You’ve seen it everywhere, and you’re dying to know: can you get high off cannabidiol (CBD)? We’re going to answer that question and more in this post, including what CBD is, how it works, how CBD makes you feel, what it’s like to smoke CBD hemp flowers, and whether CBD can make you fail a drug test.
Does CBD Get You High?
The short answer is no; however, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have psychoactive or mood-altering effects, which means they have significant therapeutic benefits. For example, both can make users feel calmer or more relaxed.
However, only THC is intoxicating, altering perceptions of space and time and producing actual euphoria. Products with sufficient THC to intoxicate come from marijuana plants, but using pure or hemp-sourced CBD products that are reliable and lab-tested will not typically cause a positive drug test.
So, is CBD psychoactive or intoxicating?
Psychoactive, yes, in that it can improve your mood and relax you. Intoxicating, no. In fact, strains of cannabis with significant levels of both THC and CBD usually don’t produce the typical undesirable side effects people worry about with cannabis, such as anxiety and paranoia. This is because, unlike in cultivars with high THC and low to no CBD content, more balanced varieties see the CBD and THC molecules competing for space on the CB1 receptors, mitigating some of the more serious effects.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid—a compound found in cannabis plants and hemp plants that offers therapeutic benefits. CBD is less regulated than THC and can be sold without a prescription because, as we said, it is not intoxicating. Even high CBD hemp flower strains are legal to buy online without a medical marijuana card.
Both marijuana and hemp come from the same species of plant: Cannabis sativa. Growers have bred hemp selectively for heavy, thick stalks, which is why it is so useful in making rope, paper, and textiles.
Cannabis growers have done just the opposite, selecting plants with heavy, lush buds or flowers, where most of the THC in cannabis is located. Over time, cannabis has been bred for higher levels of THC, while CBD had been bred out—at least until more recently.
How Does CBD Work?
All mammals, including humans, have an internal network of receptors and chemicals in their central and peripheral nervous systems. This network is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and it allows us to feel the effects of CBD.
The endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, bind with ligands and molecules to control when the brain releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate. The CB1 and CB2 receptors, certain enzymes, and ligands work together to affect many body processes, including appetite, mood, memory, pain management, and thought.
Other things can bind with those same receptors, including cannabinoids created outside the body. These exogenous cannabinoids include THC and CBD, and they have the same power to moderate some bodily functions and produce certain effects.
For example, research proves that THC can increase appetite and relieve nausea, and both THC and CBD provide effective pain relief. CBD has been proven to be anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, and it can also treat some seizure disorders such as epilepsy and Dravet syndrome. Unlike opioid receptors, however, cannabinoids cannot signal the brain or central nervous system through cannabinoid receptors to cease vital functions like breathing.
Before consuming cannabis, a user’s appetite, cognitive abilities, fine motor skills, and mood are managed in the brain by dopamine and anandamide. Once cannabis is in the system, THC, CBD, and other phytocannabinoids and chemical compounds bind with the user’s CB1 and CB2 receptors in place of anandamide. The binding results in the effects that cannabis is known for, from relaxation to improved appetite. Of course, the specific effects vary from person to person and are based on the specific cannabinoid composition of the plant.
The effects are always strongest when more of these compounds can work together, producing the entourage effect. The entourage effect is possible when you use full spectrum cbd products, which include all of the phytocannabinoids in the plant, and broad spectrum products, which include all of them except THC. Pure CBD products cannot produce the entourage effect, but you still get the positive effects of the CBD.
How Does CBD Make You Feel?
This is the million dollar question, right? If CBD doesn’t get you high, why bother? Why is everyone smoking CBD? How does CBD make you feel?
The biggest thing we hear from real customer reviews and our own experience is relaxation. Many CBD users describe CBD cannabis oil making them feel more balanced, or as if their discomfort, pain, or stress is neutralized. For others, it’s more of a notable sense of calm and an absence of negative feelings.
Abstract, but it’s a little different for everyone. In general, though, this is what people say:
It’s the kind of effect that lets you get work done and get through the day without terrible chronic pain or emotional problems. In many cases, you gain the medical marijuana benefits without the sort of “recreational” high effects.
Also, as the research shows, CBD is an anti-inflammatory that can relax the body and reduce pain. In other words, smoking or vaping CBD is more about a lack of negative effects. The problems you’re used to experiencing are minimized.
Users of CBD-rich hemp buds or blended strains with high-CBD/low-THC flowers are more likely to experience more notably psychoactive effects, probably thanks to trace amounts of THC. The entourage effect ensures that CBD and THC are likely to have a greater impact when they can work together, so CBD products with a bit more of both are likely to produce more results and health benefits.
Smoking and vaping flower gets those active cannabinoids to your brain significantly faster than using CBD oil tinctures sublingually or CBD edibles. Still, those edible routes tend to produce effects that last longer in the system, so experiment with the best CBD delivery system for your needs.
CBD-rich flower can be bought in CBD pre-rolls or joints, and you can also get your CBD vape juice or CBD e-liquid, CBD oil tinctures, CBD gummies, CBD capsules, and of course CBD topicals like balms, lotions, and creams. Remember, though, don’t ever vape anything other than flower or CBD e-juice that is specifically designed for a vape mod or vape pen.
How Does it Feel to Smoke CBD Hemp Flowers?
Although it is totally different from the experience you’d expect if you’re used to marijuana, smoking CBD-rich hemp flowers can be an uplifting, amazing thing to do. It can produce a body calm instead of a fuzzy high and a feeling of well-being, mental clarity, and subtle relaxation.
One of our team likens it to having both green tea and red wine. You get relaxation but also mental calm that may allow you to focus more. High doses of hemp oil or CBD oil might make you more relaxed or even sleepy, especially if you’re worn out, and smoking higher amounts of CBD flower will have a similar effect.
Just like anything else, when you’re trying something new, start with a low dose and watch carefully. Be aware of subtle effects—this isn’t a sledgehammer by any means. And, although every CBD user can react differently, there is almost no chance that high-CBD hemp flower will cause that terrible paranoia or anxiety that high concentrations of THC or cannabis might have caused you in the past.
We recommend you try a few different strains of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis products to find which strains work best for you. They are not all the same! CBD itself is a constant, but they all have other plant compounds such as terpenes and cannabinoids that affect their overall impact on your health and body.
Can CBD Make You Fail a Drug Test?
The answer to this is almost always no, but here’s a very quick answer to a much longer discussion (read our in-depth coverage of Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test).
CBD flower products come from full-spectrum hemp, and United States federal law requires that they contain less than 0.3 percent THC (unless it’s in a legal market at a licensed dispensary). Always verify how much CBD and THC a product contains with third-party testing.
A vendor who doesn’t do third party testing or can’t prove they do is not trustworthy. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates this area a bit, there are still plenty of under- and unregulated products out there.
CBD flower from legal hemp is highly unlikely to cause a positive drug test. This is why it is so important to source CBD from reputable retailers that use third party testing and stand behind their products.
Accountability and transparency are important to the CBD industry, so we hope this information on getting high off CBD has been useful to you. If you’re ready to try some high-CBD hemp flower or CBD pre-rolls, you’re in the right place. We’ve got everything you need to safely experience high-quality CBD flower.
Medical Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or product or with questions about a medical condition. This content is not a substitute for actual, professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment.