Date Published


Journal Author

Al Puig & Max Hofert

Hemp CBD Actually is Psychoactive


The media (and 99% of CBD companies) love to use the buzzwords “CBD is not psychoactive”. This is perhaps the most over-used (and misinformed) statement in the entire industry. CBD is non-intoxicating, but it 100% IS psychoactive, and we are here to help you understand why.

The Science

When a chemical is classified as psychoactive it acts mostly on the central nervous system and even affects brain function. The result is changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior. After all, that’s the reason certain substances have higher therapeutic qualities, right?

In contrast to THC, CBD does not have an intoxicating effect and does not alter cognitive abilities. But CBD does cross the blood-brain barrier and directly engages the central nervous system.

As discussed in a previous Cannabis 101 - the cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids that bind with endocannabinoid receptors. The two primary receptors for cannabinoids are called the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are located primarily in the brain and central nervous system.

Compared to THC, CBD has a more mild modulating effect on the endocannabinoid receptors. CBD acts like a control valve that can amplify or decrease the receptor’s ability to transmit signals, similar to a dimmer switch.

Furthermore, CBD modulates other receptors in the body, including those involved with serotonin, which affects mood, and opioid receptors, which provide pain relief. It is thought that CBD may reduce pain by mimicking endorphins without suppressing them. Science is cool, huh?


THC and CBD work in tandem with one another to provide synergistic therapeutic effects. CBD modulates the CB1 receptor only in the presence of THC or another cannabinoid that also binds to the receptor.

This “entourage effect” reiterates our point that pure CBD without THC is not as effective therapeutically as CBD in the presence of THC. There’s no doubt that CBD is certainly a mood-altering substance. After all, that’s why we love it, right!?

CBD has been shown to have moderating effects on anxiety, psychosis, depression, pain, appetite, memory, seizures and other brain activity. CBD does not result in intoxication, but to say that it is “non-psychoactive” is scientifically inaccurate and misleading to the patient and consumer.