cannabidiol cbd molecule

What is CBD: Everything You Need to Know About Cannabidiol

CBD is quickly becoming a popular option for people looking to use cannabis for medical purposes. From serious illnesses like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy to more common conditions like anxiety and insomnia, CBD products are demonstrating the wide range of medicinal benefits cannabis has to offer.

CBD products are also trending in the health and wellness sectors because many people are looking to get the medicinal benefits without the high of smoking weed or side effects of prescriptions.

This guide will get you up to speed on all things CBD, including what it is, how it’s consumed, and what effects it has on your body.

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

hand holding a cannabis leaf

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is one of 100+ known compounds found in the cannabis plant. Along with THC, it is also one of the most common compounds in cannabis. 

With friendlier laws around cannabis recently, more research studies and clinical trials are being conducted to learn about the various benefits and effects of cannabinoids.

Quick History of Cannabidiol

The use of cannabis plants is seen through out history dating all the way back to 2700BC.  However, it wasn’t until the modern era that cannabidiol was identified.

The discovery of Cannabidiol was by British chemist Robert S. Cahn in 1940.  Two short years later, Roger Adam’s and his team at the University of Illinois successfully extracted isolated CBD.  Adam’s was also credited with being the first to identify the THC compound. During early studies scientist could not differentiate between the effect of the compounds.  In 1963 and 1964 Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified the stereochemistry of CBD then THC respectively.

The passage of New Mexico’s 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act allowed momentum to continue for many research teams now having a legal state to conduct cannabis studies.  As a result, in the 1980’s Dr. Mechoulam had major success in his studies using CBD for people with epilepsy.  Unfortunately, at the time it was not published as a major break through.  However, now is the basis for much cannabis research.

In 1988 the endocannabinoid system was discovered.  Consequently, researchers found the CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the human body.  This discovery propelled our current modern day medical marijuana status.  In 1996, California became the first state to pass medical marijuana laws with 7 other states to follow suite within 4 years.

The 2018 Farm Bill passing made CBD legal at the federal level.  Scientists continue to do studies on cannabinoids promising a long future to add to cannabis’ long history.

Top 5 CBD Benefits Reported for Health

cannabidiol for medical application

More and more people are beginning to use CBD for its many health benefits.  As a result, you can find thousands of personal testimonials online where people share their experiences with CBD as part of their health regiment.  

Studies are now finding that cannabinoids from the marijuana plant have higher medicinal properties due to the entourage effect. This occurs when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes are utilized and work together to provide more potent results.  

Scientific evidence shows CBD benefits range across many different health issues.

Sleep Disorders and Conditions

CBD has been reviewed for its effectiveness in treating negative sleep conditions and sleeping patterns, and the findings up to this point have been positive. There are specific types of sleep apnea related to serotonin issues that it seems to alleviate, as well as excessive daytime sleepiness, PTSD-associated nightmares, and even REM sleep disorders.

Stress and Anxiety

The calming effects of cannabidiol have been linked to reducing stress and anxiety in some cases. After a double blind study, researchers concluded that it “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance.”

Treatment for Pain and Inflammation

CBD also interacts with pain receptors in the body, where it naturally encourages the release of dopamine and serotonin to reduce pain levels. From chronic back pain to pain associated with cancer, these conditions can be alleviated with high dosage CBD products. Examples include things like:

  • Antiepileptic treatment
  • Multiple sclerosis pain
  • Neuropathic pain from spinal cord injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle pain

Drugs containing THC and CBD to help treat with multiple sclerosis pain have also been approved in the UK and Canada. The pain relief provided by CBD seems to be mostly related to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Autism, Epilepsy, and Seizures

More parents are turning to CBD as an alternative treatment for their children. Studies are finding strong evidence to support its use can reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients.  Similarly, some research shows an 80% efficacy result in reducing problematic behavior in children with autism.

Pets and Animals

All Mammals have a Endocannabinoid System, meaning they are receptive to cannabinoids. Pet owners are using CBD to treat anxiety, pain, and even gastrointestinal conditions brought on by infection. Since it is non-psychoactive, your pet will not get baked off of their treatment.

What are the Real CBD Effects on Your Body

Many people associate CBD with the psychoactive high that is so common from smoking THC. However, studies are finding that it has very different effects from THC and the other compounds in the cannabis plant.

Does CBD Get You High?

