Does CBD get you high?
by Alissa Gardner | 26 July, 2022
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CBD is becoming an increasingly popular multipurpose wellness product thanks to its numerous therapeutic benefits – from stress and anxiety management to effective pain relief and even epilepsy treatment.
In addition, a variety of application methods and CBD-based products (that include CBD oils, pills, topicals, etc.) available in local dispensaries, vape shops, and online retail stores make it even more accessible for use in everyday life.
However, the fact that CBD is one of over a hundred chemical compounds extracted from hemp and marijuana plants leads to a question: Does CBD get you high? In this blog post, we’ll explore this topic in greater detail, addressing common misconceptions and answering some burning questions – let’s dive in!
First Things First: How Does CBD Work?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred chemical compounds – cannabinoids – found in the cannabis plant. CBD produces effects on the human body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) through its main cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2, which are present throughout your whole body.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, which is responsible for coordinating movement, pain, mood, appetite, and other functions while CBD2 receptors are more common in immune cells that affect pain and inflammation.
It is important to realize that each person’s ECS is different, so the effects produced by CBD products in interaction with it will vary from one person to another.
Differences Between CBD vs. THC
CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two best-studied cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. However, it is important to mention that even though they both usually come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, CBD is usually sourced from hemp plants and THC from marijuana – two different types of the cannabis plant.
THC is best known for the high feeling it provides. However, while THC is a cannabinoid agonist, CBD is the modulator of the ECS. This means that THC binds with receptors in the brain – that control mood or pain, while CBD stimulates the receptors in order to make the body produce its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
As a result, THC is the only intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis that in low or moderate doses can induce the feeling of euphoria, paranoia, or, sometimes, even psychosis in high doses.
Another important thing to mention is that it’s still possible to derive CBD from marijuana but such a CBD product will be illegal under the current US federal law. To explore this topic even further, make sure to check out our separate post dedicated to the differences between CBD and THC.
Is CBD Psychoactive or Intoxicating?
When people ask about the psychoactive effects of CBD, they most likely think of whether or not it will make them high. So, first of all, it’s important to understand that CBD is indeed psychoactive, just not in the same manner as THC.
Instead, it rather produces a calming effect that can help you sleep better or cope with anxiety or depression symptoms in a healthy way. As such, while CBD can affect your mood, it doesn’t change the spatial and sensory perception or create euphoria, as THC does.
As stated above, CBD doesn’t get you high – it is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. However, the final effect depends on where the CBD comes from and how much THC is in your CBD product. For instance, if your CBD oil contains 0.3% THC or less and comes from hemp, it won’t get you high because such low THC content isn’t sufficient enough to induce intoxication.
So, How Does CBD Make You Feel Like?
If you’re going to take CBD for the first time, you might be curious what it feels like – after all, it seems to be capable of altering your mood or pain.
Depending on the purpose of use – better quality of sleep, or management of acute pain or anxiety – you may experience a soothing, calming feeling, pain reduction, or an energy boost.
These effects depend greatly on a number of factors, including CBD dosage and concentration, quality of a product, and your own body composition. However, you shouldn’t expect any intoxicating effects because CBD products contain only negligible amounts of THC.
Can CBD Affect Mental Health?
CBD has powerful anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties, which help to cope with certain anxiety disorders. The compound can also help with be useful to those dealing with moderate depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Furthermore, a preliminary study indicates that a single dose of CBD can reduce the anxiety-enhancing effect provoked by the simulated public speaking test in patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD), indicating that this cannabinoid inhibits the fear of speaking in public, one of the main symptoms of the disorder.
In addition to that, CBD is also known to:
- reduce feelings of stress, fear, and uncertainty,
- help relieve symptoms of panic disorder, such as feelings of panic, restlessness, irritability, and tension,
- reduce obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms,
- reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia associated with it,
- help relieve symptoms of schizophrenia,
- help strengthen the immune system.
If you’re interested in taking CBD for anxiety, adding a couple of drops of CBD oil under your tongue should be enough to help you relax and unwind. What’s more important, it won’t make you feel intoxicated, drowsy, sleepy, or experiencing any withdrawal symptoms, as is commonly the case with THC-based products.
Can You Take CBD with Psych Meds?
While generally considered safe, CBD can interact with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Moreover, taking CBD with substances that cause sleepiness can double up the side effects, such as fatigue or increase sedation. These include opioids, antidepressants, antihistamines, and even alcohol.
As such, before you can start using CBD on a regular basis, it would be best to consult your doctor to ensure it won’t interact with any possible medications you might be taking at the moment. Moreover, your healthcare provider can also help you determine the right CBD dosage considering your individual needs and health conditions.
Other Health Benefits and Effects of CBD
Here are some of the other health benefits you can expect when using CBD:
- Pain management. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating pain perception, so you can use it to relieve pain. CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can further help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Epilepsy treatment. CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing two types of seizures in people with epilepsy – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epidiolex is an FDA-sanctioned medication that contains CBD and is used for treating seizures.
- Skincare. CBD can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation, itchiness, and redness. CBD also has anti-bacterial properties, which can help kill bacteria that cause acne.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
Although CBD is generally well-tolerated by humans and doesn’t cause adverse side effects, this doesn’t mean there are none of them at all. When side effects of CBD do occur, they usually include the following:
- dry mouth,
- appetite changes,
- upset stomach,
- changes in weight.
If you experience any of them, it might be a sign that you need to adjust your dosage or that CBD interacts with other medications you might be taking, so don’t neglect discussing this with your doctor.
Is It Legal to Use CBD Products?
Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, concerns about its exact legal status are unavoidable. Knowing the difference between hemp and marijuana will also help you understand how the law regulates CBD. Under the Farm Bill 2018, hemp-derived CBD products have become federally legal.
However, federal legality does not necessarily guarantee its legal status in every state, meaning that each state can have its own regulations that may restrict or even ban CBD-based products. As such, it is still a good idea to check local laws before purchasing even hemp-derived products in your area.
In addition, it is important to note that marijuana-derived CBD products don’t meet all legal regulations, as their THC content is often too high. However, marijuana CBD oil is legal in states that approved medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.
Can CBD Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Considering that CBD isn’t an illegal controlled substance, drug test doesn’t screen for CBD. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in the clear, as there are a few reasons why taking CBD can lead to failing a drug test. These include:
- using CBD products with THC (such as full-spectrum CBD oil)
- cross-contamination of THC,
- mislabeling of CBD products,
- secondhand exposure to THC.
All in all, hemp-derived CBD oil is highly unlikely to make you fail a drug test. However, to err on the side of caution, you should always thoroughly research the hemp companies you’re buying CBD products from to ensure they’re legitimate and have been third-party lab tested. In addition, it would be best to stick to CBD isolate products extracted from viable industrial hemp farmers.
As you can see, there are a lot of misconceptions and concerns around only one of the many aspects of using CBD. However, understanding how CBD works and is being manufactured in the first place will help you not only make the most out of its therapeutic benefits but will also help you minimize the risk of using low-quality CBD products.
One thing to remember about the psychoactive effects of CBD is that, in contrast to THC, it doesn’t have intoxicating properties. This means that it will not produce a mind-altering “high” effect and generally doesn’t cause any major negative side effects.
However, it is important to consult your doctor before you start using CBD if you take any other medications at the moment.
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