Updated on January 20, 2024

Does CBD Get You High?

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • No CBD does not make you high.
  • CBD modulates the psychoactive effects of THC via the entourage effect.
  • Factors that affect CBD’s effect include dosage, time of administration, method of administration, product formulation and body chemistry.
  • You feel good after taking CBD because it triggers the release of dopamine, a natural bliss molecule.

Although CBD comes from the cannabis plant, it does not make users high. Information from research reports that CBD may even modulate the psychoactive effect of THC and other cannabinoids. In this article, we would look at how CBD makes you feel and why it doesn’t make you high.

Why CBD will not make you high

CBD will not make you high because it doesn’t bind directly to CB1 receptors like THC. CB1 receptors are present in the central nervous system, especially in the brain. This binding is what leads to the psychotropic effects of THC.

CBD has a low affinity for CB1 receptors and does not bind to them as strongly as THC. In fact, CBD may even modulate or inhibit the binding of THC to CB1 receptors, reducing the intensity of THC's psychoactive effects.

Thanks to its non-psychoactive nature, people often use CBD for various potential therapeutic benefits, such as relieving pain, reducing anxiety, and promoting relaxation, without experiencing the euphoria associated with THC.

How does CBD make you feel?

When you take CBD, you are most likely to experience one or more of the following effects; relaxation, energy and motivation or sleepiness. These effects however depend on how much of the CBD you take and when you take it. Let’s look at each effect and how CBD promotes it.

  1. Relaxation: Lower to moderate doses of CBD are often associated with a calming and relaxing effect. CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, including serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), which may contribute to its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. The timing of CBD consumption can also impact its relaxing effects. Taking CBD during times of stress or before engaging in relaxing activities may enhance its calming influence.
  2. Energy and Motivation: CBD is generally not known for providing a significant energy boost. However, at lower to moderate doses, some individuals report feeling more focused and alert without the overstimulation associated with substances like caffeine. The composition of the CBD product also matters. Full-spectrum CBD products contain a variety of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. While not enough to induce a high, these trace elements may influence the overall effects. Broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products, with little to no THC, are less likely to impact energy levels.
  3. Motivation: CBD's impact on motivation may be subjective and could depend on individual responses. Some users report that CBD helps them stay focused and motivated without the jitteriness that can come from stimulants. The presence of terpenes, aromatic compounds found in cannabis, may also play a role. For example, certain terpenes, like limonene, are associated with uplifting and energizing effects.
  4. Sleepiness: While lower doses of CBD are generally not known to induce sleepiness, higher doses may have a calming effect that leads to drowsiness. This effect is more likely when CBD is taken in the evening or before bedtime. Consuming CBD closer to bedtime may enhance its potential to promote relaxation and support better sleep.

Factors that affect CBD effect?

Several factors can influence the effects of CBD on an individual. These factors can vary from person to person and may impact how CBD interacts with the body. Here are key factors that can affect the effects of CBD:

  1. Dosage: The amount of CBD consumed plays a crucial role in its effects. Lower doses may produce subtle effects, while higher doses might result in more pronounced outcomes. It's advisable to start with a low dose and adjust gradually based on individual response.
  2. Individual Biochemistry: Each person's body reacts differently to substances, including CBD. Factors such as metabolism, body weight, genetics, and overall health can influence how CBD is processed and its effects on the individual.
  3. Product Type and Composition: Different CBD products may have varying effects. Full-spectrum CBD contains a range of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC, while broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products have little to no THC. The presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds can contribute to the overall effects. The method of consumption, such as tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, or inhalation, can also impact the onset and duration of CBD effects.
  4. Timing of Consumption: When you take CBD can influence its effects. For example, taking CBD in the evening may enhance relaxation and potentially support better sleep. Timing may be especially relevant for those using CBD for specific purposes, such as managing stress or promoting sleep.
  5. Tolerance: Individual tolerance to CBD may develop over time. Regular users might find that their response to CBD changes with prolonged use. This is why some individuals may need to adjust their dosage to maintain the desired effects.
  6. Health Conditions: Existing health conditions can affect how individuals respond to CBD. Certain conditions or medications may interact with CBD, potentially amplifying or diminishing its effects. It's crucial to consult with an expert, especially if someone is taking medications or has pre-existing health concerns.
  7. Quality of CBD Product: The quality and source of the CBD product matter. The market can vary in terms of product quality, and factors such as extraction methods, purity, and third-party testing can influence the overall effectiveness and safety of a CBD product.
  8. Consistency of Use: Consistency in CBD use can impact its effects. Regular, consistent use may lead to more sustained benefits over time. On the other hand, sporadic use may result in less predictable outcomes.

