“Is CBD psychoactive?” is a loaded question. If you guessed no, you were wrong. The hemp extract doesn’t fall under the category of non-psychoactive. However, that doesn’t mean it produces a ‘high’ like THC. Research shows that each hemp compound interacts differently with the endocannabinoid system.

What Makes a Chemical Psychoactive?

The first step to understanding CBD and how it’s psychoactive is knowing what makes any chemical psychoactive. According to the National Cancer Institute, it’s defined as,
“A drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior.”

As you might know, one of the popular reasons for using CBD is to relieve anxiousness and reduce stress. By this definition, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a psychoactive compound. These body responses originate from the central nervous system. More specifically, endocannabinoid receptors the cannabinoid interacts with are primarily found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, additional proof that CBD meets the characteristics of a psychoactive compound.

CBD Doesn’t Cause a Psychoactive Response

With CBD, its psychoactive properties don’t equal a psychoactive response. Although they share the same molecular formula, C21H30O2, CBD interacts differently with the body than THC. What’s different? The structure. THC has a cyclic ring, and CBD has a hydroxyl group.
This variance might be responsible for how the two compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors. THC binds tightly to the receptors while CBD interacts with the CB1 but doesn’t physically bind to it while it sends its message. The difference in the touch is another piece of the puzzle.
Although there’s much discussion about CB1 and CB2, CBD interacts with multiple receptors, including 5HT1A and TRPV1, which play a role in anxiety and depression.

The Legal History of Hemp in the U.S.

Hemp has a long history of cultivation. Research shows it dates back over 10,000 years. When colonists came to America, they brought and grew hemp for fiber. In the Jamestown colony, not growing hemp was illegal. However, as it was hailed as a billion-dollar crop, a misinformation campaign against the plant changed history.
The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act classified hemp and marijuana as the same plant and created a tax on the plant with strict regulations. It didn’t outlaw hemp use or production. Instead, it made growing, selling, and using the plant a challenge.
Next, the Boggs Act of 1951 increased penalties and added mandatory sentencing for drug convictions, including cannabis possession. Following the Boggs Act, the Narcotics Control Act of 1954 increased fines and jail time.
Lastly, in 1970, marijuana was made a controlled substance. Remember, with no distinction between hemp and cannabis by the federal government. There was no recognition of the low THC percentage produced by the hemp plant.

Hemp that Doesn’t Produce a High is Legal

So, there you have it. CBD is a psychoactive compound that doesn’t produce a high. Congress updated and passed the 2018 Farm Bill, knowing that consumers purchasing CBD and hemp extracts wouldn’t experience a euphoric response. Instead, customers that buy phytocannabinoid-rich products feel relaxed and in a happier mood.
The lack of a high is why gas stations and small mom-and-pop shops can buy and sell CBD products without a special license. To purchase, you only have to be 18, not 21, which is the case for items that cause a psychoactive response, such as cannabis and alcohol.

How Does the 2018 Farm Bill Work?

If hemp produced a high, Congress wouldn’t have approved its new legal status. All new legislation is necessary, and talks would include the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) Regulations would be needed to ensure the products were kept out of the hands of people under 21 and protect children from accidental ingestion.
Additionally, you would see sellers having to register to sell items and strict monitoring, similar to alcohol and tobacco sales.
While debating to allow legal hemp, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon Tweeted,
“Federal law treats hemp like it’s a dangerous drug, but the only thing you’re going to accomplish by smoking hemp is wasting breath, time, and lighter fluid.”
Shortly after, the updated law for hemp was approved. In December of 2018, the cannabinoids were legal to extract, sell, buy, and use.
The law defines hemp as,
The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

Wait, Then How is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Delta 8 THC is the latest phytocannabinoid to hit the hemp market. However, it’s strikingly different from CBD. The minor cannabinoid located in the trichomes of the hemp plant does cause a mildly intoxicating effect. As the name suggests, delta 8 THC is a THC-lite. When Congress drafted the 2018 Farm Bill, no one was mass-producing the THC compound. The plant contains less than 1% of the minor cannabinoid. Extracting the tiny amount isn’t a good investment. However, technology and the cannabinoid conversion process are helping brands meet consumer demand.

This technique involves converting the large quantities of CBD in legal hemp plants into delta 8. The process itself isn’t new. It was pioneered by Raphael Mechoulam and his team years ago. But, studies involving the safety and efficacy of the technique aren’t available yet. 

The law defines hemp as, “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

What the Future May Hold for the Hemp Extract

CBD effects are non-psychoactive, and the popular plant isn’t going anywhere. The cannabidiol market is expected to grow to over $13 billion in 2028. These impressive numbers are excellent for B2B transactions. Demand is expected to account for a large portion of sales as more businesses look to trademark their own hemp and CBD products. A simple way to get in on the action is with white label CBD products. Skip the hassle of cultivation, extraction, formulation, safety screenings, and labeling and work with a company to develop your brand’s signature CBD blend.
So is CBD psychoactive? Yes. Doesn’t it produce a high? No. Hemp extracts that don’t give people a buzz will remain legal federally and across the U.S. states. For more information about white label CBD products, contact Canngoods today.