Can CBD Make You Lazy? Research on Energy and Alertness
It's guilt by association.
Many people assume that CBD will have similar effects (see can CBD make you high) as its cousin, THC.
Research is actually pointing in the opposite direction.
The so-called "entourage effect" was originally coined by the Israeli godfather of CBD to describe how CBD would counter the psychoactive effects of THC.
This gets to the question of energy and motivation with CBD.
There's very interesting research on both and they should address the lazy question.
We'll cover these topics:
- How does CBD make you feel
- Can CBD make you feel lazy
- The neurochemistry of laziness
- Can CBD make you feel relaxed
- Will CBD make you tired or alert (interesting result)
- The dose-dependent nature of CBD for laziness
Let's get started!
How does CBD make you feel
First, the general question to start before we dive into laziness.
How does it make you feel?
Keep in mind that everyone's body is different so you can see some variation in how CBD feels.
In general, people generally feel the following:
- Sometimes drowsy depending on sleep state
- Alert depending on the time of day and daylight exposure
The main reaction is calm.
This really depends on a person's state at the time of use.
For example, there are studies on CBD having a pretty fast anti-depressant effect.
See CBD and depression for more.
Most studies have really zoomed in on its anti-anxiety effect (see CBD and mechanisms of anxiety).
For example, a study of people with social anxiety was given a fairly large dose (600 mg) before a public speaking activity.
The CBD significantly affected their perceived sense of anxiety (called a negative self-statement) as being normal compared to controls.
Their mental function (ability to remember, speak, etc) was not impaired even at this high dose.
This is very different from THC of course which shows the opposite.
But laziness (or motivation) is a different pathway altogether.
Let's go there now.
Can CBD make you feel lazy?
Laziness is not generally a response seen for people after taking CBD.
It does occasionally pop up, however.
Why? As we said, everyone is different.
For example, a person may have a tremendous amount of glutamate (our brain's "gas" pedal) running through their brains.
Check out CBD and glutamate to learn more.
Hard-chargers. Go-getters. Excessive glutamate is actually quite destructive and if we continue along that spectrum, we can see OCD, anxiety, and more.
CBD has been shown to support GABA, the opposing force to glutamate, and the key to both calm and sleep.
See CBD and GABA to learn more.
This might of person might find they feel more relaxed which could be seen as being lazy.
That's just the gas and brake pedal of the brain though.
For true laziness, we have to go to the route of motivation.
The neurochemistry of laziness
Dopamine is a powerful player in the brain.
It's deeply intertwined with serotonin, our master regulator of all human behavior (including motivation).
Here's the tricky part to dopamine and laziness…
It can have opposite effects depending on the areas of the brain.
Studies have shown that people with a strong work ethic and motivation have higher levels of dopamine in key areas, however…
To our surprise, we also found a different region of the brain, the anterior insula, that showed a strong negative relationship between dopamine level and willingness to work hard,
As for dopamine, its effect simply put:
Researchers have proved that it regulates motivation, causing individuals to initiate and persevere to obtain something either positive or negative.
The cascade of chemicals that come from dopamine are even more interesting.
Norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline).
The first one becomes important for laziness after reading what it does:
In the brain, norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness, promotes vigilance, enhances formation and retrieval of memory, and focuses attention;
Literally the opposite of laziness.
So dopamine drives the motivation and while norepinephrine focuses down on the prize.
Adrenaline just gives a boost of energy...the get-up and go.
Keep in mind that hormones, metabolism, and other aspects all figure into this.
Depression alone is a killer of motivation as is anxiety (which chronically, can lead to depression).
So...how does CBD figure into all of this?
CBD has been shown to support the balancing of serotonin and by default, dopamine.
Remember...dopamine is tricky since different brain areas can have an effect on laziness in opposite directions.
That's what makes the study on CBD and schizophrenia so interesting.
Schizophrenia is characterized by too much dopamine in the area (striatum) and too little in another area (prefrontal cortex).
This leads to the so-called "positive" symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, etc (striatum) or the "negative" symptoms like depression, low personal effect, flatness, etc (prefrontal cortex).
The typical antipsychotic medications squash dopamine levels.
This helps with one set of issues but not the other and has a slew of side effects.
Again, dopamine is tricky that way (see CBD and dopamine).
CBD has been shown to address both sides of the equation with interesting results.
How can this be?
CBD is technically called a negative allosteric modulator of serotonin.
Basically, it works like a feedback mechanism for key neurotransmitters!
Not enough, send more over.
We're fine here, stop sending.
Serotonin directly governs dopamine function.
We know went a bit deeper into the weeds than maybe you were asking for but it's important to understand how this all works.
Let's look at accompanying questions to laziness.
Can CBD make you feel relaxed?
Yes. In fact, that's the most common response.
Keep in mind that CBD is not a sedative. Although there's lots of research on CBD and sleep, it doesn't knock you out.
Otherwise, this would definitely figure into the laziness question.
Benzos (which jack up GABA) will make you not want to do much of anything.
It's like a wet blanket on brain activity. Of course, the addiction issue is very serious.
See CBD versus benzos for anxiety to learn more.
This effect is primarily due to GABA and CBD where it also acts like a negative allosteric modulator.
Here's where it gets interesting in terms of laziness.
Will CBD make you tired or alert (interesting result)
This gets to the heart of CBD's differing results depending on the state of the system.
There is a lot of research on CBD and sleep (see CBD and sleep for more).
Does that mean that CBD will make you sleep if you take it in the middle of the day?
Research is showing the opposite during light-on (daytime) effects:
In addition, our laboratory provided further evidence supporting the wake-inducing properties of CBD, as i.c.v. administrations of CBD (10µg/5µL) in rats during the lights-on period increased W
Essentially, during wake times (lights-on), CBD increased alertness.
What did they theorize as to the basis for this?
dopamine (DA) system could be involved since it has been demonstrated that microinjections of CBD (10µg/1 or 5µL) in rats promotes an enhancement in the extracellular levels of DA
Check out our full review on whether you can take CBD in the middle of the day.
Is there an effect with dose?
The dose-dependent nature of CBD for laziness
There are interesting effects affected by dose in terms of laziness.
CBD affects many key pathways and some cut in at higher doses.
We can look at the public speaking study at 600 mg as a top.
Both of which are tied to energy levels and addiction!
In fact, what makes a drug "addictive" is its ability to spike….wait for it...dopamine!
Normalizing dopamine function is key there and neurogenesis is the machinery by which the brain rewires (see CBD and brain repair).
Again, everyone is different (weight, neurotransmitters, hormones, liver function, etc) so test how you feel.
Peak CBD generally occurs 4-6 hours after taking it so you'll be able to gauge effects well.
If you hold it under your tongue up to 60 seconds, it can speed and increase absorption.
Of course, make sure your CBD has the following:
- Organically grown in the US at FDA registered farms
- CO2 processed
- 3rd Party Tested
- No THC - THC pushes in one direction be it immune suppression or otherwise.
- No Pesticides
- No Heavy metals
- No Solvents
- No Bacteria
- No Mold
We test ours twice since our whole family uses it!
Keep in mind that the side effect profile for full-spectrum CBD can be very different than CBD isolate.
All the research is on CBD isolate.
More importantly, 40-60% of the population has histamine issues and this goes up as we get older and for women.
We see many side effects from full-spectrum CBD go away with Isolate which is how we originally found it to begin with (our story on a brutal perimenopause is here).
If you've read all the way through this, that's hardly the definition of lazy!
Be well. Take care of each other. Take care of yourself.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.