While CBD is closely associated with cannabis — after all, it’s called cannabidiol — it won’t get you high like most cannabis based products.
In the UK, CBD oil is made using a specific type of the hemp plant that’s low in a cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and rich in cannabidiol, or CBD. Below, we’ve explained how this affects the way you feel after using CBD products, compared to regular cannabis.
THC and Feeling High: How it Works
Everyone’s aware that cannabis can get you high. In the UK, many people have real, first-hand experience of this fact — according to statistics, cannabis is England’s most widely used illegal drug, with about 12% of young adults reporting use of cannabis within the last year.
When many people first see CBD products advertised, they assume that they’re a form of legal cannabis with all of the same effects as illicit cannabis products.
However, this isn’t the case. The “high” that occurs after you smoke, eat or consume cannabis in any other way is caused by the presence of a cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
If you consume THC, you’ll typically notice changes to your vision, thought process and a wide range of other senses. You might feel excessive pleasure and increased sensory perception, or you might simply feel unusual for several hours.
The cannabis plant grows in a variety of different strains. Some strains are rich in THC, while a variety of other strains only have a small amount of THC present. Generally, producers of illicit cannabis tend to use strains that are high in THC due to its greater appeal to many users.
Without THC, cannabis doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that cause you to feel high. Think of THC as the primary ingredient in cannabis that contributes to its well-known effects — without it, the cannabis plant won’t make you feel high, overly hungry or abnormal in any other way.
CBD and THC: It is Enough to Make You Feel High?
Although CBD products are made using the hemp plant, which is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant species, they have a different chemical composition to illegal cannabis.
While illegal cannabis growers use strains of the cannabis plant that are high in THC, the hemp plant used to produce CBD oil are high in CBD and low in THC content. This means that any oil extracted from these plants will have little to no THC.
In the UK and throughout the EU, the hemp plants that are used to make CBD oil undergo a full testing and regulatory process. Currently, the UK limits production of CBD oil production to a few EU-approved strains of the hemp plant in order to ensure all products are low in THC.
Legally, CBD oil and other CBD products sold in the UK need to contain 0.2% THC or less to be fully legal. This small amount of THC simply isn’t enough to make you feel high, even if you use a large dose of a CBD product.
It’s worth noting that some CBD products — particularly those labelled as “full spectrum” — often contain trace amounts of THC. Although these products won’t make you feel high, they have the potential to affect your results if you’re subject to drug testing.
We’ve covered this in more detail in our guide to CBD oil with THC, as well as what you can do if you’d like to use CBD oil but have concerns about being drug tested.
CBD oil is produced using strains of the hemp plant that are low in THC but rich in CBD. This means that although CBD oil is produced from a strain of the cannabis sativa plant, you won’t ever feel high after using it as you would with illegal cannabis.
In summary, while CBD oil is linked to a range of potential health effects, it cannot and will not ever cause you to feel high.