How does CBD produce its effect?

The exact mechanisms through which CBD produces its effects are complex and still an area of ongoing research. However, there are several ways in which CBD interacts with the body, influencing various physiological processes. Here are some key aspects of how CBD produces its effects:

  1. Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Interaction: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system found in the bodies of humans and many other animals. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes to maintain homeostasis, or balance, within the body. While CBD does not directly bind to CB1 receptors (found primarily in the central nervous system) or CB2 receptors (found mainly in the peripheral organs and cells associated with the immune system), it can influence these receptors indirectly.
  2. Receptor Modulation: CBD has a low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning it doesn't bind to them strongly. Instead, it modulates the activity of these receptors and other receptors in the body. CBD may act as a negative allosteric modulator, meaning it can change the shape of a receptor to reduce its activity. This is thought to be one way by which CBD influences CB1 receptor signaling, potentially mitigating some of the psychoactive effects associated with THC.
  3. Serotonin Receptors: CBD interacts with serotonin receptors, specifically the 5-HT1A receptor, which is involved in the regulation of mood and anxiety. This interaction is thought to contribute to CBD's potential anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.
  4. Vanilloid Receptors (TRPV1): CBD can interact with vanilloid receptors, specifically the TRPV1 receptor, which is associated with pain perception and inflammation. This interaction may contribute to CBD's reported analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects.
  5. Enzyme Inhibition: CBD may inhibit enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids, such as anandamide. By inhibiting enzymes like fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), CBD may increase the levels of endocannabinoids in the body.
  6. Neurotransmitter Regulation: CBD influences the activity of various neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has inhibitory effects in the nervous system. This modulation may contribute to CBD's calming and relaxing effects.
  7. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects: CBD has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These effects may be relevant to conditions involving oxidative stress and inflammation.

Frequently asked questions

How high does CBD make you feel?

CBD does not make you feel high. It produces a relaxing effect that modulates/controls the psychoactive nature of THC and other cannabinoids that will make you high.

What does CBD do?

CBD will make you feel relaxed, motivated or sleepy depending on the dosage and time of use.

Why do I feel so good after taking CBD?

Primarily, it arises from the unhindered flow of your body's 'bliss molecule,' Anandamide, thanks to CBD interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This interaction alters the receptor shape, obstructing Anandamide's typical binding site, and simultaneously inhibits the enzyme that would normally regulate it.

Want to Learn More?

  1. How To Take Control of Your Mind
  2. Is CBD Legal? Here's What To Know
  3. How Does CBD Oil Make You Feel: What To Know
  4. Is CBD Oil Use While Pregnant Safe?
  5. How To Recover From Burnout in 8 Ways


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Sholler DJ, Schoene L, Spindle TR. Therapeutic Efficacy of Cannabidiol (CBD): A Review of the Evidence from Clinical Trials and Human Laboratory Studies. Curr Addict Rep. 2020 Sep;7(3):405-412. doi: 10.1007/s40429-020-00326-8. Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 33585159; PMCID: PMC7880228.

McCartney, D., Benson, M. J., Desbrow, B., Irwin, C., Suraev, A., & McGregor, I. S. (2020). Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: A Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Sports Medicine - Open, 6(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-020-00251-0

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Khalsa, J.H., Bunt, G., Blum, K. et al. Review: Cannabinoids as Medicinals. Curr Addict Rep 9, 630–646 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-022-00438-3

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