CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the main cannabinoids in cannabis. When you consume cannabis, THC and CBD both interact with your cannabinoid receptors, helping to limit or treat the symptoms of different medical conditions. While both THC and CBD are in cannabis, and both interact with your endocannabinoid system (ESC), there are some distinct differences between the two of them you should be aware of.
CBD vs. THC — Why is CBD Different than THC?
One of the main differences between the two is the "high" experience. Even though both THC and CBD interact with your brain in slightly different receptors — THC activates your CB1 receptors, whereas CBD inhibits it. So, you're unlikely going to get an individual high with CBD. THC, on the other hand, is the cannabinoid that produces the high most individuals associate with using cannabis recreationally.
Medical cannabis that's CBD-dominant has very minimal THC, which results in you not feeling high when you take the medication. Medical cannabis that's THC-dominant is psychoactive, and will cause you to experience a high when you take the medication.
As THC binds to your CB1 receptors in the reward system of your brain, cannabis produces feelings of intoxication and euphoria. THC is an activator, or agonist of the CB1 receptors. If you consume cannabis, and your CB1 receptors are blocked by an antagonist drug, cannabis won't get you high. Therefore, it's safe to say, your CB1 receptors have to be a crucial target in your brain that produces the intoxication.
Brain imaging studies found increased flow of blood to the brain's prefrontal cortex region during THC intoxication. This brain region is responsible for things like:
- Motor skills
- Other executive functions
Basically, THC intoxication can impact any one of these functions to varying degrees, depending on the individual.
Marijuana activates the reward pathway of your brain, making you feel good, and increasing your likelihood of partaking in cannabis again in the future. The major factor in marijuana's ability to produce intoxication and feelings of euphoria is THC binding to your brain's reward system's CB1 receptors.
But, THC is also responsible for something else — inducing sleep. A study in 2008 found ingesting cannabis strains with higher THC levels generally reduces how much REM sleep you obtain. When you reduce REM sleep, you reduce dreams, and this could mean reducing nightmares (especially beneficial for those with PTSD).
So, the theory is if you're spending less time in the dream state, you'll be spending more time in the "deep sleep" state. And, it's thought that the deep sleep state is the most restful, restorative part of your sleep cycle.
Along with CB1 receptors, you also have CB2 receptors. Your CB2 receptors are most common in your immune system. They impact pain and inflammation. Researchers once thought CBD attached to CB2 receptors, but they're now finding CBD doesn't attach to either receptor directly.
Although it's totally possible for there to be trace amounts of leftover THC in CBD products, it's usually not enough for inducing a euphoric effect.
CBD doesn't make you high. In extremely high concentrations it can cause an uplifting effect; however, rarely do you require servings that high.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines any type of substance affecting your mental processes like cognition, as "psychoactive". CBD then, by this definition, could be thought of as psychoactive, but the main distinguishing factor is it's non-intoxicating, even if you ingest it at high concentrations.
The WHO also noted in a 2017 report on CBD, that although THC could impair an individual's psychomotor abilities and cognitive performance, in general, studies report even higher oral CBD doses don't cause THC-characteristic psychoactive effects.
How are CBD and Sleep Related?
At this point, you're probably wondering, if CBD isn't psychoactive, doesn't cause euphoria or drowsiness, then how does it help with sleep?
CBD doesn't make most people sleepy like THC does. But, it can still help with sleep. Research shows CBD might interact with certain receptors that potentially affect your sleep/wake cycle.
Also, CBD might reduce anxiety and pain, which both could interfere with restful, restorative sleep. By minimizing or eliminating these and other symptoms, it's possible sleep could improve.
Remember, THC activates your brain's CB1 receptors linked with:
CBD is a CB1 antagonist, which means it will modulate or block THC's intoxicating effects. Some even suggest taking CBD can help reduce THC's negative side effects, like paranoia and anxiety. Therefore, if after a stressful day you're eager to pop a CBD gummy, fortunate for you, you won't have to stress even further about it making you high.
While CBD won't cure your symptoms permanently, it can be a useful tool to implement when you simply need to relax, chill, or sleep without having to deal with dry mouth, feeling stoned, paranoia, or all the other side effects you may associate with "being high."
Get a Good Night's Sleep Without the High with CBD-Infused Pillows
CBD-infused pillows are comfortable, soft, and can actually help you fall asleep without getting you high. They're infused with CBD, which as you learned, works by melting away your pain, stress, anxiety and other symptoms that can help improve sleep.
These pillows aren't psychoactive, and they won't make you feel groggy the next morning. So, if you're looking to enhance sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and alert, try our CBD-infused pillow today!