woman holding joint

Non-Intoxicating vs Non-Psychoactive

At Fairwinds, we believe that transparency and honesty are critical when it comes to choosing the right CBD brand and products. So whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, we’ll always do our best to provide you with the most accurate and truthful information possible. Because of this, we feel it’s important to shed light on wording that may be misused and open up a conversation about why using the most accurate terminology matters!

  • Non-intoxicating vs. Non-psychoactive: what’s the difference?

Many brands state that their CBD products are completely non-psychoactive; however, since CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain as well as throughout the body’s other organs and pathways, this is actually a misleading statement. It’s far more accurate to refer to CBD as non-intoxicating instead.

There’s a difference between the terms non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating; they’re similar, but they aren’t interchangeable. The term non-psychoactive refers to a substance or product that does not produce any effect (such as any changes in perception, mood, behavior, etc) on the brain or mental processes. Non-intoxicating, on the other hand, refers to something unlikely or unable to cause any feelings of drunkenness, lack of control, or impairment.

  • Why does the wording matter?
    • For many, CBD can produce an overall sense of well-being, a boost in mood, provide assistance with stress relief and sleep, and reduce anxiousness. These effects are related to brain activity, and are technically psychoactive responses. While it may feel unnecessarily picky to want more distinction between these terms, using the right nomenclature is a critical part of furthering people’s understanding of cannabis, cannabinoids, and their complexities. CBD is psychoactive, but non-intoxicating, while THC is both. The distinction between the two is important; it helps make apparent that psychoactive isn’t a scary or bad term, nor one that always equates to intoxicating or “high”-inducing.
  • Where did the divide in terminology start?
    • The use of the term non-psychoactive became prevalent because many people who use CBD are not at all interested in the sensation of being high; as THC was already well-known for being psychoactive and high-inducing, it may have been simpler to just refer to CBD as the exact opposite – “non-psychoactive”. This terminology became standard, and despite not being fully accurate, it has become widely used and accepted.

It’s a simple truth that the way people talk about things shapes the way those things are viewed. Cannabis and cannabinoids are no exception; accurate representation and language matter here as much as anywhere. Whatever the effect you’re seeking with your personal CBD use is, we’re happy to be an honest, reliable source that people can count on.