CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, but they can have differing effects on the body. Learn more about the differences in the effects and benefits of CBD vs, THC. CBD is often thought of as the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but it does have physical and psychological effects. Wondering if CBD gets you high? The answer boils down to distinguishing between psychoactive vs intoxicating. This article clears up potential confusion and explains the effects of CBD on the brain in simple words.
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
Both come from cannabis, but THC is psychoactive and CBD is not
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Cannabis contains over 113 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two types of chemical compounds derived from cannabis. In recent years, interest has grown in the potential health effects and benefits of cannabis. Much of this interest has centered on these two cannabinoids.
This interest will likely grow as cannabis and marijuana products become legal in more states. A number of different products have emerged that contain CBD, THC, or both that are designed to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. To understand these products’ side effects and potential benefits, it is important to first understand the differences between CBD and THC.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, usually referred to as CBD, is the second most prevalent chemical compound found in cannabis. First discovered during the 1940s, CBD has recently become more popular as a natural treatment for a range of conditions. It can be derived from hemp or from marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD still contains trace amounts of THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain more.
What Is THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC activates the brain’s reward system by signaling the release of the brain chemical dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and pleasure. By triggering a higher-than-normal release of dopamine, THC causes people to experience feelings of euphoria. THC is often administered by smoking marijuana, but it can also be found as an ingredient in capsules, edibles, and oils.
CBD vs. THC: Key Differences
THC and CBD have an effect on the endocannabinoid system, a system that plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis. Researchers are still working to understand the ins and outs of this complex system, but they do know that it is associated with processes including memory, appetite, sleep, mood, and fertility.
While THC and CBD share similarities, there are some key differences between the two compounds.
Psychoactive (produces a high)
Sourced from marijuana
Non-psychoactive (does not produce a high)
Typically sourced from hemp
CBD vs. THC: Psychoactive Properties
CBD and THC affect different receptors in the brain. Because of this, CBD typically does not have psychoactive effects—in other words, it won’t cause you to get high.
THC, on the other hand, does have psychoactive effects. It is the compound that produces the high that people associate with marijuana.
CBD vs. THC: Chemical Structure
Both CBD and THC have a chemical structure that is similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that act in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells in the body. They play an important role in a wide range of functions including sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and the immune system.
CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, but there are differences in how these molecules are arranged that are responsible for the differing effects they have. By mimicking endocannabinoids, they bind with receptors and cause different effects in the body.
CBD vs. THC: Sources
While CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana, it is often derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, on the other hand, is derived from marijuana.
CBD that comes from marijuana may contain more THC, which may not be ideal for people who are trying to avoid THC. Some CBD products that are produced from cannabis, for example, may contain more THC than the label suggests.
CBD vs. THC: Potential Benefits
While research on the potential health benefits of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids is still in the early stages, there is evidence that these substances may be helpful for conditions including:
- Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
- Opioid dependence
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep difficulties
- Movement disorders
While CBD and THC often have similar effects and are often used to treat many of the same ailments, there are some differences.
CBD is often used to alleviate symptoms associated with:
THC, which may be administered as medical marijuana, may be used to alleviate symptoms of a number of conditions. It may be helpful for conditions such as:
- Nausea; it may help alleviate nausea caused by cancer treatment
- Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches
- Poor appetite; including appetite problems caused by cancer treatment
CBD vs. THC for Pain Relief
Both CBD and THC can both be beneficial for pain relief. Because THC has psychoactive effects, it may produce more immediate pain relief. However, CBD can help reduce inflammation, which is useful for long-term effectiveness. Some evidence suggests that taking both CBD and THC may provide the greatest pain relief. In one study, people who took a combination of CBD and THC experienced greater pain relief than those who took THC alone.
While cannabis itself has not been FDA approved to treat any condition, there are a few drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contain CBD or THC.
- Epidiolex contains CBD and has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Marinol and Syndros are drugs that contain dronabinol, a synthetic THC. These drugs are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
- Cesamet contains nabilone, a synthetic substance that is similar to THC. This drug is used to treat weight loss and appetite problems associated with chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS.
CBD vs. THC: Side Effects
Some research suggests that CBD and THC are generally safe and result in few side effects.
However, while these substances appear safe, that does not necessarily mean that you won’t experience some unwanted effects. Some adverse effects that have been reported include:
- Changes in mood and appetite
- Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
- Nausea and dizziness
THC use may also result in unpleasant side effects such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and memory loss.
Marijuana itself can have a number of short-term and long-term adverse effects, including impaired short-term memory, altered judgment, and impaired coordination. Research also suggests that marijuana can alter brain development and may lead to cognitive impairment.
NIDA also notes that THC alters how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex function. These areas of the brain are important in the formation of new memories and the ability to shift attention from one thing to the next. This not only affects a person’s ability to learn and form new memories, but it also makes it difficult for people to perform difficult tasks.
