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Can Hemp Oil Get You High?


CBD also known as Cannabidiol, is a molecule that is found in the hemp/cannabis that is well known for its medicinal benefits. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that was first discovered in 1940. It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. As of recently, the emergence of new clinical research on cannabidiol focuses on the effects of CBD on anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.

One of many molecules, cannabidiol is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of marijuana/hemp. CBD is often mistaken for THC, (tetrahydrocannabidiol) a psychoactive compound that has intoxicating effects on humans.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system that is composed of endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. CBD acts upon CB1 and CB2 receptors, by stimulating these receptors while also promoting homeostasis. The emergence of CBD research and its bioavailability has potentially been responsible for significant health benefits to many.

It is important to note that the cannabis species has both a male and a female part that have a very different chemical compound make up. While both plant types are still considered to be variations of the cannabis species, the differences in their chemical make up can have a very different effects on the body. The marijuana plant (female) is known to have a higher THC content ranging from 5%-35% of its chemical make up, with a lower CBD content. On average a batch of marijuana contains anywhere from 5%-20% THC content while some premium grades will contain 25%-30% THC. Comparatively, in order for the hemp plant to remain legal in Canada, it must be below the maximum THC level of 0.3%, this percentage guarantees that there is no chance that a human being could get high.

Hemp Oil and CBD oil are very different in their chemical makeup. CBD oil can be made from both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. While the hemp plant is known for its high CBD content, it is not the same as CBD oil. The main difference between Hemp Oil and CBD oil is that; CBD oil uses the whole plant, while hemp oil comes from its seeds, but more recently, because of the growing CBD market, hemp oil derived from the seed of the plant is now more commonly referred to as hemp seed oil for clarification purposes.

While hemp oil still may contain CBD, the concentration/potency of the CBD molecule is more commonly lower than the potency of the CBD molecule in hemp oil.

What is the difference between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil?

Cbd oil and Hemp oil are very different. Although they may be extracted from the same plant CBD oil is created from the hemp plant, while hemp oil is created using the hemp seed.

 Hemp oil “does not contain any cannabinoids like CBD oil; but instead is a rich blend of nutrients including a high concentration of protein, polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E”. On the other hand, CBD oil is the active ingredient amongst many cannabinoids that is responsible for maintaining balance in the body. It is common for the CBD compound to be blended with other ingredients before being packaged/sold. In addition to this, CBD oil and hemp oil are extracted and created much differently.

CBD oil is created using the stalks and flowers of the plant while hemp oil is created using the seed of the plant. Most reputable producers use ethanol extraction or the CO2 extraction process because neither involve the use of any toxic compounds. Once the CO2 is pulled out, it is then prepared for further manufacturing or combined with other useful compounds. In contrast, hemp oil is made from hemp seeds and is formulated by a process called cold pressing which is a popular process used to preserve major vitamins and nutrients. Both oils are well known for their health benefits; although the health benefits are said to be quite different.

Does CBD Oil have THC in it?

The short answer is, not all CBD oil has THC in it. The CBD molecule and THC molecule are very different in their chemical make up. However, most CBD oils will contain traces of THC. CBD oil can contain THC depending on how it is made. Trace amounts of THC will not yield any psycho-active effects.

There are 3 popular types of CBD:

Raw CBD oil

A pure CBD distillate that contains only CBD and no other compounds. The cannabis species has several different variations hence, different levels of both compounds.

CBD hemp oil

CBD extracted from hemp the plant known to contain less than 0.3% THC

Full spectrum Oil

Oil extracted from hemp or cannabis that contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids.

It is important to know that not all CBD oil that contains THC is psychoactive.

Does CBD counteract THC?

Research suggests that CBD may help in regulating our cannabinoid receptors, in this process CBD can potentially block what is able to interact with these receptors thus inhibiting the psycho-active effect that THC may have on the body. The CB1 receptor is the most abundant receptor in our brain that is apart of the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of smaller structures that lie on the sides of the thalamus in the centre of the brain. The limbic system includes the hypothalamus, hippocampus and the amygdala. These parts are responsible for emotion, hunger, thirst, emotion, behaviour and pain.

 A study taken in 2015 showed that CBD acts as a negative allosteric modulator, meaning CBD binds to a site that is distinct from the THC binding site. As a result, when this connection happens the shape of the receptor is changed which creates a decreased level of activation.

In addition to this study, an alternate study taken in 2015 by the British Journal of Pharmacology, stated that the potency of THC is reduced when combined with CBD allowing for CBD to be considered to be a negative allosteric modulator.  It is important to note that, the findings related to this question are inconsistent. However, Research has made it clear that seeing the effect of CBD on THC depends on the size of the CBD dose, the cannabinoid ratio, and the time each was taken.

Does CBD Oil work without THC?

Research suggests that THC does enhance the therapeutic CBD experience. While both molecules bind to CB1 receptors, THC is responsible for activating it while CBD inhibits it. The combination of both that CBD has the potential to mitigate the intoxicating and potentially adverse effects of THC in CBD oils that are high in CBD and low in THC.

CBD can function on its own, however research related to CBD consumption for pain, seizures and tumours suggest that they are taken in combination to order to achieve the optimal medicinal potential of CBD. In addition, although THC is psycho- active, THC has medicinal properties as well. Research has “shown that CBD potentiates THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model of colitis” suggesting that these two compounds would work together synergistically.

In addition, another study taken in California determined that CBD and THC “have a more potent anti-tumoral effect than either compound alone when tested on brain cancer and breast cancer cell lines” concluding that if possible the two substances should be taken in combination especially for pain, seizure or tumour growth related health ailments.

Will CBD oil test positive for THC?

CBD oil can test positive for a drug test depending on where it is sourced from. The best way to begin to determine whether or not CBD oil will test positive for THC is by researching whether or not the CBD was extracted from the hemp plant or cannabis plant. If you are concerned about whether or not CBD oil will test positive on a drug test you can avoid this by:

  • Doing thorough research to ensure that the product is a pure isolate extracted by a trust-worthy hemp supply.
  • Avoid purchasing CBD oil from a dispensary to avoid any exposure to intoxicating cross contamination

It is virtually impossible to be tested positive on a drug test when taking CBD derived from the hemp plant (containing less than .3 percent) THC. However, it is important to note that CBD isolate products are not manufactured in a place where cross contamination can occur.


 While both hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same plant, the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil are created through the extraction process. This procedure allows for their nutritional and medicinal benefits to be very different. Based on its definition, hemp oil cannot make you high as the hemp plant does not contain enough THC to yield psycho-active effects in the human body and mind allowing it to be safe for legal consumption. However, based on the rapid emergence of CBD products is important to inquire whether or not the oil has been extracted from the plant or the seed to understand its nutritional/medicinal benefits.

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