Is CBD a Depressant or a Stimulant?

One of the most popular reasons for taking CBD is because it seems to possess the ability to provide a sense of calmness in moments of stress or sleeplessness.  But others are taking hemp products daily to enhance their workouts, their cognitive function and their general energy levels that can dip dramatically throughout the day.  Therefore, many people who are relatively unfamiliar with the effects of CBD may be confused as to whether or not it’s actually stimulating or sedating.

So, is CBD a depressant or a stimulant?  By definition, depressants slow down the function of the nervous system, causing a reduced heart rate, slower brain activity and decreased cortisol production.  Meanwhile, stimulants do the opposite, energizing the nervous system which results in more physical energy, faster brain activity, an increased heartrate and so on.

With all that said, which category does CBD fall into?  Well, let’s take a close look, because the answer just may surprise you.


The Answer: Neither

Based on the definitions of both stimulants and depressants, we can say with confidence that CBD is neither of those things.  To give you examples, let us examine two commonly used substances.  Alcohol is a depressant.  It slows nervous system activity, which is why it can impair cognitive function – it literally decreases brain activity.  Meanwhile, caffeine is a stimulant, which obviously explains why we drink it when we wake up.  It engages the nervous system, making us feel more awake, alert, and energized.

However, CBD, and all cannabinoids for that matter, are different.  It’s all because of the endocannabinoid system, which is a bodily system that is found in every mammal.  This crucial system is involved in homeostasis, which is a state of physical and mental equilibrium that can only occur when every bodily process is functioning at its highest potential.

How Does the Endocannabinoid System Aim to Make this Happen?

It does so by taking cannabinoids and sending them to areas of the body where they’re most needed.  See, everywhere in the body, you will find cannabinoid receptors.  These receptors are present in the:

  • Skin
  • Muscles
  • Brain
  • Blood vessels
  • Digestive tract
  • Immune system 
  • And everywhere else  
  •  

    The endocannabinoid system sends cannabinoids, like CBD, to these receptors.  Once the receptors receive cannabinoids, chemical reactions occur that allow adjacent bodily processes to self-regulate.  Examples of regulation include the balancing of neurotransmitters, the inflammatory response, immune system etc.

    Interestingly, our body can make its own cannabinoids, which are used by the endocannabinoid system in this manner.  But many of us need a serious boost, which is where CBD comes into the picture.


    Hence, you can understand why CBD is neither a stimulant nor a depressant.  It’s simply a regulator, and so it does not force either kind of effect onto the nervous system.  Further, it works with the body’s natural cycle.  For example, in the morning, we are supposed to produce a relatively high amount of cortisol naturally. 

    This gives us physical energy that wakes us up and prepares us for our day.  At night, we are supposed to produce less cortisol, and secrete melatonin, a hormone that signals that it’s time to fall asleep.  The endocannabinoid system’s job is to ensure that these natural processes occur as and when they should so that the body functions in the way it is supposed to.

    Factors That Impact its Effects

    Despite all of this, there are some factors that can determine whether or not CBD is more calming or energizing, depending on how and when it’s administered.  These factors are explained below.

    Factor #1: Milligram Strength

    The milligram strength of a CBD product is simply its potency level.  CBD products contain more than just hemp extract, so the milligram strength refers to the number of milligrams of actual hemp compounds in the product’s formula.  It seems that if a person takes a higher milligram strength than their body actually desires, they may become sleepy.

    For Binoid brand CBD products, 500mg of water-soluble CBD drops is a great strength for someone who does not want to get too sleepy, but wants to relax and feel good. Anything stronger might have worse effects. CBD Gummies are also a great way to feel the benefits without feeling to stimulated of depressive. 


    Factor #2: Delivery Method

    The delivery method can play a role as well as it refers to the manner in which CBD is delivered to the system.  Examples are edibles such as gummmies, tinctures, and capsules.  Each type of delivery method has its own onset time due to the absorption rate of the tissue to which the CBD is applied. 

    It seems that faster-acting methods can be more uplifting rather than calming, at least temporarily, when the compounds are peaking in the system.  For example, edibles, which take the longest to take effect due to their need to work through the body’s entire digestive system, may be a bit more relaxing than other methods.

    Here is a list of CBD products in order on a depressant scale: 1 being the most likely and 5 being the least likely to be a depressant. 

