There is a common misconception that both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) will get you high because they come from the same plant. However, those of you who keep up with CBD research and news know these two cannabinoids are different.
Today, hemp is an agricultural commodity and hemp-derived CBD has been separated from the definition of “marijuana”. THC-containing cannabis is still regulated under the US Controlled Substance Act.
Why is CBD treated so differently from THC? In part, this has to do with the distinction between industrial hemp and other varieties of cannabis. The most critical difference has to do with the different ways THC and CBD interact with receptors in your brain.
So, can CBD get you high? Keep reading to learn about the difference between CBD, THC, and the plants from which they’re harvested.
Industrial Hemp vs Cannabis
Since the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills distinguished industrial hemp from cannabis, it is not unlawful to sell and purchase hemp in the US. Meanwhile, high-THC cannabis plants are still illegal and regulated under the Controlled Substance Act.
So what’s the big difference between the two plants that makes one legal and the other illegal? According to the Congressional Research Services, one way to determine this distinction is to examine how and why each plant is bred.
Cannabis, more commonly referred to as marijuana, is a plant cultivar that’s typically bred selectively for its extremely high levels of THC. This plant contains a great number of cannabinoids, including CBD, but the CBD content within cannabis usually exists at lower levels. While THC is known to have distinct benefits, for recreational cannabis users, the “high” that is correlated with THC is the main purpose for growing strains with higher THC content.
In contrast, industrial hemp has been grown around the world for centuries. Hemp is often harvested for a variety of uses, which include the manufacturing of rope, fabric, building materials, and even biofuel. More recently, industrial hemp has been recognized for its naturally high CBD content and naturally low THC content (less than 0.3%).
Today, legislators recognize industrial hemp as a source of CBD that is healthy, safe, and legal for human consumption. Why? Because research shows that CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it can’t get you high.
Can CBD Get You High?
The American Addiction Centers define the feeling of being “high” on cannabis as causing symptoms of:
- Poor coordination
- Delayed reaction times
- Increased heart rate
- Distorted senses
- Red, itchy eyes
THC binds directly to CB1 receptors in your brain. This activation is responsible for the “high” feeling experienced by cannabis users. This activation also has a tendency to reinforce the use of cannabis, which is why THC has the potential for addiction.
On the other hand, CBD is what’s called a negative allosteric modulator of CB1 receptors. This means that CBD actually moderates the activation of CB1 receptors. This, according to some evidence, may actually decrease the effects of THC and other drugs that activate CB1 receptors.
Not only is it posited for CBD to have great benefits on human health, but research shows CBD can actually decrease the intoxicating effects of THC—and unlike THC, CBD does not have the potential for addiction. Thus, using PlusCBD™ Oil products can promote good health without the high.