Does CBD Get You High?
For several years prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, many interested observers of the cannabis space closely monitored an increasingly compelling subsegment: medical marijuana. Due to the hundreds of cannabinoids – including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – working symbiotically within the cannabis plant, patients could experience what’s known as the entourage effect.
As further stories about this naturally sourced therapy developed, sentiment toward cannabis legalization began to shift favorably. That said, cannabis, even to this day, remains a Schedule I drug. And part of the reason why the government still classifies the plant as a controlled substance is THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the green material’s signature “high.”
Thankfully, the passage of the Farm Bill facilitated the legal purchase of hemp and hemp-derived products such as CBD. Under the letter of this new law, hemp or hemp-based products must contain no more than 0.3% THC content. As such, full spectrum CBD products – which contain CBD, other cannabinoids and a trace, legal amount of THC – have gained extraordinary popularity.
Of course, the primary reason why is that end-users can have their cake and eat it too. With full spectrum products, botanical enthusiasts receive the full benefits of the entourage effect (including that trace amount of THC). But because the psychoactive compound isn’t present in an appreciable amount, they won’t get high off CBD.
But is that really the case? Let’s dig in deeper to find out:
CBD Will Not Get You High
Does CBD get you high? Cannabidiol or CBD interacts with our internal system via endocannabinoid receptors. Combined with other cannabinoids, CBD promotes holistic effects. This process facilitates many of the same positive impacts of medicinal marijuana, but without the signature (and sometimes debilitating) high.
Remarkably, CBD is the second-most potent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Yet it does not impart a psychoactive effect. Thus, you will maintain your full cognizance. And unlike THC, you can’t get a “bad trip” over consuming excess CBD.
Although CBD and THC have the same molecular structure – 21 atoms of carbon, 30 of hydrogen, and 2 oxygen atoms – their arrangement differs. This small change, though, levers a massive impact on how each cannabinoid reacts to our body.
And inside our bodies are receptors known as endocannabinoid receptors. These bind or otherwise connect to cannabinoids, typically producing a range of health benefits. When discussing CBD and THC, we’re most concerned with CB1 receptors, which are mostly located in the central nervous system.
When botanical users consume THC, this psychoactive compound binds to CB1 receptors directly. Although this connection may impart some benefits (especially in conjunction with other cannabinoids), it also causes a high.
On the flipside, CBD also binds to CB1 receptors, but via a different pathway. And when CBD connects to CB1 receptors, it prevents THC from binding to the same receptor. Thus, the presence of CBD mitigates exposure to THC.
Under this context, it truly wouldn’t make sense if CBD caused users to get high.
But It’s Complicated
While CBD won’t get you high, cannabis-based products affect individuals differently. These individual experiences may cause some folks to mistakenly assert that CBD does impose a psychoactive impact.
For example, all CBD users and especially first-time users should gradually work their dosage in until they learn how their body will react. Thus, any reputable retailer or distributor like Nug Republic will advise their clients who are unfamiliar with botanicals to start with low dosage bottles or packages.
Of course, people being people, not everyone follows this sage advice! In some cases, too much CBD for the uninitiated may not do anything. But for others, a burst of strong-dosage CBD may induce some side effects. These include but are not limited to conditions such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, light headedness, and drowsiness.
To avoid such side effects, again, please take lower dosages first and work your way up. But in some individuals, CBD may not always produce desirable effects. For instance, certain people have more endocannabinoid receptors (or more active receptors) than others; in this case, they don’t need further stimulation, which may result in unexpected side effects.
Also note that technically, CBD is psychoactive, just like the most popular drug in the world – caffeine. Like CBD, caffeine is very much a psychoactive compound. But unlike most other psychoactive drugs, caffeine gives you a boost. Therefore, it is a positive effect.
Indeed, people have reported getting a positive lift from taking CBD. And certain terpenes or essential oils in full spectrum CBD products may produce energy or vibrancy. However, that should not be considered as a “high.” You are still able to function normally, but with perhaps greater focus or intention.
CBD Platform Differences
We’ve established that cannabidiol doesn’t get you high. However, let’s ask a nuanced question: does CBD get you high depending on the format of delivery? You may find that different platforms may produce a more pronounced effect. But because CBD doesn’t change to THC based on delivery, methodology differences will not get you high.
To provide more detail, CBD platforms operate on a spectrum which balances efficacy and discretion. On the most discrete end of the spectrum are CBD edibles such as cannabidiol-infused gummies. This product category is especially desirable for newcomers to “botany” because of their intuitive nature: you simply pop a gummy or candy into your mouth and enjoy.
They’re also incredibly discreet. Typically, the packaging for CBD gummies is non-descript and almost sanitary. But even if that wasn’t the case, end-users can merely replace the gummies in a standard jar or bag. Nothing about the gummies or edibles scream cannabis.
On the flip side, they’re not the most effective platforms. Because consumed products enter the digestive system, this invariably involves processing by the liver. Like it or not, the liver will process out many of the benefits associated with CBD, making edibles less effective than alternative methods.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are CBD vaping products. Although astoundingly potent, vaporizers require both equipment and some training, especially if you haven’t vaped before. Also, it’s not recommended that non-smokers or non-vapers use vaping devices if other platforms are available and effective for their needs.
That said, the potency of the vaporizer platform is due to that inhaled vapes enter the bloodstream almost immediately. Thus, you can experience the robustness of CBD vapes within minutes of taking your first draw. This may lead to an uplifting aura, but this should not be confused with a high: simply put, the aura does not debilitate the end-user.
Finally, in the middle of the spectrum are tinctures, otherwise known as CBD oils. Tinctures are applied sublingually, or underneath the tongue. Using this methodology and because of the tincture’s inherently potent texture and composition, it enters the bloodstream very quickly.
In addition, tinctures are very discreet. Carried in small bottles with an integrated dripper cap, it’s easy to pop a drop throughout your day. For even more inconspicuous enjoyment, tinctures are easily incorporated into your favorite beverages or culinary recipes. Thus, you can enjoy CBD-infused products without drawing attention.
Concluding Thoughts on CBD and Its Experiences
As we’ve established, CBD will not get you high. However, cannabidiol is psychoactive in the sense that it promotes positive effects toward mental acuity or focus. Or in other formulations, CBD may help with relaxation or feelings of anxiety. None of these attributes are possible if CBD didn’t have any psychoactive effect.
However, psychoactive does not necessarily correlate with a debilitating “high,” such as the typical response from THC-laced products. Essentially, CBD promotes wellness in the same manner in which regular folks drink coffee or tea every morning to give themselves a pick-me-up.
CBD does affect everyone differently, though. Given this reality, we encourage all potential buyers to start with small dosages and work their way up to the more potent dosages or formats of CBD.