Is Full Spectrum CBD Psychoactive? – Will It Get You High

Lush green hemp plant and someone holding out their hand with a bottle of CBD oil.

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Full spectrum CBD products may just be the most efficient and effective type of CBD, but how do they differ from others? Can they produce a high?

Though full spectrum CBD does contain cannabinoids other than CBD, it does not produce a psychoactive high. Full spectrum CBD sold on the market comes from hemp plants, which contain little to no THC, the molecule responsible for a high. CBD does interact with the brain in various ways, though.

Because CBD interacts with the brain, nervous system, and other parts of the body, it’s not quite as simple as saying that CBD itself isn’t psychoactive. Things get complicated depending on how the word psychoactive is defined and understood. CBD products can interact with the endocannabinoid system, a unique cell-signaling system within the body, and influence mood, appetite, sleep, and other aspects of mental and physical health.

Is CBD considered psychoactive?

A psychoactive substance is generally considered one that alters the mind– it may do so through changes in behavior, awareness, thought processes, emotions, and similar systems. Because this definition is broad and encompasses a wide variety of substances both controlled and otherwise, it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t classified as psychoactive or predict how certain substances may impact your own body.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid found within cannabis plants. Though CBD does interact with the brain in various ways, it does not produce the same “high” that other cannabis products, specifically those with THC, do. 

In the U.S., CBD products sold to and marketed toward the general public come from hemp plants – cannabis plants containing 0.3% or less THC – rather than other cannabis plants with a higher potency of THC. The trace amounts, if any, THC found in CBD products sold commercially is so little that it won’t produce the effects outlined above.

Still, the way we define psychoactive matters, at least in the context of this discussion. If a psychoactive substance is merely one that interacts with the brain and causes changes as a result, then it is indeed fair to say that CBD can be considered psychoactive. 

CBD, along with other cannabinoids, interact with the brain thanks to the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system, which exists in the body even if an individual does not use cannabis products, connects to the brain, central nervous system, and other parts of the body. It is responsible for the effects that an individual feels after using CBD or similar products.

The endocannabinoid system consists of both receptors and endocannabinoids themselves. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally by the body and are quite similar to cannabinoids (which come from the cannabis plant) in their makeup. They have various functions in the body, but when these endocannabinoids bind to receptors in the body, they trigger a specific physical response.

Endocannabinoids that have fulfilled their function are later broken down by enzymes in the body. The way that the endocannabinoid system functions is still being explored and understood by scientists, so there’s still a lot to learn in terms of how these receptors and molecules work, why they exist, and how we may be able to manipulate them to treat various ailments.

So, in many ways, CBD and other cannabinoids do interact with the mind and body. The reason we experience the benefits of CBD – like pain relief, for instance, or lower levels of inflammation – is thanks to this complex system. Some conversations refer to CBD as psychoactive because of this reality.

However, this terminology can be unnecessarily confusing; non-intoxicating may be a term that better illustrates the difference between non-high producing cannabinoids and THC. CBD can alter behavior, mood, and other aspects of mental and physical health in a variety of ways, which makes it a popular remedy for a variety of ailments.

Below are some of the effects associated with CBD use (note that not all conditions or individuals may benefit from CBD, and it’s never a bad idea to consult a healthcare professional before implementing CBD into your routine regardless of your rationale):

The way CBD interacts with each individual’s mind, behavior, and emotions may change from person to person, so it may be helpful to exercise caution when it comes to selecting a starting dosage or experimenting with new products. Remember that while useful, CBD oftentimes can not completely replace conventional medical care, especially for chronic conditions and illnesses. 

CBD molecule written on a whiteboard with a lush green cannabis leaf to the right.

Will full spectrum CBD oil make you high?

In order to understand how full spectrum CBD oil interacts with the mind and body, it’s first helpful to have a good grasp on what full spectrum CBD oil is, why some individuals choose to use it, and any potential risks that may come alongside using it.

There are three main types of CBD products: isolate, full spectrum, and broad spectrum. Full spectrum CBD differs from others because it contains all parts of the cannabis plant – that is, more than just CBD – and, as a result, is believed to produce what’s known as the entourage effect. Full-spectrum CBD contains all parts of the hemp plant, including THC, although in very small quantities. Broad-spectrum CBD contains all the other cannabinoids of the plant except THC, and CBD isolate contains just CBD. 

Other parts of the cannabis plant, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, among others, are believed to play a role in the experience that cannabis products of any kind may create. The entourage effect suggests that including multiple or all parts of the cannabis plant will produce a more powerful, more effective, and/or longer-lasting dose. 

Because full spectrum CBD oil contains more than just CBD, including small percentages of THC, it’s easy to be confused or be worried about what other contents may be in the products that you purchase. Full spectrum CBD oil isn’t necessarily something to be afraid of, though; there are many reputable sellers and products that are known to produce consistently great results and high-quality goods.

CBD oils, including those that are full spectrum, are derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that produces 0.3% or less THC by weight. Full spectrum CBD oils simply include other parts of the plants that other types might choose to exclude in the name of purity or to produce a certain product. The inclusion of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other parts of cannabis plants does not mean that those who use full spectrum CBD oil or other full spectrum products will get high. The only way a cannabis user will experience a high from using cannabis products is if the product contains enough THC to produce psychoactive effects. The legal limit, .3% or less THC, is not enough to get you high.

Some individuals might find more success with full spectrum CBD products, but others might not notice a difference as a result of the switch. It’s always a good choice to exercise caution when changing doses, products, or the way you’re consuming CBD products in order to avoid any potential side effects and have a better, more controlled experience. But if you are concerned, remember that CBD cannot be fatal, and even CBD at very high levels is only known to produce drowsiness and nausea. 

Three different size glass bottles of CBD oil and hemp leaves in the background.

How does full spectrum CBD oil make you feel?

So, if full spectrum CBD oil and other full spectrum products don’t make you feel high, how do they make you feel? How do full spectrum products make you feel in comparison to other cannabis and CBD products, and what are the potential risks (if any) associated with using these products?

Each individual’s experience with any CBD product can vary, but in general, full spectrum CBD oil is believed to produce stronger and longer-lasting effects than other types of CBD products. 

The entourage effect, discussed in more depth above, suggests that a combination of multiple cannabinoids and other parts of the cannabis plants is the key to producing an ideal experience. This might be especially important to those who rely on CBD products for pain treatment or treatment for other symptoms, or for those who regularly consume or use CBD products.

It is worth noting that, though CBD products (including full spectrum CBD) are hemp-derived, a small percentage of THC will be present in full-spectrum products. The levels of THC in these products are not strong enough to produce any effects, but those who are especially concerned about the presence of THC in their products might prefer other types of products to avoid it altogether. To reiterate: full spectrum CBD will not make you high, but for those looking to totally avoid THC, it’s best to choose, instead, CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD.

Full spectrum CBD oil may produce the following effects for users:

  • Feelings of relaxation or tranquility
  • Lessened sense of anxiety or stress
  • Easier time falling or staying asleep
  • Lessened inflammation and pain
  • Better mood, less irritability
  • Increased appetite

Full spectrum products that are derived from marijuana plants rather than hemp plants may also produce psychoactive effects. However, these types of CBD products are only legal in states where other marijuana products are legal and are generally most accessible through medical marijuana programs. 

Various conditions, both mental and physical, are believed to be treatable (or at least more manageable) thanks in part to CBD products. Conditions that might benefit from the inclusion of CBD into your routine can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain – arthritis, for instance, or back pain
  • Potentially epilepsy, though research on this topic is still evolving
  • Depression
  • Some types of cancer (though again, our understanding of complex illnesses and CBD is still changing)

CBD’s effects can usually be felt quite soon after ingestion, though it does depend on the type of product you consume or which way you consume it. Inhalation, for instance, may be one of the fastest ways to take in CBD, but it requires smoking or vaping, which some people prefer to avoid. Full spectrum CBD oil is a flexible option and one that’s unlikely to cause adverse effects for individuals based on pre-existing conditions.

