The topic of whether or not CBD will get the consumer high is a topic that is asked of us at Hemp House Direct rather frequently, and rightfully so. Currently, we don’t believe that the proper education and information is out there for the consumer to truly know what’s going into their bodies, how it affects them, and what the legalities are.
We don’t want our followers, consumers, customers, clients, friends or family to ever be in a situation where they’re not informed. So today, we thought we would answer this frequently asked question and do so with depth, so no one is left uninformed.
The best place to start is by talking about cannabinoids, our endocannabinoid system, and how these cannabinoids affect those systems.
The cannabis plant is a living, breathing organism filled with much to be understood. As an industry, we are just barely scratching the surface. Currently, however, we do know of around 114 cannabinoids that are present in cannabis. These cannabinoids represent the chemical makeup of the cannabis plant, in other words, the compounds that create the effects of ingesting or smoking cannabis - the most prominent of which are usually THC and CBD.
As a consumer, these shorthand representations of chemical names, like THC for tetrahydrocannabinol or CBD for cannabidiol, are just that - names. Most consumers that are just familiarizing themselves with cannabis, whether through hemp or marijuana, don’t really understand the difference between these cannabinoids, and what exactly their individual effects are on the human body. This creates a very confusing ecosystem for the “canna-curious”. We would like to help solve that cannundrum, as an informed decision is the only decision we want the general public to be making when it relates to cannabis and their bodies.
So, now that we know what cannabinoids are, let’s chat a little bit about the system in our bodies that interacts with the cannabinoids found in cannabis.
To understand the endocannabinoid system, let’s keep it simple and take a look at the word and break it down. First, you have the root word ‘endo’, which means inside or within, followed by cannabinoid, which we discussed earlier. Therefore, endocannabinoid literally means cannabinoids found within - in this case, the human body.
The endocannabinoid system is a naturally occurring regulatory system in our bodies that can be found in organs, connective tissues, the brain, glands, and immune cells. The main focus of these internal cannabinoids is always homeostasis - simply put, maintaining balance and equilibrium within our bodies systems despite consistent fluctuations in our external environments.
The beauty of the endocannabinoid system is that it's constantly working towards keeping you healthy and centered. So the perpetual use of cannabis, and its cannabinoid derivatives, is natural. Not only do our bodies make and utilize their own cannabinoids, but because of the endocannabinoid system, our bodies know what to do with the cannabinoids we ingest when we consume cannabis - whether hemp or marijuana.
The endocannabinoid system, in the human body, was discovered in 1992 by Dr. Rafael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University of Israel. In his findings, he grew to understand that the endocannabinoid system is the most prevalent receptor system in our physiology and it creates its own natural cannabinoids within our bodies - both anandamide and 2-AG - through the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
As we’ve already covered, the human endocannabinoid system helps to construct and maintain homeostasis within the body - in an array of physiological and cognitive processes including but not limited to: appetite, pain, mood, memory, fertility, pregnancy and pre/postnatal development. For example, 2AG and anandamide are the main contributors to exercise-induced euphorias, like that of a runner's high.
When it comes to the endocannabinoid system and CBD, the relationship is actually quite interesting. While most people believe that CBD directly affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors, this is actually not the case, not exactly, at least.
In fact, CBD simply influences the body to use more of its natural, pre-existing cannabinoids, like 2AG and anandamide. So, when CBD is introduced into our bodies it sends a message to the endocannabinoid system to increase the production of naturally occurring cannabinoids, like anandamide and 2AG, in an effort to help the immune and central nervous systems return to homeostasis - a stable equilibrium within all the systems of the human body.
This is quite different from how THC reacts within the human body when ingested. When THC is ingested or smoked it actually enters our body’s systems and overwhelms the endocannabinoid system as it rapidly attaches to the cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. Since these receptors can be found virtually everywhere throughout the human body, the effects of THC can be wide-ranging and intense for some users. When THC enters the body, one usually experiences slowed reaction times, decreased short-term memory and because it affects the parts of the brain that make you feel good - it also gets the user “high”.
So, in fact, the difference is quite simple. CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors to help the body produce more of its naturally occurring cannabinoids like 2AG and Anandamide, creating a chain reaction of homeostasis, or balance, throughout the body; while THC actually overwhelms the endocannabinoid system and attaches to the cannabinoid receptors, thus, getting you high.
The conclusive answer is, no. CBD, by itself, does not get you high. It simply helps the body to recover, repair and rejuvenate by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors and sending signals throughout the endocannabinoid system to produce more 2AG and Anandamide, the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the human body in an effort to bring the body back to its natural state of equilibrium. This is often why CBD is marketed as having so many benefits to the human body because when we’re sick, anxious, depressed, stressed, inflamed or just simply not feeling our best, CBD can jump in and help correct those imbalances, thus bringing you back to a state of normalcy.
Some CBD products on the market however, do contain small amounts of THC. By federal law, the amount must be less than .3% THC, which isn’t enough to get someone high. However, if you are the kind of person that wants to make sure you’re not ingesting any THC whatsoever, make sure that you’re buying CBD products made from either CBD isolate or Broad-Spectrum CBD Distillate, as both of these extracts have had the THC remediated and taken away from the compound.
We hope this has answered the adage question of whether someone can get high from ingesting CBD. We know how confusing the cannabis industry and the products it supplies can be to consumers, as the proper education and information isn’t always readily available. When unsure, it’s always best to consult an expert in the field and have your concerns addressed.
At Hemp House Direct, this is our number one goal - educating the consumer so a proper, informed buyers decision can be made.
If you have any further questions in relation to CBD, THC, the Endocannabinoid system, naturally occurring cannabinoids in your body or anything in between, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team members. Our door is always open.