I have had many conversations with patients regarding the psycho-activity of CBD. One caveat before I begin; We are dealing with whole plant CBD, so some of the psycho-active effects of “CBD” are clearly Terpene mediated. That said, some of the psycho-activity of CBD is just CBD.
The simplest example of how CBD is psycho-active is it’s mood altering therapeutic effects. These are primarily anti-anxiety and anti-depressant. Few would argue that CBD is a great anti-anxiety medication, but some argue it’s mood elevating effects. It is possible that the mood elevation comes indirectly from CBD’s effect on Anandamide levels in our brains; CBD raises our Anandamide level from inhibiting Ananandamide’s breakdown enzyme – FAAH. CBD may also have some direct mood elevating effects. Finally, when anxiety is lessened, mood improves. I believe that all these mechanisms and many more are operating in the mood arena as we see more and more success with Schizophrenic patients as it is a pretty extreme end of the mood disorder diagnostic illnesses.
A second area that is becoming important clinically, is that some patients upon starting whole plant CBD become very sleepy. Some patients call and actually stop taking their medication, even though it is essentially a 20: CBD:THC medication at a dose of as little as 3 mg. In theory, this should not happen – but it does.
I believe the explanation is that these patients have had a lot of anxiety/stress/insomnia and are worn out. CBD is much more a relaxant than sedative, but if you are just worn out and stressed out, a relaxing medication will make you go to sleep if you sit down and rest. In my experience, if patients stick with the program, the sedative effects go away in a few days.
Take home point: CBD can be perceived as extremely psycho-active, but the exact amount cannot be fully determined until molecular CBD vs whole plant CBD are tested head to head.