Does CBD Oil make you High? How does CBD make you Feel?

In one word: No. If it’s from the hemp plant.

Cannabidiol, in short CBD, is a cannabinoid that can be extracted from any cannabis group of plants, including marijuana. However, this chemical compound has nothing to do with the marijuana “high”. 

Another cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does, however, have a mind-altering impact on the body, i.e. you can experience a euphoria or “high” every time you smoke marijuana. This property of THC makes it psychoactive. 

However, CBD interacts very differently with our body and, in fact, has some very therapeutic effects on our system. This phytocannabinoid interacts with our endocannabinoid system to activate or block our body’s own (endogenous) cannabinoids [1]. Isolated CBD can, in no way, cause any intoxication. 

One of its most effective effects are on the body’s immune system, like lowering inflammation, feelings of pain, etc. 

Note that, in very high levels, CBD can make you sleepy. That is because in the right dose, it relaxes your muscles and nerves, and over time it promotes a healthy sleep cycle. 

However, this depends on the dose you take and at which time you take it. CBD is one of those substances that are biphasic, i.e. has different effects on our system when taken in different doses. 

How does CBD make you feel?

CBD generally relaxes your body, alleviates muscle soreness and eases the nerves. It has a varied range of effects on the body. Depending on its dose, you can also feel rejuvenated, fresh and upbeat. These effects, though not the typical intoxicating high that temporarily corrupts your cognitive abilities, does technically fall under a kind of high, known as “body high”.

You won’t feel any adverse effects like anxiety, nausea or drowsiness. In fact, CBD oil can help manage these issues if and when they occur. 

However, you must use it sparingly. Contrary to popular beliefs, a little CBD goes a long way. Too high doses may not have the same beneficial effects.

Instead, you may feel some mild, yet undesirable effects, like dryness of mouth, giddiness (CBD oil usually has traces of THC), sleepiness (which may be a hindrance in some activities like driving, etc.). 

However, it does not create hallucinatory effects like THC, which is also known as a “head high”. This kind of high, usually associated with smoking weed, causes mind-altering effects, like euphoria, hallucinations, feeling of being too happy for no real reason, feelings of invincibility…well the list is endless. 

Like most other cannabinoids, THC, too, reacts differently on different people – all of which are usually pleasurable (which is why marijuana is used as a recreational drug!), but its benefits are always suppressed by its undesirable effects. 

In fact, CBD can potentially counter THC’s psychoactive properties. However, depending on the proportion of the two compounds in the extract, the effects differ, i.e. CBD oil with high THC-content can give you a head high, or what is normally known as “high”. 

How does CBD work on your body?

CBD, like any other cannabinoid, interacts with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system. This biological system covers the entire expanse of our body [2], and so, its receptors are found all over our body – from the brain to our skin. 

How CBD interacts with these receptors, however, differs from other cannabinoids. It doesn’t always bind directly with the primary endocannabinoid receptor (CB1). Instead, it prompts other cannabinoids or receptor-binding proteins to inhibit its action. 

It does, however, bind indirectly with another receptor (CB2), which again has a very different reaction, when compared to phytocannabinoids, like THC, or endocannabinoids, such as anandamide. 

For example, CBD blocks the absorption of anandamide, the cannabinoid found within our body that, among its other roles, plays a role in a person’s pain sensation. CBD’s presence in the body helps the body retain a higher amount of anandamide, thus reducing the amount of pain felt by the person.

The effects of CBD, length of time taken for it to work, the period for which it lasts, and its effectiveness – all depend on various factors: 

  1. How it is used: Inhalation or sublingual administration is more effective, and faster on the uptake than consumables or topicals. 
  2. Body Weight: Heavier people need higher doses to have any significant effect, and the opposite is true for lighter or skinnier people. This is also true for young users. 
  3. Endocannabinoid system: The chemical balance in the endocannabinoid system of each individual differs from the others. This makes quite a bit of difference in the way the body reacts to external cannabinoids being introduced to the body. 
  4. Recent food intake: CBD is metabolized faster on an empty stomach, and hence, more effective.  

