What is CBD? – All You Need to Know

by | Jun 5, 2023 | CBD Basics | 0 comments

CBD, a therapeutic compound derived from cannabis, is widely used in various forms such as oils, gummies, and topicals. It’s natural to have questions and curiosity about CBD products. This comprehensive guide aims to address the most common inquiries consumers have about CBD, ensuring that you have a solid foundation of knowledge. Whether you prefer to start from the basics or dive right into specific CBD questions, this guide is here to assist you every step of the way.Cbd Stock Photos, Royalty Free Cbd Images | Depositphotos

What is CBD?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component found in cannabis and hemp plants. Its popularity has been increasing as people seek natural remedies for managing symptoms like anxiety, stress, and pain. Unlike THC, which is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis, CBD products can be extracted without the high or the need for smoking. Nowadays, cannabis-derived CBD products with minimal or no THC content are available, offering symptom relief without impairing cognition.

In addition to THC and CBD, cannabis contains numerous other cannabinoids that hold potential therapeutic benefits. As cannabis legalization expands, we are gradually uncovering the therapeutic properties of these compounds, which appear to be promising in addressing various human ailments.

Can CBD Make You High?

CBD differs from THC in terms of its intoxicating effects. Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, but they interact with our bodies in distinct ways.

THC primarily stimulates CB1 receptors, which often leads to feelings of euphoria, anxiety, or paranoia. In contrast, CBD does not activate CB1 receptors, meaning it does not produce the same euphoric or anxious sensations typically associated with THC consumption.

In fact, CBD can even mitigate some of THC’s less desirable effects by reducing its ability to stimulate CB1 receptors. This makes CBD a valuable tool for individuals who may experience anxiety or memory impairment when using cannabis.

Overall, CBD’s unique interaction with our body’s receptors makes it a non-intoxicating option that can provide therapeutic benefits while minimizing potential adverse effects commonly associated with THC.

How Does CBD Function Within The Brain and Body?

Our bodies possess a system of receptors that engage with cannabinoids, including CBD, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex signaling system that is distributed throughout the body and is responsible for maintaining equilibrium, or homeostasis.

Essentially, the endocannabinoid system acts as a traffic controller, regulating communication within our bodies to ensure balance. Cannabinoids like CBD interact with this system by mimicking the body’s natural compounds called endocannabinoids.

Notably, CBD influences the activity of cannabinoid receptors in the human body and promotes the production of our own endocannabinoids. Furthermore, CBD’s effects extend beyond the endocannabinoid system and can also interact with receptors associated with opioids, dopamine, and serotonin. The diverse range of systems that CBD interacts with suggests its potential to unlock new possibilities in the fields of psychiatry and medicine.

Types of CBD – Hemp Vs. Cannabis

Hemp vs Marijuana: Is There a Difference? | Article | Analytical Cannabis

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CBD is present in both hemp and cannabis plants, and although the molecule itself remains the same regardless of the source, there are notable distinctions between hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD products.

Hemp, commonly used for industrial purposes like clothing and food, is legally recognized at the federal level in the US (subject to local laws in specific states). Consequently, hemp-derived CBD products are widely accessible online, as well as in grocery and drug stores. One advantage of hemp-derived CBD is that it contains only trace amounts of THC, making it appealing to individuals who wish to avoid THC entirely. However, hemp produces a limited range of therapeutic compounds compared to high-resin cannabis. Moreover, the current lack of regulation in hemp products may lead to unreliable potencies, unsubstantiated claims, and questionable ingredients.

On the other hand, cannabis, cultivated for medical or recreational purposes, offers a broader spectrum of therapeutic compounds, present in greater abundance compared to hemp. Cannabis-derived CBD products undergo strict regulation and testing as mandated by state laws. However, these products are only available in states where cannabis is legal, thereby limiting access for consumers residing outside such jurisdictions.

How to Use CBD

CBD is available in various forms, providing flexibility for individuals to incorporate it into their lifestyles. However, it’s important to understand that different CBD delivery methods work differently and may be better suited for specific conditions. Here is an overview of the available options:

CBD oil: CBD oil is a broad term encompassing various products. It is commonly found as a liquid extract in bottles with a dropper, known as tinctures. CBD oil can be placed under the tongue for fast absorption or mixed into food and drinks. Gelcaps are another form of CBD oil that can be swallowed like a supplement, with effects taking longer to kick in. CBD oils are commonly used to address symptoms such as pain, anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness.

