Does CBD get you high? Learn more here about how CBD and THC work together from our pharmacist, and find out if CBD oil will get you high. CBD is often thought of as the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but it does have physical and psychological effects.
Does CBD Oil Get You High? Ask a Pharmacist
The best explanation of “getting high” comes from the John Denver song, “Sunshine on my Shoulders.” He sings: “Sunshine almost always makes me high.” But when that sunshine makes a hemp plant grow, and that hemp creates CBD, many of us come to an initial question: does CBD get you high?
Is CBD Oil Psychoactive?
“Getting high” has been scientifically described as elevating one’s state of mind. The science shows that getting high is the creation of an altered state of mind or consciousness.
These sensations can be caused by a variety of different activities or drugs. The cannabis sativa plant species is well known throughout human history for its capabilities to alter mood and sensation. CBD’s cannabinoid cousin, THC, is the compound in marijuana that can make you feel high. Knowing that quality CBD contains THC the natural question is will CDB oil, gummies, or other products containing CBD produce that “high” feeling? Lets look into the relationship between CBD and THC and if it is possible use hemp derived CBD without getting high?
CBD vs THC
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 150 phytocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, along with the popular delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 2
The benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids found in cannabis hemp plant material have been anecdotally understood for decades. From college parties, to home cooking, to hardy textiles- hemp cannabis plants are infused into the culture of both prehistoric and modern civilizations, 3 and they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Generally speaking, the type of cannabis we call “marijuana” produces larger amounts of the THC compound, 4 and the type of cannabis we call “hemp” produces larger amounts of the CBD compound. 5 These two cannabinoids are the most well known since they have dominated discussions amongst health and wellness enthusiasts for the past several years.
Hemp vs Marijuana
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, made hemp cultivation legal. It achieved this by defining hemp to distinguish it from illegal marijuana. If a cannabis plant contains less than 0.3 percent THC content, it is considered hemp and is now federally legal. 6
Soon, growers realized that the federal government only placed restrictions on THC, and not the many other cannabis compounds like CBD. In short order, cannabis cultivators began cross-breeding different plant strains to reduce THC levels, while also meeting the CBD percentage threshold necessary to be manufactured into CBD oils and CBD products, like THC and CBD infused gummies.
Hemp plants look and smell the same as recreational marijuana strains, the only difference is the amount of THC. The only way to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana is with a chemical analysis.
Cannabinoids & Endocannabinoid System
So how does CBD work? Before we talk about what CBD does to the body, a quick vocabulary lesson might be helpful first. “Phyto-“ means “plant” in Greek. Therefore, “phytocannabinoids” are the cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants. 7 They are similar to endocannabinoids. “Endo-“ is a Greek prefix that means “from within, or inside.” So, “endocannabinoid” refers to a cannabinoid that is produced naturally inside your body. 8
The recently discovered endocannabinoid system is network of cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, communicates with cannabinoids, whether they are endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids. The ECS responds to cannabinoids that are inhaled through smoke, absorbed sublingually into the blood stream through a tincture, or taken orally in a capsule. 9
The ECS has of two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. 10 These two types of receptors are key to understanding how CBD and THC works, and why they effect the body differently. Namely, why THC produces a “high” sensation, while CBD alone does not.
How Does THC Get You High?
The principle cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol THC, works by activating the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors mostly reside in the brain, brain stem, and elsewhere in the central nervous system. 11 By binding to receptors in the brain, a high dose of THC from recreational marijuana produces the feelings associated with “getting high,” such as: euphoria, laughter, and distortions of the senses. 12
Can CBD Get You High?
So, can CBD get you high? That answer is no. The effects of CBD are different from the effects of THC. CBD affects the way the ECS’s receptors bind with THC, mitigating the psychoactive effects of the THC. This has led to the conclusion that CBD can bring you back to “middle” instead of being “high.” CBD is technically psychoactive because of calming effects it can have, but users say it is not at all like being high from THC-rich marijuana.
The main difference between THC and CBD is the end result that they bring to the consumer. THC is a cannabinoid that has been used by many people as a means to find a euphoric escape, otherwise known as “getting high.” On the other hand, CBD reportedly does not produce the same euphoric feeling that THC does. 13
This corresponds with what we understand about CBD as helping the body restore balance. Cannabinoids including CBD may help bring us back to center, without the risk of getting intoxicated. Even though full spectrum CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, this THC level is far below the amount needed to actively cause psychotropic effects. It is enough, however, to work with the other cannabinoids for the most wellness and health benefits .
What Does CBD Do?
