So, Does CBD Actually Get You High?
CBD is quickly becoming the Taylor Swift of the wellness world — catchy, healing, and a little too omnipresent in everyday life.
With so many touted benefits (pain relief! reduced anxiety! better sleep!) and so many formats to try (oil! gummies! lube!), it’s no wonder everyone is jumping on the CBD train. And just like “Lover” or “Back to December” gets you higher than a kite, you might be wondering if CBD can do the same.
The short answer: CBD won’t get you high. Even though CBD comes from cannabis (the same plant species that brings us marijuana), CBD products contain little to no THC — the psychoactive chemical that creates a high, euphoric effect.
It may, however, provide a host of other benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about the effects of CBD and how it differs from a THC-induced high. *Cue “Wildest Dreams”*
Here’s the deal: CBD is one of more than 100 natural compounds called cannabinoids that come from the cannabis sativa plant (aka a marijuana or hemp plant).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a popular cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects. But don’t confuse THC with CBD — these two might come from the same place, but that doesn’t mean they do the same things.
As we mentioned earlier, THC makes you feel the high that’s often associated with smoking marijuana — and CBD does not. But CBD and THC do share a few side effects (more on those in a minute).
CBD might help you feel more relaxed and calm and less anxious, and it may even help you fall asleep. It has the soothing qualities of THC without the high or “stoned” effect.
CBD comes in many forms, and while they all have similar effects, each one is slightly different.
Oils and tinctures
Oils infused with CBD are popular because they’re easy to take and they get absorbed into your body very quickly, meaning you’ll feel the effects quickly.
CBD oils are typically placed under your tongue using a dropper. They’re great for anyone who doesn’t want to take pills but wants to try CBD.
Capsules and pills
There are CBD capsules and pills that may help with a variety of issues, including sleep deprivation, digestive problems, and seizure disorders. You take them just as you would any other pill.
The main difference between a pill and an oil is that the pill takes longer to be absorbed by your body, so you may not feel the effects quite as quickly.
Creams and lotions
Some CBD-infused lotions and creams are meant to relieve muscle and joint pain. Others claim to be beneficial for various skin problems, such as eczema or acne, although there isn’t much scientific evidence to back that up. You might even find CBD in some skin care products.
While CBD gummies are really popular, you can also find CBD in candy, chocolates, cookies, and even beer and wine.
The fastest way to experience the effects of CBD is to inhale vaporized CBD oil, which you can do with an e-cigarette. Vaping CBD oil sends it into your bloodstream, so it’s absorbed really quickly.
But the safety of vaping is being very seriously questioned, so it’s not something to take lightly.
Both CBD and THC have an impact on the cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1) in your brain, but they kinda have opposite effects. THC binds with those receptors, activating them and causing a feeling of euphoria or high.
But CBD is different: It barely binds with CB1 receptors. In fact, it can actually block any high from happening at all. If you were to take CBD with THC, you might find that you didn’t feel as high as you would if you’d consumed only THC.
So, what do you feel when you take CBD?
Research on CBD is relatively new, but some studies suggest CBD is relaxing and calming. It could reduce inflammation and pain, it may help you sleep better, and it’s often used to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
CBD is considered safe and well-tolerated in general. But everyone may react slightly differently to it, so what someone else feels may not match up with your experience.
CBD does have some possible side effects, including:
- changes in appetite and weight
- mild nausea
- dry mouth
CBD can also interact with some medications, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a CBD regimen.
How does THC make you feel?
Smoking or ingesting THC is going to cause that feeling of being high. The possible short-term side effects of THC are:
- increased heart rate
- coordination issues
- dry mouth
- red eyes
- slower reaction times
- memory loss
The high from THC can leave you feeling euphoric, relaxed, focused, amused, giggly, creative, hungry, and more sensitive to smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound.
CBD has lots of possible benefits that have made it a good choice for people who deal with a variety of conditions. But CBD is still being studied, so new research is published often. The details on CBD could change as scientists learn more!
Easing anxiety and depression
CBD oil is a promising treatment for people who live with anxiety and depression and don’t want to turn to pharmaceutical drugs. Some research suggests that specific doses of CBD are very effective at reducing anxiety before a test.
