August 29, 2019 9 min read

When it comes to CBD, a lot of people understandably have a lot of questions. It's seemingly appeared from nowhere, and celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Mike Tyson are getting behind it.

If you're not a regular user of cannabis or have had a bad experience in the past, you might be hesitant to try CBD. The good news is that CBD and cannabis have two very different effects on the body - namely, CBD won't make you feel high. So, what does CBD feel like?

Well, you're not likely to feel very much at all.

Does CBD Make You High?

Long story short - no, CBD will not get you high.

THC is the cannabinoid responsible for causing a high. CBD oil contains no or next to no traces of THC (depending on whether it is a full-spectrum or isolate variety). It would be like trying to get drunk off a soda – not going to happen.

Some CBD products have negligible amounts of THC, but nowhere near enough to get you high. THC is also what causes ‘the munchies’, bloodshot eyes, and lethargy. CBD doesn’t do any of that.

CBD has also been found to reduce the psychotropic effects of THC, including its tendency to make users paranoid and anxious. It might even help provide a natural treatment for psychotic disorders.

There are over 100 types of cannabinoids - CBD is one of them. Cannabinoids are a type of chemical compound. They can even be found naturally occurring in the body.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

CBD and THC are examples of cannabinoids. They both interact with receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. Receptors like CB1 and CB2 are what enable CBD, THC and all other cannabinoids to take effect on the body

The ECS is responsible for a wide range of bodily processes. Some of these include:

  • Sleep regulation
  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Pain
  • Digestion
  • Fertility

The purpose of the ECS is to keep the body in homeostasis – that is, to keep everything balanced. A properly functioning ECS is vital to good health.

CBD and THC interact with the ECS in very different ways. THC has been shown to directly bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This pathway produces the psychotropic effects of THC.

This is where it can get confusing. You see, while you would think that CBD activates the receptors of the ECS, it actually doesn’t. THC does, and that’s how it exerts its psychoactive effect. CBD, on the other hand, affects how other cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the ECS (CB1 and CB2 are the two primary endocannabinoid receptors).

Pretty confusing right?

Well, yes and no.

Whilst CBD has a low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does interact with multiple other molecular pathways.

Scientists are only just starting to get their heads around all of these pathways. But we are aware of the main pathways that CBD acts upon.

Slowly but surely we are building a picture up of this miraculous molecule and how best to utilize its potent therapeutic power.

Is CBD Psychoactive?

Cannabis is well known for its psychoactive effects - but these all come from THC, not CBD.

Psychoactive drugs alter the chemical composition of the brain, changing our thought processes and general understanding. There are many psychoactive drugs out there - some more common than others. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, and sedatives are all psychoactive.

Psychoactive substances disrupt the brain's ability to communicate with the rest of the body. Whilst this can be great in some instances such as when we are having an operation, or when we have a coffee to feel alert, the disruption of communication throughout our bodies can have some pretty nasty long term effects - especially when abused.

The great thing you need to remember about CBD - it has no psychoactive properties. CBD isolate has absolutely no other cannabinoid in it. Full-spectrum CBD does have other cannabinoids (including psychoactive THC) but lab-certified brands like Specktra have negligible amounts.

(Why do we use full-spectrum CBD and not CBD isolate? In studies that compare the two, full-spectrum CBD gives better results than CBD isolate)


Adenosine helps with our metabolism and bodily functions. Its receptors act as the location for messages to regulate systems of our body, by acting as a depressant. If our adenosine receptors are not firing properly, important functions including sleep, cell development, and regulation of disease progressions.

Adenosine binds with neurons in the brain, slowing down transmissions. When brain transmissions slow down, you feel more calm and relaxed, and therefore better able to sleep.

CBD limits the reuptake of adenosine. The reuptake process basically involves recycling a cell's secreted substance. By binding to the same receptors as adenosine, there are less available receptors for adenosine - meaning that it accumulates in the brain, making you feel sleepy.

Serotonin Receptors

Serotonin helps to regulate mood, making us feel happy. Its receptors have a role in balancing physiological functions including sleep, sexual behavior, and thermoregulation. Irregular portions of serotonin are known to be related to the development of depression and anxiety.

CBD's relationship with serotonin is likely why so many people have positive results when using CBD for their anxiety. Inside the brain, CBD can mimic the properties of serotonin, and bind with serotonin receptors.

TrpV1 Receptors

TrpV1 is an easy way of saying 'Transient Receptor Potential, Subfamily 5, Member 1'. It's a temperature-related protein and helps to regulate body temperature and provide signals when things are hot or cold.

TrpV1 also plays a role in inflammation. Inflammation and pain are closely related and often occur together in the body, so it comes as no surprise that TrpV1 is proving successful at relieving pain.

Research on the relationship between TrpV1 and CBD are so far pretty positive. There are many examples of people who claim that CBD has helped relieve pain sensitivity. Some studies are indicating that CBD may be received by TrpV1 receptors, which could be the reason for CBD's analgesic benefits.

CBD Oil for Anxiety

A lot of people use CBD to lower anxiety. Speaking in front of a large group of people is a pretty terrifying prospect for most people. Using CBD prior to speaking may help to calm your nerves. With a reduced sense of anxiety, you can get up there and speak with all the confidence in the world! 

