What is CBD?

What is CBD?


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is having a moment, gaining in popularity in the U.S. since the passage of the USDA Farm Bill in December 2018. The Farm Bill legalized CBD possession and use in the United States, and it is everywhere now.


What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?


CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds found in Cannabis sativa and industrial hemp plants. For CBD to be considered federally legal, it must be procured from the industrial hemp plant and contain less than 0.3 percent THC.  


CBD derived from the Cannabis sativa plant is legal in U.S. states where recreational cannabis use is allowed and usually contains some THC as well as CBD. 


CBD derived from industrial hemp plants is considered a non-intoxicant because it does not make the user feel “high,” as the cannabinoid THC does. However, it shares many beneficial traits of THC, such as the ability to relieve pain and anxiety.


How Does CBD Work?


CBD enters the body and acts on the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors work like a “lock and key” system, where cannabinoids provide the key to unlock the CB1 and CB2 receptors. You can learn more about the ECS here: {link to ECS blog}


Many individuals experience dysfunction of the ECS and do not naturally produce enough cannabinoids to maintain the proper function of the body. This phenomenon is known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. When the CB1 and CB2 receptors do not have enough cannabinoids acting on them, they cannot be “unlocked” and may cause unwanted symptoms.  


If cannabinoid deficient is present in an individual, the deficiency will often manifest as unwanted physiological symptoms. Using CBD will boost the level of cannabinoids available to “unlock” ECS receptors and, in turn, return the body to homeostasis.


What exactly is a consumer purchasing when buying into the CBD phenomenon? 


All CBD consumers must understand their CBD sourcing while recognizing that hemp, industrial hemp, and cannabis are three completely different, yet related things. We are going to clarify CBD while providing you tips on how to recognize that what you’re buying is safe and responsibly manufactured, keeping your health top of mind.


Hemp? Marijuana? Cannabis? These three terms can get confusing within themselves. Both hemp and marijuana are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, and this is where the similarities end, while still staying under the cannabis umbrella. 


Marijuana, which we will refer to as cannabis, grows broad leaves, dense (smokeable) buds, and has a short, bushy appearance. On the other hand, hemp grows slender leaves that are concentrated towards the top of the plant, with the overall plant growing taller and thinner than marijuana. There are few branches beneath its upper portion.


It doesn’t sound obvious, but once you know the difference, it’s easy to spot hemp versus cannabis.


Composition Differences


Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent), while cannabis contains THC anywhere from 10 percent to upwards of 30 percent (with many growers taking on the challenge to surpass this level of potency).


Cannabinoids are contained in both hemp and cannabis, with companies taking advantage of the CBD or the cannabidiol cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis. One common misconception in the CBD world is that hemp CBD and cannabis CBD are the same, and it’s important that consumers know the difference.


Hemp is much lower in concentration of CBD than cannabis, with hemp plants containing only 3 to 5 percent CBD. Cannabis-derived CBD, however, has a much higher CBD concentration, with percentages ranging anywhere from 18 to 20 percent CBD. 


Know Your Source


Get the most out of your CBD choices and what’s available to you by following these tips:


  1. Look for broad, and full-spectrum products
  • Whether you’re sourcing hemp- or cannabis-derived CBD, always opt for broad or full-spectrum products. Broad-spectrum products utilize cannabinoids and contain isolated CBD. The THC content has been completely removed in broad-spectrum products.
  • Full-spectrum products utilize ALL parts of the plant, including inactivated THC (that won’t produce a high), other cannabinoids and terpenes, offering an increased therapeutic and medicinal value than CBD isolate alone.
  1. Find out your sourcing
  • There are rules that hemp companies need to follow when offering CBD. The FDA has put out strict regulations about the products that are being sold, and only products that are grown within the USA may obtain certified organic status.
  1. Read reviews
  • Look to your peers to know what works and what doesn’t. Reports are available on products that have traction and are producing real value for consumers. Research for reliable companies and question all direct claims!
  1. Be a conscious CBD consumer
  • Get to know the cannabis plant and what it can offer you as you take your journey to physical and emotional well-being through CBD. Empower yourself by researching the products that are provided to you in the cannabis space, and don’t always believe everything you read. These tips will help protect you as a cannabis consumer in making the right choices to meet your health and wellness needs.
  • Know that it is not legal for companies to make conclusive claims about CBD, and in November 2019, the FDA issued warning notices to 15 companies for unsubstantiated claims.


How is CBD Consumed?


CBD can be found in various forms including in oils, tinctures, creams, lotions, capsules,

patches, edibles, and more.


CBD is typically taken orally as with oils, tinctures, and capsules; however, CBD can also

be vaporized and is available as a liquid for vape pens. The benefits of CBD are slower to

manifest when it is ingested orally as opposed to vaping. Vaping CBD allows the

cannabinoid to enter the bloodstream and reach ECS receptors almost



Enjoy Relief Without the High


If an individual is looking to return their body to homeostasis and manage unwanted

symptoms without the associated “high” experienced with THC, CBD is a great



CBD can safely be taken throughout the day without experiencing intoxication. CBD

helps to manage a vast array of symptoms and thus it is excellent at improving feelings of overall wellness.


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