So here it is… CBD by itself does not produce a psychoactive effect. If you are only consuming cannabidiol, you won’t get high. 

So What Does CBD Do?

CBD reacts to your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), found throughout the brain, central nervous system, and immune system. The ECS is responsible for numerous reactions all with the common goal of keeping our bodies balanced, even under stress.

CBD stimulates or inhibits ECS receptors. Scientists are studying these interactions to discover the medical benefits of cannabidiol to treat health issues like pain, epilepsy, inflammation, and anxiety.

Are there any CBD Side Effects?

Unlike the cerebral high of regular cannabis use, CBD does not provide the same effects. So how exactly does it make you feel?

For the most part, using CBD will not result in an altered state of consciousness on any level. CBD provides the medicinal advantages of cannabis without the high by reacting with your body’s immune system.

People who use CBD products on a regular basis may experience things like:

  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Higher levels of energy
  • An general sense of relaxation

Overall, CBD proves to yield fewer to none of the negative side effects of many traditional prescription treatments for various illnesses and medical conditions.

Different Ways to Consume Cannabidiol

10 ways to consume cbd

With consumption of CBD products being used to treat a variety of ailments becoming less taboo and more accepted across the country, a variety of delivery methods have been developed to tend to each consumer needs.

Whether you need something with a quick potent delivery method, or you’re just looking to kick back, unwind, and take your time, there’s a method for you and everyone else in between to consume CBD. When consuming CBD in an effort to improve your quality of life it is essential to look into what way would be the best for you personally to medicate. This article should provide you with the facts needed to make your own choice, as it is all about personal preference and need. Each method of delivery for CBD can have a slightly different target for use.

Most Common Ways to Ingest

  • Capsules
  • Beverages infused with CBD
  • Dissolvable powders containing CBD
  • Cooking oils (adding cannabinoids to coconut oil or olive oil)
  • Edibles infused with CBD  (i.e., gummies, brownies, cookies, etc.)

When you ingest CBD it passes through your digestive system, gets metabolized by your liver, and then the active compounds go to your bloodstream.  Ingesting it takes a little longer to feel the calming relief but can last for 2-4 hours longer than a topical or smoking.


Capsules are frequently chosen for their simplicity.  Caps are easy to ingest and travel well. When taking a capsule, the precise dose will remain consistent. They will vary is size and dose and generally take 30 to 60 minutes to take effect.  Research is still being conducted to study how long the effects of CBD last in your system.  Medical practitioners have concluded that people generally feel its effects when delivered by capsules CBD to last 1-6 hours.  Always read the product instructions. Generally, take 2 CBD capsules orally with a large glass of water. Additionally, capsules have a longer shelf life than other forms of the product.


Beverages of every variety are being infused with CBD.  Beer, coffee, water, and more can be found containing the cannabinoid offering drinking as a way to add a little flavor and refreshment to your CBD consumption.  Be aware of the dosage on the bottle and drink only the suggested serving size. Time for the drink to take effect and how long it lasts will vary with the dosage.


Powders for protein shakes, supplement smoothies, and coffee creamer are now adding CBD. Since studies have shown it could help with inflammation, many people are using CBD powders in their coffee to help with morning stiffness or in their protein shakes to help with post workout muscle recovery.

Cooking Oils

Cooking oils are another way to easily incorporate CBD into your daily routine.  Using CBD oil as you would use traditional coconut or olive oil in your regular cooking allows you to consume CBD alongside your other nutrients.  Always read the dosage and cook with the suggested serving size.


Edibles are another way to use CBD oil for pain.  Most of us have taken ibuprofen for inflammation, stiff muscles, headaches, and minor injuries.  Studies have found CBD works in similar ways as over the counter meds. Edibles are easy to take. They are often are baked into sweet treats making them a popular way to use CBD oil for pain.

Most Common Sublingual Methods

  • Liquid hemp oil
  • CBD tinctures or drops
  • Sprays/spritzers (designed for oral application under the tongue)

Sublingual means “under the tongue”.  The cannabinoids avoid going through the digestive tract when absorbed under the tongue. This allows for their rapid absorption into the bloodstream.


Tinctures are one of the most direct ways to use CBD oil for pain management with the maximum utilization of the plant’s active components. Scientists have shown that Liposomes function as great nutrient transporters.  As such, manufactures created liposome products for the most effective and efficient way for your body to receive the benefits of CBD. Always read the product instructions. In most cases tinctures or water-solubles are taken with a few pumps or drops under your tongue.  Effects begin in approximately 10-40 minutes and last up to 1-6 hours.


