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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?
No one’s really sure: “It’s astonishing that there’s still no real consensus on how CBD works,” says McLaughlin. “One thing we do know is that it doesn’t work through the same receptors as THC, and, in fact, seems to have the opposite effect.” THC mainly binds to a certain type of receptor (known as CB1) in the brain. But with CBD, he says, “there seems to be a lot of complex targets”—which means CBD may affect multiple pathways throughout the body.
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.

CBD—or cannabidiol—is a type of cannabinoid, a family of molecules typically associated with marijuana, but in fact, also found in other plants and even humans (in us, they’re called endocannabinoids). There are hundreds of different cannabinoids in marijuana. The best known is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical in marijuana that targets and binds to certain receptors in the brain to give you a high. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-addictive, and it seems to bind to multiple target sites, thereby affecting a range of systems throughout the body.
With the variety of CBD concentrations and other compounds that hemp offers, full spectrum CBD products can cover all ground. If we were to directly compare the two, scientists point out that full spectrum CBD works with the endocannabinoid system entirely. Isolate products, such as crystal, the highest quality cannabidiol and natural ingredients, and will deliver the most amount of CBD to your system at once. Ultimately, preference is subjective to the user’s condition and system.
You need a series of chambers for CO2 extraction. Their role is to control pressure and temperature. The pressure and temperature in the chambers force the CO2 cannabinoid solution to react with one another and then separate. As the cannabinoids separate, the chambers collect them separately. The extractor can then choose which cannabinoids to put into their product or products.

Along with its better-known counterpart, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that produces the marijuana high), CBD is one of more than 400 compounds found in the oils of cannabis plant species, which include marijuana and hemp. Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”

The plants are cultivated and then sent for extraction. Some CBD oil-based products come from whole plant extracts. Others are derived from isolates. Whole plant extraction is self-explanatory. The entire plant is part of the process. Those in the medical communities prefer this method. They believe that a broader spectrum of cannabinoids yields during whole plant extraction. According to medical specialists, capturing the entire cannabinoid spectrum stimulates the endocannabinoid system. They call this the “entourage effect.”
Many people are familiar with cannabidiol (CBD), which is found in highly concentrated amounts in our products, but there are actually dozens of cannabinoids found in hemp, which have shown many benefits in studies. We choose to make all our products with full-spectrum hemp oil, which includes all of the cannabinoids found in the plant, so you don’t miss out on any of the benefits.
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.
Miller, whose clients include patients referred by physicians, uses CBD in a variety of delivery modalities that she has found effective. “Patches can be worn for pain or anxiety management. Capsules or concentrated drops can be taken orally for pain, inflammation, sleep, and anxiety. Balms and creams can be used on the hands and feet to manage arthritic pain. Vaping is another delivery method,” she says.
Full spectrum CBD also contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and fiber. When referring to CBD in the hemp plant, it’s important to understand that hemp contains a large number of cannabinoids (in trace amounts), but the main compound is cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). As CBDa is more abundant in the hemp plant, firms must decarboxylate the oil. This process heats the oil and changes CBDa into CBD.
If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $1 billion by 2020, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
In another, a specific combination of CBD and other secondary cannabinoids were found to work together to slow tumor grown in cases of colon cancer. These sorts of synergistic effects are fairly common in whole plant extracts, and aren’t unique to cannabis. However, the sheer volume of active compounds in cannabis extracts, and their wide-ranging effects certainly distinguish them from other plants.
John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
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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