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  • by Nicola Boulton August 31, 2022 5 min read

    Is CBD Psychoactive?

    Recently, CBD products have been largely used. However, a question that pops up is whether CBD has psychoactive effects. Hence, this article highlights what CBD is, THC and psychoactive properties, ways to tell if CBD products can cause highness, and potential benefits of CBD and THC. 

    Cannabis-derived products are gaining huge popularity. Most people are getting interested in the potential health benefits of these products. Cannabis contains over 100 different active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the most famous as their usage regime is big compared to the rest. The interest is likely to grow even more since, recently, the state and federal laws have increased the production of more cannabis-derived products there now more legal in many states. CBD has shown health properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and pain killer. It also helps alleviate stress, inflammation, and sleeping problems. You can harness these powers from CBD, but the major question to many is if CBD is psychoactive like most cannabinoids.

    What is CBD?

    Moltke et al. (2021) stated that cannabidiol (CBD) is an active chemical compound extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. The compound is diluted with mostly carrier oils such as coconut, olive, MCT, and hemp seed oil to absorb the body easily. CBD is fat soluble, and it does not dissolve in water; therefore, without oil, it is held to be absorbed by animal intestines. CBD products are available over the counter in different forms such as CBD topical, which are applied directly to the skin; CBD tinctures, capsules, and softgels, which are taken orally; CBD edibles, and CBD vapes which are inhaled to the lungs. CBD is characterized by having an earthy, grassy oil flavor; therefore, most people prefer to infuse it into daily foods and beverages to mask the unpleasant taste.

    Moreover, CBD has shown health benefits from relieving chronic pain to treating cancer. However, many wonder if CBD, like marijuana products, is psychoactive. Studies show that CBD, a pure state without contamination of THC, does not cause a feeling of highness (THC)

    THC and Psychoactive Properties

    Tagen et al. (2022) stated that tetrahydrocannabinol is a primary psychoactive compound derived from cannabis, especially marijuana plants. THC binds with CB1 receptors located in the brain, thus interfering with the patient's psychological effects, resulting in confusion and highness. The overall distribution of these receptors in the body explains why THC produces powerful physical and psychological effects on its users.

    Unlike THC, CBD doesn't have the same psychoactive effects whereby it does not produce the high associated with marijuana users; rather, it shows health aid like anxiety, pain, and seizures. It interacts with different receptors with THC in the brain. Furthermore, CBD binds very weakly, and in most cases, it needs THC to bind with CB1 receptors and, in return, help eliminate THC's unwanted psychoactive effects, such as sedation. Learn more about what percentage of cbd is good?

    Ways To Tell If CBD Products Can Cause Highness

    CBD has no psychoactive effect in a pure state; however, some CBD products may make you feel a little high. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not regulated the manufacturing and distribution of CBD products; therefore, some companies may result in producing products with high content of THC and other marijuana compounds. Bhamra et al. (2021) highlighted the following things that can make CBD products psychoactive.

    Plant Source of CBD

    There are two species of the cannabis plant that are mostly used in extracting CBD oil: marijuana and hemp. The marijuana plant contains a high concentration of THC compounds compared to CBD. Therefore CBD products derived from this plant can be contaminated with THC contents rather than the health recommended level (0.3%). Fortunately, CBD products extracted from hemp plants' leaves and flowers may have no THC traces. The hemp plant contains a high CBD concentration and low THC.

    Full-spectrum CBD

    Different companies use different extraction methods. Full spectrum is one of the types which contain traces of THC. During extraction, all cannabinoids and THC are extracted together with CBD to form the type. Even though there should be a low level of THC in full-spectrum (less than 0.3%) according to the 2018 farm bill, some manufacturers may not adhere to the law resulting in full spectrum CBD products with a high level of THC than recommended.

    The other two types of CBD include CBD isolate, which contains only CBD compounds, and broad-spectrum CBD, which contains most cannabinoids, e.g., CBN, CBG, and terpenes, except THC. If you wish to have entourage effects associated with the combined health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, broad-spectrum CBD products are best suited since they have no THC level.

    Alcohol Consumption

    People have reported that when they consume CBD when drunk, they feel drowsiness and drunk, resulting in impaired driving. Research shows the complaints are true because CBD, being naturally active, reacts with alcohol, resulting in more psychological effects associated with alcohol. Health providers warn CBD users to avoid taking alcohol to avoid these effects. Learn more about why does cbd taste bad?

    Product with No Third-Party Test

    To avoid the feeling of highness, purchasing products that have gone through an independent lab test is important. Brands with good reputations that cite the lab result have labeled the product on their websites and approved it by the lab manager. The result will show CBD concentration, THC level, and if the product contains traces of heavy metals.

    Potential Benefits of CBD and THC

    Uberall et al. (2020) explained that clinical trials and studies had played a big role in the body system whereby it interacts with body ECS, neuro-receptors, and brain neurons to control symptoms of diseases such as epilepsy, glaucoma, AIDS, inflammation, bowel disease (IBD), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, PSTD, ADHD, arthritis, cancer, anxiety disorders, and sleep difficulties. It can control and treat these diseases since it portrays properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-depressants, painkillers, anti-seizures, and anti-oxidative.

    Despite causing a feeling of highness to its users, THC can be administered as medical marijuana since it can also alleviate symptoms of several conditions such as insomnia, glaucoma, pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cancer tumors, and lastly, treating tremors.


    CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant but doesn't have the same properties of creating highness in its users as marijuana. CBD makes you feel relaxed, less stressed and anxious, and even relieves pain. All this applies if you avoid high-level THC contents in CBD products by knowing the cannabis industrial plant, CBD type, third-party test results, and avoiding alcohol usage. Despite the psychoactive effects of THC, if you use CBD with THC-rich products, the compound may lessen how much highness you get from THC.


    Bhamra, S. K., Desai, A., Imani‐Berendjestanki, P., & Horgan, M. (2021). The emerging role of cannabidiol (CBD) products; a survey exploring the public's use and perceptions of CBD. Phytotherapy Research, 35(10), 5734-5740.

    Moltke, J., & Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. Journal of cannabis research, 3(1), 1-12.

    Tagen, M., & Klumpers, L. E. (2022). Review of delta‐8‐tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8‐THC): Comparative pharmacology with Δ9‐THC. British journal of pharmacology.

    Überall, M. A. (2020). A review of scientific evidence for THC: CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols) in the management of chronic pain. Journal of pain research, 13, 399.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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