Will Full Spectrum CBD Oil Make You High

Full-spectrum CBD is a substance made up of all chemicals found in the cannabis plant, popularized for its potential to ease pain and other ailments. With so many health benefits that CBD provides, it’s natural to wonder whether or not CBD oil can get you high. Is CBD Oil really non-psychoactive or just non-intoxicating?

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Substance Made From All Extracts of the Cannabis Plant

Cristina Mutchler is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in national media, specializing in health and wellness content. A multilingual Latina, Cristina’s work has appeared on CNN and its platforms, local news affiliates across the country, and in the promotion of medical journal articles and public health messaging.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Rochelle Collins, DO, is a board-certified family medicine doctor currently practicing in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

Full-spectrum CBD is a substance that contains all of the extracts naturally found in the cannabis plant, including very small amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient associated with the marijuana “high.”

It’s recently been popularized for its potential to help alleviate a variety of health conditions—like pain, anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy—but more research is needed to fully back up all of the claims about its benefits.

David Trood / DigitalVision / Getty Images

What It Is

Before exploring full-spectrum CBD, it’s helpful to understand what CBD is to begin with. CBD—short for cannabidiol—is what’s known as a cannabinoid, one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most CBD products are derived from the hemp species of that plant.

The two most well-known cannabinoids are CBD and THC:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)is often derived from hemp and doesn’t usually cause a “high” on its own.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound that causes the euphoric “high” feeling associated with marijuana.

The Cannabis Plant

Both hemp and marijuana are species of the cannabis plant, and both contain CBD — but hemp plants have 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana plants have higher levels of THC.

Types

Ever since a 2018 federal law has made it legal to grow and sell hemp in the U.S., CBD has been popping up everywhere in different forms — from tablets to oils to creams to gummies.

Full-spectrum CBD is one of three main types of CBD available. It’s important to understand the differences between the most common types, as the ingredients do vary.

  • Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD and all other cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less).
  • Isolate CBD contains just CBD.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD and multiple other cannabinoids, but no THC.

Some CBD connoisseurs consider full-spectrum CBD products to be more effective than the other forms, because they include all of the cannabis plant’s compounds plus up to 0.3% THC. That combination produces what researchers have dubbed the “entourage effect,” meaning that all of the elements in full-spectrum CBD may work better together than a single cannabinoid used alone.  

How It Works

The major cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD—CBD and THC—work on different areas of the brain. Researchers are still studying their full effects on the body, but what they have found is that cannabinoids in general help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system.

That system is responsible for nervous and immune system function, along with mood, sleep cycle, and inflammation response regulation, and more. Basically, the endocannabinoid system helps correct many different imbalances within the body via activated receptors found throughout our central and peripheral nervous systems.

It’s also connected to the way we experience pain, prompting researchers to think that CBD helps the body’s systems achieve better balance.

Benefits

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one cannabis-derived medication, a prescription drug product used to treat certain severe forms of epilepsy, a seizure-causing disorder.

While there’s currently no solid scientific evidence pointing to other specific health conditions that full-spectrum CBD may help treat, research suggests that in addition to acting as an anti-inflammatory, it shows promise for treating anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorders in some people.

Risks

Here’s the million-dollar question: Does full-spectrum CBD get you “high,” since it technically contains trace amounts of THC? Generally speaking, experts say no, it should not produce a “high.” But the answer isn’t crystal clear and may vary by product and person.

See also  CBD Oil Orange Ca

The amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD are at low quantities of less than 0.3%, which is considered to be pretty insignificant. Many experts agree that such a small amount likely isn’t strong enough to have significant psychoactive effects, and likely wouldn’t register on a drug test, but you shouldn’t rule out those possibilities.

Some people may experience some of the milder psychoactive or sedative effects that are associated with THC, and there’s a chance it could show up on a drug test.

Side Effects

Because research on full-spectrum CBD is still fairly preliminary, experts don’t have all of the answers to many consumer questions about the pros and cons of using it for various health issues. That said, a 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that CBD in general is typically well-tolerated, with reported adverse effects usually happening as a result of medication interactions.

Still, there’s a possibility for the following side effects to occur:

  • Mood changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD is not regulated by the FDA, though the agency is currently working on how it may approach regulating the CBD industry in the future. For now, there is no guarantee that a full-spectrum CBD product is safe, or that it’ll be effective for you.

Standard and daily-use guidelines don’t exist, and ingredients and dosages may vary widely. It’s also worth noting that mislabeling appears to be a fairly common issue with CBD products, according to some studies.