And it’s not just for adults: According to a 2016 study, CBD oil can be safely used to relieve anxiety and insomnia in children experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some studies have also shown that CBD can have antidepressant-like effects and can affect how your brain responds to serotonin. A 2018 review of studies found that CBD can also have anti-stress effects, so it might reduce depression that’s related to stress.
Helping with insomnia
Some people take CBD to help them sleep better. In a 2019 study, 66.7 percent of participants reported better sleep after taking CBD.
Scientists don’t totally understand why CBD might help people sleep better, but it could be because CBD can ease anxiety, depression, and stress.
Relieving pain and inflammation
CBD could be one of the reasons marijuana is known for relieving pain. Research on animals has shown that CBD may reduce chronic pain by reducing inflammation and could also ease pain from surgical incisions and sciatic nerve pain.
When combined with THC, CBD may be effective in easing pain caused by multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Alleviating cancer-related symptoms
CBD may be useful for relieving some cancer-related pain and side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting. Research has found a significant reduction in pain when THC and CBD are combined for this type of use.
CBD reduces inflammation, which in turn might help reduce acne. A 2014 study found that CBD oil can prevent sebaceous gland cells from releasing too much sebum (which can cause acne) and can prevent the activation of agents that cause acne.
More research needs to be done, but it’s possible that CBD could help with other skin issues too.
Helping with seizures and neurological disorders
More research is needed, but CBD might help ease symptoms related to epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Some studies have found reduced seizure activity in children and young adults after they took CBD oil. And in 2018, the FDA approved a CBD product called Epidiolex to treat two seizure disorders, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Other studies have shown that CBD may improve quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease.
And some animal and test-tube studies have even shown promising results with Alzheimer’s disease: CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration that goes along with the disease.
Boosting heart health
A 2017 study showed that CBD might even benefit the heart and circulatory system by lowering high blood pressure, thus preventing health problems such as stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome. This could be because CBD can relieve stress and anxiety, which in turn lowers blood pressure.
A 2010 study on rats also suggested that CBD might help reduce inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease.
Helping with schizophrenia
Some research suggests CBD might benefit people with schizophrenia and similar conditions by reducing symptoms of psychosis.
Aiding in treatment of substance use disorder
CBD might even be useful in treatment for substance use disorder. Research suggests it can change circuits in the brain related to drug dependence. A 2015 review of studies found that CBD reduced morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior in rats.
The short answer: CBD won't get you high. Even though it's made from cannabis (the same plant species that brings us marijuana), it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive chemical that creates a high. But it may have a variety of other benefits. Here's everything you need to know about the effects of CBD and how it differs from a THC high.
What does CBD oil feel like?
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- Does CBD make you feel good?
- Different types of CBD oil deliver different effects
- What are the side effects of CBD oil?
CBD is said by many to have a relaxing and soothing effect, but you’re not going to feel this non-intoxicating cannabinoid the same way you would THC. To explain how CBD truly feels, we need to look at how both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD is said to have a relaxing and soothing effect. The effects are much different than THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors that cannabinoids bind to, and enzymes that break them down. While THC activates the CB1 receptors, CBD induces the opposite outcome, instead inhibiting activity in the CB1 receptors.
Aside from CB1 receptors, CBD also binds to several other targets throughout the body. For instance, this non-intoxicating cannabinoid has at least 12 sites of action in the brain and may elicit therapeutic effects by activating multiple pathways at once.
The interaction between CBD and the body may create a feeling of relaxation and improved mood. Studies and anecdotal evidence also suggest that CBD offers therapeutic value in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other ailments.
Does CBD make you feel good?
You might have heard about the various purported health benefits of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid, but how does CBD feel once it enters your system?
Many consumers and medical patients report several positive effects after taking CBD, including feelings of relaxation and calmness. But the exact feeling you’ll get from CBD is contingent on several factors, including the type of CBD product, the total CBD dosage, and individual-specific factors.