Legality of CBD and THC
When choosing CBD or THC products, it is also important to consider their legality. Both marijuana and THC are included in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means that they are not legal under federal law.
As of July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted policies allowing medical marijuana and products containing THC to be prescribed by a doctor. Some states also allow recreational use of marijuana and THC-containing products.
Although CBD in certain forms is legal in most states, the specifics of the legality of any THC or CBD product can vary from one state to the next. Several states have also approved the use of marijuana and THC for recreational purposes.
Because the laws regarding the use of cannabis and cannabis products are rapidly changing, you should always check your state’s laws before using products containing CBD or THC.
How to Take CBD and THC
Both THC and CBD can be consumed in a number of different forms. THC may be consumed as marijuana by smoking, but a number of other cannabis products are also available including:
- Vape products
- Edibles including gummies and chocolates
- Beverages containing marijuana oil
Like THC, CBD can also be consumed in a number of different forms. CBD oils can be formulated for vaping, although there have been recent concerns about the health dangers posed by vaping.
It can also be added to lotions and salves to apply to skin. It is important to note that the effects of these topical products will be localized since they are not being ingested.
CBD can also be taken orally as a tincture, oil, capsule, or spray. Edible CBD products are also popular and include gummies, candies, and beverages.
When choosing CBD products, it is also important to consider its formulation. Isolate products contain only CBD. Broad-spectrum products contain other cannabinoids with the exception of THC, while full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
Which One Should You Take?
The product you choose may depend on the effects you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to reduce stress or sleep better, for example, CBD may provide benefits without the negative side effects associated with THC. THC might be a better choice for symptoms or conditions for which the substance has demonstrated benefits, such as tremors or poor appetite.
The Entourage Effect
Some research suggests that the potential therapeutic effects of THC and CBD tend to be greater when the two cannabinoids are taken together at the same time. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
Taking CBD along with THC has also been shown to help reduce some of the unwanted effects that THC may have. For example, one study suggests that CBD may potentially reduce some of the negative cognitive effects of regular cannabis use.
For example, people who use cannabis, particularly when it has high THC levels, may have a greater risk of experiencing psychiatric symptoms such as paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis. Studies have found, however, that CBD may help mitigate these effects.
One study found that CBD helped block some of the potential psychiatric effects of THC. The authors of the study suggest that such findings have important implications for the use of cannabis products. People who are prone to unwanted side effects, for example, may be able to still gain the potential health benefits by sticking to products that are low in THC and higher in CBD content.
It is also important to remember that CBD and THC work in a number of different areas of the brain, and researchers do not yet fully understand the effects that these cannabinoids have, either alone or in conjunction with one another.
Some evidence suggests that the combined effects of CBD and THC may be dependent on dose. A 2019 study, for example, found that low doses of CBD actually played a role in amplifying the psychoactive effects of THC, while high doses of CBD reduced THC’s effects.
Drug Testing CBD or THC
Because THC is the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, it can be detected on most standard drug tests. CBD may be detectable as well, but many drug tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol.
However, many CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC. While these amounts are small, they may still be detectable if you are consuming large quantities of CBD or if the products you are using contain more THC than the packaging label claims.
Research has found, for example, that as many as 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and contain significantly more THC than labels suggest. Because of the lack of regulation of these products, it is difficult to know exactly how much THC you are actually getting.
There is no way to tell between THC and CBD based on appearance, smell, taste, or texture. Purchasing products from reputable manufacturers and retailers may help ensure that you are getting the type of product you want.
Both THC and CBD are stored in body fat, which means that both can potentially be detected on drug tests for some time after you have stopped using them.
Before You Take CBD or THC
THC and CBD may also have an effect on some health conditions and can interact with certain medications, so you should always use caution before taking these products. These substances might impact how medications are metabolized by your body. They can also heighten feelings of anxiety in some cases.
Before choosing a THC or CBD product, it is important to check your state laws to ensure that these products are legal where you live. Federal law mandates that hemp-derived CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC, but even those trace amounts are still illegal in some states.
A Word From Verywell
Both THC and CBD may have a number of benefits, but you should always talk to your doctor first before you try any products containing these cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC hold promise for alleviating symptoms and even treating some medical and mental health conditions, but research in this area is still relatively new and further investigation is needed.
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Cannabis (marijuana) and cannabinoids: what you need to know.
Perry D, Ton J, Allan GM. Evidence for THC versus CBD in cannabinoids. Can Fam Physician. 2018;64(7):519. PMID: 30002029; PMCID: PMC6042662.
Volkow ND, Baler RD, Compton WM, Weiss SR. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(23):2219-2227. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1402309
Morgan CJ, Schafer G, Freeman TP, Curran HV. Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: naturalistic study: naturalistic study [corrected] [published correction appears in Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Nov;197:416]. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;197(4):285-290. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077503
Bonn-miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909
By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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.
