic effects whatsoever. In fact, its effect is purely physical. Cannabidiol helps reduce tissue inflammation in the body by relaxing muscles, which can help ease tension and stress. Its effects are less known in the U.S., but researchers are finding that it has numerous non-intoxicating medicinal uses affecting different parts of the body.
Knowledgable cannabis retailers can inform consumers about the THC and CBD levels of a certain flower, edible or other cannabis product. While all cannabis typically has some small amount of both THC and CBD, you can buy products that contain very little THC with higher CBD levels — which means all of the relaxation with none of the intoxication.
Other things you should know about ingesting cannabis with high levels of CBD
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that “a doobie a day keeps the doctor away.” In fact, most cannabis will still make you thirsty, and smoking anything can irritate the lungs.
Andrew Mieure, a certified cannabis sommelier and cannabis grading technician, also suggests keeping your eye out for other effects different types of weed can have, regardless of their CBD and THC levels.
“Skunky/woody/earthy terpenes cause sleepiness,” he says. “Citrus would greatly increase alertness and would strongly enhance visual stimuli. Lavender and nutty terpenes would relax without knocking out.”
What do you think of cannabis with higher levels of CBD (cannabidiol)? Sound off in the comments.
Featured image by serdjophoto via iStockmarijuana