If you're like many people, you have heard a lot about the ability of Cannabidiol (CBD) to help boost your health, but aren't quite sure how it works. We've put together a Beginner's Guide to provide you with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CBD. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about using this powerful compound to manage your overall wellness, no matter where you're at on your wellness journey.
Here's what you'll learn in our Beginner's Guide to CBD:
- What is CBD
- The difference between hemp and marijuana
- CBD's legal status
- CBD and drug testing
- Types of CBD
- Popular CBD products
- CBD dosing
- The main system CBD works through in your body
- CBD's many positive effects on your mind-body health
Let's take a look at how CBD can help support you along your personal wellness path.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a natural essential oil found in the cannabis plant. It's also scientifically classified as a cannabinoid, which means it is a compound that works as a signaling agent in your body to help keep you in an optimal state of balance. CBD's ability to regulate hormones, compounds, and receptors in the body have made it a popular alternative therapy for various conditions. Cannabis has been used medicinally since ancient times, with documentation dating as far back as 1,800 years!
How does it do all this? We'll get to that in a moment, but first, let's address a few of the most popular questions we get asked about CBD.
Will CBD Get Me High? Understanding Hemp vs. Marijuana
No, CBD will not get you high. This is because it comes from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant, which by federal law contains less than 0.3% of THC, the compound responsible for getting you "high". The THC compound is typically found in higher levels in the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant.
The key difference between hemp and marijuana is that they each have different "blueprints" or distributions of the same compounds, most notably THC. Technically, both hemp and marijuana are from the Cannabis Sativa species, which is often just shortened to cannabis. The three main subspecies of Cannabis Sativa that hemp and marijuana strains come from are called Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis.
The methods used to extract CBD from the cannabis plant helps ensure that the product you receive is either pure CBD or CBD mixed with other non-intoxicating, health-boosting compounds. Because CBD contains no THC, you will not experience any psychedelic effects. In fact, CBD has actually been shown to decrease the intoxicating effects of THC.
Is CBD Legal?
This is a great question and it has a 2-part answer.
First, CBD that's obtained from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant is legal at the federal level. The 2018 Hemp Farming Act made it legal to harvest and produce CBD from hemp plants that contain a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Prior to this law, hemp was lumped in with marijuana as a schedule I drug on the Controlled Substance Act. Because numerous research studies have shown the health benefits of CBD and other hemp compounds, the pressure was successfully put on Congress to change its status.
Second, the 2018 Hemp Farming Act still gives each state the authority to make its own laws regarding hemp and the products derived from it, including CBD. This means that you must defer to your state's policy. Many states have legalized CBD, either through direct state laws or by deferring to the federal 2018 Hemp Farming Act.
There are essentially 3 levels of CBD legalization. You can check your state's legal status here.
- CBD sourced from the hemp variety of cannabis for any use (medical or recreational): Legal in most states. A few states have conditional provisions regarding using hemp-sourced CBD, including Idaho, Wisconsin, Florida, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
- CBD sourced from the marijuana variety of cannabis for medical use: Legal in some states.
- CBD sourced from the marijuana variety of cannabis for recreational use: Legal with provisions in Alaska, California, D.C., Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Will CBD Show Up on Drug Tests?
No. Pure CBD does not show up on the commonly used drug tests because it's not a rooting compound or a byproduct of THC.
As we'll see next, there are some CBD blends that contain other health-boosting compounds that are found in hemp. One of these compounds is called CBN, and it's a non-intoxicating byproduct of THC. Although it won't get you high, it may cause a drug test to come back positive for THC.
If you're subject to drug testing, your best bet is to choose a pure CBD isolate. This essentially "isolates" CBD from the other cannabis compounds during the extraction process so that there's no possibility of THC byproducts showing up on your test.
Types of CBD
In addition to CBD, there are over 200 health-boosting compounds found in hemp. These include the terpenes and flavonoids that give the plant its unique aroma, color, and flavor. Terpenes have been scientifically shown to create an entourage effect when combined with CBD, which means that they help positively boost each other's therapeutic effects when taken together.
Because of these combined effects, different types of CBD are available to meet your wellness needs.
Full-Spectrum CBD Blends
Full-spectrum CBD includes the entire range of terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant. Because of the entourage effect, full-spectrum are the blends of choice for those seeking the most potent natural therapy to manage their healthcare needs.
Broad Spectrum CBD Blends
Broad-spectrum blends contain all the health-boosting compounds found in full-spectrum blends, except the trace amounts of THC are filtered out for those seeking a THC-free oil due to personal or professional considerations. Some broad-spectrum blends may also filter out the non-intoxicating cannabinoids that are root compounds or byproducts of THC.
Pure Isolate CBD
This is pure CBD, with no other ingredients from the hemp plant included in the oil. It's a great choice for those with a sensitivity to terpenes and flavonoids and is also free from THC and any of its roots or byproducts. A pure isolate is a budget-friendly option that offers all of CBD's wide-ranging benefits.
Popular CBD Products
Typically labeled as just CBD, cannabidiol is full, broad, or isolate CBD without any additional infusions.
This is full, broad, or isolate CBD infused with a carrier oil such as coconut oil for use in cooking, topicals, or as a budget-friendly CBD option to take for day-to-day health maintenance.
Great for those who are always on-the-go, capsules can be CBD blends or a pure isolate, and offer the convenience of a pre-measured dosage.
Edibles are either foods infused with CBD or candy-infused CBD such as gummy bears. They combine a healthy snack with delicious flavors, and some offer serving size information for easy dosing, just like capsules.
Basic Dosing Information
Your best option with CBD is to practice "microdosing" – that is, start with a low dose to determine your sensitivity levels, and then increase your milligrams in increments every few weeks to determine what dosage works best for you. It's also a good idea to consult your healthcare practitioner to help determine dosing levels, especially if you're dealing with a specific health condition.
How Does CBD Work to Positively Impact Health?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
For anyone in school before the mid-1990s, it may be surprising to learn that we have a coordinated system of receptors, compounds, and enzymes that help positively regulate many of our body's main processes. In 1991, a research team studying the effects of cannabis on the human body began to piece together data that led to the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System.
Because they first uncovered this system while studying cannabis, they decided to name it after the naturally-occurring cannabinoid compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. Since that time, loads of information has been revealed about how important CBD is in keeping our ECS in an optimal state of homeostasis, or balance.
CBD has been shown to help raise levels of one of the key signaling compounds in our ECS. A strong ECS supports all kinds of positive health benefits, from improving appetite and regulating immunity to reducing pain and anxiety.
We hope you learned a lot from our Beginner's Guide to CBD. Want to learn more about CBD for use as a natural alternative therapy? Take a look at 'The Science Behind CBD: Breaking Down How It Works to Elevate Health'. You can also check out these scientifically-based CBD Learning Resources: