CBD 101: Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Psychoactive?

From top-tier publications to coffee shops, it seems like every person has Cannabidiol (CBD) top of mind.

We celebrate that CBD is central in today’s wellness zeitgeist and that people from all walks of life are discovering its restorative powers. Given CBD’s recent rise in popularity though, we thought it would be helpful to launch a series called CBD 101. This series will breakdown the fundamentals so you can discern fact from fiction. We are here to help you figure out how best to incorporate this plant-based remedy into your daily routine. First up, we are going to discuss why it is not psychoactive.

In layman’s terms, CBD doesn’t make you high.

Consider Cannabis as the parent or umbrella plant; within the family there are a variety of plant genetics. Hemp is classified as a Cannabis varietal that has less than 0.3% THC. THC (also known as tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of Cannabis. So while Hemp does contain trace levels of THC, the genetic delineation below .3% ensures Hemp will not make you high. Cannabis plants with THC levels above .3% are not Hemp, they are referrred to as cannabis or marijuana. 

All forms of Cannabis contain CBD. As a result people often believe that it has the same effect as THC on the human brain and body. This isn’t the case. To understand why CBD is not psychoactive, we need to be aware of one structural difference between the two compounds.

Even though THC and CBD share a nearly exact formula, one critical difference in their molecular structure that gives each compound unique medicinal properties. THC has a cyclic ring while CBD has a hydroxyl group (see Figure 1 below) –– and this one difference is why THC will get you high and CBD won’t. In fact, CBD is often used to help moderate THC’s effects by alleviating stress and anxiety.  

Does CBD get you high

Figure 1. Courtesy of Analytical Cannabis (article linked here)

Therefore, when you are enjoying our high-performance CBD products like the Drops or Calm Capsules, don’t stress about transforming into the infamous Dude from the film The Big Lebowski. CBD’s non-psychoactive properties will keep you clear headed while reducing pain and inflammation, strengthening your immune system, improving sleep and more. For a deeper dive into the perks of CBD, check out our blog post on the topic: 5 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil

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