Does CBD get you high?

by Chloe Palmer

CBD products are sweeping the nation, becoming somewhat of a wellness ritual for many. The compound may provide users with some health benefits, however, people often confuse CBD with THC, and think CBD gets you high. We're here to clear that up for you.

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. It’s thought that CBD interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cells and receptors within our body, responsible for regulating internal homeostasis. CBD may help to aid this balance, and as a result, many have reported experience reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, better sleep, and soothed pain and inflammation after taking it.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is another natural component found in the hemp plant, but it has different effects to CBD. THC is a psychoactive compound that typically leads to high feelings when consumed. However, it is not to be confused with CBD. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, producing a high or sense of euphoria. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive and therefore cannot get you high.

Why do people believe CBD gets you high?

The misconception that CBD makes you high results from individuals knowing that both compounds are part of the same family. While this is true, CBD can be isolated from the cannabis plant, however, it’s much more commonly extracted from the hemp plant — and in the UK, CBD can only be sold if it is extracted from hemp. The cannabis and hemp plant are from the same species, however, there is much more CBD in hemp and more THC in cannabis. The immediate association with the term ‘cannabis’ and its links to the drug form is why people may think CBD can create a high.

Does CBD oil get you high?

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning CBD cannot make users high. Once extracted from the hemp plant, CBD is added to a variety of products and may provide certain benefits for users. These CBD-infused items are often promoted as a natural way to relax or 'reduce anxiety'. However, this is not associated with the same feelings that occur from the THC compound.

While high concentrations of CBD may help people find calm, it’s different to the THC effects. CBD does not bind to the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the brain, whereas TBC will bind to the former which causes a high or sense of euphoria. Instead, CBD may help you relax and allow your body to find balance.

The effects of CBD vs THC 

CBD and THC have similar medicinal benefits and can provide relief from the same conditions. However, CBD does not cause euphoria. Some studies have shown it may help to 'reduce symptoms of anxiety', improve 'quality of sleep' and 'provide relief from pain'. In large quantities, CBD can cause users to feel light-headed too. Another reported effect from usage is a sense of equilibrium, experienced as either a soothing calm or an energy boost, which is why some people take CBD in the morning to improve their day.

THC can cause hallucinations, a change in thinking, and sometimes an increased appetite. People also tend to feel euphoric. Side effects include increased high heart rate, nausea, memory loss, slower reaction times and red eyes.

What are the common uses of CBD? 

CBD can be used in a variety of ways in order to help with health conditions and disorders. Doctors may prescribe it to patients as medication to treat epileptic seizures. In a treatment trial conducted by Dr Orrin Devinsky, it was discovered that when patients were given 2-5mg doses of CBD daily the “median reduction in monthly motor seizures was 36.5%.” The compound is also commonly self-prescribed to try to soothe symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, pain and inflammation.

CBD products are readily available in many supermarkets, gyms, spas, restaurants, bars and cafes. Some people add CBD oil to their daily routine to help encourage feelings of relaxation and calm. One study suggests that CBD binds with the 5-HT1A receptors, which are known for bonding with serotonin — the 'happiness hormone'.

Is it legal to use CBD?

CBD is completely legal to use, as long as products meet specific standards to be bought and sold in the UK. CBD oils are sold as food supplements, and in 2016, the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) stated that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) can be listed as medicine if used for medical purposes. However, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 states that use of THC and its inclusion in any CBD product is strictly prohibited.


So, now you should have a better understanding of what exactly CBD is and why it should not be confused with other substances that give you a high. To summarise, CBD cannot give you a high when used, but it has the potential to give you rewarding health benefits when included in your lifestyle routine instead. Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on!


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