We discussed CBD’s ability to bind with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system. With this knowledge, you can see how CBD can not make you high, but CBD could get you “middle,” bringing the body and mind into balance in a healthy way. That’s something that all of us could certainly use in our everyday life. And that’s why cannabis products containing the full spectrum of cannabinoids are leading the modern supplement industry.
But how can you be sure that you are taking a federally legal CBD product that won’t make you feel high? Cornbread Hemp makes it easy by making their high quality USDA certified organic CBD oils from only the flowering portions of organic hemp grown in Kentucky, where hemp plants are legal but marijuana plants are not.
Cornbread Hemp also makes their third party lab reports readily available. These reports include the CBD content and the THC content of each product. Therefore, you can rest assured that any Cornbread Hemp CBD product will never contain more than the federal legal limit of 0.3 percent THC. It is just enough THC to work alongside CBD to help produce an “entourage effect.”
The Entourage Effect
Full spectrum CBD products made in accordance with the Farm Bill of 2018 contain less than 0.3 percent THC by law. Many CBD companies only sell broad spectrum or CBD isolate products which contain no THC at all. Much of this due to an outdated stigma associated with marijuana.
Look at the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including both majors and minors, like your favorite sports team, with CBD and THC as two of the most important players. If one of them is suddenly no longer playing, the team’s performance will suffer as a result. Studies show that without THC, the product may not be as effective. This is because of a reaction known as the “entourage effect.” 16 Every educated CBD consumer should look for a full spectrum product, if they want the most benefit from using marijuana derived CBD oil .
Full spectrum CBD products are available in many forms, the most popular being a sublingual mix of hemp extract blended with coconut oil. CBD may also be made into edibles like CBD gummies, CBD capsules, topical lotions and CBD creams, or even a specialized oil to be used in a vape pen. There are endless applications to CBD and CBD oils. Products made with hemp derived CBD are finding their way into many of our everyday health and beauty products, which is even more reason to be mindful of what you are purchasing.
If you take CBD, you should be aware that ingesting doses of CBD may cause you to fail a drug test. While THC-free products might seem like a safer bet than full spectrum oils, your workplace may use a drug test that can’t tell the difference between the cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp. So there is a chance that you could be at risk for testing positive on a drug test even if you use a THC-free CBD product.
If you think you might be subjected to workplace drug testing, talk to your HR department before beginning a CBD regimen.
Is CBD Legal?
Yes, CBD is federally legal in all of the United States, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam. Regular, THC-rich, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 restricted substance. If a cannabis sativa plant has less than 0.3 percent THC in it, it is considered industrial hemp, which was made legal by the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill made CBD legal to make, sell, consume, and ship.
Some states have various restrictions. For example, several states have made it illegal to sell CBD in food products or beverages. But the patchwork that is state laws doesn’t matter to the US Postal Service. The USPS will deliver your products safely to your door or even your post office box, no matter where you are in the USA. You are allowed to receive your CBD products in peace at home, in every state and US territory.
What are the side effects of CBD?
There are very few negative consequences of taking full spectrum hemp extract, according to preliminary research and anecdotal reports. Most side effects occur when you have taken more than the recommended dosage, and sometimes these side effects can result from the carrier oil, not the hemp extract.
Potential side effects include:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Dry mouth
- Interactions with medicines
- Allergic reaction
Although for many people who take CBD products, drowsiness is a benefit, not a drawback, some people find drowsiness to be a negative side effect — especially if they feel drowsy in the morning after waking up. No one likes gastrointestinal issues, but typically these are caused by ingesting more than the recommended dose, some people do experience diarrhea and other intestinal discomfort. Sometimes the culprit is the carrier oil, in our case MCT coconut oil, and that’s what upsets the tummy.
Dry mouth is a storied side effect of smoking marijuana, and at times and for some people, ingesting CBD products may have a similar effect.
We always advise checking with your doctor before starting with full spectrum hemp extracts if you are on prescription medications. In very rare cases, a person can be allergic to hemp products. Consult your doctor.
So does CBD get you high? In short, taking CBD oil will make you feel as high as John Denver’s sunshine. Which is to say: the cannabis plant compound cannabidiol (CBD) is not considered to be intoxicating. Actually, scientists are actively working to uncover the beneficial properties of CBD!
Make sure you are choosing high quality legal CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC. Look for a third-party lab report to be certain. The Food and Drug Administration have yet to pass significant regulations on CBD products, so the USDA organic seal is the best way to be sure you are getting a safe product that is free from pesticides and harmful chemicals.
Cornbread Hemp’s third party lab partner tests our products’ THC and CBD ratios to ensure legality and potency. Also included in the report is a full safety screening for pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, mycotoxins, and residual solvents.
For those that still aren’t sure whether full spectrum products may be right for them, feel free to send us an email at [email protected] and a team member will be happy to answer your questions! And don’t forget to subscribe to our email list to stay up to date on the latest research like how much CBD to take and much more!
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd’s full author bio here.
Does CBD Oil Get You High FAQ’s
What can you expect to feel when using CBD?
CBD oil is widely held useful for bringing a sense of chill, a good night’s rest, and comforting muscles and joints. Most people report how much their CBD oil is helping after they stop taking it for the first time.
Can you take too much CBD oil?
The short answer is no. It is safe to take doses of CBD that do not exceed those available over the counter and online. And for the same reasons you won’t get high if you use CBD, you cannot overdose on too much CBD oil. CBD does not affect the areas of the brain that would cause respiratory or circulatory distress.
What are the side effects of CBD?
There aren’t many negative consequences of taking CBD oil, according to preliminary research and anecdotal reports. Most side effects occur when you have taken more than the recommended dosage. Sometimes these side effects could be blamed on the carrier oil, not the CBD.
Potential side effects include:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Dry mouth
- Interactions with medicines
- Allergic reaction
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15. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034. Under “Introduction” heading, 1st paragraph
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How Does CBD Make You Feel and Will it Get You High?
CBD is a compound found in cannabis plants (a cannabinoid) that provides proven therapeutic benefits. Because it doesn’t have the same intoxicating effects as its cannabinoid cousin delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is more lightly regulated, and can be sold without a prescription in most U.S. locations. Even high-CBD strains of cannabis can be purchased online without a medical marijuana card.
Both hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant—Cannabis sativa—but hemp has been selectively bred for thick, heavy stalks, whose fibers have been used for centuries to make clothing, sails, paper and rope. Since most of the delta-9 THC in cannabis is found in the flowering portions of the plant, marijuana breeders have sought plants with lush, heavy flowers (buds), and for decades selectively bred out the CBD, because its calming properties reduce the raciness of the THC high.
There are other minor cannabinoids found in both marijuana and hemp that have similar effects as delta-9 THC, but they’re present in amounts too small to extract. Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized U.S. hemp production, entrepreneurs have learned how to use chemical catalysts to convert hemp-derived CBD into other cannabinoids in quantities large enough to be commercially viable. That has brought about the advent of “new” cannabis compounds that mimic the intoxicating psychoactive effects of delta-9 THC—including delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, HHC, and THC-O.
CBD has psychoactive effects too. The physical and emotional feelings produced by CBD may be more subtle, but whether you call CBD’s effects a high or not, vaping CBD or using CBD oil tinctures does make you feel different. CBD produces sensations that many users find as pleasant as those provided by THC. Unlike THC products though, using pure (or nearly pure) CBD will not make you fail a drug test—as long as you’re careful to choose the right kinds of CBD products.
Avida Puff Full Spectrum CBD Pen
The Avida Puff Full Spectrum CBD pens contain Avida’s USA-grown and hemp-derived CBD distillate. Each rechargeable pen comes with 400 mg CBD and a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC. Experience the benefits of the entourage effect in six all-natural terpenoid-based flavors with Avida’s discreet and super-stylish vape pens.
Avida CBD Vape Pen
Avida offers their signature CBD blends in disposable format. Each vape is bursting with flavor and contains 300 mg of maximum purity pharmaceutical-grade CBD isolate. They are thoroughly tested by a third party lab for quality and consistency. The flavors range from fruits to tangy candy like mango and blue razz.
Does CBD get you high?
Both CBD and THC are mood-altering compounds that have significant therapeutic benefits, like relieving pain and nausea, reducing inflammation, and treating some seizure disorders. But even though both cannabinoids are psychoactive, only THC is intoxicating. While CBD promotes relaxation and calmness, THC produces actual euphoria, and alters perceptions of space and time.
How does CBD work?
Humans and other mammals have an internal network of chemicals and receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems called the endocannabinoid system. These receptors, named CB1 and CB2, bind with molecules called ligands (in this case endogenous cannabinoids like anandamide) to control the release of neurotransmitters like glutamate and dopamine. The endocannabinoid receptors, ligands, and certain enzymes work in concert to affect a variety of processes in the body, including thought, memory, mood, pain management, and appetite.
Cannabinoids created outside the body—called exogenous cannabinoids—like CBD and THC from the cannabis plant, can also bind with the CB1 or CB2 (and other) receptors to produce various effects and moderate some physical functions. THC can relieve nausea and increase appetite, and both CBD and THC are effective for pain relief. CBD is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and has proven medically effective in treating certain seizure disorders.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are not considered dangerous, because they don’t affect the parts of the brain that regulate vital functions of the body. Unlike opioid receptors, the cannabinoid receptors will never signal your lungs to stop breathing. For this reason, it’s practically impossible to overdose on cannabis.
