Does CBD Oil Get You High? Is it non-psychoactive?


CBD oil beginners may wonder whether taking CBD oil will get them high because it is extracted from cannabis plants. There is a stigma around the cannabis plant responsible for making people high. However, there are different types of CBD, and some are non-psychoactive. The 2018 farm bill legalized the planting and processing of industrial hemp. Before then, it was only legal for a few companies processing it for medicinal purposes. This article explains the cannabis plant used in the processing of CBD oil and whether it can get users high.

What is CBD

Cannabinoid or CBD is one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant alongside other elements such as THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. CBD is extracted from hemp plants. The methods of extraction are solvent and CO2. In solvent extraction, alcohol such as butane is pumped into a chamber containing a dry hemp plant. The alcohol extracts the CBD from the plant. To remove the alcohol, the crude CBD is heated. CBD extracted using this method has a bitter taste because alcohol extracts chlorophyll from the plant.

The CO2 extraction method is common, cheaper, and safer. The CO2 used is in a supercritical state that’s neither gas nor liquid. The supercritical CO2 is pumped into a chamber containing dry hemp parts where CBD oil extraction occurs. Other materials like wax and fats are also extracted. The mixture is heated in another chamber to remove the CO2, and the crude CBD undergoes short-term distillation to refine CBD. There are three types of CBD oil; full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD. Full-spectrum CBD contains all hemp plant terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids, including 0.3% delta-9 THC. Broad-spectrum has terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids, except the 0.3% delta-9 THC. In contrast, isolates are pure and only contain CBD. The CBD is mixed with carrier oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil to make CBD oil. Some CBD oils may have more than one carrier oil.


Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is a compound found in the cannabis plant that induces a high feeling. THC may get into the bloodstream by smoking, inhaling, or through the digestive system when infused in edibles like cookies. An individual only gets high when THC links with receptors that receive the body-produced endocannabinoids. The ECS is responsible for body functions like appetite, pain, metabolism, and stress by controlling the release of neurotransmitters. THC breaks down communication between cells by flooding receptors with unsent signals.


CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, with more compounds than THC. The required THC amount in any CBD product should not exceed 0.3%. This is the amount found in the full-spectrum CBD oil. In contrast, marijuana has less CBD and more THC. CBD does not bind or fit in the endocannabinoid system like THC, but it activates them preventing these receptors from breaking down. Therefore, taking CBD oil will not get you high because it is non-psychoactive.

What is CBD Oil Used for?

According to Shannon, et al. (2019), CBD oil can be used for various health and wellness benefits like relieving anxiety and depression. CBD affects serotonin, a chemical in the body responsible for behavior, digestion, and mood. A high level of serotonin reduces anxiety, while low levels result in high anxiety. Based on the study, CBD regulates serotonin levels, relieving anxiety and depression. However, consumers should consult with the doctor before changing medications.

People recovering from addictions like smoking undergo withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety, or insomnia. When CBD binds with the CB1 receptors, it influences serotonin levels, improving sleep and mood, and reducing anxiety. This, in turn, reduces the urge to smoke. A study by Argueta, et al. (2020) shows that it can relieve pain and inflammation. The CBD oil affects the ECS receptor activity by reducing the breaking down of transmitters and the speed of nerve signals to nerve cells. Also, CBD oil can be used on nerve pain and back pain.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, approved Epidiolex, a CBD-infused drug used to treat two rare genetic seizures, Dravet and Lennox-gastaut syndrome, for children under the age of two.

How to Take CBD Oil

CBD oil can be taken through tinctures, where CBD oil drops are put under the tongue for about 60 seconds before swallowing. Also, CBD can be inhaled using vapes and CBD oil sprays. Another way to take CBD oil is by ingestion, where it goes through the digestive system. The final method is using CBD oil topically. This method involves applying CBD oil to the skin.


CBD oil cannot make one high because the amount of THC in the hemp plant is low. Even if you take CBD oil with a full-spectrum CBD base, the 0.3% THC is not enough to induce a high effect. When unsure about CBD oil’s THC status, check the product labels or the company's website. The lab results will give information on the type of CBD used or the amount of THC in the product. Also, ensure you buy CBD oil processed from the hemp plant because CBD oil from marijuana is likely to have a high THC.


Argueta, D. A., Ventura, C. M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V., & Gupta, K. (2020). A balanced approach for cannabidiol use in chronic pain. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 561.

Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series. The Permanente Journal, 23.

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