Buying online is less reliable still because there’s no regulation or standardization. What you see on the label may not be what you are getting. A 2017 study in JAMA found that of the 84 CBD products researchers bought online, 43% had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less, and some had unexpected THC. “There’s a 75% chance of getting a product where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors.
“What is CBD oil” may be your first question, but the real question we have to answer is, “What does CBD oil do?” CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) or endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s homeostasis, or general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. Like an acrobat on a highwire, as the environment around us impacts our normal balance, the endocannabinoid system “corrects” by mediating our body’s reaction to keep us level.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
In terms of how CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, there a few different techniques that can be used. The most popular used to be by running harsh chemicals like butane (lighter fluid) or hexane over the raw plant material, but people quickly found out that this resulted in trace amounts of carcinogenic compounds (like formaldehyde) being left over in the end product. Not good.

CBD is one of over 110 active cannabinoids inside marijuana plants and is most predominant inside the resin glands (trichomes) of the female cannabis plant. Your body contains cell receptors known as cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids, found in cannabis, are agonists that bind to these receptors. Cannabinoid receptors can be found all over the body including, but not limited to, the:
The key difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains practically zero THC. In fact, in order to be classified as hemp, a cannabis plant must contain less than 0.3% THC by volume. This is really important because it’s actually the reason why hemp products are legal to buy, sell, and ship. If they don’t get you high, then why would they be illegal?
In other words, many popular claims remain unfounded – and overlook the fact that there's a difference between CBD that's studied in labs for particular conditions and CBD products that are sold to consumers for general well-being. "What happens is people say, 'Look, CBD is harmless and it doesn't get me intoxicated, so I'm going to take it for what ails me," says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard physician and CEO of InhaleMD, a Boston-area practice specializing in cannabis therapeutics. "Then they're going to get some perceived benefit because that's the way the placebo effect works, and then they go and trumpet this."

CBD has become quite popular over the last couple of years but despite what you might think, it is only one of the 100+ compounds that have been identified in the Cannabis Sativa L plant. Full Spectrum CBD oil, unlike CBD isolate products, includes a wide range of cannabinoids present in the cannabis or hemp plant. Depending on the condition and what you are looking to achieve, it can provide a greater effect than CBD alone as all the cannabinoids work together in what is known as the entourage effect (more on that later).
If this is not sufficient for calming your symptoms, a gradual increase of another 25 mg per day, over the course of 3-4 weeks, is recommended. While there have been no reports of more serious side effects when this oil is taken in larger concentrations, it is best to slowly increase your dose to find a comfortable and effective level, given your individual characteristics and needs.

Essential fatty acids are necessary for maintaining heart and cardiovascular health. The two primary essential fatty acids — Omega 3 and Omega 6 — are ideally consumed at a ratio of around 3:1. Unfortunately, in the typical American diet, that ratio is close to 25:1. Full-spectrum hemp oil offers the two essential fatty acids in the optimal 3:1 ratio.

Cohen has found that chronic conditions including autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes can be helped with a 6-mg under-the-tongue tincture (the fastest delivery system) or a 25-mg capsule taken twice a day. Dosages for topical products like lotions are especially hard to determine—there’s no clarity on how much CBD gets into the system through the skin.

Not much, as far as humans are concerned—at least not yet. The vast majority of studies have been on animals, as of yet, and there are few high-quality studies on humans. Even the oil’s effect on pain—something that CBD oil is popularly used for—isn’t proven. “The studies available are small or not well designed,” says Dr. Devinsky. “There’s a lot of religion out there, but not a lot of data.”


So, many of CBD's popularized benefits aren't well-proven. But are there any harms in trying CBD-containing products? In a word, yes. While any reported side effects from CBD alone are minor (think dry mouth and dizziness), they can be serious if the CBD products interact with other medications, experts say. Since CBD is metabolized by the same enzyme in the liver that metabolizes many conventional medicines and supplements, the chemical can cause the levels of other drugs in the system to rise; in some cases – like for those taking a drug to prevent their bodies from rejecting a donor organ – to a deadly level, Tishler says.
"If it proved effective for anxiety, depression and panic disorder, it may have other effects as well that could be useful and beneficial [but] this is a really early stage," says David Shurtleff, the acting director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. His organization's stance: "Take it one step at a time and do the work and really state where we are right now with the research," he says.
These studies conclude that “the higher efficiency of plant extract can be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD, terpenes, and the minor phytocannabinoids or non-cannabinoids presented in the extracts. …because other phytocannabinoids, including Tetrahydrocannabivarin, Cannabigerol and Cannabichromene, as well as mono- and sesquiterpenes, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest and the therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse effects.”
Lab techs use state of the art equipment to create phase changes in carbon dioxide by utilizing temperature and pressure. The carbon dioxide is cooled and compressed to upwards of 10,000 psi – by comparison your car tire is pressurized to about 300 psi. When compressed to these extremes, CO2 becomes ‘supercritical’, which simply means that it converts to liquid when placed under extreme pressure.
In terms of how CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, there a few different techniques that can be used. The most popular used to be by running harsh chemicals like butane (lighter fluid) or hexane over the raw plant material, but people quickly found out that this resulted in trace amounts of carcinogenic compounds (like formaldehyde) being left over in the end product. Not good.

Answering the question “what is CBD oil” would be incomplete without mentioning the many CBD oil benefits. In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. You can even find CBD for pets that is specially formulated to safely allow your pets to experience the natural benefits of CBD. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in CBD and cannabis in our medical marijuana news section.

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