CBD oil is a thick, sticky oil made from cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid – an active chemical compound found in cannabis.
The oil is widely used for therapeutic purposes like palliative care and neurodegenerative disorder treatment. CBD oil is typically extracted from the resin glands or trichomes of the cannabis leaves, buds and flowers.
Cannabidiol can come from marijuana and hemp which are two related forms of the cannabis plant. Cannabis is one of the oldest domesticated crops; civilizations have grown different varieties for medicinal and industrial purposes. Tall and sturdy varieties were grown for foods, oils and textiles. This type of cannabis plant is what we now know as hemp. Other varieties which were known for their psychoactive properties were bred for religious and medicinal uses. These varieties are now known as marijuana.
Compared to hemp, marijuana has much more THC or tetrahydrocannabinol which is the cannabinoid that is responsible for giving that high. Marijuana often has more CBD than hemp as well. CBD is harder to extract from hemp because it has narrower and fewer leaves. Cannabidiol sourced from either cannabis types has the same chemical structure though, so the effect on the body is the same.
It is important to note that hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil. Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant and contains little to no CBD or THC.
Cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis and processed into oil.
Some CBD oil products on the market are whole plant extracts which simply means that the entire plant is used for extraction. This process captures a wider spectrum of cannabinoids. Many in the medical community believe that a wider spectrum of cannabinoids encourage the ‘entourage effect’. It is believed that when combined, the therapeutic impact of the whole cannabis plant is greater than the sum of single cannabinoid molecule extracts.
Other products are pure CBD and use an extraction method that isolates the cannabidiol. These isolates rely only on the effectiveness of the single cannabinoid molecule extract.
There are two popular CBD extraction methods used on cannabidiol oil products: alcohol extraction and CO2 extraction.
Alcohol extraction requires the plant material to be soaked in alcohol, typically ethanol. After soaking, the plant material is removed and the remaining liquid is full of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. The alcohol is then evaporated until only the oil remains. This is the process typically used for wide spectrum CBD oil products.
CO2 extraction is a more complicated process that requires more skill and a specialized apparatus. Simply put, CO2 is forced through the material to extract the cannabinoids. The process also enables the extract to separate cannabinoids and get only the compounds they desire for the product’s recipe
After extraction, producers would then add flavorings to the oil to make it better tasting and more appealing to consumers. The raw oils may also be diluted to have varying strengths to accommodate customers.
As a CBD oil consumer, your main concern should be where the plant material used for producing the product is sourced.
As already stated above, CBD oils can be derived from either cannabis (marijuana) or hemp.
People who live where cannabis is legal can buy marijuana-derived CBD oils from licensed dispensaries. Only products that are compliant with the state’s marijuana regulations are sold in these dispensaries. Meaning that CBD oils derived from cannabis sold in legal dispensaries are thoroughly lab tested, well packaged, and the entire process of production (from plant growing to packaging) is tracked by the METRC. Buying from regulated dispensaries offers assurances that the cannabidiol product is safe. And if you prefer wide or full spectrum CBD oil products, you are very likely to get these from such dispensaries.
Marijuana-derived CBD products have enough THC content (higher than 0.3%) to be considered psychoactive though and are classified the same as regular THC products. Using CBD oils taken from cannabis may also make you test positive to THC.
For people in states where cannabis is not yet legal, they can buy hemp-derived CBD oils. CBD oils sourced from hemp can be sold nationwide to people over 18 years of age because it is technically legal due to its low THC content (0.3% and less). However, there are still some states that do not allow the selling of hemp CBD oils and this is mainly due to a misunderstanding on the difference between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived cannabidiol. It is important to do your own research and find out if your state allows the selling and buying of CBD oils.
Also, if you have found a seller of hemp CBD oils, it is also necessary to try and find out where and how the source hemp was grown. The hemp plant is a bio-accumulator which means it absorbs toxins that may be present in the soil where it grows. Since sellers of hemp CBD oil products are not regulated, it becomes your responsibility as the buyer to make sure that the product is safe for you to take.
As of 2018, hemp-based CBD products have been legalized on a national level.
