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Can CBD Make You Feel "High"?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a truly impressive molecule and its burgeoning benefits on both the medical and general wellness fronts are exciting, but there are still many misconceptions around it. Perhaps the biggest source of confusion, and the first question folks have about CBD when thinking of trying it, remains: does CBD get you high?

Let’s clear the air on any confusion by understanding what CBD is, how it works in our bodies, what you need to know about its effects, plus information on the best CBD hair, lash and brow products you should be using.

First: What Is CBD, Exactly? 

When we get into the science of CBD, it’s important to keep in mind we’re talking about compounds. CBD is a compound produced by hemp and cannabis (marijuana) plants. The THC compound is another that these plants produce. And these compounds have a special name: phytocannabinoids.

So, CBD is not an oil. The CBD compound is most often infused into oil carriers since cannabinoids are fat soluble. Fats are a good place for cannabinoids to be, which is why you’re probably most familiar with “CBD oil” as a product but it’s not the only way to take or make use of CBD!

GRO+ Advanced Products from VEGAMOUR

We’ve added the holistic health benefits of CBD to our original line of serums, shampoo, conditioner and supplements. The GRO+ Advanced line includes everything you love about our original GRO products, with added broad-spectrum hemp extract.

Shop: GRO Dry Shampoo 3-Pack

CBD & Your Body: The Endocannabinoid System

As it turns out, you and every mammal on the planet has a special bodily system that can make use of phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC. This system is called the endocannabinoid system (or ECS) and it's been evolving in life on this planet for millions of years. 

We humans only discovered it in the early 1990s, so it’s a fairly new (though monumental) discovery on the medical front. The discovery of the ECS, and the ongoing research around it, is showing us how and why we are able to derive therapeutic benefit from hemp and cannabis plants.

There is still much research to be done on the complexities of the ECS, but we do know that it plays a crucial role in our day-to-day health and helps regulate a huge umbrella of bodily functions: from appetite to mood, cognition to sleep. It works tirelessly in the face of innumerable external and internal stressors to maintain balance and keep our bodies running smoothly.

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How Does My Body Use CBD?

The ECS does its work through a network of receptors that are located all over your body. These receptors sit atop cells and pick up phytocannabinoids like CBD to make use of them. These receptors also pick up cannabinoids produced right within our own bodies (called endocannabinoids). Depending on where these cells are and what their function is, cannabinoids (phyto- or endo-) will produce a specific effect.

By observing how phytocannabinoids like CBD interact with cells and receptors in our body, we are beginning to understand how CBD impacts our ECS, along with several other receptor systems in the body. CBD has many different “mechanisms of action,” which means it can impact our physiology in many different ways.

Dive In: Everything You Need to Know About CBD for Hair Loss & Growth

So, Does CBD Get You High? No!

Does one of the ways CBD impacts our physiology include making you high? The answer is: no. 

“CBD itself isn't intoxicating and can't get you high, as it does not act on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain in the same way that THC does,” explained board-certified and licensed clinical psychologist Aaron Weiner.

Read: What Does Hemp Do?

Where Does CBD Come From? 

If you’re a consumer who has tried to navigate the CBD product landscape, or if you live in a state where cannabis is legal, you might have come up against some confusion around CBD from hemp versus CBD from cannabis.

So let’s get to the root of the matter by looking at the plant family from which cannabis and hemp come from.

Hemp and marijuana plants (more appropriately cannabis plants) belong to the same plant family, Cannabis sativa L. And while these plants are different in several important ways, they are also quite similar in several important ways. Kind of like siblings in human families.

CBD and THC are two of over 100 other phytocannabinoids these plants produce (like CBG for example), though these two tend to be the best known of the bunch. They also happen to be a good shorthand way of distinguishing between the plants, legally speaking.

By law, hemp is defined as a plant that contains less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. Any plant that contains more than that is considered to be cannabis.

How does this relate to the CBD making you high question? Because it’s important to know which plant your CBD product is coming from, along with how refined it is, before buying CBD products.

Shop: CBD Shampoo & Conditioner

CBD Products Derived From Hemp 

In 2018 the Agriculture Improvement Act (also known as The Farm Bill) was passed, which included making the farming of domestic hemp plants and the manufacture of hemp products federally legal. This, effectively, made hemp-derived CBD legal.

Since by law hemp is defined as a plant that contains less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, this means that some hemp-derived CBD products (called “full-spectrum”) should only contain very trace amounts of THC. These are such small amounts of THC that for most its effects are completely unnoticeable. That said, because each person’s ECS is unique, some folks are very sensitive to THC. While it isn’t likely, there is a small chance they may feel some minor effects. 