Difference between CBD Oil Extracted from Hemp vs. Marijuana 

Hemp and marijuana are two very different strains of cannabis plants. While hemp is richer in CBD content, marijuana generally contains higher levels of THC than CBD. 

This is why CBD oil extracted from marijuana has higher chances of containing higher amounts of THC than CBD extracts from hemp. This makes the hemp-derived CBD oil more potent and safer, and hence, legal. 

CBD oil is found in different concentrations, composed of cannabinoids, terpenes and other cannabis components in different proportions. While isolates have only CBD content, full-spectrum CBD oils offer a more effective dose, something that is known in the industry as an entourage effect

While high concentrations of CBD in a product make for a more potent dose in each serving, the presence of THC may counter the benefits. Hence, a CBD product is legal only if it contains not more than 0.3% THC (by weight). 

Difference between CBD & THC

By now, you must have grasped how different these two cannabinoids are. Just to give you a snapshot of CBD vs. THC, take a look at this table below: 

Chemical structureBoth cannabinoids have 21 carbon (C) atoms, 30 hydrogen (H) atoms, and 2 oxygen (O) atoms. But their arrangements (i.e. structure) differ. 
Psychoactive propertyIndependently, CBD is not psychoactive. Counters THC’s effectsIndependently, THC is psychoactive, causes hallucination and intoxication.
LegalityCBD, alone, is legal in all 50 states of the US. Any THC content in CBD oil higher than 0.3% (weight) makes the CBD oil illegal.THC is a banned substance. It is illegal, owing to its psychoactive effects.
Medical BenefitsCBD can help manage a wide range of medical issues, including seizures, inflammation, pain, psychosis or mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraines, depression, anxiety, among others.THC is not all bad. It too has some benefits. It helps with issues, like pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, anxiety, among others.
Drug testYou won’t usually test positive on a drug test after using CBD.THC will definitely make you fail a drug test.
Side EffectsRarely, that too quite mild. Their side effects are usually associated with consuming very high doses of CBD oil containing THC in its composition. Psychoactive effects, palpitation, temporary cognitive disability, dryness of mouth, redness of eyes, slow reaction time, temporary memory loss. 


Does it show up on a drug test? 

CBD generally does not show up on a drug test, as a typical urine drug test doesn’t look for non-psychoactive compounds. Besides, using products made from CBD isolates places you completely in the clear. 

However, there is always the possibility of a false positive, owing to different reasons. 

For instance, if you’ve had too high an amount of this substance, i.e. as high as 2,000mg, you may test positive. 

Alternatively, you can also fail a drug test if you have very recently used full-spectrum oil, with high THC-c0ntent (possibly higher than 0.3% — it happens at times when you use vape oil). 

There is also a chance for you to test positive on a drug test if touched someone, who has recently smoked marijuana. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions on CBD:

How much CBD is good for me?

How long does CBD take to work on the body?

How long do CBD’s effects last?

Final Thoughts: Does CBD make you feel high?

CBD oil has many therapeutic effects, and it does not get you high(if it’s from hemp). However, used in excess, it may not only lose its usefulness, but it may also lead to some undesirable effects, like drowsiness, stomach cramps, etc.

Besides, CBD is expensive. It makes no sense to go overboard with the dosage in hopes of getting the maximum out of it at one go! On the contrary, small, consistent doses have a much better impact on the body. ……………………………………………………………………………….

References/Research Citations:

  1. Cannabinoids and Epilepsy; Neurotherapeutics; Aug 18, 2015; Evan C Rosenberg, Richard W Tsien, Benjamin J Whalley, and Orrin Devinsky; 
  2. Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System; Cerebrum; November 1, 2013; Bradley E Alger, Ph.D.; 


Author Details
Senior Editor & Researcher , Greenthevoteok
Matt Hansel is a Medical Practitioner, who has been writing and researching about cannabis since 2014.  His popular quotes which we like are: \"Don\'t use CBD oil for a cure, use it as a precaution\"  \"CBD should be considered as any other vitamin supplement and your body needs it!\"