CBD edibles: CBD edibles refer to food and beverages infused with CBD oil or isolate. Popular options include infused gummies, chews, sodas, and water. CBD edibles are known for their long-lasting effects, making them popular among individuals managing pain, inflammation, and stress. It’s worth noting that CBD gummies have been found to be the most reliable form in terms of delivering the advertised dose, while CBD-infused waters have shown to be the least reliable.

CBD topicals and lotions: CBD topicals are products applied to the skin for localized relief of pain, inflammation, soreness, and potentially headaches. They come in various forms such as lotions, balms, gels, sprays, oils, creams, and lubricants. Some topicals absorb faster (water-based) while others penetrate more deeply (oil-based). CBD topicals often include additional ingredients like menthol, capsaicin, cayenne, camphor, or other anti-inflammatory cannabinoids.

CBD vapes: CBD vapes can either refer to pre-filled CBD oil cartridges that attach to vape batteries or CBD “juice” designed for use with e-cigarettes. Vaporized CBD provides fast-acting effects, making it suitable for those seeking quick relief from symptoms like anxiety and stress. It’s crucial to be cautious when purchasing CBD vapes, as those sold in legal cannabis stores undergo mandated testing, while products sold online or in non-licensed shops may not adhere to the same regulations.

It’s important to be aware of the ingredients and additives in CBD vaping oils. Alternatively, herbal vaporizers can be used, allowing individuals to enjoy pure CBD flower. High-CBD strains can be found at local cannabis shops in states where it is legal, or smokable hemp flowers containing CBD can be purchased from select online retailers.

What Does CBD Help With?

CBD has gained popularity in the wellness industry as a potential cure-all due to its diverse medical potential. However, it’s important to approach CBD products and their associated medical claims with skepticism, considering the lack of supervision over ingredients and claims. While initial evidence is often based on anecdotal experiences, early research, and animal studies, human studies are starting to shed light on the potential therapeutic applications of CBD. Here’s what we currently understand:

CBD and anxiety: CBD has been touted by many individuals for its potential to relieve anxiety and stress. Research suggests that CBD may be beneficial for anxiety symptoms, possibly by influencing the serotonin system. Vaporizing high-CBD strains or using lab-tested CBD oil may provide quick relief for acute stress and anxiety. Ingesting CBD oil can also help alleviate anxiety, although the effects are not immediate.

CBD and pain: CBD appears to be effective in addressing neuropathic and inflammatory pain. However, it may be less effective for other types of pain. THC, the cannabinoid responsible for euphoria, also provides pain-relieving benefits. Combining CBD and THC in a product may enhance their painkilling effects. Cannabis has shown potential to supplement or replace opioid painkillers and enhance their effects, allowing some patients to reduce their regular dose of pharmaceutical painkillers.

CBD and insomnia: The relationship between CBD and sleep is not yet fully understood. Higher doses of CBD seem to be more effective in promoting sleep compared to lower doses. However, a 160mg dose of CBD has been associated with longer sleep duration, while 25mg showed no effect on insomnia symptoms. CBD may be helpful for sleeplessness caused by pain, anxiety, or stress, providing a calming effect and promoting restful sleep.

CBD and epileptic seizures: CBD has shown promise as an effective treatment for seizures, particularly in children with epilepsy, with minimal adverse effects. In 2018, the FDA approved a CBD-based medicine called Epidiolex for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. While the scientific explanation for CBD’s antiseizure properties is not yet fully understood, anecdotal evidence and early studies support its efficacy.

In summary, while CBD holds potential therapeutic benefits for anxiety, pain, insomnia, and epileptic seizures, further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and to support its effectiveness in these areas. It’s essential to approach CBD products with a critical mindset and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice.

Will CBD Show on a Drug Test?

CBD itself is not typically screened for in drug tests. However, it is still possible to fail a drug test while using CBD products. This is because drug tests primarily look for THC, and many CBD products contain trace amounts of THC.

Even CBD oils derived from hemp, including full-spectrum oils, can contain up to 0.3% THC. While this amount is not enough to cause intoxication, it is possible to fail a drug test for THC if you consume large quantities of CBD oil. It’s important to be aware of this potential risk.

Does this mean you have to completely avoid CBD? Fortunately, that’s not the case. You can opt for broad-spectrum CBD oils or CBD isolates instead. These products have had THC removed while still retaining other cannabinoids and compounds found in the plant. By choosing these options, you can reduce the risk of failing a drug test for THC.

Enrico Bratta

Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.


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Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.