Does CBD Get You High?

Updated April 22, 2019

This article was scientifically reviewed by YourDNA

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Information about CBD appears almost everywhere nowadays — in blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts. Long gone are the days when most people had never heard of it. However, most who do know about it, only know a few essential things.

What's in this Guide?

Disclaimer: Before You Read

It is important to know that your genes are not your destiny. There are various environmental and genetic factors working together to shape you. No matter your genetic makeup, maintain ideal blood pressure and glucose levels, avoid harmful alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get regular sleep. And for goodness sake, don't smoke.

Genetics is a quickly changing topic.

They may know, for instance, that CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, a phytochemical extracted from the cannabis plant. They may also know that it is related to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical which makes you high but are not sure of the relationship.

Here at, we have done the research on the facts about CBD to sweep away misconceptions and provide you with accurate information.

CBD Common Misconceptions

One reason many people only have a vague idea about CBD is that marketing hype by retailers, unintentional misinformation from bloggers and video-makers who are using CBD or selling it, and urban myths that have propagated on social media and in local social circles have spun some inaccurate narratives about CBD.

Here, for instance, are three common misconceptions that have been proliferated about CBD:

1. A false distinction is often made about CBD benefits and the benefits of marijuana. It is a mistake to believe that while CBD oil offers medical benefits, the benefits of the THC in marijuana are simply restricted to the recreational benefit of intoxication. It is a huge oversimplification to think of CBD and sobriety in one camp and THC and intoxication in another and to believe that CBD is the good part of the cannabinoid while THC the bad part of it.

Yes, CBD from hemp does offer therapeutic benefits, but you can also enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana. For instance, according to scientists at the Scripps Research Center in San Diego, THC inhibits an enzyme that creates the amyloid beta plaque responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.

2. A belief that single-molecule medicine is always far superior to whole plants. The argument for the superiority of extracts over the whole plant is based on the FDA and medical corporations preferring extracts over the whole plant. This may be a bias based on scientific efficiency rather than fact.

By using a single-molecule, it is easy to measure dosage and have a clear idea of the chemical responsible for therapeutic effects.

However, since cannabis contains hundreds of compounds — like other cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes, and flavonoids — it is theoretically possible that the whole plant is more beneficial than a cannabinol isolate. Just because CBD and THC have been closely examined by scientists does not necessarily mean that the health benefits of cannabinoids are only restricted to these two compounds.

It is also not clear if it is best to get CBD without any THC. Only more extensive scientific testing will help decide this debate.

3. A misunderstanding about the term “psychoactive.” You will often read that while THC is psychoactive — that is, it gets you high — CBD is not psychoactive, implying that you don’t experience any cognitive or emotional changes if you take it. In truth, both are psychoactive, but in completely different ways.

While THC will put you into an altered state, giving you a feeling of bliss, you will also feel a change in consciousness if you take CBD. If you are depressed, CBD can make you feel positive, giving you a new outlook on your life situation, especially if you use a tincture or sublingual spray.

Or if you are tense, anxious, stressed-out, distracted, or nervous, CBD can make you feel calm and focused.

These, of course, are just a few of the many common misconceptions about CBD. There are many more, possibly offering more than enough material to write a book on. However, what is important to note is the common themes running through them.

For instance:

  • Each misconception has an element of truth which is then distorted by adding another idea that is plausible, but false.
  • Misconceptions arise because of the gap between insufficient scientific testing and the ardent ideas promoted by those selling or using CBD products. For instance, CBD is often compared more favorably to THC despite the possibility that both have therapeutic properties and may, in fact, work better together.
  • Definitions are distorted to create an incorrect conclusion. For instance, it is more accurate to say that both CBD and THC are psychoactive, but that they are psychoactive in different ways, with THC creating a much more pronounced effect.
  • Ideas are oversimplified for ease of understanding. For instance, single-molecule pharmaceuticals are more scientifically verifiable but many unknown variables in a whole plant may provide synergistic benefits.

What you can take away from this section on common myths is that not all information you receive about CBD is based on scientific clinical trials. Some evidence may be anecdotal, while other information may be a misinterpretation of scientific findings.

Does CBD Get You High?

While CBD does not get you high, it does create mood changes that you can feel. It does not get you high in a similar way to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Instead, it provides a positive mood change, alleviating depression or anxiety, but it does not create a stoned, high, or ecstatic feeling.

