Can CBD Hemp Oil Get You High?

does cbd get you high

One of the most common questions about CBD hemp oil is, “can it get you high?” 

Put simply, the answer is no. You can consume any amount of CBD hemp oil in any form and will not experience any intoxicating effects. 

Why not? 

As the name suggests, CBD hemp oil is derived from the industrial hemp plant. The word “industrial” indicates the use of the plant, which includes industrial application such as paper, textiles, plastics, construction, food, and fuel. 

Hemp is often confused with marijuana. Both are cannabis plants; therefore, many assume they are the same thing. Since marijuana is known for the high it creates, hemp is often mistaken as an intoxicating plant as well. 

However, hemp is not marijuana. While the plants share similarities, they vary in chemical composition. The variation is significant enough that marijuana is intoxicating, and hemp is not. 

Learn more about the difference between hemp and marijuana.

To understand why CBD hemp oil does not get you high, we will look at the chemical composition of hemp. This will give us a better understanding of how the plant affects the body. 

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System 

Hemp is a complex plant that contains hundreds of chemicals. Most notable are compounds called cannabinoids, which are largely responsible for the effect hemp has on the body. Over 85 cannabinoids have been discovered so far and researchers are finding each compound to provide unique benefit. 

Two of the most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  

Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a central role in the regulation of mood, memory, pain sensation, appetite, and overall health. The goal of the ECS is homeostasis, or overall balance. 

The ECS is composed of two primary cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. Both receptors are found throughout the body; however, CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain while CB2 receptors are found primarily outside the nervous system. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into how CBD and THC interact with the ECS. 

THC, CBD and the ECS 

While both are cannabinoids, THC and CBD interact very differently with the body. Most importantly for this discussion, THC is intoxicating, and CBD is non-intoxicating. However, both have unique attributes. 


Many people recognize THC as the compound that creates a euphoric high. However, THC provides more than just an intoxicating experience. 

THC activates the cannabinoid receptors (namely CB1) by binding to them. THC then sends a signal to the cell through the receptors. This interaction produces intoxicating effects, but also helps to relieve nausea, appetite loss, and insomnia. 

When consumed responsibly, THC can provide benefit without a debilitating high. Marijuana is a high-THC plant used for both recreational and medicinal use. 


CBD is well-known as a therapeutic supplement. As a compound alone, CBD has no intoxicating effects.  

Rather than binding to the cannabinoid receptors like THC, CBD works as an antagonist and blocks other compounds from binding to the receptors. This means that CBD inhibits compounds from interacting with the ECS. 

This interaction has several results. 

After a compound binds to a cannabinoid receptor, it is destroyed by an enzyme. If the compound does not bind to a receptor, then it is not destroyed. This proves beneficial when the body needs more of a compound. Take anandamide, the body’s “bliss molecule”, as an example. When CBD blocks anandamide from binding to a cannabinoid receptor, it allows for more anandamide to be present in the body. This can prove beneficial during times of anxiety. 

CBD also inhibits other compounds from influencing the action of our cells. THC, for example, cannot bind to a receptor that is inhibited by CBD. Not only is CBD non-intoxicating, but it limits the interaction THC has with our body. This reduces the intoxicating effects of THC. 

CBD is being studied as a supplement for conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, pain and inflammation. While we are still discovering the full potential of this compound, anecdotal evidence shows there are many benefits to taking this compound. 

Other Compounds 

Hemp contains trace amounts of other cannabinoids such as CBC, CBN and CBG. While present in small amounts, these compounds support the action of more prevalent compounds such as CBD. It is beneficial to consume a whole plant supplement such as CBD hemp oil, as the compounds work together in what is known as the entourage effect to produce a benefit greater than each compound alone. 

CBD and THC in Hemp 

Hemp is a high-CBD, low-THC plant. 

As a reminder, THC is the intoxicating compound that produces the high marijuana is known for. Since hemp is non-intoxicating, it may come as a surprise to find out that hemp contains THC. 

It is important to note: raw hemp contains very low levels of THC. In fact, hemp was known as the “hippie’s disappointment” because smoking it did not produce a high. 

Once the hemp is processed into CBD hemp oil, the product contains even lower levels of THC. This is in accordance with federal law. 

CBD hemp oil distributors operate under legislation titled the 2014 Farm Bill. In this bill, there is specific language that relates to hemp. According to the 2014 Farm Bill, derivatives of hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. This amount is negligible and will not create a high. 

So, hemp naturally contains low levels of THC and, when processed, only 0.3% THC is present in the final product. 

Additionally, CBD inhibits the action of THC, further reducing the impact of THC on the body. 


CBD hemp oil produces no intoxicating effects. The main compound, CBD, does not produce a high and the plant from which is it derived from, hemp, contains low levels of the THC compound. CBD hemp oil contains less than 0.3% THC, which is a negligible amount that will not get you high. 

Do you have any additional questions about the effects of CBD hemp oil? Leave a comment below.

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