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Can CBD get you high?

Written by: Romain Lyomat

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Can CBD get you high?

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The consumption of legal hemp is growing throughout Europe and the world. Interest in the possible therapeutic benefits of cannabis has therefore continued to increase in recent years. CBD and THC, the two main active natural molecules present in the plant, raise many questions.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known to cause a psychoactive effect (colloquially called a “high” or “high”). CBD, on the other hand, is not supposed to get you high. But what is it really?

CBD vs THC: Chemical Structure

CBD and THC have the same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. The slight difference in how the atoms are arranged explains the different effects on your body. These two molecules are chemically similar to the endocannabinoids in your body. This allows them to interact with the endocannabinoid system of the human body.

The interaction with these molecules thus affects the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells. They play a role in pain management, immune function, stress and even sleep.

What does Psychoactive mean?

By definition, psychoactivity means “that influences the central nervous system.” This means that the psychoactive substance acts on our central nervous system (CNS).

It is in the CNS, made up of the brain and spinal cord, that the interconnection of all the nerve pathways in the body takes place. When information reaches the CNS via the sensory nerves, as is the case when taking a psychoactive substance, the effect begins to be felt. This results in temporary changes in behavior, mood, consciousness and perception. After consumption, many faculties (e.g. reaction, concentration and attention) may be impaired. The feeling of intoxication itself can be pleasant for some and unpleasant for others.

Le CBD peut-il faire planer


Is CBD a psychoactive substance that gets you high?

CBD binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system and can trigger different effects there. Indeed, the endocannabinoid system participates in different processes, such as our mood, our appetite or the perception of pain. As the endocannabinoid system is part of the central nervous system and CBD can influence it, CBD is indeed, by definition, a psychoactive substance. However, the “drunk” caused by CBD does not manifest in the same way as that caused by THC. In short, CBD does not get us high like THC.

In an experimental study, an Australian research team examined the effects of the cannabis components cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. The aim was to find out how these two substances influence each other. The study involved 36 people who had already used cannabis in the past. In five sessions, the different groups of testers inhaled via vaporizer:


  • A drug-free placebo
  • Only THC
  • Only CBD
  • A blend of THC and CBD

In the mixture, the proportion of CBD was 4 milligrams and 400 milligrams and the amount of THC was 8 milligrams.

The results revealed that CBD alone, in high doses, produces a psychoactive effect (a little high) clearly identified by guinea pigs and observers. However, this effect was less pronounced than with THC. The combination of THC and CBD in low doses was also found to be more potent than THC alone. And that the high level of CBD in the mixture significantly attenuated the effect of THC. Scientists call this a biphasic effect: enhanced effect at low dose and attenuating effect at high dose.

Interactions between THC and CBD

This study finding is that the interactions of THC and CBD are more complex than previously thought and that the substances affect the brain's cannabinoid receptors differently. Other work seems to confirm that CBD would be able to attenuate the effects of THC, depending on the dose consumed. The combination of a higher amount of THC and a low dose of CBD is said to have a greater effect than THC alone.

Is CBD addictive?

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in its report (2017/2018) that it has no reports of abuse or dependence so far in relation to the use of cannabidiol (CBD) as a substance. pure.

Conclusion: can CBD get you high?

The study showed that consuming or vaping medium and high doses of CBD through a vaporizer can cause a type of CBD intoxication. Researchers attributed this to the high amount of CBD and the method of consumption.

In summary, CBD does not cause the same intoxication as THC. However, a high dose ofCBD could trigger side effects . However, since most over-the-counter CBD products contain a small amount of CBD, no adverse effects are expected to occur based on the available study data.

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