It’s a good idea to read the label and ingredient list closely. You’ll want to look for added preservatives, flavorings, or other ingredients you don’t recognize, and double-check them online or confirm with a trusted medical source.

While you don’t need a prescription for full-spectrum CBD, consider checking with your doctor or healthcare professional to make sure it won’t counteract with any other medications you’re taking, and to ensure the condition you’re using it for makes sense based on what we know about the substance.

Legality

You may be confused about the legality of full-spectrum CBD. As referenced, hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC are legal federally, but may not be legal under some states’ legislation. You may want to check out local legislation before purchasing any CBD products (full-spectrum or not) and before traveling with CBD products to other states.

The decision to try full-spectrum CBD may depend on whether you are OK with consuming THC in any amount, particularly if marijuana or CBD is not legal in your state, or if you anticipate being drug tested.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Skaper SD, Di Marzo V. Endocannabinoids in nervous system health and disease: The big picture in a nutshell. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012;367(1607):3193-3200. doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0313

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cannabidiol (CBD).

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

Does CBD Oil Get You High?

It’s challenging to go a day without hearing about the health benefits of CBD oil.

People are using CBD (cannabidiol) for everything from anxiety to depression, pain, seizures, inflammation, insomnia, and skin conditions.

Many prominent studies have highlighted CBD as a safe and effective alternative for conventional treatment options when it comes to the above health problems.

But can CBD oil get you high?

CBD naturally occurs in cannabis plants, so it’s natural to ask this question.

However, the type of cannabis used for making CBD oil plays an important role in whether or not the product will get you high.

In this article, we’ll clear up any confusion about the effects of CBD. We’ll also cover the differences between CBD and THC to help you understand how these two compounds influence your brain.

Can CBD Oil Get You High?

The short answer is no.

This is one of the misconceptions about CBD that must be turned around. CBD oil doesn’t get you high as long as it contains up to 0.3% THC.

CBD doesn’t have intoxicating properties. It can make you feel calm and relaxed, but these effects aren’t even close to what you get from consuming marijuana.

See also  35 CBD Oil

However, not all CBD oils are created equal.

Some CBD products are produced from marijuana plants, and as such, they may contain a significant amount of THC (5% and up). These products can produce a psychoactive high. However, they also contain high levels of CBD due to selective breeding of the strains used for extraction, so the high will be more balanced.

Speaking of CBD and THC, let’s have a look at how these compounds interact with our bodies and with each other.

Differences Between CBD vs. THC

Understanding the difference between CBD and THC should clear up any confusion you may have about the possibility of getting high from CBD oil.

Let’s discuss THC first.

What is THC?

THC is the only compound in the cannabis plant that can make you feel high. Once it enters your circulatory system, it binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and spinal cord, producing sensations of euphoria, deep relaxation, and changes in sensory perception.

THC can act on our mood, memory, pain perception, and other important functions such as fertility or appetite.

The nature of THC is biphasic, which means that low to moderate doses can ease anxiety and relieve stress, whereas higher doses can elevate anxious feelings and trigger paranoid thinking patterns.

What is CBD?

CBD won’t get you high in a way that THC does, as it doesn’t have a direct bond with any of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system.

Instead, CBD sends signals to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce more of its endocannabinoids and help the body maintain a state of balance between all biological processes. This balance is known as homeostasis.

CBD can reduce anxiety, ease pain, reduce inflammation, improve joint function, help with attention problems, promote neuroprotection, and more.

CBD also blocks the sites of receptors to which THC wants to bind, reducing its psychoactivity. At the same time, CBD has been shown to enhance the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of THC. On the other hand, CBD extracts need, at least some amount of THC, to unlock the full potential of CBD. The synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant is referred to as “the entourage effect.”

What Does CBD Feel Like?

Now that you know what CBD can’t do — it can’t get you high — you’re probably wondering what to expect when you take CBD oil for the first time.

Like we said, CBD doesn’t have a direct affinity with any cannabinoid receptors, although it acts on more than 65 identified molecular pathways.

CBD signals the ECS to release more endocannabinoids while slowing down their breakdown. This, in turn, allows more of your native cannabinoids to circulate in the body.

Most users describe the effects of CBD as a surge of unwinding sensation combined with relief running through the body and mind when inhaled or taken sublingually.

Many first-time users report first results within 15–30 minutes after taking CBD oil, or within 2–5 minutes after inhalation. Oral products such as edibles and capsules need more time to show their effects, usually up to 120 minutes.