    1. CBD Oil Tinctures
    2. CBD Capsules
    3. CBD Gummies (Edibles)
    4. CBD Beverages
    5. CBD Candies, Gums

    The products on the top of this list are the most potent, while the products on the bottom of this list are the least potent. This is what differs for depressive symptoms. To our customers, we suggest our CBD Water Soluble Drops for sleep, anxiety, and pain. We suggest our CBD Gummies for sleep and anxiety. And our CBD healing cream for inflammation, joint and muscle pain, and bodily pain


    Factor #3: Strain Type

    An especially important factor is the strain, as it refers to the chemical composition of the particular hemp plant from which the CBD product was derived.  Take notice that there are three types of hemp extracts: 

    • Full Spectrum: Contains every compound in hemp, which means that every dose supplies you with a wide array of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.
    • Broad Spectrum: Broad spectrum is just like full spectrum, only the trace amount of THC native to hemp has been removed. They contain ZERO THC. 
    • CBD Isolate: Just pure CBD with no other compounds present.

    If you’re taking a broad or full spectrum hemp product, therefore, you’re actually getting a number of compounds in addition to CBD.  Those specific compounds as well as their levels can also vary from strain to strain.  Different hemp strains are the result of crossbreeding practices.  The unique chemical composition of a particular strain largely determines its overall effects.

    Our Binoid Brand products are all Broad Spectrum Hemp CBD. This is because broad spectrum contains the best of both worlds. We contain all the most powerful and useful compounds of the hemp plant, except contain NO THC. Which means NO high or too depressant or stimulant effects. We did this because we did not want to risk our customers with the possibility of being too depressive or stimulated like other brands. We wanted to be different and not have those problems. 

    Strains are separated into two categories: 

    • Indica Strains: Noted for being more calming in general.
    • Sativa Strains: Associated with more uplifting properties.

    The difference is fairly subtle, but still, many people prefer one over the other because it suits their personal needs.


    Factor #4: When You Take it

    The time of day during which you take your CBD has a lot to do with whether it will feel stimulating or calming.  We said that CBD merely supports your endocannabinoid system’s ability to regulate all of the important processes that we depend on daily.  Therefore, it’s natural that taking CBD in the morning, when the body requires more energy, could support the body’s ability to produce and sustain that energy.  Meanwhile, taking it at night would support the body’s processes that are involved in promoting sleep and relaxation.

    Factor #5: What You Take it with

    It is possible that combining CBD with a particular substance can produce unique effects.  For example, we have heard from various sources that taking coffee with your CBD can have a synergistic effect in which a person feels more alert and motivated, without feeling agitated from the effects of caffeine.

    We always suggest to our customers to compound CBD products together such as our Binoid Drops and our Gummies to receive a boost of extra benefits for multiple different digestion methods and timing. Taking CBD under the tongue with our drops means almost instantaneous relief for 3-4 hours. While taking our gummies takes around 1 hour to digest with a prolonged benefit range of around 5-6 hours.

    CBD’s Two Main Properties

    All of the factors above aside, CBD has been studied for both calming and energizing properties.  Let’s break down each one real quickly so you can just see how it all ties in.  


    CBD’s Calming Properties

    We said that many people take CBD for both stress and sleep.  This is supported by a number of different and unique findings suggesting a potential link between CBD and cortisol levels.  Studies go on to suggest that CBD may have an impact on anxiety due to its regulatory abilities when it comes to the cortisol that we produce, which’s the hormone responsible for the stress response.

    CBD’s Energizing Properties

    Then, there are the energizing properties.  A recent study suggested that CBD may be useful for maintaining energy homeostasis.  What this means is that rather than forcing the nervous system to become elevated, CBD may support the body’s natural energy cycle which rises and falls throughout the day as needed.  Studies have also shown effects on cognition, including mental alertness, memory, motivation, and overall mood. These are all part of cognitive behavior.

    Final Thoughts

    CBD is a unique chemical compound in that it does not function as a stimulant or a depressant, by definition of the terms.  Rather, it is a system regulator that provides bodily processes with assistance so that they may function as they should according to our natural cycles.  What does this mean for hemp users?  

    Well, depending on when and how you take your CBD, it may either calm you down or give you a boost, but in a way that is natural, holistic, and gentle.  Therefore, if you wanna take CBD for either of these purposes, do so based on the information we’ve provided in order to hopefully be able to reach your hemp-related goals.

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