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Does CBD Get You High?

25 October, 2021 by
Does CBD Get You High?
Alina Hryn

The short answer is no. Broad spectrum CBD contains no THC, so it can’t possibly get you high!

The long answer, however, is a bit more nuanced. Some people feel so uplifted from CBD that they mistakenly think it’s getting them high. Keep reading to learn more. 

How do you get high? 

The sensation we call ‘getting high’ is really just an altered state of perception. 

As sci-fi writer Aldous Huxley wrote in his book, The Doors of Perception:

Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and perceiving everything that is happening everwhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful. According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large.

Humanity has benefited from substances that get them ‘high’ for thousands of years. These substances have been used to bring communities together, get clearer visions of the future, and even commune with the gods.

While CBD oil doesn’t give its users a psychotropic high, it might actually alter their perception a little.

So far the hemp industry has done a great job reassuring its customers about the first part of the above sentence...while neglecting the second part entirely. As a whole, we might have oversimplified things a little. CBD is not non-psychoactive.

The official definition for non-psychoactive is “affecting the mind or behavior.”

Fittingly enough, take a look at the example sentence they used!

Found in other conventional restaurants as well as cafes, coffee shops, bars and even pet stores, hemp CBD (cannabidiol) does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary active ingredient found in marijuana.

Real-world experience says otherwise. Ask any CBD oil user and they’ll tell you CBD oil reduced their jitters or boosted their creativity or lifted their brain fog. In other words, it affected their minds and behaviors. For them, it clearly was psychoactive!

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, CBD “must be considered psychoactive because of its ability to act as an anti-anxiety agent and an antipsychotic agent.” 

But CBD’s psychoactivity isn’t a bad thing. It won’t impair your ability to take care of your children or safely drive your car. In fact, its existence might make it easier to be productive in your tasks or enjoy life at home. 

This subtly aside, let’s look at five major reasons why CBD still won’t get you high. 

Does CBD make you high? Factor 1

CBD doesn’t bind to neural receptors strongly enough to get you high. Here’s how that works. 

Why CBD doesn’t get you high

CBD oil may increase your brain’s levels of serotonin and other feel-good hormones. Cannabidiol may also boost your brain’s dopamine levels, though more research is needed in this area. 

The result of this hormonal shift is natural upliftment — but CBD is still free from psychotropic effects. In fact, studies show that CBD may reduce ‘drug-seeking’ behavior. Not only does CBD not get you high...it might also reduce one’s desire to get high from other substances! [1

CBD-free-from-psychotropic-effects

Do CBD oils make you high? Factor 2

CBD oil’s ability to gently activate your body’s endocannabinoid receptors is yet another reason it doesn’t get you high.

Why CBD doesn’t get you high: how CB2 works

Research shows that CBD binds to your endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptors. These receptors are located throughout the peripheral nervous system, most vital organs, and mitochondrial surfaces. CBD doesn’t bind to the brain’s CB1 receptors, however, which means that it can’t get you high. 

CBD may also boost your body’s production of its own endocannabinoids. Studies show that your body’s anandamide levels rise following even the smallest CBD dose. These endocannabinoids are the very same compounds that make you feel good after a long hike or run! [2]

Can CBD Oil get you high? Factor 3

CBD doesn’t just activate the endocannabinoid receptor, however. It gently binds to so many different receptor systems at once that they all serve to keep eachother in check.

Why CBD doesn’t get you high: conformational change

conformational-change

 According to the newest research, CBD ‘opens up’ several different types of receptors. This effect is called conformational change. CBD oil may help open up receptors that it doesn’t even bind to. 

What happens when these receptors become more, well...receptive? Gentle, holistic upliftment — with no high necessary. [3]

CBD may even shift the way your body’s mitochondria produce energy, resulting in a lasting energy boost. This effect won’t get you high, either, but it may cause some upliftment. [4

Do hemp and marijuana plants get you high? Factor 4

Hemp products provide hope, not any type of mental or physical high. Here’s where this hope comes from.

Why hemp plants don’t get you high: it provides hope instead!

According to Dr. James Taylor, an anesthesiologist who gives CBD to his patients,  “[patients] come back and say they are feeling more hopeful.” Hope is hard to quantify, sure, but this effect is surprisingly common. 

Inner hope benefits many other parts of a person’s life. “With hope, [people] may be more willing to engage in yoga, in exercise, with things they need to do to get to optimal health,” Dr. Taylor explains.

Does hemp oil get you high? Factor 5

For those unfamiliar, hemp oil is a term that generally refers to hemp seed oil. Hemp oil contains virtually no CBD oil...so it definitely doesn’t get you high. 

Why hemp oil doesn’t get you high: it doesn’t contain CBD

Hemp oil and hemp derived CBD oil have many similarities. Both of them: 

  • Benefit your skin

  • Benefit joint health

  • Benefit body composition

  • Nourish your endocannabinoid system

  • Contain hard-to-find nutrients like polyphenols

  • Contain essential fatty acids (including omega 3/6/9/12)

But there’s still one major difference: hemp oil contains no CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, contains anywhere from 1-10% CBD. That’s plenty when it comes to activating your endocannabinoid system. 

THC vs. CBD

Nature gives us some hints when it comes to determining whether THC or CBD is healthier. THC’s ability to make its users high reveals its true nature: it’s a conditionally helpful compound that you shouldn’t overuse! 

The way cannabis plant has evolved over time also provides some helpful hints. Research has shown that the genes responsible for a plant’s CBD production are older than the genes that trigger THC production. In other words, CBD was here first — and it shows. 

These scientific findings make it easier to appreciate the wisdom of ancient cultures, who tended to use much more CBD than THC. There were a few reasons for this: for one, the cannabis plants available back then paled in comparison to today’s ultra high-THC cultivars. 

CBD-was-here-first

Even when the ancients did take more concentrated amounts of cannabinoids, they did so only occasionally. Kief and other natural concentrates were used mostly within the content of structured religious ceremonies. Could it be that THC use still deserves that kind of intention? What if it was never meant to be used as recreationally as it is today?

Thankfully, CBD may be the perfect antidote to THC. Our broad spectrum CBD oil is totally free from THC...so it definitely won’t get you high. [5]

How to combine CBD and THC

Now that we’ve covered what CBD doesn’t do — get you high — let’s take a look at how you can combine  CBD and THC to get a perfect blend of effects!

THC + CBD for the active lifestyle

Using cannabis plant as a pre-workout might seem counterintuitive at first. Even the idea of using CBD before you workout may sound a little radical. 

Both can be good options, however, as both THC and CBD products may calm the nervous system by helping to regulate neurotransmission and other cell-to-cell communication.

Simply taking a puff or two from a cannabis vape could be a great way to prime your body for an enjoyable workout session. Many medical cannabis users love taking cannabis prior to exploring the natural world via bike ride or hike. Consider trying it for yourself — we think you’ll find the cannabis + nature combo especially relaxing.  

Is cannabis performance-enhancing when it comes to more competitive sports? More research is needed on that subject, though boxer Mike Tyson is reported to have toked up prior to his big fights.

THC + CBD for recovery

Move over, antioxidants: cannabinoids can also be used as a post-workout recovery tool.

Research hints that CBD, THC, and several other cannabinoids may alleviate the chronic inflammation so many active people run into. Research also shows that cannabinoids may have an immunoregulatory effect.

But the real value of taking cannabis for recovery lies in its ability to reduce stress. Exercise, after all, is actually a type of stress itself! And the faster you can recover from this stress, the more you’ll be able to enjoy pain-free, restorative exercise. 

The way in which cannabis may reduce stress is actually quite simple. According to endocannabinoid expert professor Vincenzo Di Marzo it all has to do with your body’s built-in endocannabinoid system: 

cbd-for-recovery

“[The endocannabinoid system] accompanies the fight-or-flight system and maybe has been evolutionarily conserved to combat the consequences of stress and to [help vertebrates, which all have endocannabinoid systems] recover from stress as quickly as possible.” 

The THC + CBD Oil combo may alleviate mental stress by activating the areas of the brain responsible for eating sleeping, resting, and forgetting.

What does this have to do with health benefits and fitness, you may ask? 

A lot actually. Many of history’s best fitness icons —  whether pro tennis players or powerlifting or even Bruce Lee — attributed their skill to their ability to ‘turn on’ their minds and bodies at just the right time. 

In other words, they were either fully relaxed or fully immersed in their skill, with very little in-between. THC may help you achieve something similar by helping you leave fight— -or-flight living behind and access deeper levels of relaxation.

Summing things up

Does CBD oil get you high? Absolutely not — especially if we’re talking about broad-spectrum CBD that doesn’t contain any THC. 

But that doesn’t mean CBD Oil has no mental effects. Many users find it just uplifting enough to help them keep calm and carry on. If you haven’t already, consider experiencing CBD’s power for yourself today. 

The first misconception about cannabidiol was that it was inactive

Dr. Ethan Russo