The biggest question, and the most controversial when we’re talking about CBD is this: Will CBD get you high?
The answer to this question is actually simple! No, CBD will not get you high, not even a little bit. There is no way it can make you feel “high.” But what does that mean?
The explanation as to why CBD can’t get you high is a little more complicated. But it comes down to understanding how CBD and THC work in your body, and on your body’s endocannabinoid system (eCS).
THC, CBD and how they work with your body
CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not bind with the same eCS receptors as THC. It’s THC’s ability to bind with CB1 receptors that give it it’s famous psychoactive effects.
Your body’s endocannabinoid system, which we’ve discussed in more detail in this blog post, is made of three main parts: Your CB1 receptors (mainly in your brain) and CB2 receptors (mainly in your body), and your body’s naturally-produced endocannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids, like those produced from cannabis (hemp) plants, can interact with your body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same way your body’s endocannabinoids do, which means they can help supplement your body’s own healthy eCS functioning.
The Cannabis (Hemp) Plant
The cannabis plant belongs to the genus Cannabaceae, which is a big family of flowering plants and includes so much more than just it’s most famous member, cannabis. For example, this family also includes Humulus lupulus, or hops, which are famously used worldwide as a beer ingredient worldwide and has been for hundreds of years.
Cannabis itself is a dioecious plant, which means that there are both male and female plants and they rely on each other for pollination. Male plants, with their fibrous tissues and tall limbs, is where preferred hemp comes from. Throughout history, hemp has been used to make clothes, paper, rope, shoes—all kinds of things. Fun fact: both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were drafted on hemp paper!
Female plants, on the other hand, are shorter and stockier. This doesn’t make them good for fibrous purposes, like hemp, but they do have their own unique characteristics. It’s from the female plants where we get nutritious hemp seeds from. And it’s from her small resin glands, called trichomes, where THC synthesizes from. So when we hear the word “marijuana,” you should know this typically refers to the female cannabis plant.
THC (or Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol)
One of the most well-known chemicals found in cannabis, (the other being CBD) THC really is the culprit that gives cannabis its mixed reputation and uncertain future. But what exactly is it?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical in cannabis that gives you that “high” feeling. Feeling “high” sounds like kind of casual term, but in popular culture, this is the term we associate the most with the psychoactive effects of THC.
Like we talked about above, cannabis has both male and female plants. Females have trichomes, which are microscopic protrusions made up of a stalk and a head that look a little bit like tiny, clear mushrooms.
Trichomes appear on the surface of the female plant’s buds, leaves, and (less often) the stalk. THC synthesizes in the heads of these trichomes. When inhaled or consumed in high enough quantities, THC molecules bind directly to CB1 receptors in the brain, causing the well-known psychoactive effect.
THC goes right to the CB1 receptors, stimulating parts of the brain that respond to pleasure and releases our happy-brain chemical called dopamine. All said and done, you end up experiencing the infamous “high.”
Unlike THC, most CBD comes from the male cannabis plants, the ones that make hemp. This means that the potent psychoactive effects of THC are not going to happen by consuming CBD. But it gets even better!
Plant Therapy’s CBD tinctures are broad-spectrum, which means our CBD tinctures are THC-free.
So what does this mean? CBD will not get you high. Not even a little bit.
CBD does not bind to cannabinoid receptors the same way as THC. It acts more on CB2 receptors, which are much more dispersed throughout the body than CB1 receptors which are located primarily in the brain. And instead of attaching directly onto the receptor, CBD impacts them indirectly. It does this by activating other receptors and signals throughout the body, like TRPV1 receptors, which are involved with inflammation and pain regulation.
Oh, and CBD contains beta-caryophyllene, an endocannabinoid system stimulating terpene that is known as a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
And while CBD is working hard in your body by influencing your endocannabinoid system, what do you get to do? Sit back and relax! CBD works to support your eCS system to help relax muscles, reduce inflammation, ease feelings of stress and anxiety, and so much more! It is developing quite a reputation for its ability to assist in relieving both short term and chronic pain, as well as reducing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. It does all this with absolutely no psychoactive side-effects.
Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolated CBD: What’s the Difference?
When we’re talking about CBD, there are three different kinds: Broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and isolated. These terms refer to what other chemical constituents are included in your CBD product.
The most common form of CBD is actually an isolate (like fractionated coconut oil) because it has been isolated from the plant compound using a process called chromatography and contains only cannabidiol, without any of the other chemical constituents of the cannabis plant. This assures that there can’t be any psychoactive effects from THC.
Full-spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC. The legal limit for these types of products is less than 0.3% and it still is a small enough amount that it won’t have a psychoactive effect at all. We really mean it!
But remember, Plant Therapy CBD is broad-spectrum and THC-free. Which means there’s no chance of a psychoactive effect.
Broad-spectrum CBD starts as full-spectrum CBD and when the THC is removed, it becomes broad-spectrum. This means that all the other wonderful and useful chemical constituents that make up the cannabis plant are still intact, but there’s no chance of any psychoactive effects at all. These other constituents include many potent terpene alcohols, especially linalool. Linalool is familiar to anyone in the essential oil industry as the piece that gives some of our favorite oils (like Lavender) their therapeutic properties.
To learn more about CBD, check out some of our other great resources.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or under a doctors care, please consult with a physician or qualified professional before using this product.
Ashley, E. (2017). Cannabis: CBD Rich Hemp Oil, Hemp Essential Oil, & Hemp Seed Oil: The Cannabis Medicines of Aromatherapy’s Own Medical Marijuana. The Secret Healer Oils Profiles, Vol. 8.
Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report. (2017). Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
ElSohly M, Gul W. Constituents of cannabis sativa. In: Pertwee R, ed. Handbook of Cannabis. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2014:3-22.
Friedman D, Devinsky O. Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy. N Engl J Med. 2015 Sep 10;373(11):1048-58.
Martens S, Mithöfer A. Flavones and flavone synthases. Phytochemistry. 2005 Oct;66(20):2399-407. Epub 2005 Aug 30.
Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;163(7):1344-64.
Tisserand, R. (2016). Retrieved from https://tisserandinstitute.org/learn-more/cannabis-oil/
“The Brain Loves CBD: What are the Effects of This Major Cannabinoid?” (2018). CBD Health and Wellness. Retrieved from https://cbdhealthandwellness.net/2018/09/04/the-brain-loves-cbd-what-are-the-effects-of-this-major-cannabinoid/
Pacher, P. (2013). Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684164/
“What is CBD?” (2019) Project CBD. Retrieved from https://www.projectcbd.org/cbd-101/what-is-cbd