CBD will not change your sensory awareness, alter your perceptions, elevate your consciousness, speed up or slow down your reaction time, or noticeably affect your behavior. THC makes you high because it is an agonist; CBD will not make you high because it is an antagonist.

THC triggers the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, but CBD blocks this activity, interfering with the euphoric effects of THC.

What Is CBD?

Cannabis plants contain more than a hundred cannabinoids, one of which is called cannabidiol, or CBD.

CBD has been studied for its properties and clinical research has shown it to have a positive influence on reducing anxiety and depression, improving cognition, and assuaging pain arising from various health disorders. CBD oil is used as a medication rather than a recreational substance. CBD products are based on extracting CBD from cannabis using a variety of methods.

Differences Between Hemp vs Marijuana

To the casual observer, hemp and marijuana look similar and share some of the same chemical compounds.

Still, although both come from the Cannabis Sativa plant family, a closer look will reveal that hemp has thinner leaves and it’s cannabinoids have different contents. Hemp is high in CBD and low in THC (less than 0.3%). Marijuana is just the opposite: low in CBD and high in THC (15-40%).

Most CBD oils are made from hemp because CBD is more plentiful and readily available from this plant.

Differences Between CBD vs THC

Two of the best-researched compounds in the Cannabis Sativa plant are cannabinoids called CBD and THC. Ingesting CBD can improve mood, reduce stress, and provide relief from muscular and joint pain.

THC, on the other hand, has a noticeable psychoactive effect. Users report feeling euphoric, introspective, or paranoid depending on their personality, circumstances, or frame of mind.

Both CBD and marijuana provide therapeutic benefits, including some of the same types of benefits. For instance, either one can reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Effects of CBD: How Does CBD Interact With the Brain and Body?

Assuming you are consuming a full-spectrum oil, you will be absorbing two cannabinoids, CBD and THC. THC, an agonist, influences CB1 and CB2, two cannabinoid receptors in the brain, to create a psychoactive effect and make you feel high.

However, CBD has the opposite effect. As an antagonist, it inhibits THC activity, preventing the psychoactive effect. However, at the same time, it still provides anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects to reduce pain.

CBD activates other receptors like the adenosine, serotonin, and vanilloids receptors. As a result of regulating the adenosine receptors, CBD reduces anxiety; as a result of regulating the serotonin receptors, CBD reduces depression; and as a result of regulating the vanilloid receptors, CBD reduces pain.

Additionally, with CBD oil, dopamine and opioid receptors are inhibited. This is beneficial because it reduces the craving for addictive drugs and reduces the withdrawal symptoms when quitting.

Is CBD Safe to Consume?

Since CBD is non-toxic, it is usually well-tolerated. However, in some individuals, it might cause side effects.

Some common side effects are dry mouth, reduced appetite, diarrhea, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with medications you are taking. For instance, it can make blood thinners a little too effective.

Still, it is considered safe if you consume it responsibly. This may include getting a high-quality CBD (organic, food-based hemp, supercritical CO2 extraction), following doctor’s dosage recommendations, consulting a doctor when experiencing side effects, and avoiding medications that interact with it.

Benefits of Taking CBD

CBD oil is being extensively studied in animal and human studies for its role in improving health and reducing illness.

Here are some common health problems, disorders or diseases that have responded well to CBD-based treatments:

  • CBD oil for pain: CBD may reduce chronic pain in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  • CBD oil for anxiety and depression. CBD may favorably impact mood disorders in mental health issues anxiety and depression.
  • CBD oil for Cancer: CBD has reduced cancer symptoms like pain and discomfort. Researchers are investigating whether CBD has cancer-fighting effects and if it is safe and effective in cancer treatment.
  • CBD oil for Acne. CBD has been shown to help reduce severe acne. Researchers believe this is because of its ability to regulate the sebaceous glands and inhibit overproduction of sebum. CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities may also play a healing role.
  • CBD oil for Epilepsy. CBD has effectively treated epileptic symptoms and clinical trials have been highly encouraging.
  • CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease. CBD may help reduce the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • CBD oil for Alzheimer’s disease. In animal studies, CBD has reduced the consistent progression of Alzheimer’s.
  • CBD oil for heart health. CBD has been beneficial in reducing high blood pressure as well as preventing damage to the heart.

Researchers are also studying how effective CBD is in treating treat mental disorders, substance abuse, and diabetes.