To sum up, CBD doesn’t get you high, but instead:

  • Makes you feel relaxed
  • Improves your focus
  • Promotes a healthy response to stress
  • Helps you stay calm

Most of the time, you’ll hear people saying that CBD is non-psychoactive when they refer to its effects.

Or does it simply lack intoxicating properties?

Is CBD Really Non-Psychoactive?

Since CBD doesn’t get you high, you might think that it’s not psychoactive.

Well, let’s take a look at the definition of the word “psychoactive.”

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, psychoactive means affecting the mind and behavior.

While CBD won’t directly affect your behavior, it positively does affect the mind. For example, by helping you cope with stress and reducing anxiety, CBD can help you get in the right mood, stay productive, and less likely to have temper tantrums.

CBD is psychoactive.

But so can be your friends; or your electronic equipment; or anything that makes you happy or angry for that matter.

There’s a fine line between psychoactive and intoxicating.

What Type of CBD Oil Can Get You High? How Are CBD Oils Made?

Most CBD oils are produced from hemp plants, which are specifically bred for their high CBD content and only a negligible amount of THC.

See also  How To Take CBD Oil For Anxiety Uk

What do we mean by negligible amounts of THC?

Hemp contains 0.3% of THC or less per dry mass, whereas marijuana may contain anywhere between 5–30% THC.

If you have a product with less than 0.3%, it won’t get you high.

That’s why hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has become an agricultural commodity and can be grown for a variety of uses, including health supplements such as CBD extracts.

Despite different sources, all CBD oils are produced using the top-standard extraction method — CO2 extraction. This technology involves pressurized CO2 that changes its state from liquid to gas during the extraction process. It strips the beneficial compounds off the original plant without additional heat or solvents. CO2 extraction yields pure and consistently potent extracts.

Other Cannabinoids that Could Make You Feel High

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains other compounds on top of cannabidiol, including minor cannabinoids and terpenes.

The majority of cannabinoids are non-intoxicating, but there are two trace molecules that can produce similar effects to THC. Such as Delta 8 THC, and this cannabinoid can get you high.

THCV

THCV has a similar molecular structure to THC. Since it can only be found in trace amounts, it would have to be isolated in larger amounts to get the user high. THCV alone can have an intoxicating effect, but not in a way that could cause or worsen anxiety. In fact, THCV elevates the mood and enhances focus while mitigating the intoxication from THC.

Other health benefits of THCV include its ability to reduce paranoia, stimulate bone growth, and slow down the development of neurodegenerative disorders.

CBN

CBN starts to form when you expose THC to heat and oxygen, which is why high levels of CBN can be found in poorly stored or aged cannabis. While not intoxicating per say, CBN induces potent sedating effects, which get strengthened in the presence of THC.

Marijuana CBD Oil Can Get You High

Like we said, CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana plants.

Although marijuana-derived CBD oil is produced through the same processes as hemp-derived CBD, it contains more THC — between 5–30% — depending on the THC content of the strain used for extraction.

Marijuana CBD oil is only legal in states that have approved marijuana for medical or recreational use. Make sure that you’re familiar with the cannabis laws in your state to avoid crossing the law.

Hemp CBD Oil Can’t Get You High

Since there are only trace amounts of THC in hemp-derived CBD oils, they can’t get you high.

However, you can still experience a wide range of health benefits associated with using cannabinoids. People use CBD oil to feel focused, relaxed, invigorated, pain-free, and better rested on top of many other goals.

Unlike marijuana CBD oil, hemp-derived products are legal in all 50 states. You can find them online as well as in local head shops, vape stores, pharmacies, and health retail outlets.

CBD Oil and Getting High: The Bottom Line

CBD oil can do many great things for your health. What it cannot do, however, is get you high — as long as it contains 0.3% THC or less.

Hemp is grown to boost the CBD content in the flowers while lowering the concentration of THC so it doesn’t induce intoxication.

Don’t confuse the marijuana high with relaxation or sedation caused by higher doses of CBD oil. Hemp products won’t directly influence your behavior.

Getting high off of CBD oil is only possible if it comes from mature marijuana plants. But then again, not every state in the U.S. allows medical or recreational marijuana use, so make sure that you know the local law and always read the product’s label or lab reports to confirm both the CBD and THC content in your CBD oil.

If it reads less than 0.3% THC, then you have a 100% legal product that won’t get you high.

Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.