Does CBD Get You High?

4 min read

CBD is the latest trend to take over the health and wellness industry. Many people are hesitant to try this new phenomenon because of CBD’s close relationship with marijuana.

For a lot of users, the potential benefits sound amazing but they are concerned with the notorious ‘high’ produced after users use marijuana products.

We are here to clear up these concerns for you and further your understanding of the cannabis industry.

The US government chose to separate marijuana and hemp in 2018. Both are from the same plant genus, cannabis, but are used very differently.

For a product to be considered derived from hemp it must have no more than 0.3% THC. Any THC potency level over this threshold and the product is considered to be derived from marijuana.

Does CBD Get You High?


CBD can't get you high.

There are over 113 known chemical compounds from the cannabis plant called cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the most famous of all the cannabinoids.

THC is the only one that can produce a ‘high.’

Difference Between CBD and THC

These two cannabinoids’ molecular makeup and mass are the same. Both have a formula of C21 H30 O2. Where they differ is in their structures. THC has a cyclic ring where CBD contains a hydroxyl group.

THC and CBD are also created in similar ways. They both come from CBGa, the precursor of all cannabinoids. During the plant’s lifecycle CBGa is cyclized into either THCa or CBDa. 

Then humans decarboxylate the acidic forms into the cannabinoids we are familiar with.

The small difference in structures makes all the difference.

Why Doesn’t CBD Get You High and THC Does?

Scientists believe that THC creates a flood of serotonin and dopamine by binding with CB1 receptors in the brain. This effect can last a few hours when smoked and even longer when distributed by the digestive system.

CBD’s structure doesn’t allow the cannabinoids to bind with the CB1 receptors.

The reaction that happens in the brain doesn’t exist after taking CBD.

Experts believe that CBD has an indirect effect on the CB1 receptors by increasing the production of cannabis-like compounds naturally produced by our bodies called endocannabinoids.

Hearing these terms for the first time can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we are only just beginning to understand how cannabis affects us.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

Our bodies contain a complex network called the endocannabinoid system. It is made up of neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids), endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and enzymes. Scientists believe that CBD inhibits the enzymes that slow the production of endocannabinoids. These neurotransmitters have a direct effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS is believed to regulate functions like mood, appetite, memory, pain, and the sleep-wake cycle.  

For more on the endocannabinoid system click here.

Know Your CBD

Not all hemp-derived products are the same. If you are new to the world of cannabis, it’s important to understand these differences.

  • Full-Spectrum – This type of extract contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes (oils that make plants smell good) from the original hemp plant. Full-spectrum products contain THC. 
  • Broad-Spectrum – Also a full-plant extract but during the extraction process, THC is left behind. Users looking for CBD products complemented by other cannabinoids and terpenes but don’t want THC in their systems prefer broad-spectrum.
  • Isolate – pure CBD. No other cannabinoids or terpenes are present. This is CBD in the pure form and offers less overall benefits than broad or full spectrum. 

While only 0.3% THC is allowed in full-spectrum CBD products it is enough to make a difference but not enough to get you high. Full-spectrum products are believed to increase the potential medicinal benefits of CBD. It is also enough to trigger a positive drug test if the product is taken every day over a few weeks.

If you are concerned about THC is in your system, do not use full-spectrum CBD products.

Take CBD with Confidence

CBD does not have the chemical ability to get you high. It doesn’t have the affinity to bind with the receptors that THC does. No CBD product will get you high, even full-spectrum. However, if you are worried about failing a drug test, it is wise to try broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products.  

For first time users, start with a small dose. We recommend taking oil under the tongue for maximum absorption and the ability to easily control the amount.

Begin with a 15-20mg. Take every day for at least a week. If your body is handling the CBD well, increase the dosage. Most people find their sweet spot around 25-75mg. Everyone is different when it comes to taking CBD. Weight, tolerance, and metabolism all factor into how much CBD is right for you. To learn more about CBD oil check out this blog by SENSIFY.