It’s a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind these days: Does CBD oil get you high? It’s an important question to ask—and answer—because CBD offers some rather profound medical benefits that can’t be found anywhere else.
But until fairly recently, those benefits could only be had by consuming the whole plant. This meant that you had to experience the psychoactive effects (the high) to get to the myriad medical benefits. That could put a serious damper on your day if all you wanted was the analgesic effects (pain relief) or the anxiolytic effects (anxiety relief).
With new advances in our understanding of cannabis and its components, and with new advances in how we grow and produce marijuana products, we are now able to identify what specific components do in the body.
This has led to the production of new forms of marijuana that target specific effects. Products that isolate THC (high-THC strains are perhaps the most well known) have become all the rage these days. But we also have products that isolate CBD in order to minimize the highs while still providing the medical benefits.
So that brings us back to the million-dollar question: Does CBD oil get you high? This article will answer that question.
The Short Answer
The short answer to the question, “Does CBD oil get you high?” is no. CBD oil won’t get you high because it has been specifically produced to minimize THC count (the stuff that gets you high) while maximizing CBD count (the stuff that actually prevents you getting high).
But before you stop reading completely, it’s important to know why CBD and CBD oil won’t get you high, not just the fact that it doesn’t. So to be the most-informed cannabis consumers we can be, let’s delve a bit deeper into the whys and wherefores of CBD.
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD, or more specifically cannabidiol, is one of many components within the cannabis plant that goes by the name cannabinoids. THC is perhaps the most well-known cannabinoid. Others include CBG (cannabigerol), CBL (cannabicyclol), and CBT (cannabicitran) just to name a few. Think of these as building blocks that make up the entire chemical composition of the cannabis plant.
Scientists have further classified cannabinoids like CBD into three distinct categories:
- Synthetic cannabinoids
We know those words may not be familiar to you, so allow us to explain.
The prefix phyto- means “of a plant” or “relating to plants.” So when you add phyto- to the word “chemistry,” you end up with the compound word “phytochemistry” (the branch of chemistry concerned with plants).
Phytocannabinoids, then, are chemical compounds produced by cannabis and other plants. It’s worth noting that the true cannabinoids (like CBD, CBG, and CBN) are only produced in the cannabis plant. Plants like echinacea, liverwort, and electric daisy produce cannabimimetic compounds that interact with your body and brain in a similar fashion.
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced in the human body. Though their chemical structure is similar (not identical) to the phytocannabinoids, their names are drastically different and include:
- Noladin ether
Now don’t get too excited that your body can somehow produce its own psychoactive high. It doesn’t work like that.
The concentration of endocannabinoids in your body is so low that there’s no way you could experience a high or feel relief from PTSD. And your body won’t produce enough to make that happen. To feel those effects, you need to add phytocannabinoids (good ole Mary Jane).
Synthetic cannabinoids, as their name suggests, are cannabinoids created in the lab. Synthetic cannabinoids can be either endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids based on what the chemist chooses to synthesize.
Now that you’re fully versed in the science of cannabinoids, let’s narrow our focus to the phytocannabinoid CBD and find out why it won’t get you high.
The Science Behind Why CBD Won’t Get You High
Your brain is composed of millions, if not billions, of neurons that work to make life, your senses, and your emotions possible. But these neurons are not all on, all the time. They can be active or inactive depending on what’s going on inside and around you.
Think of these neurons like the battery terminals in an electronic device. One end emits the electricity while the other end receives the electricity. The receiving end is appropriately called the receptor.
When a battery is present in an electronic device, power flows into the receptor activating that device. The same can be said of the neurons in our brain. When a specific chemical is present, it plugs into receptors and turns the neuron on. That neuron then causes something else to happen somewhere else in the body or the brain (like relieving pain or making you happy).
One such neuron is known as the cannabinoid receptor (CB1). A THC molecule, then, acts like the battery (let’s say it’s an AA) in our electronic device illustration—it fits nicely into the receptor and provides the stimulation necessary to make that neuron active. In this case, that active neuron causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis consumption.
