Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid, a type of natural compound found in cannabis and hemp.

It’s one of hundreds of compounds in these plants, but it’s received more attention lately as changes to state and federal laws have led to a rise in the production of CBD-infused products.

Another well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound is known for its psychoactive effects when consumed with cannabis, or marijuana.

THC produces what many consider a “high,” or an altered state characterized by euphoria, pleasure, or heightened sensory perception.

CBD doesn’t cause a high like THC.

CBD does have some positive health benefits, like helping people with anxiety and depression. If you’re seeking out CBD as a means to get high, you won’t experience that.

Both THC and CBD naturally occur in cannabis plants. CBD can be isolated from the cannabis plant and the THC compound. People infuse CBD into tinctures, oils, edibles, and other products without the high-inducing THC.

Still, many individuals might assume CBD causes the same effects as marijuana, because both can be found in the same plant. However, CBD alone is nonintoxicating. It won’t cause a high.

What’s more, CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant. Hemp has no psychoactive effects, either.

In fact, in many states only hemp-derived CBD is available legally. These products, by law, can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. This isn’t enough to create any psychoactive symptoms.

Once extracted from hemp or cannabis, CBD can be added to several products, including tinctures, lotions, and oils.

CBD oil is one of the more popular CBD products. You can take it sublingually (under the tongue) or add it to drinks, food, or vape pens.

Some of these products are promoted as a natural way to relax or lower anxiety. Indeed, research has found CBD can reduce some symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is still not equivalent to the high marijuana causes.

High concentrations of CBD (or taking more than recommended) could cause an uplifting effect. That’s not the same thing as a high.

What’s more, taking high doses of CBD could cause some side effects, including nausea and dizziness. In that case, you may not even experience the “uplifting” effect at all.

CBD and THC are two types of cannabinoids found in cannabis. They both have an impact on cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. However, the type of impact tells you a lot about why they produce such different results.

THC activates these receptors. This causes a euphoria or the high associated with marijuana.

CBD, on the other hand, is a CB1 antagonist. It blocks any intoxicating impact caused by the CB1 receptors. Taking CBD with THC may inhibit the effects of THC.

In other words, CBD may block the high effects.

CBD can have several positive effects. Some of these research-backed uses of CBD even suggest it may help you feel relaxed. That can feel a bit like a high, though it’s not intoxicating.

Research suggests CBD is beneficial for relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. It might also ease inflammation and pain.

Some people with a history of epilepsy may find relief from seizures when using CBD. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for treating epileptic seizures in 2018.

What’s more, CBD has also shown promise as a way for doctors to help people with schizophrenia avoid side effects of antipsychotic medication.

People who use CBD-rich marijuana strains may also be able to prevent THC-induced psychosis, a potential side effect of the drug.

As research into cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD expands, doctors and healthcare providers will have a better understanding of how CBD works and who might benefit most from it.

The World Health Organization says CBD is safe. However, more research is still needed to understand the full spectrum of effects and possible uses.

Despite general acceptance, some people may experience some side effects when they take CBD, especially at high concentrations. These side effects can include:

  • diarrhea
  • mild nausea
  • dizziness
  • excessive fatigue
  • dry mouth

If you take any prescription medications, talk with your doctor before using CBD. Some medicines may be less beneficial because of CBD. They could also interact and cause unintended side effects.

U.S. federal law still classifies cannabis as a controlled substance. But in December 2018, Congress lifted the prohibition on hemp plants. That means hemp-derived CBD is legal in the United States unless outlawed at the state level.

By law, CBD products can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. In states where medical marijuana or recreational marijuana is legal, marijuana-derived CBD may also be available. CBD-to-THC ratios will vary by product.

CBD can be extracted from a cannabis plant, but it doesn’t have the same ability to create a “high” or state of euphoria as marijuana or THC.

CBD may help you feel relaxed or less anxious, but you won’t get high if you choose to use a CBD-infused oil, tincture, edible, or other product. In fact, if you use CBD with THC-rich cannabis products, the CBD may lessen how much of a high you get from the THC.

Before you begin using any CBD product, talk with your doctor.

Be sure to also source high-quality CBD products. Check for a label that confirms the product has received third-party testing for quality. If the brand you’re thinking of buying doesn’t have that, the product may not be legitimate.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.