Does CBD Oil Get You High?
For Baby Boomers like me, the best explanation of “getting high” comes from the John Denver song, “Sunshine on my Shoulders.” He sings: “Sunshine almost always makes me high.” But when that sunshine makes a hemp plant grow, and that hemp creates cannabidiol (CBD), many of us come to an initial question: can cannabis derived CBD get you high? That’s what you will learn in this blog post and the video below.
Is CBD Oil Psychoactive?
“Getting high” has been scientifically described as elevating one’s state of mind. The science shows that getting high is the creation of an altered state of mind or consciousness. Sometimes, that feeling occurs naturally. And sometimes, a person uses a drug to achieve that feeling of being “high.”
Getting high can consist of situations like the following:
- Strong feelings and emotions, as in deep appreciation of a beautiful day, a familiar song, or the face of a loved one.
- Using drugs, plants, or botanicals to chemically alter the state of consciousness.
- Exercise enthusiasts can experience a “runner’s high,” which is the feeling of an endorphin rush that comes with prolonged exertion.
The Cannabis sativa plant species has been well known throughout history because of its psychoactive effects. The public is more familiar with the role of CBD’s cannabinoid cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in getting marijuana users high, so people wonder if the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp cannabis derived CBD oils be the same.
Many people want the wellness benefits of hemp without the intoxicating potential of recreational marijuana. For them, this is an important concern. To start, let’s discuss the difference between CBD vs THC.
CBD vs THC
The cannabis plant contains at least 150 phytocannabinoids. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) dominates the cannabinoid profile of most cannabis plants found in nature, followed by cannabidiol (CBD).
Scientists around the globe are currently studying these compounds, although the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids found in cannabis hemp plant material have been anecdotally understood for decades. From college parties, to home cooking, to hardy textiles- hemp cannabis plants have been infused into the culture of both prehistoric and modern civilizations, and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Here’s a simple way to understand the difference between cannabis sativa with high THC content versus cannabis with high CBD and low THC content. Generally speaking, the type of cannabis we call “marijuana” produces larger amounts of the THC compound, and the type of cannabis we call “hemp” produces larger amounts of the CBD compound. These two cannabinoids are the most well known, and that’s because they have dominated the discussions among health and wellness enthusiasts for the past several years.
Hemp vs Marijuana
Due to CBD’s increasing popularity as a wellness product, many cannabis growers now cultivate hemp plants with high CBD content. When Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (or the Farm Bill) which allowed hemp plant cultivation, it changed the definition of the hemp plant to distinguish it only by its less than 0.3 percent THC content. Where previously only certain areas had laws allowing any form of cannabis at the state level, now CBD-rich hemp cannabis cultivation is federally legal.
Soon, growers realized that the federal government no longer prohibited the many other cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. In short order, these cultivators began cross-breeding cannabis plant strains to reduce THC levels to meet federal guidelines, while also meeting the CBD percentage threshold to be considered a viable hemp crop for CBD oils and CBD products.
Hemp plants that produce high CBD levels are nearly identical in every way to the recreational marijuana strains, except of course for the amount of THC in the plant itself. All cannabis plants look the same and smell the same. Only chemical analysis with a third party lab report can tell the difference between marijuana and hemp.
Cannabinoids & the Endocannabinoid System
A quick vocabulary lesson might be helpful here. “Phyto-“ means “plant” in Greek. Therefore, “phytocannabnoids” are cannabinoids found naturally in plants. The cannabis plant is the only known plant on Earth that creates phytocannabinoids, as opposed to endocannabinoids. “Endo-“ is a Greek prefix that means “from within, or inside.” So, “endocannabinoid” means a cannabinoid produced naturally inside your body.
Likewise, the endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system communicates with cannabinoids, whether they are endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system responds whether these cannabinoids are inhaled through smoke; absorbed sublingually into the blood stream through a tincture; or taken orally in a capsule.
The endocannabinoid system consists of two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. These two types of receptors could be key to understanding the difference between hemp derived CBD and THC. Namely, why THC produces a “high” sensation, while CBD alone does not.
How Does THC Get You High?
Tetrahydrocannabinol THC, the principle cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis plants, works by activating the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors mostly reside in the brain, brain stem, and elsewhere in the central nervous system.
