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Does CBD get you high?

1st March 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the latest most popular thing in the world of supplements. And yet there remains a number of questions that surround it, the main one seemingly being 'does it get you high?'.

Does CBD get you high?

The answer to that is easy; no, it doesn't. CBD doesn't get you high and has no psychoactive effects whatsoever. The reason that a lot of people mistakenly think it does, is because CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. However, it's not the only cannabinoid in there. 

There are actually hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including the well-known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The high that's associated with cannabis in general, is actually caused by THC. So if a product only contains CBD, it won't have this same effect or ability.

Is CBD legal?

While cannabis is an illegal drug in the UK, CBD is completely legal. This is because CBD itself doesn't have psychoactive qualities and is fine to be sold over the counter, as a supplement.

The difference in the legalities largely comes down to the plant species. Within the family of the cannabis plant, there are marijuana and hemp varieties. Marijuana has a much higher concentration of THC, so this is the species more likely to be used to get high. 

However, the hemp plant has less than 0.3 percent THC, but a much higher concentration of CBD. Therefore, it's normally the hemp plant that is used in the process of manufacturing CBD oils and other products.

Full spectrum CBD

These kinds of products harness all of the different cannabinoids from the cannabis plant in a bid to reap the rewards of the entourage effect. This is a phenomenon which sees each cannabinoid working together in harmony to enhance the effect of each of them.

This means that full spectrum CBD oils also contain THC. However, these are still legally allowed to be sold in the UK as long as each container of oil contains less than 1mg of THC. With such trace amounts, you still won't experience any kind of 'high' from the CBD oil, but it has been shown that THC and CBD act together well.

Broad spectrum CBD

If you'd prefer no THC at all, then you're not alone. An increasing trend has shown broad-spectrum CBD to be the latest popular trend. This is essentially a full spectrum product but with zero THC. So you can still notice the benefits of the entourage effect, but without any THC.


CBD and THC are two types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. And while they act on the same system in your body (the endocannabinoid system), they do so in very different ways.

Your endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors; CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are concentrated mostly in the brain and the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are distributed throughout your body and all your major organs. Your CB2 receptors are core components in your muscular system, your immune system and your cardiovascular system.

But it's your CB1 receptors that are acted on by THC. THC activates these receptors, which causes the euphoria that is known as a high. 

Meanwhile, CBD does not directly fit or bind with your CB1 or CB2 receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates both types of receptors and the powerful indirect effects of this are still being studied. 

However, we do know that your CB1 receptors are responsible for appetite, thinking, motor activity, coordination and pain perception, while your CB2 receptors are responsible for your central nervous system, eyes, gut, kidneys, liver, respiratory tract, skin and skeletal muscle.