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Does CBD Get You High?

It’s a question which usually crosses the minds of people when they are considering whether to buy cannabis or cannabis-based products. Alongside the increasing acceptance of recreational and medical marijuana,  Cannabidiol (especially in oil form) has been growing in popularity. More and more people want to know the answer to the question: does CBD get you high? In this article, we are going to answer that question and explain the reasoning behind the answer. 

The long and short of it is that CBD does not get you high and there’s been no known link to CBD getting you high. It’s been a very well-established fact that it’s the THC compound in marijuana that gets you high. When people claim that they get high from CBD, it’s important to know that this high with CBD kicks in only after you’ve consumed excess amounts of THC. If you take a dose of hemp oil, sourced from industrial hemp, that’s right for you then you’re not going to get high from CBD at all. Nor do you have to worry about failing a drug test, for that matter.

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There are companies making CBD-infused well, everything.

What Is CBD?

CBD is a short form of cannabidiol, which is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant or the hemp plant. There are different kinds of cannabinoids, with THC being the most talked about. Other kinds of cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBD), cannabicyclol (CBL) and cannabicitran (CBT). All of these cannabinoids can be considered as Lego bricks which come together to shape the chemical nature of the cannabis plant.

CBD itself is further divided into three sub-categories:

  • Phytocannabinoid: This is a special compound which is found in cannabis plants as well as other types of plants such as echinacea, electric daisy, and liverwort. When we are talking about CBD related to hemp or marijuana, we are talking about this particular sub-category of CBD.  
  • Endocannabinoid: This type of cannabinoid is found in the human body. It has various types within itself, including anandamide, noladin ether, virodhamine, etc. Although this is a cannabinoid, endocannabinoids produced by the body are in such a low concentration that they do not have the same effect as consuming external CBD.   
  • Synthetic cannabinoid: This type of CBD is produced in labs and can be either based on phytocannabinoid or endocannabinoid.

Now that we know what CBD actually is, let us look into how it affects us in medical terms. In the below section, we are going to go over the science behind CBD’s working and to ensure that you do not get overwhelmed by the medical terminologies, we have tried to explain the whole concept very simply.

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It’s not just hemp oil anymore. You can now take CBD in many forms including gummies.

The Science Behind CBD’s Effect On Our Body

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how or why exactly CBD doesn’t get you high (even when taking high doses). We are going to look at CBD’s effect on our body at a very micro level. 

To start with I want to share with you how exactly THC causes a high in order to better understand why CBD doesn’t cause a high. Basically, THC attaches itself to a receptor in our brain, called the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1). In fact, THC sort of just fits snugly into these cannabinoid receptors and this interaction results in the release of dopamine by the brain. Dopamine is an organic chemical that controls our brain’s reward and pleasure pathways. The release of dopamine, in turn, affects things like mood, cognition, perception, etc. A total of all these changes combined is what we have come to call the high. If you live in a state with legal recreational weed, then you can swing by your local dispensary to pick up cannabis oil that contains varying levels of THC, which has the mind-altering effects that the marijuana plant is famous for.

In contrast, CBD doesn’t attach itself to cannabinoid receptor 1 in the same way that THC attaches to it. You can think of it as a bit sneaky as it doesn’t attach to the cannabinoid receptor 1, but instead, it changes the shape of cannabinoid receptor 1. This change in the shape is in a way that the THC compound cannot attach to it, which means that this particular receptor functions normally and your mood, cognition, and perception aren’t affected, which is why there’s no feeling of a high when using hemp oil. When using CBD via a vape oil in a vape pen or any other method you have no risk of experiencing any psychoactive effects. None of the effects of THC will be present. This is why CBD oil is a popular method of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, anxiety, Dravet syndrome, and more. It’s important to note that CBD edibles take longer to kick in compared to oils, so if you’re not feeling the effects right away definitely wait a couple hours before increasing your dosage.

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CBD oil has possible benefits for almost every part of the human body. The effects of this supplement can reduce anxiety, inflammation, depression, pain, and more.

What This Means For You

From what we have discussed so far, there are two ways that CBD doesn’t cause a high:

  1. Firstly, it doesn’t interact with the cannabinoid receptor 1 in the same way that THC does.
  2. Secondly, it changes the shape of cannabinoid receptor 1 so that THC can’t attach to it.

So how does this apply to you on a very practical level?  Basically, you are going to select products that are primarily high in CBD. This is the main way by which you can avoid the effects of getting high off of marijuana. There are a couple ways to do this:

  • You can purchase products made from hemp (or hemp seed), which by default primarily contains CBD. In the United States and, also, internationally, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 percent THC. However, it is important that you verify that the product actually does primarily contain CBD. In the past, the FDA ran some random tests on various brands of CBD based products and they actually found some of these products had more than 0.3 percent of THC in them. You need to do your due diligence and be a smart consumer, by verifying that the product actually has less than 0.3 percent THC against the laboratory test results.
  • With products made from marijuana, which is otherwise referred to as cannabis, you have to be a little bit pickier. This is because there is going to be more digging around to do since such products have varying amounts of CBD and THC in them. During your product research, you are going to find some products that are clearly high in CBD and then you are going to find other products that are at the opposite end of the spectrum, being very high in THC. Then you have products that are somewhere in between, having equal amounts of CBD and THC. Continuing with this variation, you will find products that are slightly higher in CBD than THC, and then you will find products that are slightly higher in THC compared to CBD.
    The large variety of marijuana products mean that you have to look closely at the packaging and the lab test results to figure out which products primarily contain CBD. There is definitely more work involved on this front.


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Important: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. From time to time, we receive free products to review and participate in affiliate programs, where we are compensated for items purchased through links from our site at no cost to you. See our disclosure page for details.

About J.R. Reynoldson

J.R. Reynoldson
VaporVanity co-founder J.R. Reynoldson spends 364 days per year wishing that it was 4/20. He is easily offended by your comments. Email JR at [email protected].

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