Is CBD Intoxicating?

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Can I get high if I take CBD oil? is a commonly asked question, and the stigma surrounding the cannabis plant and the well-known high inducing cannabinoid THC, can put some people off trying CBD.

But from my own experience, and studies carried out, CBD has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated, even at high doses.

But a recent attention grabbing headline by The Daily Mail; “Legal cannabis oil sold in British health shops can get users high and make it dangerous to drive, study shows”, paints a different picture.

Is this just the usual scaremongering, click-bait, drivel we are used to seeing from the Daily Fail?, or is there any truth behind the headline?

The Daily Mail article is loosely based on the findings from a recent study;

A randomised controlled trial of vaporised Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination in frequent and infrequent cannabis users: acute intoxication effects

But what was the objective of the study?

The objective of the research was to study the “acute effects” of the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC and CBD, both individually and when administered in combination.

Some research has suggested that CBD may alter the adverse effects of THC, but this may be dose dependent, and this was tested within the study.

So, a randomised placebo controlled trial was carried out to examine the acute effects of these compounds alone and in combination when administered by vaporisation to frequent and infrequent cannabis users.

The following is from the report:

“We conducted a Participants (n = 36; 31 male) completed 5 drug conditions spaced one week apart, with the following planned contrasts: placebo vs CBD alone (400 mg); THC alone (8 mg) vs THC combined with low (4 mg) or high (400 mg) doses of CBD. Objective (blind observer ratings) and subjective (self-rated) measures of intoxication were the primary outcomes, with additional indices of intoxication examined.”

After reading the report I need to stress a couple of points;

1. The dose administered in the study was very high

The important thing to note here is the CBD dose administered – 400mg. This is an extremely high dose, way above what most CBD users will take. The majority of CBD users take 50mg or below a day. I personally take 15-20mg a day and this is quite a common dose.

2. CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK.

The Daily Mail states “Legal cannabis oil sold in British health shops can get users high and make it dangerous to drive”, but CBD can only legally be sold as a food supplement in the UK with a maximum dose of 200mg a day.

Doses of over 200mg a day are classed as medicinal doses, so should only be taken under the supervision of a medical profession. Therefore any potential side effects would be monitored.

Report Findings

So, what was the outcome of the trial?

The report findings; “CBD showed some intoxicating properties relative to placebo.”

Note it says “some”.

“Low doses of CBD when combined with THC enhanced, while high doses of CBD reduced the intoxicating effects of THC. The enhancement of intoxication by low-dose CBD was particularly prominent in infrequent cannabis users and was consistent across objective and subjective measures.”

It continues: “These findings are important to consider in terms of recommended proportions of THC and CBD in cannabis plant matter whether used medicinally or recreationally and have implications for novice or less experienced cannabis users.”

So, can CBD get you high?

Although at very high doses CBD does appear to have “some intoxicating properties relative to placebo” the doses tested were well above what 99% of users will need to take.

These high doses should only be administered under the supervision of a medical profession who is knowledgeable about cannabis-derived medicine.

And for the Daily Mail to then sensationalise the findings saying: “Legal cannabis oil sold in British health shops can get users high and make it dangerous to drive”, is just their usual scaremongering.

At food supplement doses, CBD is safe and will not get you high

If you take CBD as a food supplement, not exceeding the maximum 200mg a day dosage instructions, research has shown that CBD is a safe substance, that does will not cause the “high” associated with intoxicating cannabinoids like THC.


There have been dozens of studies that clearly show CBD does not possess the same intoxicating effects as THC. And on December 13, 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published details of a report on CBD. They determined that CBD is not addictive, has no potential for abuse, and has shown ‘promise’ as a medical solution in a variety of trials. It followed on from a recommendation from the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which concluded that there is no justification for classifying CBD as a Scheduled drug.

But please be mindful of these findings if you do take high doses of CBD before driving. Take a sensible approach, if you feel drowsy or feel your ability to drive is impaired, please don’t risk it.

As with all substances, effects will vary from individual to individual. This is why it’s recommended that when you introduce CBD you start with a low dose and slowly increase, to gauge how your body responds.

If you would like to learn more about CBD dosing please read my article; How Much CBD Should I Take?

Although CBD is safe and well tolerated in humans, it does come with some potential side effects that you should be aware of. Please educate yourself by reading; 7 Potential side effects of CBD and tips on how to minimise them.

The Daily Fail scaremongering could potentially put people off trying a natural substance that could greatly improve their health. CBD has been shown to be effective for so many ailments and I hope people take this questionable “reporting” with the huge pinch of salt it deserves.

I for one, have found CBD very beneficial. It has greatly reduced my pain and anxiety levels. But like with everything in life; be sensible and educate yourself. And please don’t be influenced by The Daily Fail.

If you would like to educate yourself about CBD and how it works within the body, please read; How CBD Works: The Endocannabinoid System Explained.

If you would like to find out more about CBD, or you have any specific questions you need answering, please head over to my Facebook page CBD Resource Centre

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