Does CBD Oil Get You High?
CBD is known for its massive range of health benefits. Even if you’re not familiar with the cannabis market, you’ve probably heard of CBD in the media, from your neighbor, or in one of the episodes of your favorite podcaster.
CBD is virtually everywhere. More and more people are turning to CBD as a natural alternative for boosting the overall quality of life.
CBD is known for its relaxing and calming effects. Data from case reports and preclinical studies demonstrate CBD’s potential in promoting healthy sleep, improving focus, easing physical discomfort, and helping with addictive behaviors.
But does CBD oil get you high? After all, it comes from the cannabis plant.
There’s a lot of misconception surrounding the effects of CBD. Today we’ll help you understand how the cannabinoid interacts with the brain, which CBD products might get you high, and how to tell the difference between psychoactive vs intoxicating.
Does CBD Oil Get You High?
Generally speaking, CBD oil doesn’t get you high, but the final effect depends on where the CBD comes from and how much THC is in your product.
If your CBD oil contains 0.3% THC or less, it comes from hemp and thus won’t get you high. Such low concentrations of THC are not sufficient enough to induce intoxication.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. It can make you feel more relaxed, in-the-zone, and uplifted, but these effects are nowhere near the marijuana high.
However, there are some exceptions.
Why Some Think You Can Get High on CBD (Misconceptions)
CBD can be sourced both from hemp and marijuana. The latter may contain a considerable amount of THC — upwards of 5% — depending on the final ratio between the two cannabinoids. These products are made from selectively bred marijuana strains that are created for high CBD levels.
Nevertheless, their THC content isn’t as low as in hemp, so it can produce a mild high.
The ratios of CBD to THC can be 1:1, 2:1, 5:1, or even 20:1. The higher the amount of CBD, the less trippy the intoxicating effects. That’s because CBD and THC are like the yin and yang of cannabis.
Here’s what you need to know.
Understanding the Difference Between CBD vs THC
Since CBD is derived from cannabis, people who are going to try CBD oil for the first time are concerned that it will get them high.
Once you understand how CBD and THC affect the brain, you’ll no longer be confused.
Below we share the basic information on CBD, THC, and their traits:
- THC – it is the only intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis, causing the classic marijuana high. The moment THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, it produces a variety of effects on the body and brain. In low and moderate doses, THC can induce relaxation, euphoria, appetite, and sometimes sleepiness. The cannabinoid controls memory, mood, pain sensations, appetite, body temperature, and other important functions (1). THC has a biphasic nature, meaning that higher doses may aggravate anxiety and cause mental discomfort in sensitive users.
- CBD – CBD is a non-intoxicant, meaning it won’t get you high. That’s because it doesn’t bind directly to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Instead, CBD signals the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to maintain more of its endogenous cannabinoids, helping the body maintain homeostasis (a state of balance between vital bodily functions). CBD can promote relaxation, reduce physical discomfort, improve attention and focus, promote neuroprotection, enhance cartilage and joint health, and provide a general sense of balance (2). On top of that, CBD counteracts the trippy nature of CBD, reducing the likelihood of racing thoughts, anxiety, and paranoia.
As you can see, CBD and THC work synergistically in the body, modulating the activity of one another. Just like CBD is able to mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC, THC may enhance some of the health benefits of CBD, unlocking its full potential.
What Does CBD Actually Feel Like?
CBD alone won’t get you high, but what exactly happens when it enters your body? How does CBD produce its effects?
In the above section, we’ve mentioned that CBD doesn’t directly bind to any cannabinoid receptors in the brain, but it acts on more than 60 receptor-based and receptor-independent pathways.
While THC is a cannabinoid agonist, CBD is the modulator of the ECS.
On top of signaling the ECS to increase the production of endocannabinoids, CBD also slows their breakdown by inhibiting the activity of the fatty acid amino hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme. With more endocannabinoids circulating in the bloodstream, your body can return to homeostasis more efficiently (3).
Most users describe the effects of CBD as a wave of calming sensations and relief running through the body and mind when they take CBD oil or vape it. Depending on the route of administration, CBD oil may take anywhere between 5–90 minutes to kick in.
To sum up, CBD oil can make you feel:
- Less in physical discomfort
Is CBD Psychoactive?
There’s a common misconception that CBD isn’t psychoactive, but in fact, it fits in the official definition like a glove.
The fact that something doesn’t get you high doesn’t mean it’s not psychoactive.
Let’s add another term to resolve the doubts.
Psychoactive vs Intoxicating
The official definition of psychoactive is “affecting the mind or behavior.” Although CBD doesn’t affect your behavior, it certainly does influence the mind. For example, bringing a calm sensation to the user, can improve their mood and make them happier. As a result, they will behave differently than before CBD.