Is CBD psychoactive or intoxicating?
CBD is thought to be helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia. And while the scientific research isn’t absolutely clear, anxiety, stress and sleep problems are the most common reasons consumers use CBD. For many people, CBD is relaxing.
Interestingly, marijuana strains that have significant quantities of both CBD and THC rarely produce the undesirable effects—like paranoia and anxiety—sometimes experienced with weed that’s high in THC but has low CBD content. CBD apparently “competes” with THC on the CB1 receptors, and thereby moderates the psychological effects of its racier relative.
Although CBD may alter your mood—providing a deep sense of calm and relaxation—it doesn’t change spatial and sensory perception or create euphoria, like THC does. In that sense, both cannabinoids are psychoactive, but only THC is intoxicating. This also applies to delta 8 products, THCA and all other forms of tetrahydrocannabinol.
How does CBD make you feel?
As we’ve already discussed, CBD’s primary sensation is relaxation. People describe it sometimes in terms of neutralizing pain and discomfort, or removing stress. For some, that feels like an effect in itself. For others, it’s an exaggerated sense of peace and calm, or just a lack of whatever negative feelings they had experienced before.
Because CBD is an anti-inflammatory, it can reduce pain and relax the body. That, along with the stress and anxiety relief, may be noticeable. A first-time user of CBD tincture and CBD capsules told Vaping360 that he felt “super relaxed, no anxiety, no pain, and almost like I was floating.”
People who vape or smoke CBD-rich hemp flowers (buds) or high-CBD/low-THC marijuana flowers seem to experience the most obviously psychoactive effects. That may be because the flower contains a higher level of THC than other CBD products.
A high-CBD cannabis flower user on Reddit described “an effect” that “could be described as an anti-effect.” They said that “something happens and things seem to lift away with no feeling.” A Vaping360 editor says that CBD “both dulls and clarifies your mental state. Either way, your mental state can be altered.”
Vaping and smoking expedite the active ingredients to the brain (through the lungs) much more quickly than other delivery methods. Using CBD oil tinctures sublingually (under the tongue) is the second-fastest method (though still much slower than inhalation). Using CBD edibles or swallowing a tincture is the slowest, since the CBD must process through the liver before reaching the bloodstream and brain.
It’s possible that some users feel the presence of any amount of THC when it’s mixed with CBD. That’s the well-known “entourage effect” theory, which basically says cannabinoids combine to create more than the sum of their parts. It’s worth experimenting with different kinds of CBD products to see what feels best to you.
In addition to CBD-rich flowers, CBD can be consumed in vape juice (e-liquid), CBD oil tinctures, edible products like gummies and drinks, in capsules, and in a wide variety of topical lotions and creams. CBD e-juice can be vaped in a regular vape mod or pen, or taken orally like a tincture. But even if its label calls CBD e-liquid “oil,” it isn’t really oil; e-liquid is made with propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Tinctures are made with actual CBD oil and carrier oils like MCT or coconut oil, and can only be consumed orally, never vaped. Inhaling real oils can be dangerous.
One product to avoid is CBD oil that has been adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids. These are lab-created chemical compounds that bind with the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain that THC and CBD do. But they can be as much as 100 times more powerful than THC, and have been known to cause extended psychotic episodes and even death. They’re often sold under the brands Spice and K2 (but there are many others) in truck stops, head shops and convenience stores. Sometimes they’re sold as vape juice in bottles marked CBD.
Avoiding synthetic cannabinoids—or other less-sinister additives you don’t want, like melatonin—is simple. Buy from reputable dealers who offer a third-party chemical analysis of the products they sell. That’s something you may want to do anyway if you’re concerned that the CBD oil you buy could make you fail a drug test.
Can CBD make you fail a drug test?
CBD is extracted from hemp and processed into different kinds of CBD products. CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD contain no discernible THC, and are the safest ways of using CBD if you are concerned about a drug test. Full-spectrum CBD contains traces of THC, and although it too is unlikely to make you fail a test, it should probably be avoided to be absolutely sure.
CBD derived from hemp plants almost always contains less than 0.3% THC, which is the legal maximum it can include unless it’s sold by a licensed dispensary in a state with a legal marijuana market. You can verify how much THC a product contains by checking the third-party test on the manufacturer’s website. If the seller can’t produce a test, or you feel hesitant, move on to a different company.
Hemp-derived CBD oil is highly unlikely to make you fail a drug test. As long as the CBD you choose has been tested by a third party, and is sold by a reputable retailer that stands behind its products, you can use it with confidence and enjoy the benefits CBD offers.