Some negative side effects, discussed in more depth below, may be possible when it comes to CBD use. Knowing what to expect from your CBD products, including potential positive and negative consequences, may help provide some peace of mind if you’re nervous or unsure about trying something new. Being conscious of any negative or adverse effects you experience also helps ensure that you won’t needlessly suffer; you’ll be able to easily identify the source of these effects.

Overall, full spectrum CBD will likely make you feel calm, relaxed, and help regulate your mood, but it won’t make you high (unless you’re using products that contain high levels of THC, which are only legal in some states). The effects CBD has on a person can vary for lots of reasons, and your experience may change over time or as you experiment with new doses and products. 

Does full spectrum CBD oil have side effects?

As with any substance we put into our bodies, it’s possible that some individuals may experience side effects as a result of full spectrum CBD oil (or any other type of CBD) usage. CBD is generally considered safe, and any side effects it produces tend to be mild or easily manageable. However, those who are new to CBD or are looking to introduce new dosages or products into their routine should take note of any changes or side effects they may notice.

It’s important to remember that CBD products are not marketed and sold as medications, but supplements (at least in the United States, and excluding those products that are part of medical cannabis programs). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products for safety nor for the quality or purity of their ingredients. As a result, it’s key to ensure that you only purchase products from sellers you trust, and it generally helps to steer clear of products with unnecessary additives or fillers. 

Full spectrum CBD oil may be more likely to cause side effects for some individuals thanks to its diverse molecule makeup. Still, full spectrum CBD oil is no more dangerous than other forms of CBD; your individual needs and preferences will likely determine which products you choose to buy for what purposes.

Side effects that may appear as a result of full-spectrum CBD oil or other CBD products can include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability or changes in mood

CBD does not generally produce intense side effects, but that doesn’t mean that side effects it does cause aren’t still disruptive and uncomfortable. If you experience side effects while using CBD or after switching products, a good plan of action is to discontinue use or consider an alternative option. 

Those who take prescription medications should also take care to ensure that CBD does not negatively interact with other substances in the body. CBD does have the potential to interfere with some prescription medications or levels of medications in the body; the issue is specifically in regards to how the body metabolizes different substances. 

A good way to get an idea about whether or not your prescription medications may not be ideal in combination with CBD is to find out whether or not your medication has a grapefruit warning. Grapefruit, alongside some other similar fruits, inhibit certain groups of enzymes responsible for metabolizing various substances in the body. As a result, the metabolization of medications may be slowed down, which can be problematic for many reasons.

CBD also inhibits certain groups of enzymes, just like grapefruits. These two independent substances actually interact with the body in a similar way, and our understanding about the grapefruit warning and how it relates to medication can help us understand how CBD relates to medication.

Below are some examples of medications that are commonly associated with the grapefruit warning and, as a result, might indicate that you should avoid or at least be cautious with CBD use of any kind:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-cancer medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • Some mood medications (those used to treat conditions like anxiety and depression, for instance)
  • Pain medications
  • Heart medications
  • Immunosuppressants

Of course, each individual medication is different, as is each individual person. Whether or not CBD is a good choice for you depends on a lot of circumstances, so it’s crucial that anyone considering adding CBD to their routine takes the time to carefully consider both the pros and cons. 

Speaking with your doctor or another healthcare professional about your health history, goals, and any concerns that you might have is a great way to set yourself up for success. More and more professionals are becoming familiar with the ups and downs of cannabis use and are equipped to provide sound advice on this topic. The introduction of medical cannabis programs has also done a great deal to improve our medical understanding and knowledge surrounding CBD; as time goes on, it becomes more and more of a mainstream treatment method.

Male doctor holding a clipboard writing something.

Conclusion: Psychoactive? It’s Complicated

Whether or not full spectrum CBD or CBD in general is psychoactive really does depend on your definition of the word. In terms of creating a psychoactive high – that is, a high that produces significant changes in coordination, memory, thoughts, mood, movement, etc. – there’s not much to worry about; CBD products are derived from hemp, which contains little to no THC, the molecule responsible for a cannabis-induced high.