However, each federal state has its own rule regarding the use of CBD.
The above information is up to date as of this writing. However, as laws change every now and then, it is very important to be aware of your own state’s laws regarding CBD use.
There’s a system in the human body called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It is composed of cell receptors that interact with cannabinoids. These receptors are usually concentrated in the central nervous system but are also present in various organs like the reproductive organs, digestive tract and skin.
The ECS is responsible for mood regulation, motor control, appetite, sleep, memory, immune function, bone development, reproduction and pain perception. It has four main functions, namely:
When CBD oil is consumed, the cannabidiol will communicate with the receptors that make up the ECS, producing widespread effects such as pain relief, mental clarity, relaxation and happiness. CBD, unlike THC, does not act on cell receptors directly; instead, it encourages the body to use more of its own cannabinoids. Because of this, cannabidiol is believed to have a lot of potential health benefits.
Due its anti-seizure properties and low risk of side-effects, CBD is being studied for its possible role in treating epilepsy and related neuropsychiatric disorders like neuronal injury, neurodegeneration and psychiatric diseases.
The Journal of Experimental Medicine published a study which found that CBD significantly lowered chronic pain and inflammation in some mice and rats. The study suggested that the non-psychoactive CBD could be key to a new and natural way to treat chronic pain.
An increasing number of people who suffer from diseases like Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) find that they are able to cope better with their symptoms when they medicate with CBD oil products.
THC is known to trigger and even intensify anxiety and paranoia in some people with chronic anxiety which is why they are advised to avoid cannabis. But according to this review from Neurotherapeutics, CBD may help lower the anxiety of patients with certain anxiety disorders. These disorders include panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Current medications for these disorders are known to have adverse effects, and patients may stop taking these medications because of these negative effects. Cannabidiol on the other hand has no adverse effects in these cases as of yet.
CBD can potentially help fight cancer. This is according to a review in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. It noted that cannabidiol seems to block cancer cells from invading an area and further spreading around the body. The compound also appears to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote the death of such cells. Due to these findings, the researchers have called for further study on CBD as an anti-cancer agent.
When the body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, it causes inflammation which in turn results to Type 1 Diabetes. This research found that cannabidiol may ease the inflammation in the pancreas in people with T1 Diabetes, shedding a light in the possibility of a CBD-based treatment for this condition.
CBD has the potential to prevent the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms as evidenced by this research. The researchers found that cannabidiol was able to prevent the development of social recognition deficit in the research participants. They concluded that this cannabinoid compound can potentially prevent patients who are in the early stages of this disease from forgetting the faces of the people they know.
Addictive Behaviors posted an initial study showing how CBD can help smokers quit the habit for good. The subjects who used an inhaler containing CBD smoked less and less but did not have increased nicotine craving.
Researchers in this study found that cannabidiol shows a lot of promise for people who are addicted to opioids. CBD was noted to reduce some withdrawal symptoms experienced by substance abusers including insomnia, anxiety, mood symptoms and pain.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory property can help treat acne. Acne is caused by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands. The cannabis compound can help lower the body’s sebum production, thus helping in the treatment of the most common form of acne – acne vulgaris.
CBD oil products come in different types and delivery methods. These types are tinctures, capsules, creams, gums, patches and vape oils. Each of these is effective for certain things.
CBD oil tinctures are the most commonly used cannabidiol products. The oil is taken sublingually or mixed in a food or drink. This type of cannabidiol oil is commonly used by patients to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain, inflammation, muscle spasms and seizures. Some CBD oil tinctures offer a lower concentration of CBD and can be a good product to start if you’re just trying out CBD for the first time.
CBD oil in capsule form is the best option for individuals who struggle with dosing and who do not like the taste of the oil. Capsules are also convenient to take – just pop one or two a day to manage pain, stress, anxiety and other conditions you need to take CBD for.
CBD oils processed into creams are available for people who need to apply the cannabinoid transdermally. Creams infused with cannabidiol oils are used for inflammation, pain and any soreness in a particular part of the body. This delivery method can also help ease headaches, itching and dermatitis. Athletes use the cream for sport-related injuries.
