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Does Your CBD Get You High? This Is What to Check if It Does



We’ve all surely seen and heard CBD all over the place lately. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the active components of Cannabis sativa L., the plant from which cannabis is derived. Cannabis, despite its common use as a recreational drug in modern times, has been known throughout history for possessing extensive health benefits. These benefits are recently confirmed by a plethora of scientific studies, some of which you might be familiar with. 

Perhaps you are considering using CBD to help boost your health or alleviate the symptoms of some ailment—it is perfectly understandable if you are wondering, “Does CBD get you high?” 

The short answer is no(Click to tweet)

This article will explain what CBD is and how it works to help set your mind at ease.

Does CBD get you high? The short answer is no.

Table of Contents

1. Does CBD Get You High? Here’s the Long Answer
2. Critical Differences between CBD and THC
3. Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil
    3.1 Pain Relief
    3.2 Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy)
    3.3 Anxiety and Depression
    3.4 Cancer Treatment-Related Symptoms
4. Are You Feeling High after Taking CBD?
    4.1 Your CBD Contained More Than 0.3% of THC
    4.2 You May Be Experiencing a Reaction to Terpene
    4.3 Your Body Might Be Converting CBD into THC
    4.4 Psychosomatic High
5. Hemp CBD vs. Cannabis CBD
6. Key Takeaways for Cannabidiol

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1. Does CBD Get You High? Here’s the Long Answer

 

Cannabis possesses highly psychoactive compounds that lead to the feeling of being “high,” so it might make some sense to assume that CBD might have the same effect, being one of the primary active components of cannabis. However, this is not true. Along with CBD, cannabis also possesses a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is majorly responsible for the psychoactive high that cannabis users feel when they use the substance. On the other hand, CBD is responsible for the feeling of being relaxed and at ease, as well as the other health-promoting effects for which cannabis is known. (Click to tweet)

Importantly, when you use a high-quality CBD product, you will have little need for concern over potential intoxication, as CBD is extracted from cannabis plants in a complex process of chemical extraction and subsequent distillation. Further, you will have zero need for concern when CBD is extracted from hemp plants instead of cannabis—even better! 

CBD is responsible for the feeling of being relaxed and at ease.

2. Critical Differences between CBD and THC

 

Both CBD and THC are active compounds extracted from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. They have an identical molecular structure, and they both impact the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Thanks to a slight difference in the arrangement of their respective molecular structures, their interactions with the endocannabinoid system produce different effects. To help you better appreciate how CBD products work and why you have little need for concern when taking a CBD product, here are a few more critical distinctions between CBD and THC.

THC and CBD both impact the ECS, but in very different ways.

RELATED: CBD vs. THC: Which One Is Better for Pain?

A. CBD is largely legal; THC is not.

Even though cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 drug, many states have now legalized CBD consumption, but THC remains banned. This is because THC is mainly known for its psychoactive effects, despite the fact that it does provide some health benefits of its own. On the other hand, CBD generally offers a range of known health benefits with no harmful psychoactive effects. (Click to tweet)

B. THC may produce worse side effects.

In general, CBD is well-tolerated by the body, and serious side effects are not expected. When users experience side effects, these tend to be easy-to-manage conditions such as:

  • fatigue
  • increases or decreases in appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

With THC, the side effects may be more severe and include cardiovascular irregularities, impaired motor skills, and ironically, anxiety. 

CBD is calming, with no harmful side effects

RELATED: The Safety Profile of CBD and Its Side Effects

C. THC is linked with long-term psychiatric effects.

Studies have shown that THC is significantly linked with the onset of long-term psychiatric effects. This effect is more pronounced in adolescents, yet there is enough cause for concern for people of all ages. 

D. There are differences when drug testing.

The way most modern drug tests are designed, THC is sure to lead to positive results when users are tested for psychoactive substances. On the other hand, CBD is perfectly safe for use even if you work in highly tested environments such as law enforcement or sports. 

3. Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil

 

Now for the good news:

As we have shown, CBD products are mostly free of severe harmful effects and come with a host of health benefits.

One report released by the World Health Organization notes that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential in humans.” [1] 

CBD exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential in humans.

RELATED: CBD Benefits Chart: Discover CBD for Health

Cannabidiol does affect the brain and other parts of the human body, and while the exact mechanism through which these effects occur remains unclear, these are mainly positive. Here are some of the significant benefits of CBD for human health:

3.1 Pain Relief

The use of cannabis for its pain-relieving qualities is a long-standing practice supported by anecdotal evidence. In recent times, however, this effect has been confirmed by reliable scientific studies. In one such study, researchers concluded that there is sufficient proof that CBD provides relief from chronic pain in adults. [2]

Although both CBD and THC have pain-relieving qualities, they do so in different ways. While THC provides the feeling of high that can contribute to pain relief, the primary mechanism that provides actual pain relief is found in CBD. Much of this is due to the interaction between the CBD and the body’s endocannabinoid system.

CBD provides relief from chronic pain.

RELATED: CBD Oil and Pain Management

The endocannabinoid system is involved in several processes such as the regulation of sleep, hunger, pain, and immune system response. Endocannabinoids function, in this system, like neurotransmitters and bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. When CBD is introduced into the body, it stimulates these cannabinoid receptors, reducing inflammation and inhibiting pain.

But it goes deeper:

Another way CBD can help provide pain relief is by triggering serotonin production, an important hormone that contributes to feelings of well-being. The connection between CBD and serotonin is also linked to some of the other CBD benefits, which will be discussed below. 

