What is CBD? This question is asked over 60,000 times a month on the internet. So, let’s get you an answer eh?
We’ll keep this extremely basic and easy to understand. Even if you’ve never even heard of CBD, you’ll know what it is, what it does, and what it doesn’t do by the end of this piece.
The entire goal here is to make sure you understand what CBD is, without having a degree in chemistry or plants; or basically anything else.
What to expect from this piece? Well, here’s everything we’re covering:
- What is CBD?
- Is CBD the same as marijuana?
- How does CBD work?
- Is CBD legal?
- Does CBD get you high?
- Why doesn’t CBD get you high?
- What are the different types of CBD?
- What are the benefits and side-effects of CBD?
- How do you take CBD?
- Is CBD safe?
- How to choose the best CBD and CBD oil?
- Do you need a prescription to buy CBD oil? Will it show up on drug tests?
So, let’s get you an answer to what CBD is, right?
What is CBD?
CBD is short for Cannabidiol. It’s one out of over 131 different components found in the Cannabis plant.
CBD is in the talks primarily because of its “all-rounded” benefits. In other words, it supposedly can cure over a dozen different diseases and symptoms in the human body. We’ve enlisted some of its benefits in later sections on this article.
CBD isn’t a new discovery either. It was discovered nearly 80 years ago, in 1940. In fact, Queen Elizabeth had a mandate that farmers must grow hemp in certain quantities on their lands.
You read more with your heart than your brain? Well, we’ve designed something that’s more aesthetically appealing and will explain CBD in short and crisp sentences:
(You may need to click/zoom-in on the image to enlarge it.)
Is CBD the same as marijuana?
This is probably the most asked question around CBD. Is it marijuana? No. It isn’t. They’re two different things. The fact that both CBD and Marijuana come from Cannabis sativa leads to the misconception that they’re the same thing.
CBD comes from “hemp”, which exclusively is obtained from the Cannabis sativa species. On the other hand, Marijuana can come either from Cannabis indica, or from Cannabis sativa.
The primary difference between the two is, Cannabis sativa, the parent for CBD contains high amounts of CBD, and low amounts of THC. If I’ve to be specific, the THC content is <0.3%.
Marijuana on the other hand contains very high THC content. In some cases, more than 60%.
Why is THC such a big deal? Well, it’s what makes marijuana, marijuana. In other words, it’s what makes people high and gets them that euphoric effect it’s known for.
How does CBD work?
In order to understand what is CBD, it’s important you understand how CBD works, right?
To understand the functioning of CBD, you need to first learn what the endocannabinoid System (ECS) is . It’s a biological system in the human body consisting of neurotransmitters and cell receptors.
The ECS is composed of Endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids which are produced automatically and naturally by our bodies.
The ECS is what regulates pain, sleep, anxiety, stress, blood pressure, mood and many other aspects of the human body.
So, while CBD doesn’t directly interact with these receptors in the ECS, it does influence their functioning.
Its ability to influence the ECS is the reason why CBD seems to cure a plethora of problems and diseases. In a nutshell, ECS controls so much of your body, and CBD in a way controls (not exactly, but kind of) the ECS and hence offers all of the CBD benefits.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, and no. CBD legality depends on multiple factors. The primary factor which defines CBD legality is its “source”.
If the CBD is sourced from hemp, it’s legal. That’s so because as discussed earlier, hemp-sourced CBD contains <0.3% THC.
On the other hand, CBD sourced from marijuana is illegal. Again, because it contains more than 0.3% THC. 0.3% THC is the legal yardstick for CBD or CBD-related products.
Another factor which defines CBD legality is your state or region. If you’re serious about CBD legality, the NCSL may help you get an idea of CBD legality in your state.
However, there are two solid proofs that the govt. is indeed liberal for low-THC CBD. First, the FDA approved CBD-drug- Epidiolex.
Secondly, even the TSA allows flying with CBD. So, in a nutshell, yes, CBD is legal given it meets all the other requirements set for it to be legal.
Does CBD get you high?
No, CBD doesn’t get you high. This is one of the primary reasons why CBD is so hyped. How can something that comes from the same plant as marijuana not get you high, right? Seems CBD has its blessings!
Some of you may already have an idea, and, you’re right. (Legal) CBD doesn’t get you high because it contains <0.3% THC. THC, as mentioned earlier, is what actually gets people high.
Why doesn’t CBD get you high?
So, low THC doesn’t make you high. But, “why” doesn’t it make people high? What’s the chemistry behind CBD reacting the way it does? Hey, we respect curiosity. After all, that’s the mother of all inventions, right?
