By Stephanie Garr – ORIGINAL POST
As the source of both marijuana and hemp, any substance made from cannabis immediately raises concerns around its legality and safety.
Here we breakdown what CBD oil is, its best uses, and what the early Science can tell us about its reported benefits.
What is CBD Oil?
Also known as cannibidiol, CBD is 1 of over 100 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoid compounds are substances that bind to receptors throughout the body and brain.
Unlike marijuana, CBD oil does not contain THC, the mind-altering compound that gives you the feeling of being high.
The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is not a new concept either. In fact, cannabis has a long medical history dating as far back as 2900 B.C. in China (1).
How is CBD Oil Different from Hemp Seed Oil and Cannabis Oil?
It’s easy to confuse CBD from other cannabis-based oils, but there are significant differences.
- Hemp Seed Oil: The seeds of industrial hemp are cold-pressed to create a nutty-like oil. Only small traces of cannabinoids, including CBD, are present. Hemp seed oil is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. It’s used for cooking, skin-care products and bio-fuels.
- Cannabis Oil: Cannabis oil is typically made from marijuana with a high THC percentage. Therefore, it must be purchased in an area where marijuana is legal or can be obtained with a prescription. The amounts of compounds, including CBD and THC, will drastically vary from product to product. Commercially produced cannabis oils will have more controlled concentrations of CBD and THC for medical purposes.
Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate
One more distinction you may see on CBD oil products is whether it’s full spectrum or isolate.
Full spectrum or whole plant CBD contains all other 100+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts (up to 0.3%) of THC, whereas CBD isolate contains 100% CBD.
Summary: Cannibidiol or CBD is a major compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s extracted from marijuana or hemp, then diluted in oil to create CBD oil. Unlike marijuana or cannabis oil, it does not contain THC, the psychoactive part of the plant that gives you the feeling of being high.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
CBD oil is generally safe, and even chronic use at high doses has shown to be well tolerated by humans (21).
However, you may experience some mild side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea (this may be due to the carrier oil used)
- Changes in appetite and/or weight (22).
There may also be potential interaction with other medicines. Be sure to discuss with your doctor the use of CBD oil alongside any prescription medications.
Most CBD Oil is Not Regulated
Keep in mind that CBD oil is not yet approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
This means any product containing CBD is not regulated, and you could end up purchasing an oil that is mislabeled or of bad quality.
In fact, a recent study analyzed 84 CBD oil products sold online and found that nearly 70% contained either more or less CBD than the label indicated.
Traces of THC (the compound that makes you “high”) were also detected in over 20% of the products, some enough to produce intoxication, especially in children (23).
Summary: CBD oil, even in high doses, is safe, though you may experience mild side effects like tiredness, lightheadedness and changes in appetite or weight. Since CBD is not approved by the FDA, products on the market may be mislabeled or of bad quality.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Yes, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states of the U.S., Canada, and all of Europe (except for Slovakia).
Those in Australia can only obtain CBD oil via prescription.
However, the legality of your CBD product depends on its source and where you live.
If the CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which contains no more than 0.3% THC, it’s legal across the board. On the other hand, if it comes from marijuana, which can contain as much as 30% THC, it’s illegal in most states without a prescription.
Each state has its own laws, which are constantly in flux. Some have specific restrictions on the plant’s THC levels or its medical purpose. This is a good resource to find updated CBD laws by state.
Summary: CBD oil is legal throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe (except for Slovakia), as long as its extracted from the hemp (not marijuana) plant, which contains less than 0.3% THC.
Where Is CBD Oil Sold and How Do You Use It?
Finding and purchasing CBD oil is easy if you live in an area where it’s legal.
The majority of CBD products can be found online and shipped to all 50 states and 40 countries.
When choosing your CBD oil online be sure to carefully look over customer reviews and the company’s background. Stay clear of any product that claims to be a cure-all.
You can also find CBD oil products at specialty retail spots like natural health stores and smoke shops, as well as medical cannabis dispensaries.
How Do You Use CBD Oil?
CBD is available in a number of different forms.
You can ingest it orally through capsules, syrups and teas, or add a drop of the oil to a smoothie, tea or baked goods.
You can also place a drop of CBD oil or an alcohol-based tincture directly on your tongue. This allows your body to absorb the CBD faster.
CBD can also be inhaled through an e-cigarette, vape pen or vaporizer. Vaporizing keeps the oil pure, preventing any harmful by-products, and can enter your bloodstream quickly.
Little is known about proper dosing, but it will depend on the individual and the ailment. There are sites that offer CBD dosage calendars, to give you a good idea of where to start.
Summary: Several CBD oils and CBD-based products, including capsules and topical creams, can be purchased online or at health food stores, smoke shops or cannabis dispensaries.
Should You Try CBD Oil?
A potent compound extracted from the cannabis (marijuana or hemp) plant, CBD already has plenty of stigma around it.
However, it does not contain THC, the substance in marijuana that gets you “high.” Because of this, CBD oil is legal and can be easily bought online or at specialty stores in the U.S., Canada and most of Europe.
However, because of marijuana’s long-time status as an illegal drug, research—especially on humans—is still in its infancy. It’s also important to note that studies focusing purely on CBD are lacking even more so.
Stephanie is a certified nutrition consultant. She graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in journalism and psychology in 2003, and later studied holistic nutrition at Bauman College in Berkeley, California.