What is CBD?
Learn what CBD is and what it isn't, the difference between CBD from THC and hemp, and more.
What is CBD?
OK, first things first. What is CBD?
Good question. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a molecular compound found in cannabis and hemp plants proven to be an effective natural treatment for a wide range of conditions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is also known as marijuana or help, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive. Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes. But unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.
CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC, depending on how much of each compound is consumed. Many people want the health benefits of cannabis without the high – or with less of a high. The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating, and easy to take as a CBD oil, makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time. Continue reading to learn more about what is CBD.
Will CBD get me high?
Nope. The cannabis plant is made up of two main players: CBD and THC. CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria. There are two possible exceptions to this.
The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. About 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. Usually, they’re the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.
It’s also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (like Simple Leaf). Because the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised or even contains small amounts of THC.
Is CBD Legal?
Yes. CBD is legal under federal law. No prescription needed. CBD itself is not specifically listed as a controlled substance in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act like THC is. Individual state laws, however, are dynamic & some individual states may govern hemp-derived CBD.
In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA’s, purview. Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge. But while it’s legal under federal law, it’s up to each state to set their own policy.
How do You consume CBD?
Where does hemp fit into all this?
What are the health benefits of CBD?
The only CBD medication that is currently FDA-approved is Epidiolex, which is approved for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. But many people swear CBD has helped with a slew of other health conditions, stress and anxiety, sleep, pain, osteoarthritis, even cancer.
CBD has not yet been rigorously studied with humans, but pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest that CBD has “broad therapeutic value” and can be well-tolerated by, well, pretty much everyone.
CBD works in the body by acting as a support to your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a major role in balancing our bodies’ most important functions from sleep to mood, to appetite, to bowel movements, and more. Your body naturally produces its own endocannabinoids to support this system, but just like with any other nutrient, we can have a deficiency and may need extra support, especially in times of mental and physical stress.
The most basic way CBD works with our body is by blocking the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, allowing our bodies to use more of what it’s already naturally producing.
The typical results of taking CBD are feeling calm and balanced, lessened anxiety, reduced inflammation, and healthier sleep cycles. Benefits most of us could use a little bit more of in our lives, right?
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
Is CBD safe?
What should I look for when shopping for CBD products?
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping.
What does the label look like?
We don’t mean the color or millennial font. If it’s a dietary supplement, it should have a back panel with an FDA disclaimer and warning section. Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too.
Has it been third-party tested?
Your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label’s accuracy. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party (aka not the actual brand) or check the retailer’s website if you don’t see it on the product’s label.
What’s the dosing?
This is a confusing one for many people. A lot of brands don’t do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing.
Can you travel with CBD?
What is CBD?
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
- CBD is a safe, drug-free option for natural healing
- CBD supports the body’s endocannabinoid system which has many positive effects on the mind and body
- CBD is 100% federally legal, per the 2018 Farm Bill
- Our CBD is sourced from hemp, a species of the cannabis genus with non-psychoactive properties
- Unlike THC (sourced from marijuana), CBD will not make you feel “high”