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CBD Oil Will Not Make You Feel High — Here's Why

Credit: Originally posted on MBG by Julia Guerra, medical review by Bindiya Gandhi. M.D.

These days, cannabis is in high demand (pun only slightly intended). Marijuana has been decriminalized in a number of US states and non-psychoactive hemp products are legal across the U.S.

From CBD-infused mascaras and lip glosses to kush-y sips to calm the nerves, products from the plant are praised for their stress-relieving, calming properties.* However, there are many components to the cannabis plant, and only some contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets you high. Hemp oil is not one of them.

Why you won't feel "high" after taking hemp oil.

For starters: There are two different kinds of hemp oil: Hemp seed oil, which is derived from cold-pressing the seeds of a hemp plant, and hemp extract, which is derived from the seed and stalk of a hemp plant. Hemp seed oil contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids—but it does not contain cannabinoids. On the other hand, hemp extract is rich in cannabinoids including THC, CBN, CBG, and, CBD.

It is the THC—the psychoactive compound—that causes you to feel "high" when taking a cannabis-derived product, explains integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D. "However, there is very little THC in hemp products, less than 0.3% verses up to 30% in marijuana," explains functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D. (In order to be a legal product, hemp extracts must contain less than 0.3% THC, which the USDA considers a 'trace amount.')

Hemp extract does contain terpenes and flavonoids, organic compounds present in all plants, fruits, and vegetables that give off specific aromas and tastes. These elicit particular responses in the body and often act synergistically with cannabinoids to boost their effects. So while the supplement can make your body feel good and relax your mind, hemp oil won't make you feel high—even when taken in large doses.

What you can expect after you take hemp oil.

So, if hemp oil doesn't get you high, what does it do, exactly? Research shows that it can provide relief from everyday stress and anxiousness, promote feelings of calm, support healthy immune function, and help with sleep, for starters.* It's also becoming a popular ingredient across the cosmetic industry as it's said to help promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. 

On that note, the number of benefits you're able to reap from a hemp product ultimately depends on how much of the hemp plant is incorporated into the formula. Full-spectrum hemp oils are comprised of the whole hemp plant, meaning they're high in cannabinoids, like CBD, and phytocannabinoids, which, renowned integrative physician Robert Rountree, M.D., tells mbg, "affect the [human body's] endocannabinoid system, the body's master regulatory system." Together, all these working parts of the plant produce what's called the "entourage effect," magnifying the product's effects on the body.

There are a slew of benefits that hemp oil could potentially offer someone when properly implemented into their daily routine (with the correct dosage), but among the many things the cannabis substance can do for your body, hemp oil won't make you feel high.