So, if we want to be precise as a Swiss watch, we must accept the fact that CBD actually is psychoactive. However, many people don’t accept that trait because they strongly associate the word “psychoactive” with THC, and hemp companies are trying to make a clear distinction between the effects of hemp-based CBD products from their marijuana-derived counterparts.
With that in mind, let’s shed more light on how CBD oils are made and how manufacturers ensure the THC content doesn’t exceed 0.3% by volume.
How CBD Oil is Made to Ensure It Won’t Get You High
Most CBD oils available for sale are extracted from hemp, which is bred to contain higher levels of CBD and only a trace amount of THC. Hemp farmers take advantage of hemp’s naturally high CBD content and grow the plants to yield CBD-rich flowers.
What does the trace amount of THC mean?
While marijuana may contain anywhere between 5–35% of THC, hemp usually comes with 0.3%, which won’t get the user high. This is also the federally accepted limit for the THC levels in hemp products. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 U.S. states thanks to that.
However, once the plant has been harvested and brought to the extraction facility, the CBD and other cannabinoids are pulled from hemp using a solvent. Reputable manufacturers use liquid CO2 to extract CBD; the CO2 technology allows for efficient extraction without adding additional heat or solvents on the way.
From there, the viscous hemp extract undergoes a process known as fractional distillation. At this stage, the manufacturer can isolate specific cannabinoids and reintroduce them in desired ratios to the final product. In a similar manner, extractors isolate THC, leaving 0.3% inside the CBD oil.
It’s important that the extraction process is conducted properly, as any mistakes may result in a product tainted with an illegal dose of THC.
The best way to make sure your CBD oil doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of THC is to look for the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory. Outside laboratories verify the CBD content in the tested sample and look for common contaminants to check if the product is safe for consumption.
Other Potentially Intoxicating Cannabinoids
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains other cannabinoids aside from CBD.
On top of non-intoxicating compounds, such as CBC, CBG, or CBDA, there are two minor cannabinoids that could get you slightly high when consumed in large amounts.
- THCV – THCV has a similar chemical structure to THC. There are only traces of THCV in full-spectrum CBD oil, so its occurrence won’t get you high. It can only regulate the effects of significant cannabinoids. THCV is a mild intoxicant, but not in a way that could elevate anxiety. In fact, THCV can mitigate the intoxication from THC while enhancing focus and elevating the mood. Other health benefits of THCV include the ability to reduce stress, promote healthy bone growth, and provide neuroprotection (4).
- CBN– CBN is sort of a byproduct of THC when the compound gets exposed to heat and oxygen. Higher levels of CBN can be found in cannabis that was aged or wrongly stored. While not intoxicating per se, CBN induces potent sedation, which gets intensified in the presence of THC. Some studies suggest that CBN may support regeneration processes in the body thanks to this trait (5).
Let’s Wrap It Up: Which CBD Oil Will Get You High?
As written at the beginning of the article, CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana plants.
Due to the higher levels of THC, ranging from 5% to 35%, marijuana-derived CBD oil can get you high, but the intensity of the buzz depends on the ratio between THC and CBD. If you’re using a high-CBD / low-THC product, you can balance the psychoactive effects of THC but still experience relaxation and other benefits of cannabis.
Hemp-derived CBD oil won’t make you feel high because it contains only negligible amounts of THC. However, you can still benefit from a wide range of positive effects on your health associated with using cannabis. People take CBD oil to feel focused, relaxed, more in-the-zone, invigorated, and free from aches and discomfort.
There are also many other goals of CBD supplementation, but getting high isn’t one of them. For this reason, hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal and available for sale without prescription. You can purchase it in local health stores, dispensaries, vape shops, and online retail stores.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Getting High
CBD alone won’t get you high. It’s impossible from the biological point of view; CBD doesn’t affect the same receptors as THC, hence the lack of intoxicating effects. However, that doesn’t mean CBD isn’t psychoactive.
Since CBD can improve your response to stress, enhance focus, and make you feel more relaxed, it does — in a way — affect your mind and behavior. Therefore, it’s 100% psychoactive by the definition. When people say CBD oil doesn’t get you high, they mean it doesn’t have intoxicating properties.
The only intoxicating compound in cannabis whose concentrations are significant enough to cause a high is THC. However, in hemp-derived products, its content is limited to 0.3% — you won’t get high from such modest amounts. Other potentially intoxicating cannabinoids, such as THCV and CBN, only modulate the effects of the major cannabinoids and won’t make you high on their own.
If you want to ensure your CBD oil doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of THC, always look for third-party lab reports. Reputable companies publish them on their websites or send them to users on request. The CBD market is booming and unregulated, so thorough research is necessary if you want to avoid companies that sell fake oils online.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and will find it useful in your future exploration of CBD products!