Full spectrum products in particular may be of concern to some individuals because it includes a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, other molecules, and a small percentage of THC in addition to CBD. Full spectrum products do not filter out these additional contents, and trace amounts of THC are present as a result. Therefore, those looking to completely avoid THC might not prefer full spectrum products. 

Still, even with trace amounts of THC, full spectrum CBD oil won’t make you high. The amounts of THC that exist in these products is so insignificant that it’s highly unlikely to actually impact your body. Those looking to benefit from the entourage effect and maximize the benefits they experience from their CBD products will likely find these sorts of products ideal.

It’s not completely fair to say that full spectrum CBD and CBD in general aren’t psychoactive at all, though, at least if you consider psychoactive substances to be those that interact with the mind or body and create certain effects. CBD does do both of these things: it interacts with the body via the endocannabinoid system to produce desired effects, and it also interacts with different parts of the body.

So, to put it simply, it’s complicated. CBD plays a large role in pain management, mood management, and treatment for a wide variety of conditions both mental and physical, so the fact that it interacts with the body isn’t necessarily something to be afraid of. The endocannabinoid system is active regardless of whether or not you put cannabis in your body, so there’s no permanent changes or harm caused to your body by ingesting these sorts of products.

You won’t experience a high from CBD products, not even those that are full spectrum. Still, you will likely experience a myriad of positive effects, and full spectrum CBD oil and other similar products might be the most convenient, most efficient, and most reliable option to accomplish the goals that you’d like to. 

It’s important to be cautious, though, when introducing any new CBD product into your routine, even if you’re an experienced user. Those who take prescription medications or live with other chronic conditions will likely benefit immensely from speaking with a doctor or another professional before taking CBD to ensure that it won’t negatively interfere with existing treatment plans or create adverse effects.

CBD can cause some side effects, and this may be especially true for full spectrum products since they contain more things to potentially have an unpleasant reaction to. Typically the side effects associated with CBD are mild and go away easily once use is discontinued, so there isn’t a reason to be overly concerned. It’s also a good idea to be careful when selecting doses, especially if you’re just starting out. CBD interacts with the body in unique ways, so it can be hard to predict exactly how it will impact you in particular.

Full spectrum CBD products are a great option for many individuals, but as we’ve discussed, there’s a lot to consider. You can rest assured that full spectrum products are legal, so long as they’re derived from legal plants, but those who want to totally avoid THC might opt for other options like CBD isolate. If you’re not concerned about trace amounts of THC potentially entering your system, these products can be a great way to ensure that you get the most value out of your money and your product.

When deciding which products to purchase, be sure to keep your goals, dosage, and any concerns that you might have in mind. There are lots of great options available, but it pays off if you take the time to ensure that you’re purchasing from quality, reputable sellers. Because CBD is not regulated, it largely falls into the hands of the consumer to make sure that the products they purchase are those that are useful, unfortunately.

When in doubt, never hesitate to speak with a doctor or other health professional. Working through the various details of CBD use, like types of products to use, best ways to consume your products, at which dosage levels to start, and others with the assistance of a doctor is very valuable, especially if you have multiple conditions, medications, or concerns to address.

Ultimately, full spectrum CBD is not psychoactive in the way that many of us think of the word, but it does have the ability to uniquely interact with various parts of the body and mind. The positive effects we experience from CBD and cherish are thanks to this reality, so the word psychoactive doesn’t necessarily have to mean intoxicating. It’s important to be open-minded and considerate during these discussions; our public and professional understanding of CBD is constantly evolving and changing, and so too is the way that we use it to treat conditions. Full spectrum CBD is an ideal option for many, but if it isn’t for you that’s okay too. There are many other options out there – what’s important is that you safely and thoughtfully medicate.

As we’ve mentioned a few times, buying trustworthy CBD products from a reputable source is absolutely critical in ensuring you get the treatment you need and the product that was promised. That’s why we’ve put together a database of all the best brands in the business. You can access our online directory for free here

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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