Does CBD Get You High?

Sophia Delphi May 25, 2022 - 10 min read
Fact Checked
CBD oil bottle and marijuana leaf.

It’s difficult not to hear about the health benefits of CBD oil for at least one day.

Everybody’s touting its positive effects on the body and mind, from regular users to health professionals and public personas.

CBD has great therapeutic potential; it can ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, seizures, and skin disorders.

A growing body of research has highlighted CBD as a safe and effective alternative to first-choice treatments when it comes to treating these health problems.

But does CBD oil get you high?

Since it’s a cannabis-derived compound, it would be safe to assume it does.

But, not all cannabis species are high in THC, so whether your product will get you high or not depends on its source.

This article clears up the fog surrounding the effects of CBD.

We’ll help you understand how it works in the body, what the differences are between CBD and THC, and how to make sure your CBD oil doesn’t get you high.

Can CBD Oil Get You High?

A quick answer is no.

This is one of the misconceptions about CBD oils that need to be clarified. CBD oil doesn’t get you high if it contains no more than 0.3% THC.

CBD is non-intoxicating on its own. That means it can’t get you high, although it can make you feel calm and relaxed.

At certain doses, you might even experience mild euphoria — but it’s nowhere near the signature marijuana high. You just need to find the right dose for you with a trusted CBD product of course.

That being said, not all CBD oils are made the same.

Some CBD products are extracted from marijuana plants, which contain a significant amount of THC (5% – 30%). These products can get you high, but since they also come with high levels of CBD, the psychoactive effect will be more balanced.

Marijuana-derived CBD oils are available only in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use. You can also get them in Canada and Uruguay.

What’s the Difference Between CBD vs. THC?

The confusion that one may get high from CBD oil arises from the lack of understanding of the differences between CBD and THC.

Let’s take a close-up at THC first.

What is THC?

THC is the only intoxicating compound in cannabis. Once it enters your bloodstream, it binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and spinal cord — producing the sensation of being high. You may feel euphoric, deeply relaxed, and your sensory perception may change for the duration.

THC can influence our mood, memory, how we perceive pain, and other important functions, such as neuroprotection, reproduction, and appetite.

THC also has a biphasic nature, meaning that low and moderate doses can ease anxiety and relieve stress, while higher doses can aggravate these feelings, especially if you’re reactive to its psychoactive effects.

What is CBD?

CBD doesn’t get you high in a way that THC does because it doesn’t have an affinity with CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CNS).

Instead, CBD modulates the activity of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) through hormone and enzyme signaling to help maintain stable levels of its endocannabinoids and promote homeostasis in the body.

CBD has great benefits which are backed by science. CBD can reduce anxiety, pain, and inflammation; it may also improve joint function, help with attention disorders, promote neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons), and decrease seizure activity in the brain.

Last but not least, using CBD before, during, or after a session with marijuana can dampen the psychoactive effects of THC because CBD has been shown to block the sites of receptors to which THC tries to bind.

On the other hand, CBD can enhance the anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties of THC. THC, in turn, is needed to unlock the full therapeutic potential of CBD. This synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis is known as the entourage effect.

How Does CBD Make You Feel?

Okay, so we’ve established that CBD can’t get you high.

But what exactly does CBD make you feel like?

As mentioned earlier, CBD doesn’t directly affect the cannabinoid receptors in your brain, but it acts on more than 65 identified biological targets.

While THC is the agonist of the endocannabinoid system, CBD modulates its activity.

First, CBD signals the ECS to increase the production of its endocannabinoids while slowing their breakdown by acting on a specific enzyme (FAAH). As a result, more of your native cannabinoids can run in your blood.

Most people describe the feelings they have after taking CBD oil as a wave of calm and relaxation accompanied by relief from physical discomfort.

Depending on the consumption methods, you may need more or less time to experience these effects.

For example, tinctures usually kick in within 15–30 minutes; vapes can produce their effects within 2–5 minutes from inhalation. Oral forms of CBD, such as gummies and capsules, come with a delayed onset, typically taking hold after 40 minutes up to 2 hours.

