CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis known as cannabinoids. These compounds are found in specific ratios that are determined according to the exact strain of cannabis the oil is refined from.
Although CBD oil can be made from strains of cannabis for recreational or medical uses, also known as marijuana, it usually isn’t. Most CBD oil is refined from industrial hemp, a strain of cannabis that is deliberately bred to have low levels of one specific cannabinoid: THC.
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is probably the most famous compound found in cannabis because it is associated with the psychoactive properties of marijuana. In other words, THC is what gets a person high when they use recreational marijuana.
However, unlike THC, cannabinol is not psychoactive, and it won’t get you high.
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CBD Oil, Hemp Oil, Hempseed Oil: What’s the Difference?
You may see several products that can be confusing at first glance. Here is a fast primer:
Hempseed oil is usually sold as a nutritional supplement because it is very high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with other nutrients such as iron, vitamin E and calcium. It does not, however, contain much more than trace amounts of the cannabinoid CBD.
Hemp Oil and CBD oil are often used interchangeably to describe a product that is refined from industrial hemp to include the cannabinoid CBD (and in some cases other cannabinoids) found in this strain of cannabis. The concentration of CBD in these products can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another so be sure to research the best CBD oils before you buy.
Finally, you may sometimes see products labeled marijuana oil or THC oil. These are oils that are refined from either medical or recreational grades of cannabis and often contain large amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient. These products are illegal in most states and require a prescription in others. Although they do usually contain some CBD in them, it is not the target of the refinement process.
CBD Isolate Verses Full Spectrum CBD Oil
There are basically two types of CBD oil to be aware of, depending on your needs. The first are those products based on a CBD isolate. In these products, the specific cannabinoid CBD is isolated using several chemical processes, then added to a carrier oil.
CBD isolates offer the advantage of giving extremely precise and consistent dosing. They also contain no other cannabinoids, which can be helpful for those that need to avoid THC all together (for example, if they have drug testing at work for marijuana).
On the other hand, you will find full spectrum CBD on the market as well. These products are made using a refining process that preserves the full cannabinoid profile found in the source plant. This includes Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), and more.
Research on the health benefits of the various cannabinoids found in trace amounts in cannabis is still in its nascent stage. However, there is some research that suggests that full spectrum CBD oil may have enhanced health benefits, known as the entourage effect.
Full spectrum CBD oils often have trace amounts of THC in them, however, it is not enough to cause any psychological effects, such as a “high.”
Ways to Consume CBD Oil
Tinctures: The most popular way to take CBD oil is in the form of the raw oil, usually sold in small bottles with eye-dropper caps. These drops can be taken under the tongue, called sublingual dosing, for fast acting results that are usually felt within 5-10 minutes. The drops can also be added to food or drinks, although the effects take longer to feel because of needing to pass through the full digestive process.
Edibles: Many companies are now making a variety of edible products, including gummies, candies, baked goods and drinks that contain CBD in them. They can be on the pricey side. If you want to give them a try, be sure to check out my full CBD edibles review for the best products.
Capsules: A lot of people love taking their CBD in pill form because this way they know they are getting the exact same dosage every time. Plus, they are super convenient to remember to take with daily medications. Capsules come in a variety of doses ranging from 10mg to 50 mg. Check out my full review of the best CBD capsules to find top deals.
Vaping and Dabbing: Both of these methods are ways of smoking CBD using specific products and gear designed for this purpose. This tends to be a popular method for ex-smokers and millennials, although others also enjoy it. Difficult to gauge in terms of dosing, these are probably not the best ways for beginners to try CBD. If you want to give them a try, check out my full guide to CBD vape products.
Topicals: You can also apply CBD oil directly to the skin where it interacts with several natural processes transdermally to provide pain and inflammation relief. In addition, some conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema may improve from this natural supplement. Visit my guide for the best CBD skin care products to learn more.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
There has been research on CBD since it was first discovered in the 1930’s. However, it has really been the last 20 years or so that an explosion in the research has revealed a seemingly ever expanding list of potential health benefits for this compound found in cannabis.
It might sound too good to be true when you hear that one substance could have such a wide range of potential health benefits. However, it turns out that cannabinoids are designed to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), an entire regulatory system that is critical for many natural processes in the body.
In fact, research has demonstrated that CBD may be beneficial for the following conditions:
- Depression and anxiety
- Pain and inflammation
- Seizures and muscle spasticity
- Psoriasis and eczema
- Sleep disorders
If you really want to dive down deep into the specific conditions that CBD oil may help with, then be sure to visit my archive of condition by condition articles. Each of these articles explains the actual scientific research concerning that specific health condition, linking to the research studies themselves so you can learn more.
It is my goal to build an online resource for those that want to learn more about the natural supplement, CBD. Would you like to see more included in this guide that I didn’t cover? Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know!
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.