CBD, on the other hand, is like placing an AAA battery into an AA space. It might fit, but it’s not an exact match. As such, it won’t provide the power necessary to turn that neuron on. In addition, it occupies the space within the receptor preventing your brain from getting the right molecule (THC) in.
Because of the way CBD blocks THC activity in the brain, it is known as a CB1 antagonist. Antagonists are basically substances that interfere with or inhibit the physiological actions of another substance.
The interesting thing about CBD is that while it’s inhibiting THC activity on the CB1 receptor, it is also activating other receptors. Chief amongst those receptors that CBD does activate are the adenosine receptor, the serotonin receptor, and the vanilloid receptor.
The adenosine receptors are involved in regulating anxiety. When CBD is introduced into the brain, it causes these receptors to function at 100%, thereby reducing any anxiety. The serotonin receptors, when CBD is present, work to reduce depression and contribute to a large number of neurological and biological systems (see below). The vanilloid receptors are involved in the regulation of pain. When CBD is present, pain and inflammation are not as acute.
What Does CBD Do?
The beneficial effects of CBD are legion and more are being discovered every day. CBD’s beneficial effects include:
- Promotes bone growth
- Inhibits growth in cancer cells
- Kills or slows bacterial growth
- Reduces risk of artery blockage
- Treats psoriasis
- Prevents degeneration of nervous system
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Aids sleep
- Reduces seizures and convulsions
- Suppresses muscle spasms
- Relieves anxiety
- Lessens the severity of psychosis
- Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Stimulates appetite
- Reduces inflammation
- Decreases pain
For many patients, achieving these beneficial effects without the psychoactive effects normally associated with marijuana would be like the holy grail of medical treatment. And while it might seem like science fiction, it is, in fact, reality.
Is There Scientific Research On CBD?
Of course! Plenty of research has been done on cannabinoids. In fact, CBD has recently become a hot topic of scientific inquiry because of its medicinal benefits and lack of inebriating effects.
So what has all of this research found? There is growing evidence that CBD reduces the number of seizures individuals with refractory epilepsy experience. This is particularly true for children with Dravet syndrome.
Other studies have shown that CBD can reduce the fear of public speaking, reduce the intensity of negative memories associated with PTSD, and reduce anxiety. It can also treat Panic Disorder, a severe anxiety condition that induces panic attacks. Some research has indicated that CBD may be an effective treatment for Schizophrenia (although more research is needed).
Yet another study found that CBD reduces blood pressure in healthy individuals. Researchers have found evidence that CBD can act as a substitute for opiates in the treatment of chronic pain (no pun intended). And, as if all of that’s not enough, scientists have found that CBD can help heal liver damage caused by severe alcoholism.
Despite these many medicinal benefits, researchers may face a major roadblock—the law. In some cases, the scientific community is not permitted to do research on compounds like CBD because it would be illegal to do so.
If CBD Has So Many Medicinal Qualities, Why Is It Illegal?
That’s an excellent question. Here’s the most honest answer we can give: there is absolutely no good reason why CBD should be illegal. However, the DEA still classifies CBD is as a Schedule I drug at the federal level.
According to federal regulations, Schedule I drugs are defined as substances that “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It’s obviously complete nonsense! For one, CBD doesn’t get you high. On top of that, there’s a ton of scientific evidence showing that CBD has many medical uses. So the question remains: why is CBD illegal?
Well, for starters, the DEA might not be up to date on the facts. Up until the end of 2015, it was illegal to research CBD at all. Restrictions were eased to allow research on CBD, but it’s only been a number of years, which is not enough time to produce the mountain of conclusive evidence that would be required to legalize it nationwide.
To make matters worse, the DEA continues to deny applications submitted by scientists hoping to conduct research on the medical effects of CBD. As of February 2018, the federal government “confirmed that 26 applications are outstanding from marijuana suppliers; but the DEA has not approved a single one.” So while CBD is technically approved for scientific studies, applications are being ignored, which means it’s effectively still illegal to do research on CBD.
