Some users experience a mild “high” after taking CBD.
Very large doses of CBD may have a mild “high” — but it’s nothing like the high from conventional THC products.
The main difference is that CBD has little impact on the mind. You don’t “act” or think high — just your body feels it.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound that is naturally occurring in cannabis plants. In addition to other cannabinoids, this compound can be isolated and extracted from the plant. CBD is used for a range of products, like edibles, tinctures, vapes, and topicals.
CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) to provide a plethora of health benefits. It’s been proven useful for treating a variety of illnesses, managing pain, reducing epileptic seizures, and alleviating stress and anxiety.
In terms of the products you buy at the store, CBD is just one of the cannabinoids that may show up in a CBD product. Full-spectrum CBD, for example, contains many other cannabinoids that may increase the entourage effect.
However, a true non-psychoactive CBD product always contains less than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another compound found in the cannabis plant. This is the compound that causes the psychotropic effects of marijuana — symptoms like laughter, munchies, euphoria, and an altered perception of light, sound, and time.
Even if your CBD products have THC on the ingredients list, though, the concentration is extremely low to meet FDA requirements for CBD.
With such a small amount of THC present in CBD products, you can rest assured that it’s extremely unlikely to get high from CBD — at least in the traditional sense.
In fact, it’s unlikely that the THC you ingested in a CBD product is even enough to register on a drug test.
It’s also true that some CBD products have absolutely no THC — like CBD isolate — so it’d be almost impossible to get high from the THC in those. (All CBD products, though, could theoretically be exposed to or contain trace elements of THC.)
One scientific article points to several clinical trials over the years that have shown that not only does CBD not cause any THC-like effects, but that, in some cases, it actually causes opposite effects .
Another shows that CBD can go as far as to reverse psychotic symptoms of THC, such as paranoia when taken before ingesting THC .
Despite the science, though, some people still report a high that vaguely resembles the effects of THC — especially after taking very high doses of CBD.
Let’s break that down.
CBD is non-psychoactive — that’s just a fact — but it isn’t the only cannabinoid in most CBD products.
Trace amounts of THC, other psychoactive cannabinoids, and even a few terpenes could be strong enough to produce some psychoactivity.
Here are three potential explanations why some people feel somewhat high after using CBD products.
The entourage effect is the idea that introducing different cannabinoids and terpenes to the body in conjunction with CBD will enhance the benefits of CBD.
THC works by binding to your CB1 cannabinoid receptors. This causes a number of different things, but the most significant is activation of serotonin receptors.
The activation of certain serotonin receptors is responsible for the effects of other psychoactive substances like magic mushrooms and LSD. THC isn’t nearly as strong but indirectly affects these same psychedelic receptors .
CBD doesn’t activate these receptors, but other minor cannabinoids and even a few terpenes do.
It’s possible that some people experience a psychoactive effect from CBD because of other minor cannabinoids in the oil. This could explain why only full-spectrum CBD oils appear to make users feel high — while CBD isolates lack this effect.
One other flawed explanation for feeling high from CBD is that CBD can turn to THC in the stomach. This is discussed on various marijuana blogs and forums, but it actually isn’t based on sound science.
A study did show that CBD can turn to THC in simulated gastric fluid . The CBD undergoes a process called isomerization, where the CBD turns into THC because of the strong acids in the stomach. However, because that fluid was simulated in a lab, there’s no evidence that the same thing would occur in humans.
In fact, another study refuted the claims by synthesizing information from several clinical trials, ultimately concluding that CBD does not seem to turn into THC in the human stomach .
The most obvious reason why CBD products may make users high simply comes down to contamination. CBD products are made from hemp, which contains trace amounts of THC.
Usually, this THC isn’t strong enough for you to even feel it, but sometimes hemp goes a little too far and makes a psychoactive dose of THC.
Normally, this would no longer be considered hemp from a legal aspect, but if nobody steps in to do anything about this, that THC is going to end up in the final product.
We’ve seen plenty of third-party tests for CBD products that contain well above the “legal limit” for THC, so it’s very likely users who feel high from CBD are actually feeling high from THC.
CBD has a strong impact on the body — but very little impact on the brain. It’s entirely possible that CBD can make the body feel high in certain individuals. However, this effect rarely impacts headspace — you think sober, but your body feels high.
This is a phenomenon that’s been reported a lot by CBD users — especially those who don’t take CBD often or use very high doses (over 90 mg). Not everybody will feel this effect and most people that do feel only a very mild sensation in the body.
It’s possible that by altering the ECS, CBD is able to change the way information is communicated throughout the body — this would have the effect of feeling high.
Related: Does CBD Make You Hungry?
Just because CBD won’t make you high doesn’t mean you should take however much you feel like. While it’s incredibly unlikely to overdose on CBD — and CBD overdoses are non-lethal — it can be unpleasant or uncomfortable to take too much.
You might get sleepy, experience lightheadedness, or feel nauseated if you take too much CBD.
Related: What are the side effects of CBD?
It’s easy to figure out how much CBD to take using our simple dosage calculator.
Based on your weight and the strength you desire, you can find the right dosage for you to ensure that every CBD experience is relaxing and comfortable.
The short answer is no; you can’t get high from CBD alone.
However, there are a few caveats.
Some CBD oils contain more THC than they’re supposed to (legally) or other cannabinoids with psychoactive effects. These products could make you feel somewhat high — especially if you’re using very high doses of CBD.
For example, Neurogans ultra-high potency CBD gummies (90 mg of CBD each) are undeniably psychoactive. This isn’t even because they have more than the 0.3% THC content — rather, it’s because the concentration of hemp extract is so high, the THC content approaches its threshold dose.
While you might enjoy a slight euphoric feeling or an elevated mood from reduced stress, it’s likely the entourage effect at play. If you’re concerned about feeling high from CBD, try CBD isolate, so there’s no risk of THC getting in your system.