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January 8, 2019

CBD 101: Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Psychoactive?

CBD oil does not get you high.
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

Plant People and its entire website (including this content you are reading) are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, prevention of a disease or ailment, nor cure, diagnose or fix any condition. If you have a medical condition, consult with a physician. Speak to a doctor prior to using Plant People products, or trying anything discussed on this site. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Plant People provides no medical advice - read more about this in our Terms & Conditions.


  1. Amee

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that
    I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad
    for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

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  4. Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test? – Plant People

    […] When SAMHSA says “marijuana,” though, it means THC, the compound most commonly associated with the inebriating effects of cannabis. Remember, CBD extracted from hemp plants will not get you high. […]

  5. CBD 101: What is CBD? – Hang Loose Juice Products

    […] molecular structure gives each compound unique medicinal properties. For instance, unlike THC, CBD isn’t psychoactive and won’t make you high. Instead when ingested, CBD not only combats the psychoactive effects of THC, but also relieves […]

  6. Jim Dunham

    Great Stuff.. It seems, you have researched a lot before posting the blog. Thank you for sharing such a important information, as rarely people know this use of CBD. I know about CBD but not aware the CBD can be use in this way as well.

  7. Tom Bourlet

    It’s one of those obvious ones for anyone who takes it, but always needs to be pointed out as so many people are nervous about taking it for the first time, unaware of the lack of THC

  8. CBD 101: What is CBD? – Plant People – Blog

    […] molecular structure gives each compound unique medicinal properties. For instance, unlike THC, CBD isn’t psychoactive and won’t make you high. Instead when ingested, CBD not only combats the psychoactive effects of THC, but also relieves […]