Does CBD make your eyes red?

by Chloe Palmer

CBD — the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants — has spawned an exciting new line of products, with brands dedicating themselves to creating fun and inventive variations. Here at TRIP, we offer flavoured CBD oil, as well as infused drinkswhich are joyful additions to your daily routine.

However, there remains a lot of speculation about CBD’s relationship with THC — both of which come from cannabis plant species. However, although CBD is found in the hemp plant (a type of cannabis plant), hemp contains much less THC. It’s likely you know the potential side effects of cannabis, including how users tend to have red eyes, and you might be wondering whether CBD has the same impact. We've got the lowdown and can confirm that all authorised and tested CBD products do not cause this side effect. Discover why here.

Why CBD is not responsible for red eyes

CBD oil is not responsible for causing red eyes. It’s actually the THC compound that is, as it lowers blood pressure and dilates blood vessels that then appear in your eyes. This is the body’s natural response to the psychoactive compound, and the higher the THC content, the greater the impact. Since it has a different chemical makeup, CBD does not dilate blood vessels and as such it has no role in causing red eyes. It will not bind with any cannabinoid receptors, but may  positively influence receptor-dependent pathways. So, you can introduce CBD into your lifestyle without worrying that you’ll end up with blotchy eyes.

 

The difference between CBD and THC

There tends to be confusion surrounding CBD and its relation to THC, and it’s no surprise since both compounds originate from the same plant. However, they do have differing effects, as we’ll explain here.

CBD

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, including hemp. It is thought to interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cells and receptors that are responsible for regulating internal homeostasis (this includes your body temperature, glucose levels and blood pressure). This interaction influences the release of neurotransmitters in your brain — the chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells that play a significant role in pain, immune system function, stress, sleep and more. In simple terms, the outcome of placing CBD oil under your tongue or including it in your favourite baking recipe, for example, tends to be positive.

While the chemical structure of CBD appears the same as THC, it differs slightly. CBD doesn’t bind with the CB1 or CB2 receptors that are typically responsible for inducing recreational highs. Instead, through interactions that are still somewhat unknown, CBD oil may help you to relax and potentially reduce anxiety symptoms  — doesn’t sound too bad does it?

THC

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound found in the same plants. However, the marijuana plant (another type of cannabis plant) contains more THC content and less CBD than hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant with 0.3% or less THC content. Although THC can cause users to feel euphoric, it also potentially produces a variety of side effects, including a change in mental state and perception, increased appetite, memory loss and red eyes. Plants containing more than 0.2% THC are illegal in the UK.

How to get rid of red eyes

Red eyes are a short-term effect of THC, however, if you do find yourself with this particular side effect after using CBD oil, it may indicate that the product has a higher THC content than you were led to believe. You should always check the origins of the CBD you use, as unauthorised sellers may be stocking products that contain THC without your knowledge. If this is the case, you’ll likely experience different side effects — not to mention that this is, in fact, illegal practice. Most items on the market, including TRIP’s CBD products, have been subject to extensive quality control checks and must adhere to strict laws and regulations. Purchasing from reputable brands will ensure you’re receiving high-quality CBD.

In the event that you do experience red, watery eyes, eye drops can help reduce the inflammation and get rid of the redness. Another solution is vasoconstrictor-inducing foods such as chocolate (which we all love), coffee and salt — these counteract the dilation of blood vessels by narrowing them. You should also be patient. If your eyes are red, sometimes all you need is some rest, while avoiding screens and staying hydrated will help too.

Is CBD legal in the UK?

CBD is completely legal and authorised for use in the UK. Despite the confusion around CBD and THC as similar natural compounds, any CBD product containing less than 0.2% THC is safe and legal. If one does exceed this THC amount, it’s deemed an illegal substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Hopefully by now, our advice has directed you towards ethical, sustainable and legal brands (like ours)! And that you have a better understanding of the science behind what causes red eyes. If you want to give CBD a try, check out our products here.

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