CBD oil has exploded in popularity in recent years and is widely used by people from all walks of life.
But education around CBD — and how it’s different to whole-plant cannabis — is still lacking.
Many of us have come of age during a time when cannabis was seen as a dangerous drug, used at parties and music festivals to get high.
Over the years, cannabis has been painted in a negative light and the stigma around the plant remains today.
So it’s only natural that CBD oil, which comes from the cannabis plant, is still misunderstood.
As a medicinal cannabis company, we field a lot of questions from people who are interested in using CBD oil, but have concerns about what it might do to them.
We decided to put this article together to answer some of those questions and bring some clarity around the differences between illicit cannabis and medicinal CBD oil.
It’s time we left many of the negative connotations in the past and embraced a new approach to holistic wellness.
The difference between “cannabis” and CBD
Firstly, let’s do a quick overview on the difference between whole-plant cannabis and CBD oil.
Whole-plant or full-spectrum cannabis contains all of the naturally-occurring compounds in the cannabis plant, including the cannabinoid THC, which is responsible for the “high” feeling.
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It doesn’t have any intoxicating effects on its own.
CBD is extracted from whole plant cannabis and it’s commonly prescribed for a wide range of health conditions.
There are different types of CBD though and some, such as full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD, contain other compounds from the cannabis plant, including small amounts of THC.
You can learn more about the different types of CBD products here.
For the purposes of this article, we’re talking about CBD-dominant products.
But please make sure you seek specific answers from your doctor before using any new medicinal product.
Let’s get into the questions.
Does CBD oil make you hungry?
You’ve probably heard that using cannabis can make you hungry and cause a phenomenon informally known as “the munchies”.
Maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself.
But is using CBD oil going to cause you to crave pizza, chips, and whatever else is in the fridge?
The answer is no with a minor “but…”
THC is the main ingredient in cannabis that causes food cravings. There are several scientific theories for why this happens.
THC is said to increase the hormone ghrelin, which causes you to feel hungry. It also interacts with part of the brain that controls hunger and boosts the “feel good” chemical dopamine, which can make eating more pleasurable.
All of these factors combine to make you crave food when you consume cannabis with high amounts of THC.
Some people have concerns that using medicinal cannabis will make them eat more and gain weight (some patients are prescribed THC to help them do just that).
CBD on its own doesn’t cause “the munchies”, but it may help stimulate appetite in other ways.
For example, CBD may ease nausea, anxiety and inflammation in the body, which can help restore healthy appetite.
Also, it’s important to realise that some CBD products contain small amounts of THC, which will likely have a more noticeable effect on appetite.
So while CBD won’t derail your weight-loss journey and cause you to crave all the greasy, salty food you can get your hands on, it may help with symptoms that are reducing your appetite and causing other problems in your life.
Does CBD oil make you tired or lazy?
Another stereotype associated with illicit cannabis is it makes you a lazy, unmotivated couch potato.
Pop culture has a lot to answer for here, but there is a smidgen of truth behind the cliche.
In higher doses, the THC in cannabis can make people feel drowsy and sleepy. This is where the idea of being “stoned” comes from.
However, CBD doesn’t induce drowsiness and lethargy. In fact, studies have found that CBD may be a “wake-promoting agent”.
Other studies have found that CBD may support sleep indirectly by helping to relieve stress and anxiety, which can be major obstacles to a restful night.
At lower doses, CBD may even have an energising effect particularly in the presence of terpenes such as limonene.
CBD has also been shown to counteract the effects of THC. Therefore, if you use a CBD product that contains small amounts of THC, it’s unlikely to cause drowsiness.
So if you’re concerned about CBD affecting your motivation and energy levels, or impacting your work, you don’t have to worry.
Does CBD make you feel paranoid?
One of the common fears around illicit cannabis is that it can make you feel paranoid.
Cannabis with high amounts of THC has been known to cause paranoia and even hallucinations so it’s a valid concern for anyone considering medicinal cannabis.
However, once again, THC is the cannabinoid responsible for this rare side effect.
One theory is that the psychoactive effects of THC lead to confusing or unfamiliar experiences, but it’s also thought that THC may induce anxiety and paranoia via cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
CBD isn’t known to cause paranoia and may, in fact, help to inhibit the effects of THC when consumed together.
This could be because CBD doesn’t interact directly with cannabinoid receptors in the brain in the way THC does.
The small amounts of THC in some CBD products shouldn’t be enough to induce paranoia, but please speak with your doctor about this if you have concerns.
CBD: The life-compatible cannabinoid
It’s only natural to have concerns about using CBD, particularly given the stigma around cannabis.
But hopefully you’re starting to see that CBD oil is quite different to whole-plant cannabis.
While CBD isn’t right for every health condition, it’s definitely much more compatible with everyday life than THC.
That’s not to say THC is bad as it has many unique benefits of its own. But it certainly has more potential negative effects than CBD.
We think this will just be part 1 of many articles on this topic as we’re always getting new questions about CBD, so stay tuned and subscribe to our email newsletter to continue learning more about the rapidly-evolving world of medicinal cannabis.