Recently my Grandma called me on the phone specifically to ask me “Can CBD get you high?”
I think that’s a perfect indication that CBD has hit the mainstream. After explaining to her that CBD alone can’t get you high, sometime later I wondered if what she really meant is “Can my CBD product get me high?’ Ol’ Gram isn’t the most up-to-date when it comes to the world of hemp or cannabidiol, but even she has heard of it now and she’s curious if it will help her chronic back pain. And if that’s the question ‘can a CBD product get me high?’, then the answer would be, it depends.
What is CBD and Why Won’t it Get me High?
Cannabidiol, or CBD as most know it, is a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant that on its own actually works against the paranoia and trippy effects caused by the high of the infamous tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. So in reality, it is about as far from the spectrum of “getting you high” as you can go.
It’s even well known among those that partake in the ganja that consuming cannabidiol can shield against “greening out”; AKA the anxiety mode that occurs when you realized you consumed a bit too much THC.
They say to:
1.) Take some form of CBD an hour before you consume the devil’s lettuce if you’re worried about getting too high
3.) Be ok
So What in CBD Products WILL Get me High?
Some hemp products, such as CBD flower, inevitably contain a bit of THC or THCA in them as they’re naturally growing. Both THC and THCA contribute to getting you high.
THCA can also get you high because it is, for most intents and purposes, THC. In THCA, the A stands for a chemical group that comes off after being subjected to heat or ultraviolet light (such as a lighter or a vape), to yield THC.
Thus, THCA + heat or UV light = THC.
Most analytical companies that test for cannabinoid levels in various products measure the total THC of a product through the formula: totalTHC= THC + 0.877(THCA), which means they anticipate approximately 87.7% of the THCA to convert to THC when consumed.
So for example, if some CBD flower has 15.1% CBD, 0.2% THC, and 1.67% THCA, the total THC you should be considering if you’re going to smoke it is: 0.2+0.877(1.67)= 1.66% total THC. Now, will something with 1.66% total THC get you high? That all depends on how much of it you smoke.
By comparison most joints of regular marijuana you can buy in legal states typically runs from 20-25% THC. Even as a daily smoker, taking a few good puffs from a 20-25% THC joint will get you high. Maybe not blistering, making-cement-in-your-mouth-with-Mint-Milanos-high, but decently high.
Now, if you go beyond taking a few puffs and smoke half a gram to a gram of a 1.66% THC strain in one sitting, you will also feel… different, although not euphoric as if you had smoked some of the sticky icky just mentioned. If you take only a few puffs at that potency (1.66%), you probably won’t feel too much.
It is worthy to note though, if you’re smoking a strain that has 1.66% THC day in and day out, that that THC is accumulating in your system and WILL ultimately make you test positive on a drug screen. (If you’re interested in how this process occurs and how you can beat a drug screen check out our other article CBD Drug Testing)
So in short, CBD does not get you high, THC and THCA does. But how can you know if what you’re using has THC and THCA?
Most, if not all, CBD products these days will tell you if it contains THC and all reputable companies have testing reports to back it up. Also, if you ever see the words “full spectrum” such as in “full spectrum extract CBD oil” then the resulting product will likely have some residual THC. Full spectrum simply means they took all the natural compounds found in the plant, without filtering anything out, to make their product. Since most hemp plants naturally have THC in them, there will be some transferred through the extraction process.
On the contrary, if a product is listed as a CBD Isolate, then it is exactly that, cannabidiol that has been isolated from the other compounds. CBD Isolates will not get you high. These typically run around 99% pure CBD.
So all in all, CBD ALONE will not get you high, but CBD products that contain THC or THCA can.
The quick and dirty:
- Cannabidiol, or CBD, will not get you high by itself
- Many CBD products have more than just CBD though, so be careful
- CBD products that contain THC or THCA can get you high
- Products listed as “full spectrum” like these, or things like CBD flower, will contain small amounts of THC and/or THCA, which again could ultimately get you high
- ANY product that has even trace amounts of THC or THCA can make you test positive on a drug screen after long enough use!
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