Through the ECS, CBD helps reduce inflammation, pain, and insomnia

3.2 Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy) 

The FDA has recently approved the use of some types of CBD-based medication in treating seizures and epilepsy, proving what researchers had suspected all along, with studies now showing that CBD can be effective at mitigating seizures in people who have epilepsy. 

In controlled clinical trials, pure, oil-based CBD extract was shown to have a high degree of efficacy at mitigating the effects of epilepsy. Additional gold standard studies showed that when CBD was incorporated into a conventional seizure treatment, the frequency of seizures dramatically decreased. [3]

RELATED: Why the FDA Just Approved Cannabidiol for Epilepsy

3.3 Anxiety and Depression

While there is an abundance of medication available to treat these twin conditions, most have specific, prevalent side effects, including:

  • drowsiness
  • agitation
  • insomnia 
  • headaches
  • sexual dysfunction 

Fortunately, CBD-based supplements such as CBD oil do not generally cause such side effects and are extremely promising for the management of anxiety and depression. These effects are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and social behavior. (Click to tweet)

CBD-based supplements are extremely promising for the management of anxiety and depression.

RELATED: CBD Oil for Relieving Anxiety

3.4 Cancer Treatment-Related Symptoms

CBD has also been used to combat the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting. Some studies have shown that CBD could help relieve nausea and vomiting better than conventional treatment plans alone. Further studies will be required to provide conclusive results, however. [4]

4. Are You Feeling High after Taking CBD?

 

CBD shouldn’t get you feeling high. While a few stories are making the rounds of people who genuinely feel high after taking a CBD dose, this substance does not interact with the brain in the same way that THC does. In theory, even an extremely high dose of CBD should not get you high.

If you have tried CBD and felt high, however, there are a few explanations for this. 

Are You Feeling High after Taking CBD?

4.1 Your CBD Contained More Than 0.3% of THC

By federal regulation, CBD products must not contain any more than 0.3% of THC, precisely to prevent people from accidentally getting high. Unfortunately, the supplement industry is not very highly regulated. Many manufacturers falsely claim that their CBD products have less than the 0.3% benchmark, when in reality, they may have a lot more.

4.2 You May Be Experiencing a Reaction to Terpene

CBD products generally come in three types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and does not contain any other substance extracted from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD has all the natural substances extracted from the Cannabis sativa L. plant, including THC, and broad-spectrum CBD contains all these substances minus THC.

In either case, you may be reacting to a substance called myrcene, a type of terpene, a family of compounds that are the primary source of the distinctive smell of Cannabis sativa L. It is important to note that terpenes on their own will not get you high, but inhaling or otherwise ingesting them in sufficiently high concentrations might make you feel dizzy.

If you are experiencing what you feel is a CBD-induced high, a good idea would be to cut out any full- or broad-spectrum CBD products temporarily in favor of isolates. That way, just like when cutting certain items out of your diet, you can see if you notice any difference and add them back in one at a time.

If your CBD leaves you dizzy, it’s worth investigating.

RELATED: Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

4.3 Your Body Might Be Converting CBD into THC

While this is not a very common phenomenon, it is biologically possible. The acid in your stomach can convert CBD into THC, especially when CBD is consumed too quickly and in substantial doses. 

4.4 Psychosomatic High

If none of the previous reasons apply but you still feel high, you may not actually be high at all. You may merely be experiencing a psychosomatic high due to your mental association of CBD with cannabis and the feeling of getting high. 

Now that you know all the varying reasons you might feel a bit of a high when you take a CBD product, here are the steps to take if you do experience a high.

Here’s what to remember:

If you have been taking a full- or broad-spectrum CBD product, try taking an isolate. If the feeling persists, then you may want to discontinue use altogether while seeking medical attention.

While each product type has its advantages, if you are worried about feeling high, you may consider taking a CBD oil instead of capsules. This is because CBD oils are consumed by being placed beneath the tongue and directly entering the bloodstream. Capsules, on the other hand, spend some time in the stomach—where acid may work on them, converting them into THC.

Another option might be to consider switching your CBD product. Instead, you may consider using a pure hemp-based product as opposed to a regular CBD product. 

Pure hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD products.

RELATED: How to Choose CBD Oil Products That Are Just Right for You

5. Hemp CBD vs. Cannabis CBD

 

Not many people know that there is a difference between hemp and cannabis. While they are technically the same plant, there are key differences that impact how either one can be used in the production of CBD.

In particular, hemp and cannabis differ in that hemp naturally contains a higher proportion of CBD in comparison to THC. In contrast, cannabis has a higher ratio of THC in relation to CBD.

These distinctions mean that hemp-based CBD products are a much more reliable option for people who have concerns about accidentally consuming THC. 

6. Key Takeaways for Cannabidiol

 

Cannabis sativa L. contains both CBD and THC, both of which have peculiar effects. While THC is responsible for the “high,” CBD does not possess any harmful psychoactive properties.

CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% of THC. Any more than this would be illegal in most places.

Legal CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC.

RELATED: Is CBD Oil Legal in Your State?

CBD cannot produce a high; however, some people might experience “highness” when they take some CBD. If this happens, you should try using a CBD isolate instead of a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product. Sometimes, this may also be due to your body converting CBD into THC. To be sure, ask your doctor.

To be on the safe side, try a CBD product that is extracted from hemp. Hemp differs from cannabis in that it contains a very high proportion of CBD compared to cannabis, which has more THC.

What’s the bottom line? 

CBD on its own won’t get you high in most cases and is perfectly safe to take. Not every manufacturer is honest about how much THC their products contain. You should be sure to scrutinize every label carefully, but also only buy from the most trusted sellers. For pure CBD products that are safe to consume, check out our range of 100% hemp-derived CBD products.

Sources:

  1. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
  3. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1714631
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165951/

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