A lot of people use cannabis to help with their anxiety - but some find that it makes doesn't help at all. If you've had a bad experience with cannabis, CBD could be a good alternative. CBD doesn't make you high, therefore removing any anxiety that you might feel about getting high. Many people are saying CBD makes them feel calmer and more able to approach new situations with confidence.

Because research into CBD is still so new, no one is sure of its long term side effects, or whether it's a good long term solution for anxiety. We definitely need to see some more studies done on CBD and anxiety before claiming that CBD is good for anxious people everywhere.

Stressed Out?

Thankfully, not everyone suffers from anxiety - but I'm sure we all know what it feels like to be stressed.

If you find yourself feeling stressed out every once in awhile, or even every day (yikes, we feel for you), you might find some relief in CBD. It's a great option to relieve stress, for many of the same reasons that make CBD works well on anxiety.

CBD Tincture is a great natural stress reliever to incorporate into your routine. One of the easiest ways to get CBD goodness into your system is by using the dropper to place a few drops of CBD oil underneath your tongue. Hold it there for around 30 seconds, letting the CBD soak into the delicate skin underneath your tongue.

The reason we recommend sublingual consumption (absorption under the tongue) is because the effects of CBD will kick in much faster than swallowing. Rather than having to pass through your digestive system, holding CBD under your tongue acts as a shortcut straight into the bloodstream.

If you're suffering from physical stress like neck or muscle strain, or an old and aching injury, CBD Tincture is a good option. But a CBD Patch is an even better one. By placing the patch exactly on the area of concern, CBD does not have to course through your whole body to find the root of the issue - the CBD Patch is like a steering wheel for the flow of relief.

Can you feel CBD?

Scientists have been studying CBD for a few decades now, and new research is happening all the time. But there is still much to CBD and cannabinoids that we don’t know about yet.

What we do know is that CBD is pleiotropic.

This means that it doesn’t always do the same thing for everyone. Depending on what your body needs to achieve homeostasis will affect how CBD works on you.

Having said that, there are some similar feelings that many people report after taking CBD. The most commonly experienced feeling is a sense of relaxation or relief. You may feel a sense of calm slowly spread across your body. Some describe it as a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Your mind can also become calmer. For people who are prone to anxiety and a racing mind, it can almost feel like your thoughts are slowing down and becoming manageable.

When it comes to small doses – which is what you should start with when using CBD for the first time – the effects will likely be very subtle. Larger doses will have a more profound effect.

CBD Oil Side Effects

Honestly, this depends on a lot of things. Age, size, reason why you’re taking CBD … everyone is different and will react differently to CBD.

We generally suggest you start with a low dose and see where you go from there – about 3-5 mg. You might not even feel the effects – just increase your dosage little by little until there’s a noticeable difference in how you feel.

Talk to a medical practitioner if you would like some advice about getting the dosage of CBD right for your needs.

A recent review from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that naturally-occurring CBD is safe and well-tolerated in humans and animals, has no potential for abuse, and is not associated with any negative health effects.

It is worth being aware that CBD can interact with a certain type of pharmaceuticals. This is because it inhibits the activity of a liver enzyme called cytochrome P450. This enzyme metabolizes a certain type of drug. Grapefruit can also do this. Therefore, if your medication warns against consuming grapefruit while using it, it’s best not to use CBD, also.

Safety of CBD

Even when taken in high doses, CBD is super safe. The worst thing that is likely to happen from ‘overdosing’ on CBD is that you might feel like taking a nap.

Especially when compared to pharmaceuticals that people who rely on Western medicine so often turn to, this is pretty hard to believe. Many prescription medications contain harsh chemicals that can be toxic to our bodies, even at the recommended dosage. So far, CBD shows no similarities.

It's Not What You Feel, It's What You Don't Feel

A lot of people who use CBD report that they don't really feel anything. They wait for the effects to kick in - but often, the feeling never comes. Cannabis and painkillers have wired us to look for an exact 'aha' moment when the drugs start to take effect on our system.

CBD isn't like that.

You probably won't feel it kick in. In fact, you might not feel anything at all.

Strangely enough, that's kind of the point of CBD. Rather than inciting a feeling, it encourages an absence of feeling.

If you're feeling anxious and take a hit of a Specktra CBD Vape, there won't be a sense of relief that overwhelms the anxiety. Rather, the anxiety itself will lessen, and ebb away.

If you have pain in your elbow joint and put a Specktra CBD Patch on it, the whole area won't go numb. You'll just feel an absence of pain.

CBD patch ready to use for pain relief after exercising


The Takeaway...

CBD doesn't exactly make you feel anything. What's so great about it is the feeling that it takes away from you, like pain and anxiety.

One thing that you definitely won't feel from CBD? High. That feeling is thanks to a completely different cannabinoid, THC.

CBD interacts with adenosine receptors, serotonin receptors, and TrpV1 receptors - amongst others.

If you're worried about trying CBD, the good news is you aren't likely to experience any bad side effects. CBD is really safe to use, meaning you can happily experiment with how it best suits your lifestyle and needs, risk-free.



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