Many people interested in taking CBD are scared away when they find out its derived from the same plant as marijuana. They’re worried that taking it will lead to them getting high like when someone consumes marijuana, but that is not the case.
While CBD is derived from cannabis, it does not create the “high” you get from other products. That’s because another substance, THC, is what causes the high when people use marijuana. While there are very trace amounts of THC in CBD products (usually less than 0.5%), it’s not enough for people to experience its effects.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) even conducted studies on CBD and THC to see if they produce similar effects. They wrote that “clinical studies have reported that even high doses of oral CBD do not cause those [psychoactive] effects that are characteristic for THC and for cannabis rich in THC.” So CBD does not create the psychoactive effects that people feel when they’re high.
Why Does Only THC Get You High?
So why does THC get you high, but CBD does not? It’s about how they’re absorbed by the body. When a person ingests THC, it gets bound to the CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for euphoria, relaxation, anxiety and short-term memory loss. CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors, so it does not produce the same effects as THC.
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This doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t make a person feel good, though. Many people will feel an uplifting effect when they take it. But that’s different than the feeling of getting high from THC. The uplifting effect is usually a result of reduced pain or anxiety rather than with THC where the body is producing increased euphoria.
One Important Label Note: Delta-9 Vs Delta-8 CBD
One important thing to make sure you’re aware of. There is currently a loophole around something called “Delta-8 THC”. Most THC is classified as “Delta-9” but some companies are putting Delta-8 THC into their products which allows them to get around the .3% THC limit. You may want to steer clear of any products that have Delta-8 THC listed on their labels until you get comfortable with dosages.
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So, if you’re worried that taking CBD will get you high, don’t worry! That will not happen. But you will feel much better.
Joseph has been writing and editing for a wide variety of publications over the last decade. His most notable roles were at Playboy, where he helped relaunch the iconic brand’s digital arm and Civilized — where he has written extensively about all aspects of CBD.