CBD Side Effects

Generally, CBD is well-tolerated and has few adverse effects. Some side effects include drowsiness, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and dry mouth.

Other side-effects are appetite changes, diarrhea, and fatigue.

Since CBD has also been known to interact with some medications, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor to avoid drug interactions.

Can CBD Be Addictive?

Should addicts use CBD oil? In other words, should people with addictive tendencies stay away from CBD oil?

CBD is non-addictive and does not meet the criteria established by the World Health Organization as an addictive substance. It does not create somatic cravings for more of the substance, nor does a user have to keep on increasing the dosage to experience the same beneficial effects.

Although the term Cannabis Use Disorder is referred to in the DSM-5, the manual of psychiatric diagnostics, this does not refer to CBD dependence but refers to THC, which has been known to cause addiction. THC stimulates the CB1 receptors in the brain which influences the reward system by releasing dopamine, a hormone that creates a sense of pleasure.

Even when full-spectrum CBD oil is used, which means that there are trace amounts of THC, the quantity of THC is so low, and the quantity of CBD is so high that it does not stimulate increased dopamine production. The agonistic qualities of THC are countered by the antagonistic qualities of CBD.

CBD Dosage

Since the FDA has not regulated CBD, there are no official or established dosage amounts. Consequently, since all dosages are based on interpretation, you should decide how much to take based on expert medical opinion and scientific publications.

Because the proper dosage is based on weight, illness, the length of treatment, and many other factors, a doctor may need to start at a low level and progressively increase it to monitor when the amount becomes effective. The delivery method also determines the accuracy of dosage.

It is much easier to figure out how much CBD you are ingesting when you use CBD capsules rather than a CBD vape, for example.

Is It Possible to Overdose on CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD), along with other cannabinoids, is considered non-toxic. No case of overdose has ever been reported and no death from CBD oil has ever occurred.

In one study, both epileptic patients and healthy volunteers were given CBD for 30 days. Both groups showed high CBD tolerance, showing no signs of toxicity or serious side effects.

Is CBD Oil Right for You?

Although there is still much that researchers need to learn about safety, side-effects, medication interactions, and the efficacy of CBD for various health issues, there is currently enough scientific evidence to suggest that you are highly likely to have a safe and beneficial experience if you decide to buy CBD oil.

However, for the best results to determine if CBD is right for you, consult your doctor to identify your health condition and decide on the right dosage. Also, only use a high-quality CBD product, rather than shopping for price.

Choosing the Right CBD Product for You

With the abundance of options available to buy CBD online, from a medical marijuana clinic, or from an alternative health care provider, it might seem that it is easy to find the best CBD oil.

However, rather than relying on accidental good luck to find the right CBD product, here are some practical guidelines to find the right one for you:

  • Select the right concentration of CBD oil products.
  • Since you can get medication as a cannabinol isolate or a full spectrum CBD oil, decide which you prefer.
  • Choose the right delivery mechanism. This can be a CBD cream or a CBD vape juice. It can also include CBD bottles, CBD capsules, CBD sublingual droppers, CBD edibles, and CBD gummies.
  • Calculate the cost per dose to meet your budget so that you can renew your supply when needed.
  • Decide on whether your health condition would respond better to a CBD isolate or a full spectrum CBD oil.
  • Ideally, use a CBD oil that has used a high-grade extraction method. The best (and most expensive) CBD product is one based on a supercritical CO2 extraction. If this is too costly, then you should use one that uses a carrier oil like coconut or hemp oil. The worst (and cheapest) is one that uses butane or propane because these are harmful solvents and may nullify any health benefits of using CBD in the first place.
  • Find a reputable vendor. For instance, one who can provide you with a certified CBD oil analysis and who extracts the CBD from food-grade hemp. Also, get organic CBD oil. If the hemp is not organic or if is non-food grade hemp, it may have absorbed contaminants like lead, heavy metals, or toxic chemicals before the CBD was extracted, which will show up in your CBD oil.


Understanding the various aspects of CBD is a complicated business.

Still, despite complexities like figuring out the best source to buy it or arriving at the most effective dosage amounts for a particular illness that it can assuage or heal, CBD is a promising therapeutic agent. Over the coming years, researchers expect to put an end to many common misconceptions by providing more human based clinical trials to establish the real facts about how CBD works within the human body to begin to repair and heal it.

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