So, the simple explanation here is THC “activates” the CB1 receptors in our brain. This causes the high.
On the other hand, CBD “blocks” THC’s ability to interact with the CB1 receptor. Pretty clear how it keeps people from getting high, right?
Need a more technical answer (for the sake of feeling “sciency” ) maybe? Well, CBD is considered to be a “negative allosteric modulator”. What this means is it “reduces” CB1 activation. Do note that positive allosteric modulators exist as well, CBD however isn’t it.
What are the different types of CBD?
We said we’ll keep it simple, and that I will. There are three primary CBD types:
- Full spectrum
- Broad spectrum
- And Isolate.
Do note that the “types” do not influence the legality of the CBD. They effect the quality, and overall CBD content that the final product has.
The Full spectrum CBD, as the name suggests, is extracted from the entirety of the plant. This includes the stems, flowers, roots etc. It has the largest scope of action in your body because it contains not just THC or CBD; but also CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids.
The easiest definition for broad spectrum CBD is, it’s full spectrum CBD minus THC. If you need a CBD product entirely without THC; this is what you choose. It still contains all the other cannabinoids because it too is extracted from the whole plant. The THC is only separated after the extraction.
Finally, the isolate is the purest form of CBD. It doesn’t contain any other cannabinoid in large quantities and is 99% CBD.
What are the benefits and side-effects of CBD?
Almost no discussion on CBD can be complete without talking of its benefits. Those in a way are the reason why CBD is the talk of the town.
We won’t bore you to death. Rather, let me just list out the common issues that CBD helps with:
- Skin problems
- Issues of the brain
- Seizures (research: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1611618)
- Insomnia etc.
How or why CBD is able to help with those benefits? That we’ve explained in detail in a piece on benefits of CBD oil.
Although, obviously CBD isn’t completely free of side effects. General side effects include:
- Dryness in the mouth
- Weight change
- Hypotension (may be a “benefit” for some).
- Some other effects on pregnant women.
But, these side effects too aren’t common. They only occur in some of the CBD-use cases.
How do you take CBD?
Again, is CBD a tablet? Is it an oil? Is it a tincture? How does a person administer CBD? A legitimate question that is.
What if we said it’s all of the above, and so much more? That’s another one of the CBD miracles. It’s available in more forms than most other similar drugs.
You can take CBD as:
- A tablet
- Gummy bears
- And, you can even smoke it.
Do note that the mode of administration also defines the effect that the CBD will have on you.
Is CBD safe?
If you’re trying to learn what is CBD, you sure are asking if it’s safe to begin with. This article on Forbes establishes that CBD is indeed safe. The WHO report has been included in the article, which says CBD is generally safe without any abuse potential.
The same article also establishes many points we’ve made throughout this article such as the fact that CBD doesn’t get you high.
Also, the side-effects mentioned above do exist. However, they aren’t exactly a reason to label CBD “unsafe”, right?
How to choose the best CBD and CBD Oil?
You’re asking what is CBD, that tells me you’ve recently learned of CBD. So, how do you choose a CBD product that suits you best?
Well, it’s no rocket-science. However, it’s not as simple as buying yourself a pack of cookies either.
The common factors you should consider when choosing CBD are:
- CBD source
- Third-party tests
- Extraction method
- CBD type etc.
If you understood the above points, great! If you didn’t, here’s a very detailed guide on how to choose the best CBD. This will explain each point and factor you need to consider before making your choice.
Do you need a prescription to buy CBD oil? Will it show up on drug tests?
No, CBD doesn’t need a prescription as long as it contains <0.3% THC. Also, CBD doesn’t show up on most drug tests. Again, this is due to its low THC content.
However, if you buy CBD from a shady source, or don’t do your bit when searching for CBD, you may have bought a high-THC product. This may show up on drug tests.
Moreover, CBD’s drug-test results also depend on its purity and the other cannabinoids that your product contains.
However, even if you test positive, the confirmatory test (done after you test positive initially) will likely confirm that you aren’t intoxicated and you wouldn’t be in any legal trouble.
You totally should check our piece on CBD Facts. You’ll be shocked with quite a few of them, and that’s a promise.
Summary- What is CBD?
We sure hope you’ve learnt more about CBD than you did when you arrived on this piece. However, a brief recap? CBD is something that’s found in the Cannabis plant. It has three primary types. It has many benefits. It’s legal. It doesn’t need a prescription. There are a few but rare side-effects to CBD.
And, as we always say, CBD research is pretty thin for now. So, a lot more needs to come to light before we understand CBD fully.
However, if you go through some of our other articles, we promise you’ll have a much better understanding of What is CBD.