We know what you’re thinking: marijuana is already legal in many states! And you’re absolutely right. CBD is legal in 47 states—only Idaho, South Dakota, and Kansas still regard CBD oil as an illegal substance. However, in June 2018, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill that would legalize CBD nationwide. The Senate will vote on the bill sometime in summer 2018.
In addition, marijuana (i.e. with THC in it) is already legal for medical purposes in 29 states, plus the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as the District of Columbia. Some of these states require a prescription to legally use CBD, while other states allow CBD use for anyone, as long as the CBD has a THC concentration of less than 0.3%.
Further adding to the complexity of laws surrounding CBD and marijuana is the fact that marijuana is 100 percent legal recreationally in nine states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington), as well as D.C.
If you add up the populations of those nine states and the nation’s capital, it comes to about 70 million people. That’s one-fifth of the population of the USA. In other words, it’s perfectly legal for one in five American citizens to smoke weed recreationally but, at the same time, CBD remains classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level.
It doesn’t make any sense to us, either. Try not to think about it too much.
CBD Oil And High-CBD Strains
While the majority of the cannabis industry has been working towards ever-higher THC percentages, a small minority has been quietly toiling away in the background to achieve high CBD percentages. They are working to minimize, or even get rid of, the psychoactive effects of marijuana while keeping the beneficial medical effects.
High-CBD strains include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, Sour Tsunami, and Cannatonic. The marijuana industry has also produced CBD oil which is a concentrated form of the cannabis plant.
Where Does CBD Oil Come From?
The more familiar marijuana products come from the marijuana plant. These plants produce buds that contain 5-10% THC. But there’s another plant in the cannabis family that can be put to use: hemp. Hemp only contains 0.05-1% THC which is considered negligible by most chemical standards.
Oil produced from the hemp plant is low in THC and relatively high in CBD. This results in the beneficial medical effects mentioned above without the “negative” psychoactive effects that regular marijuana produces.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
CBD oil is most often made using CO2. At high pressure and low temperature, CO2 is forced through the hemp plant. The CO2 is then allowed to escape from the mixture leaving behind the CBD extract.
CBD oil can also be made using olive oil instead of CO2. The olive oil method is popular because of the nutrients it adds to the resultant CBD extract. And because olive oil is a safe-to-consume product, the CBD oil made is free of unwanted chemicals.
A third way to make CBD oil is through ethanol, or high-grain alcohol, extraction. Because of its acidic nature, ethanol tends to destroy some of the hemp plant’s natural beneficial oils during the extraction process. For this reason, ethanol extraction is a less popular method of CBD oil production.
Because of the technical nature of the process and the high pressure and low temperature required to be successful, it’s always best to purchase a professionally-produced product rather than trying to do it yourself.
CBD Oil Won’t Get You High, But Are There Any Side Effects?
The short answer? No, there aren’t any side effects. Scientists haven’t come right out and said that, but studies have shown that the biggest side effect of high-CBD products like CBD oil is dry mouth.
It should be noted that CBD does interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize other pharmaceutical products This interference could cause unintended consequences. If you take any medication(s), be sure to consult a physician before adding a CBD product.
Because of CBD’s limited side effects and broad applications, it can be used in the treatment of such disorders as depression, epilepsy, anxiety, schizophrenia, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Is CBD Oil Right For You?
We’ve established that CBD oil (and CBD in general) won’t get you high and that there are very limited side effects, but is CBD right for you? The only way to know for sure is to try it for yourself.
Do you suffer from any of the disorders or experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the paragraphs above? If so, CBD oil may be right for you. If not, you may want to try something else.
We suggest you start with small doses of a CBD-rich product and see how you feel after taking it. Talk to the professionals at your local dispensary and see if they can recommend a product. Keep in mind that CBD oil and the like aren’t really recreational in nature like THC products.
If you don’t suffer from any of the medical conditions that CBD treats, you may not feel much of anything at all save for the dry mouth mentioned earlier. That said, all you can do is give it a try.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.