How Does CBD Make You Feel and Can It Get You High?
- Does CBD get you high?
- How does CBD make you feel?
- Can CBD make you fail a drug test?
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 tetrahydrocannabinol (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 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 have selectively bred out the CBD, which moderates the racy high of THC.
CBD has psychoactive effects too. But whether you call CBD’s effects a high or not, vaping it or using CBD oil makes you feel different. There are noticeable 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.
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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.
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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.
CBD is often thought of as the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but even though CBD is not intoxicating, it does have physical and psychological effects.
CBD: Does it cause a high?
Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause a high. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the most well-known compounds isolated from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is THC, not CBD, that creates the ‘high-feeling’ people associate with cannabis use.
This article discusses the differences between CBD and THC and explains why these compounds produce such drastically different effects in people.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
Share on Pinterest Although THC and CBD are both present in cannabis, using CBD alone will not cause a ‘high.’
CBD is one of the most well-known cannabinoids produced by the C. sativa plant. It is one of more than 500 compounds that come from cannabis plants.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another well-known cannabinoid that produces the strong psychoactive effects of being “high.”
Consuming or using CBD alone will not cause the “high” associated with THC.
CBD and THC are present in all types of cannabis plants but in different quantities. Certain varieties of C. sativa and Cannabis indica contain higher amounts of THC and low amounts of CBD. As of 2014, the average cannabis plant contained 12% THC and less than 0.15% CBD .
Hemp, on the other hand, is a non-intoxicating variety of C. sativa. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp plants must contain less than 0.3% THC . The average hemp plant has up to 18% CBD.
CBD’s chemical composition and its effects are the same, whether extracted from hemp or other varieties of the cannabis plant.
It is illegal to add CBD to foods, dietary supplements, and products marketed as having therapeutic benefits.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis plants.
THC binds to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors located in brain regions associated with learning, memory, movement, pain sensation, and inflammation.
It also binds to cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors located in the brainstem and hippocampus, which has links to memory and emotions. Immune cells, bone cells, and spleen and liver cells also contain CB2 receptors.
This widespread distribution of cannabinoid receptors is the reason why THC produces such powerful physical and psychological effects.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.
Public and research interest in CBD has grown considerably due to CBD’s potential health benefits.
CBD does not bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors.
According to a 2018 review article, CBD may reduce the ability of THC and other cannabinoids to bind to the CB1 receptor’s. This may reduce the psychoactive effects of THC and may increase the number of circulating cannabinoids.
A 2018 review in Surgical Neurology International indicates that CBD may reduce inflammation in the brain by indirectly interacting with CB2 receptors.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived CBD prescription for treating two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Anecdotal evidence and preliminary research suggest that CBD may help treat a variety of conditions, including:
- nerve and muscle pain
- weight loss
- chemotherapy side effects
However, researchers must continue to study the effects and potential health benefits of CBD.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that CBD might offer therapeutic benefits for people with:
- neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease
- chronic pain
- brain injuries related to restricted blood flow
- inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- inflammatory bowel and Crohn’s diseases
- cardiovascular diseases
- complications of diabetes
Risks and side effects
While most people tolerate CBD well, it can lead to adverse side effects, such as:
- drowsiness or fatigue
- a dry mouth
- changes in mood, such as increased agitation and irritability
- interactions with prescription or over-the-counter drugs
- increased risk of sedation, drowsiness, and injuries when used with alcohol
- increased or decreased appetite
- liver damage due to drug interactions
If a person is considering using CBD, they should speak to a doctor or healthcare provider first.
CBD does not cause a 'high.' CBD and THC are psychoactive compounds from the cannabis plant, but it is THC, not CBD, that creates this response. Learn more.