Will CBD get me high?

How CBD differs from other substances found in the cannabis plant

Will CBD make you high? In short, no, CBD will not make you feel high. Both Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are cannabinoids, a type of natural compound found in the cannabis plant. But CBD does not cause a “high” like THC. One might assume that because they are both found in the same plant that CBD would cause the same effects as THC, but CBD can be isolated from the THC compound when extracted from the cannabis plant.

CBD is typically infused into tinctures, oils, or edibles for people to consume to alleviate a variety of symptoms or as a wellness aide. One of the most popular uses for CBD is to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, but this relaxing effect is much different than the psychoactive effects of THC that create a feeling of euphoria or heightened sensory perception. High concentrations or dosages of CBD could cause an uplifting effect, but again, not a high like THC.

The quality of CBD products on the market is not regulated and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any CBD products, so be sure to check for a label that confirms the product has received third-party testing for quality.

CBD vs Marijuana comparison

CBD vs. THC: The Basics

 

Legal Status

The first and largest difference between CBD and THC is the legality of both substances across to United States. In many states, CBD is legal and THC is not, but in other states like Colorado, California, and Washington, both are legal for medical and recreational uses.

Intoxication

The other major difference is how they impact receptors in the brain. They both have an impact on cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, but in different ways, thus providing such different results.

While both compounds are called cannabinoids and are found in cannabis, THC activates the CB1 receptors while CBD blocks any intoxicating impact. As a result, CBD is considered a CB1 antagonist.

CB1 Receptors

Taking CBD with THC may inhibit or increase the effects of THC – depending on the doses. Studies have shown that low doses of CBD enhanced the intoxicating effect when combined with THC, while high doses of CBD reduced the intoxicating effects of THC.

Another study shows that the antagonistic effects of CBD at the CB1 receptor are likely responsible for reducing the memory-impairing effects of THC.

Both THC and CBD can also be found in hemp and marijuana plants (both are forms of cannabis), but there is a very low percentage of THC compound in hemp (lower than 0.3 percent.)

To recap, the three main differences between THC and CBD are:

  1. THC is an illegal substance in more U.S. states than CBD
  2. THC gets you high and CBD does not
  3. THC activates CB1 receptors in the brain and CBD blocks them

Potential CBD side effects

CBD is not approved by the FDA but has been found to be safe for consumption. However, more research is still needed to understand the full spectrum of effects and possible uses aside from pain and seizures.

Side effects from CDB are typically only reported when people take high doses. These potential side effects of CBD are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

CBD could also interact with or lessen the effects of prescription medications, so it’s best to consult your doctor before adding CBD to your wellness routine.

 

The Bottom Line

CBD will not make you high and when consumed in high doses, can have adverse effects. Research has also shown that when consumed with THC, CBD can affect the intoxicating feelings of THC – both increasing and decreasing it based on the dosage.

There is still more research that needs to be done, but when used properly, CBD can be a natural and effective substance for the treatment of pain, without the “high” sensation.

 Sources

  1. Bhattacharyya S, et al. (2010). Opposite effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on human brain function and psychopathology. DOI: 1038/npp.2009.184
  2. de Mello Schier AR, et al. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: A chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. DOI: 2174/1871527313666140612114838
  3. Is marijuana medicine? (2018).cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs/is-marijuana-medicine.html
  4. Morgan CJ, et al. (2010). Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: Naturalistic study: naturalistic study [corrected]. DOI: 1192/bjp.bp.110.077503
  5. Solowij N, et al. (2019). A randomised controlled trial of vaporised Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination in frequent and infrequent cannabis users: Acute intoxication effects. DOI: 1007/s00406-019-00978-2
  6. Johnson, Jon. July, 2018. Does CBD oil work for chronic pain management? medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319475#effects
Jazmynn Worman, PharmD, a board-certified pharmacist.

This article was reviewed by Jazmynn Worman, PharmD, a board-certified pharmacist.

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