What is cannabidiol (CBD) oil?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of about 540 active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil can be extracted from all types of cannabis plants, but the CBD oil used in most over-the-counter (OTC) products is extracted from hemp. Hemp is a word used to describe any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC.
As of 2018, CBD products are no longer considered controlled substances if they come from hemp. But some states still have restrictions on their sale and use. CBD is considered a dietary supplement by the FDA. This means even though you can buy it OTC, the safety and purity isn’t regulated. You can learn more about choosing a quality CBD product here.
All CBD oil falls into one of three main categories:
Full-spectrum CBD: A full-spectrum oil contains CBD along with all of the other active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. This includes terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids, including THC. But only full-spectrum CBD products with less than 0.3% THC can be sold OTC.
Broad-spectrum CBD: These products are similar to full-spectrum CBD, but they don’t contain any THC. They may contain other cannabinoids though, such as CBG or CBN.
CBD isolate: These products only contain CBD — no other active ingredients from the cannabis plant are included. Often, CBD isolate is man-made, it’s not extracted from cannabis or hemp plants at all.
CBD oil is used to make most CBD products. This can range from capsules, gummies, and brownies to lotions, vape cartridges, and sublingual drops. Each of these products works differently in your body.
What does CBD do in the body?
It’s not entirely known how CBD works in the body. It’s considered a “multi-target” compound, because it interacts with several different types of receptors in the body. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This is part of the reason it seems to have such a wide variety of uses.
But CBD doesn’t interact with the body the same way that THC does. That’s why CBD doesn’t cause the same intoxicating effects as THC. In fact, CBD seems to lessen the psychoactive effects of THC.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
The most common conditions people take CBD for include:
Substance use disorders
Seizure disorders that don’t respond to prescription medication
For some people, CBD may also cause a placebo effect. This happens when a person expects a medication to work, even if it doesn’t actually do anything in the body. Studies on anxiety and pain showed that when people were told they received CBD, their symptoms improved — even if they didn’t actually receive it. So approaching CBD with a positive mindset may be as helpful as CBD itself.