How CBD affects you depends on your body’s chemistry and the type of product you select. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Depending on the treatment or therapeutic relief you seek, the effects of CBD can vary. Different CBD products may prove more beneficial than others. For instance, CBD-infused topicals have been reported to provide relief in pain-specific areas, while a CBD oil with a 1:1 CBD-to-THC ratio could be better suited to help with falling asleep, perhaps also producing an intoxicated feeling, depending on the level of THC.
Individual-specific characteristics such as the consumer’s weight, diet, metabolism, other medications, genetics, and medical conditions, as well as the formulation and quality of the CBD product itself could all influence the amount of therapeutic value that CBD will offer.
Not only does it depend on the individual, but also their ailment or condition. Depending on the therapeutic needs, different CBD products may prove more beneficial than others.
Different types of CBD oil deliver different effects
When you stumble upon a wide selection of CBD oil products, there might not appear to be much differentiating them. However, not all CBD oil will make you feel the same. In fact, the effects of various CBD oil products can differ drastically.
Hemp-derived vs. marijuana-derived CBD oil
There are two main classifications of cannabis plants that produce CBD: hemp and marijuana. Though the CBD molecular structure is identical regardless of source, there’s a difference between the chemical makeup of hemp and marijuana plants, which can lead to CBD oil products with different effects.
Industrial hemp plants are typically grown for their fiber and seeds, and tend to be skinny and scarce in foliage. Hemp plants and hemp-derived products are considered legal under U.S. law, as long as the plant contains no more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, hemp-derived CBD oil will have little to no THC, which will prevent consumers from feeling any of the intoxicating effects that stem from this cannabinoid.
On the other hand, marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants that have thick, lush foliage and flowers, typically with higher levels of THC than CBD, although there are several CBD-rich cultivars on the market. Marijuana-derived CBD oil often contains much higher levels of THC than hemp-derived products, so consumers may want to brace for the effects of THC. These products are legally available on the adult-use market and in certain medical marijuana states, but remain illegal on the federal level.
Not all CBD oil will make you feel the same. There are many types of oil out there, so make sure you know where the oil in your products was sourced. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Although the intoxicating feeling of THC might be something you wish to avoid, it’s important to note that CBD and THC have actually demonstrated a synergistic relationship when taken in tandem, a phenomenon commonly known as the “entourage effect.” For example, when CBD is consumed alongside THC, people tend to experience less of the paranoia and anxiety associated with high THC concentrations. The inclusion of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes could also contribute to the experience and to how you ultimately end up feeling.
When it comes to the purported effects of CBD oil products, we’re not only looking at hemp-derived and marijuana-derived products. The additional cannabis compounds and ingredients (or lack thereof) also play a significant role in the consumer experience. There are major differences between broad-spectrum CBD oil, full-spectrum CBD oil, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil
When a CBD oil product is labeled full-spectrum, that means the plant’s original terpenes and other types of cannabinoids, including cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and importantly, THC, have not been filtered out during the extraction process.
Broad spectrum CBD oil
Broad-spectrum CBD oil derived from hemp is similar to full-spectrum, as the oil contains most of the cannabinoids from its original state. However, the key difference here is the additional extraction process that filters out all traces of THC. With the THC removed, consumers don’t need to worry about encountering any feelings of being high, but can still reap the potential benefits of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Another option for consumers is CBD isolate, which comes in the form of a crystalline solid or white powder. Stripped of all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, CBD isolate is the most refined form of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, containing upwards of 99% pure CBD. With all THC and other compounds removed, CBD isolate is the purest possible form of CBD available.
CBD isolate is the most refined form of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, containing upwards of 99% pure CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What are the side effects of CBD oil?
Although CBD does not produce the same adverse side effects as THC, should you be concerned about feeling or encountering any other side effects from the cannabinoid?
While research has found that CBD has a much better side effect profile compared with most other drugs, a large dose of CBD can still have potentially adverse effects on the user. A 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research concluded that while CBD had a “favorable safety profile,” there were side effects reported by participants, including tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight.
In addition, CBD may cause other side effects in some individuals, including nausea and irritability. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and contributor to the Harvard Health Blog, discussed these potential side effects in a 2018 post, writing, “Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements.”
For this reason, it is vital to consult with your physician before beginning a regimen of CBD products, including CBD oil. Be sure to discuss any current prescription medications and possible drug interactions prior to starting CBD.
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