Last updated on: 9/19/2011 | Author:

Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Psychoactive?

PRO (yes)


[Editor’s Note: We have been unable to find any pros to this question. If you know of any, please let us know. Oct. 27, 2011]

CON (no)


The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wrote in its July 8, 2011 report “Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana” on the website

“CBD is not considered to have cannabinol-like psychoactivity…”

July 8, 2011 - US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)


Jomar M. Cunha, MD, Professor of Psychobiology at the Paulista School of Medicine (Brazil), et al., wrote in their 1980 paper “Chronic Administration of Cannabidiol to Healthy Volunteers and Epileptic Patients” in Pharmacology:

“Cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be devoid of psychotropic [psychoactive] activity and other undesirable side effects in humans… CBD neither interferes with several psychomotor and psychological functions in humans nor potentiates alcohol effects on these functions.”

1980 - Jomar M. Cunha, MD


Raphael Mechoulam, PhD, Lionel Jacobson Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, et al., wrote in their 2007 paper “Cannabidiol – Recent Advances” in Chemistry and Biodiversity:

“[C]annabidiol [is] a non-psychotropic plant constituent… Cannabidiol does not cause marijuana-like effects.”

2007 - Raphael Mechoulam, PhD


Shaheen E. Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, Executive Director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF), wrote in his Dec. 4, 2009 article “Whole Plant Cannabis Extracts in the Treatment of Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review” in BioMedCentral Neurology:

“[C]BD, which is not psychotropic, may reduce THC  levels in the brain and attenuate its psychotropic side effects.”

[Editor’s Note: THC is the abbreviation for D9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.]

Dec. 4, 2009 - Shaheen E. Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd


Antonio W. Zuardi, PhD, Vice Director at the Department of Neurology and Medical Psychology at the University of São Paulo, et al., wrote in their Apr. 2006 paper “Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent, as an Antipsychotic Drug” in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research:

“A high dose of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main Cannabis sativa (cannabis) component, induces… psychotic-like symptoms in healthy volunteers. These effects of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol are significantly reduced by cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis constituent which is devoid of the typical effects of the plant. This observation led us to suspect that CBD could have… antipsychotic actions… The antipsychotic-like properties of CBD have been investigated in animal models using behavioral and neurochemical techniques which suggested that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs. The results of two studies on healthy volunteers using perception of binocular depth inversion and ketamine-induced psychotic symptoms supported the proposal of the antipsychotic-like properties of CBD.”

Apr. 2006 - Antonio W. Zuardi, PhD