The CBD in the cream does not reach the bloodstream; instead it influences the cannabinoid receptors in the skin. CBD creams are usually prepared with mint and cayenne.
Gums that contain CBD oil are also available and these are used for treating various symptoms including nausea, anxiety, pain and vomiting. This method of delivery – chewing the gum – is very effective and a quick way for the cannabidiol to be absorbed into the body because the CBD comes in direct contact to the mucosal membranes of the mouth.
CBD oil patches are medicated adhesives that are placed on the skin to promote healing to certain areas of the body that are injured. Although a topical method, unlike creams, the cannabidiol in the patch can penetrate the skin and reach the bloodstream. This delivery method is highly ideal for treating inflammation and addressing pain.
This method of delivery is gaining popularity because of the way vaping allows the CBD to enter the lungs and be directly diffused into the bloodstream. When ingested sublingually or in capsule form, the CBD does not reach the bloodstream immediately; it first passes through the gut and liver, and a fraction of it is lost in the process. But when vaped, more of the cannabidiol can quickly get into your bloodstream.
Vaping CBD oil is best for symptoms that you’d want to quickly dissipate like pain, nausea and anxiety.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not assign a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD. Therefore, in compliance with the FDA, CBD product creators do not provide an RDI or a Daily Value of their own. Instead, their products come with a “suggested serving size” which widely vary and are there only to help you get to your daily CBD goal.
Like with most substances, people with more body mass will need more cannabidiol to experience the compound’s effects. Therefore, a good way to start determining the ideal dosage for you is to estimate it based on how much you weigh.
The guys at Honest Marijuana created a table of dosage suggestions based on your weight and the severity of your pain. This is a good place to start with your own CBD dosing and you can adjust up or down accordingly.
As with starting any supplement routine, it is best to always start small and take it slowly. Once you determined a dosage you’d like to start with, stick to it for three days to allow your body time to react to the cannabidiol. Depending on the effects that you observe, adjust your dosage up or down for the next 3-day period. If you feel no discomfort, you can increase your dosage gradually until you hit the dosage that works for your condition best.
It’s actually very difficult to overdose on cannabidiol and to date; there had been no report of someone fatally overdosing from CBD or any cannabinoid for that matter. It would take ingesting around 50,000 mg of CBD in a single dosage to overdose from this compound. And even if you can get a hold of that much pure CBD somehow, there is really no reason for you to have to take that much.
With that said though, it is possible to experience some side effects if you take more CBD than your body can take. Typical side effects are drowsiness, lethargy, upset stomach and diarrhea. Decreasing CBD intake will make these negative effects go away.
To summarize, cannabidiol or CBD is a ‘miracle’ cannabinoid that has many potential medical benefits. People suffering from conditions like epilepsy, anxiety, T1 diabetes, FMS, MS, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer can potentially benefit from the use of CBD products. Cannabidiol products can come from either marijuana or hemp plants and have the exact same effect. Most people prefer the entourage effect they get from wide spectrum marijuana derived CBD oil products compared to hemp derived CBD that has lower amounts of other cannabinoids.
Though on National level, CBD is already technically legal, the legal status of CBD products can still be quite confusing on state level. Different states have different regulations on the allowed usage of CBD products derived from either hemp or marijuana. What to keep in mind is that most states in the USA allow CBD oil products that are approved by the FDA. Some states have specific rules in place when it comes to the type of CBD oil product they allow, i.e., must come from hemp only or must contain a certain percentage of THC. In Wisconsin, if you’re not careful, you might even end up in jail. So stay on the safe side and be aware of the regulations pertaining cannabidiol products in your own state or anywhere you are planning on purchasing these products.
CBD oil products come in various forms and application methods. There is no Recommended Daily Intake but dosage can be determined by one’s weight. Based on Americans’s average weight, suggested daily CBD dosage for mild pain is between 12 to 18 mg. Overdosing fatally on cannabidiol is nearly impossible but side effects may be experienced if one takes more than a sensible amount of CBD oil.