In this way, THC directly affects brain function. This is how THC produces the feelings associated with “getting high,” such as: euphoria, laughter, and distortions of the senses. Something that CBD alone does not do, which is why it has thankfully become legal across the United States. THC is only legal per specific state laws and even then is heavily regulated, so having CBD become federally legal is a great step in changing how cannabis is accepted in society, especially for everyday health and wellness.
How are THC and CBD Different?
The main difference between CBD and THC is the end result that these cannabinoids bring to the consumer. THC is a cannabinoid that has been used throughout American society as a means to find a euphoric escape, otherwise known as “getting high.” On the other hand, CBD has been shown to have little to no impact on the CB1 receptors that respond to THC with this euphoric feeling.
That corresponds with what we understand about CBD as helping the body restore balance. Cannabinoids including CBD may help bring us back to center, without the risk of getting intoxicated. Even though full spectrum CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, this THC level is far below the amount needed to cause psychotropic effects. It is enough, however, to “get the ball rolling” as we like to say.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
This question is at the heart of the topic: Does CBD alone make you feel high? The general understanding is that “psychoactive” means the same thing as “getting high.” So if something is going to make you feel high, it must be psychoactive. But scientifically speaking, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Psychoactive vs Intoxication
So, taking CBD oil does not make you get high, but it might be considered as psychoactive. This might seem contradictory at first, but here’s the difference. An intoxicant, like alcohol, recreational drugs, and THC-rich cannabis, produces a state of diminished mental and physical ability as well as many more negative effects. That’s why it’s so important to find a CBD oil that has third party lab tests on every batch. Mixing things like CBD and alcohol can further increase the risk of experiencing unwanted effects.
A psychoactive substance, on the other hand, includes a wide range of substances like caffeine and chocolate, and these substances generally do not carry as many intoxicating effects, if any. One way to remember this is that all intoxicants are psychoactive, but not all psychoactive substances are intoxicants.
So What Does CBD Do?
We discussed CBD’s ability to bind with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system. With this knowledge, you can see how CBD can not make you high, but CBD could get you “middle”, bringing the body and mind into balance in a healthy way. That’s something that all of us could certainly use in our everyday life. And that’s why cannabis products that contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids are leading the industry.
To further ease concerns, Cornbread Hemp makes its high quality USDA certified organic CBD oils from only the CBD-rich flowering portions of organic hemp grown in Kentucky, where hemp plants are legal but marijuana plants are not. Therefore, you can rest assured that any Cornbread Hemp cannabidiol CBD product will never contain more than the federal legal limit no more than 0.3 percent THC. It’s not enough to produce psychoactive effects, but it is just enough THC to spur an entourage effect so you can “get the ball rolling” with CBD from federally compliant hemp plants.
The Entourage Effect
Full spectrum CBD products made in accordance with the Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) of 2018 contain no more than 0.3 percent THC by law. Many CBD companies only sell broad spectrum or CBD isolate products which contain no tetrahydrocannabinol THC at all. Much of this due to an outdated stigma associated with marijuana.
We tell our customers to look at the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including both majors and minors, like your favorite sports team, with CBD and THC as two of the most important players. If one of them is suddenly no longer playing, the team’s performance will suffer as a result. Studies show that without THC, full spectrum CBD products may not be as effective. This is because of a reaction known as the “entourage effect.”16 Every educated CBD consumer should look for full spectrum CBD to get an entourage effect if they want the most from using CBD oils.
Full spectrum CBD products are available in many forms, the most well known being a sublingual mix of hemp extract blended with coconut oil. CBD may also be made into edibles like CBD gummies, CBD capsules, topical lotions and CBD creams, or even a specialized oil to be used in a vape pen. There are endless applications to CBD and CBD oils. Hemp derived CBD products are finding their way into many of our everyday health and beauty products, which is even more reason to be mindful of what you are purchasing.
Full Spectrum CBD and Drug Tests
If you take CBD, you should be aware that ingesting CBD may cause you to fail a drug test. While THC-free products might seem like a safer bet than full spectrum oils, your workplace may use a drug test that can’t tell the difference if you use CBD or if you use marijuana. So you could be at risk for testing positive on drug tests even if you use a THC-free CBD product.
If you think you might be subjected to workplace drug testing, talk to your HR department before using CBD products.