“In some full-spectrum hemp CBD products there can be 2-5 mg of THC per dose,” explained Eloise Theisen, lead medical reviewer for Leafreport and President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

“Depending on someone’s experience with cannabis and other factors like metabolism, gender, and age a 2-5mg dose of THC can be impairing.” Hemp-derived CBD oil or other products that you see labeled as “broad spectrum” have been further refined to remove all traces of THC, making them effectively THC free. 

You might also see “CBD isolate” products, which means they were made with a totally refined extract that contains 99%+ pure CBD. These products don’t contain any of the other terpenes, flavonoids or other phyto-actives that are naturally found in the hemp plant, and will be found in full- and broad-spectrum products.

CBD products made from hemp are perfectly legal to buy, and they are widely available for purchase online through reputable retailers like VEGAMOUR, and across the country through other major grocery, pharmacy and retail chains.

Discover: 5 Potential Beauty Benefits of CBD

FDA Regulation of Hemp CBD

As a side note, it’s important to mention that at present the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the hemp-CBD market. They are presently working on guidelines and regulations for the market, but it is uncertain as to when these will be officially rolled out.

Until we have official FDA regulation of the hemp CBD market, consumers need to take extra care and vet their products to ensure they don’t contain pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants. In addition, some hemp-derived products also contain THC levels that are above the legal limits, as reported in random samplings of CBD products done by the FDA. 

Always do the due diligence to know where the hemp used in your product comes from, how it was grown and how it was processed.

CBD Products Derived From Cannabis

As of writing, the cannabis plant and all cannabis derived products are not federally legal and these plants are still a controlled substance.

With that said, the majority of states have legalized cannabis for medical use and several have legalized cannabis for adult use (also commonly known as recreational marijuana).

If you live in a state where you are a medical cannabis patient, or if you’re in a state where you have access to cannabis for adult use, the CBD oil or CBD products you purchase might contain higher levels of THC than their hemp-derived counterparts. 

Since THC is what produces the euphoric shifts in sensory perception (in other words the intoxicating effects people associate with being “high”), it’s important to carefully read the labels of all cannabis-derived products to be sure of what you are buying. These products might be labelled as “CBD” or “full-spectrum CBD” if CBD is the more prevalent cannabinoid, but that doesn’t mean there are low levels of THC.

“The euphoria or “high” mainly comes from THC and some CBD products can contain levels of THC that will produce a euphoric experience. It is always best to read the labels for potency and confirm the amounts with the certificate of analysis before consuming any cannabis product,” advised Ms. Theisen.

The bottom line? CBD on its own is not intoxicating, but CBD in a cannabis-derived tincture or edible might have high enough levels of THC to produce an intoxicating effect.

Learn More: The VEGAMOUR Story

So What Does CBD Do?

As a solo compound, CBD acts in many different ways in the body and impacts several different systems, not just the ECS. This is why it’s able to provide such a long list of everyday health benefits while also proving useful for treating more serious conditions like epilepsy.

Read: These Vegan Hemp Gummies Are a Game-Changer for Hair Wellness

Reduces Inflammation

CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits that contribute to its reputation for relieving pain, but reducing inflammation body-wide is so important to our general health since it’s been linked to everything from heart disease to cancer (and yes, it contributes to hair loss, too). That’s why we’ve infused CBD into our bestselling hair serum to bring you the GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum, so you can apply all the benefits CBD has to offer directly to your scalp!

GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum

Fights Free Radicals

In addition to pain relief and its ability to reduce inflammation, CBD also offers potent antioxidant benefits. Free radical damage and oxidative stress are two other health concerns, and when not kept in check can cause a whole host of serious health issues, like asthma, cancer, diabetes, and dementia to name just a few. Not only that, but it plays a role in the premature aging of hair. VEGAMOUR’s GRO+ Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum harnesses the antioxidant benefits of CBD along with a powerhouse of other phyto-actives to calm scalp stress and eliminate bacteria harmful to healthy hair growth.

GRO+ Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum

Soothes Stress & Relieves Anxiety

But perhaps the number one reason that most CBD lovers seek out this compound to begin with is because it can relieve stress and anxiety. Clinical data suggests that CBD might be even more effective than some prescription medications for providing anti-anxiety benefits. That, and it’s known to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Stress can be a major contributing factor to increased hair shedding and loss, which is why VEGAMOUR created our GRO+ Advanced Gummies with CBD to support your body from the inside out.

GRO+ Advanced Hair Care Gummies

Dig Deeper: Everything You Need To Know About Stress & Hair Loss

The Takeaway

Taking CBD is a great way to support your general health and wellness, and hemp-derived CBD products will not generally produce intoxicating effects. Always talk to your healthcare provider when adding any new dietary supplements to your routine, and vet all CBD products you’re interested in for purity, potency, quality and safety before buying.


Photo credit: CRYSTALWEED cannabis/Unsplash

Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.