CBD doesn’t get you high, but instead, it makes you feel:

  • Relaxed
  • Focused
  • More resistant to stress
  • Calm
  • Less in pain

Most users call CBD non-psychoactive — but is it really that way?

Or does it simply come without intoxicating properties?

Is It Really Non-Psychoactive?

Although CBD oil doesn’t get you high, it doesn’t mean it’s non-psychoactive.

If you take a look at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of the word “psychoactive,” it means “affecting the mind and behavior.”

CBD won’t directly affect your behavior, but it does have a direct effect on your mood by helping you deal with stress and reducing anxiety. As a result, you can get in the right mood, stay productive, and are less likely to burst out in stressful situations.

So, to wrap it up, CBD is psychoactive in the same way that your friends, electronic equipment, or anything that makes you happy or angry are psychoactive.

But it’s by no means intoxicating.

CBD won’t get you high. Period.

Is There a Type of CBD Oil that Can Get You High?

The vast majority of CBD oils are produced from hemp plants, which are specifically grown to contain high levels of CBD and only trace amounts of THC.

What are “trace amounts” with regards to THC?

It’s 0.3% or less per dry weight. In contrast, marijuana plants can grow anywhere between 5–30% THC.

If your CBD oil has 0.3% or less THC, it won’t get you high.

Hemp-derived products are also legal at the federal level. Hemp was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, becoming an agricultural commodity once again. This means that hemp plants are now an agricultural commodity and can be used for commercial purposes, including health supplements like CBD oil.

Marijuana-derived CBD oils are legal only in places that legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use. In medical states, you’ll need to obtain a medical marijuana card to use such products legally.

High-quality CBD oils are extracted with CO2. This technology allows for the extraction of efficient quantities of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes without adding harsh solvents and high temperatures on the way.

Other Potentially High-Inducing Cannabinoids

Full-spectrum CBD oil comes with a plethora of other compounds besides CBD, including minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC.

Most cannabinoids are non-intoxicating, but there are three compounds that can produce similar effects to THC.


CBN starts to form in aged cannabis when THC is exposed to heat and oxygen. You’ll find higher concentrations of CBN in poorly stored cannabis. According to some studies and a portion of anecdotal evidence, CBN is a potent sedative, although it’s unclear whether it has these properties on its own or it just enhances the sleep-inducing effects of oxidized terpenes.

Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC is the second by-product of THC’s degradation over time. However, its natural levels in the plant are too low to extract usable amounts. Delta 8 THC is a milder isomer of delta 9; it has around 50–70% potency of its cousin, ensuring smoother psychoactive effects and a lower incidence of anxiety and paranoia.


HHC stands for “hexahydrocannabinol.” It’s a hydrogenated form of delta 9 THC, meaning that manufacturers use the same hardening process as they do with vegetable oils to turn them into margarine. HHC has a more stable chemical structure and thus a longer shelf-life. It has similar properties to delta 9 THC, with around 80% potency of the original compound. The high is also more body-centered.


THC has a very similar molecular makeup to THC. Since it only occurs in trace amounts, it would need to be isolated in larger concentrations to get you high. THCV alone can have intoxicating properties, but not in a way that could trigger or exaggerate anxiety. In fact, THC is able to elevate mood and enhance focus while dampening the high from THC.

Other health benefits of THCV include the ability to reduce paranoia, promote bone growth and density, and slow down neurodegeneration.

The Truth About CBD Oil and Getting High

You can tell a lot of great things about CBD oil — but not that it gets you high.

Most CBD oils on the market are extracted from hemp plants, which contain 0.3% THC or less.

These products are non-intoxicating and federally legal, unlike marijuana-derived CBD oil.

CBD oils produced from marijuana may come with higher levels of THC (upwards of 5%), making them illegal at the federal level. If you want to try such products, you’ll need to stay in a place that allows the recreational or medical use of marijuana.

To make sure you’re buying a legitimate product with legal levels of THC, always check the certificate of analysis (COA) of your CBD oil. It’s proof that your manufacturer has tested the product in a third-party laboratory for potency, cannabinoid profile, and purity.


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