Does CBD get you high?

As with any topic as hotly debated as cannabis, there is bound to be a lot of misinformation floating around. With new terminology being thrown around, those unfamiliar with the industry may not be well-versed in the exact meanings of lingo such as cannabidiol, cannabis, marijuana, hemp, terpenes, cannabinoids and more.

Which is also why many individuals don’t fully understand why cannabis and marijuana will get you “high”, but hemp and CBD will not (more on why below).

The Difference Between CBD and THC

Let’s start with the easy stuff. The cannabis sativa plant has over 100 known cannabinoids. Think of these like natural chemical compounds made by the plant.

The two most commonly discussed are THC and CBD (and for good reason). THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol and is the compound that produces the euphoric high marijuana is notorious for producing when consumed. CBD, unlike THC, has no psychoactive properties and thus won’t get you high. But as far as other effects go, getting high should be the least of your worries when it comes to CBD.

Flora: cannabis, hemp, and marijuana

While some of the terms above are used interchangeably by those not in the know, they do in fact have their own unique meaning.

Cannabis refers to the cannabis sativa plant — the plant from which all other cannabis-related products come from. Hemp and marijuana are two “children” of cannabis sativa.

Hemp and marijuana differ drastically when you look at the chemical concentrations found within them. Marijuana, for example, can have THC levels ranging upwards of 15% to as high as 40% with some especially strong strains.

This high level of THC is the reason that marijuana is so effective at getting you high. Hemp, in contrast, has extremely low levels of THC contained within it — often 0.3% or less. This is why it’s virtually impossible to get high on hemp.

Most CBD oils are derived from hemp, due in large part to regulations surrounding THC.

So, Will CBD Get you “high” – it depends

There are two types of CBD: isolate and full spectrum.

Full spectrum CBD oil contains CBD and THC among other cannabinoids. While not even “full spectrum” CBD is made with the intent of getting users high, depending on the concentration of THC in the product, some level of mild euphoria is possible.

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is pure CBD (or close to it), and therefore will NOT get a user high, no matter how much they consume. The benefit of using an isolate is that it won’t cause anyone to fail a work or court-ordered drug test, nor will it impair cognitive function or reaction time, making it a perfect option for those with adult responsibilities. Further, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD isolate made from hemp and containing under 0.03% of THC is now legal across all 50 US States.

Worst Case Scenarios

If you haven’t already gotten the point by now then let us clarify: the short answer is that CBD won’t get you high. CBD on its own isn’t psychoactive, and any trace amounts of THC are too low to have an effect on your mind. That being said, we’re going to explore some of the — albeit unlikely — situations that could lead to you getting high after consuming CBD or a product containing it.


As you can imagine, some distilleries sell both THC and CBD due to the fact that targeting both markets is the best way to maximize profit and serve the demands of their market (where legal). That being the case, there’s always the chance that their CBD products could experience accidental cross-contamination with THC.

Let us state for the record that most cases of cross-contamination don’t increase the THC levels by much. Even if your CBD oil has been contaminated by other THC products, the levels it contains would probably still too low to get you high, but they could cause you to fail a drug test.

While any company can make mistakes, your best bet is to buy from reputable retailers or distilleries who sell CBD exclusively, and/or utilize third-party independent testing on batches for potency and purity.

Gastric reactions

Studies have shown that CBD can break down into THC when exposed to the high acidity of our stomachs. This means that if you eat CBD edibles, a portion of the CBD will be broken down and/or converted into THC.

In most cases, the level of THC produced during the digestion process is far too low to have any noticeable psychoactive effect. However, those with excessively acidic gastric systems or other digestive disorders may experience more conversion to THC.

Bear in mind that this is a very unlikely scenario, but it’s still a possibility. The best way to avoid such an event is to limit your consumption of CBD edibles to reasonable amounts and refrain from — or at least reduce — consumption if you are suffering from indigestion as this could otherwise lead to lingering THC in your stomach. Alternatives include CBD oil drops or tinctures that can be placed under the tongue and absorbed sublingually.

False advertising

Whether this last scenario actually counts as getting high on CBD depends on your perspective, but it’s still worth mentioning. Some low-end retailers of CBD products tend to use marijuana oil in lieu of hemp due to the cheaper costs of production. However, this can lead to increased levels of THC.

If you use one of these mislabeled “CBD” products that are actually made up out of marijuana, then you will run the risk of increased THC consumption even if only by accident.

Again, much like with the cross-contamination issue we mentioned above, the easiest way to get around this is by sticking to reputable retailers. Companies with a brand name and reputation to uphold will be less inclined to risk everything by mislabeling their products and using the wrong variety of cannabis.

Trying to skimp out on CBD prices will cost you more in the long run if you fail a drug test due to mislabeled products.