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What is CBD?

What is CBD? Everything You Need To Know

Modified Date: March 26, 2021

If CBD is new to you, you might have a lot of questions. What is CBD and why is it so popular?  Can it help me? Does it even live up to its hype? We’ve made this guide just for you, so let’s get started. 

What is CBD?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is a cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa, but it is not the only one. There are over 100 compounds present in the plant in varying proportions.  This natural chemical can be sourced from both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. While both plants are considered cannabis, the hemp species only produces small amounts of THC.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical responsible for inducing the euphoric high that pot is known for and  primarily derived from marijuana. And while it is undisputed that THC has medicinal applications, not everyone can access legal, medical marijuana.  It is also worth noting that not everyone wants to feel stoned. This makes Cannabidiol (CBD) an ideal option for a lot of people. It carries many of the same therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana without the high. Furthermore, it is legal and used in a variety of health and wellness products.

Industrial Hemp = High CBD and less than 0.3% THC

Marijuana = High THC


Marijuana is still not Federally legal, but the Farm Bill of 2018 did make industrial hemp a legitimate agricultural crop.  This means that CBD is also permitted, if it comes from industrial hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC. From a consumer standpoint, this is one of the most critical distinctions between medical marijuana and CBD.

How Does CBD Work?

All humans (and animals too) have cell receptors (cannabinoid receptors) in their bodies which correspond to elements found in the cannabis plants.

This network of cell receptors is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate many of the body’s essential functions. Temperature, appetite, sleep, mood, immunity, inflammatory response and pain perception are all controlled in part by the ECS.

Our bodies produce cannabinoids naturally, but often, when the endocannabinoid system is deficient, an imbalance ensues. When cannabinoids like CBD are introduced into the body, they go to work by stimulating these receptors and restoring the body to a state of homeostasis.  In this way, CBD is similar to an adaption. It “adapts” to whatever we need to return us to health.

How CBD Oil is made?

CBD oil is made by extracting the chemical from hemp. There are several ways this can be done.  CO2 extraction is considered to produce the purest CBD; it is environmentally friendly as well. Some providers use a clean ethanol extraction method, which also can provide a high-quality and pure CBD.

One vital thing to know about hemp is that it is a bio accumulator and will pick up whatever chemicals are in the soil it is grown in.  So, if the ground is contaminated, the CBD will be too. Therefore, it is so important to know where the hemp is grown, and under what conditions. Obviously, organically grown or at least sustainably grown products will be the best.

The extract may also include many other beneficial parts of the plant such as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.  When these are included in the final product, it is said to be a “full-spectrum” oil. In this way, each component of the plant complements the other. 

Full spectrum CBD is by far the most popular with consumers who find it encourages the entourage effect.  The entourage effect is a proposed theory that all the compounds in cannabis including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids, work synergistically to produce the most favorable outcomes.

Broad Spectrum CBD offers the full benefits of the Cannabis plant (all the compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract), but the THC is completely removed (0% THC).

CBD Isolate is the purest form of CBD, in which all other plant compounds and cannabinoids have been completely removed, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.

Is CBD Legal?

In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill) legalized CBD that is derived from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC. CBD that comes from the marijuana plant remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

The Farm Bill also created regulations for Hemp farmers, meaning not only the CBD product must contain less than 0.3% THC, it needs to be grown by a licensed farmer.

The 2018 Farm Bill explicitly preserved FDA’s authorities over hemp products. This means that any cannabis product marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, regardless of whether it is hemp-derived, must be approved by the FDA before it can be sold.

CBD Benefits

The benefits of medical cannabis are not just anecdotal.  There are many studies that have been done on the subject, and now, with CBD in the forefront, the gates have been opened for much more research on this amazing natural healer.

Research suggests that CBD may help with:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • Soothe pain and inflammation
  • General health and wellness

Is CBD Safe?

CBD has an excellent safety profile, and most people tolerate it well even at very high doses. Further, the placement of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain suggest that CBD overdosing is probably impossible. Compared to potentially harmful pharmaceuticals, reported CBD side effects are minor and include things like nausea, diarrhea, and sleepiness.

However, cannabidiol has been shown to interact with certain prescription drugs, so if you are taking medication, we urge you to talk to your doctor before starting any CBD regimen.


Additional Reading:


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Comment (1)

    By James Hardington

    Will I fail a drug test if I use CBD full spectrum?