Sprays for direct application under the tongue work the same way tinctures do utilizing sublingual absorption for rapid effects.  Dosage of each spritz will vary so be sure to read the milligrams and only use the suggested amount of sprays.

Common Methods for Smokables

  •       Flower
  •       Wax (similar to THC-containing marijuana concentrates called “shatter”)
  •       CBD-rich eLiquids and/or vape cartridges (akin to an e-cigarette)

For short-term relief, many people opt for smoking.  Whether you are smoking actual flower, wax or utilizing a vape pen, inhaling CBD allows you to immediately feel its effects.  Smoking provides a faster absorption as it reaches your bloodstream through your lungs versus having to go through your stomach or skin. As a result, this method is the preferred delivery for those seeking relief from panic attacks, mild aches, short-term stress and anxiety.  


Flower is just that – the bud of the CBD plant that you can smoke in pipes, joints, bongs, and any other smoking device you may desire.  Many people who enjoy smoking THC flower but do not always want the psychoactive effects opt for this smoking option.


Wax CBD can be “dabbed” like THC but without the psychoactive effects, for a powerful hit of the compounds to rapidly hit your bloodstream.


Vaping utilizes an electric pen containing CBD oil, similar in design to e-cigarettes. When the CBD oil is heated, simply inhale the vapor.

Common Topicals to Use

  •       Cannabidiol-infused salves,balms, lotions, shampoos, or soaps (for topical use)
  •       CBD Transdermal patches

If you are looking to CBD for your general aches and pains, tight muscles, and joint support, CBD topicals are your best choice. Topicalls are great to target your key areas of muscle and joint inflammation and discomfort.  In topicals, CBD absorbs through your skin.

Balms and Salves

Balms and salves can be utilized like other creams and lotions for massage and topical application.  Many products out on the market also contain other healing or relieving compounds such as menthol or eucalyptus oil.  Always read the product instructions. Generally, use a topical by applying a liberal amount on the affected section or muscle area and rub in circles.  Repeat as needed.

Transdermal Patches

Transdermal patches utilize the transdermal delivery system to send targeted CBD compounds to sore muscles or injured areas of the body.  Patches allow for more controlled dosing than a balm or salve and often contain higher milligrams. Additionally they can provide a slow-release of compounds for deeper and longer lasting effects.

Common Forms of CBD

CBD products are full spectrum, broad spectrum, CBD isolate or “Pure”. The benefits of full spectrum vs CBD isolate is a current scientific debate.

Full Spectrum means that the product contains all other cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant including CBN , CBG, and THCV. Full Spectrum CBD also contains some amount of THC.  Generally full spectrum will also contain terpenes.

Broad spectrum CBD will contain more than just the one compound, but may not have all the other compounds. It may or may not have terpenes depending on the brand.  Most broad spectrums have multiple cannabinoids but no THC.

CBD isolate or “Pure” is purified cannabidiol extracted from the marijuana plant, then isolated from the other cannabinoids. This results in products containing pure cannabidiol with none of the other cannabinoids of the plant, terpenes, or any plant materials.

Is CBD Legal in All 50 States?

map of states where marijuana is legal

While CBD has been removed from its schedule 1 status, the laws around cannabis products are ever-changing. Currently, hemp-derived cannabidiol is federally legal in all 50 states. The legal limit for THC in CBD products is .3%. 

Where Can You Buy CBD?

In states with medical marijuana legislation in place, CBD is becoming available in stores. However, for those in states with no medical marijuana programs, buying any cannabis products may only be possible online.  

You can buy CBD in 3 places: dispensaries, head-shops/specialty retail shops, and online stores.

Buying at a Dispensary

If you live in one of the 30 States with a medical marijuana program then you may be able to buy CBD at a dispensary.  Only 9 states have recreational marijuana policies in place, in these states you will have access to dispensaries without needing a medical marijuana card.  In dispensaries you will be able to speak to the bud-tenders about the various brands and ratios of CBD to THC that they have to offer.

Buying at a Retail Stores

Especially in recreational states, CBD being sold in head-shops and retail stores is becoming more popular. Hemp derived products are accessible from CVS to yoga studios, and liquor stores to boutiques. If you are able to just grab it off the shelf, chances are it will not contain THC.

Buy CBD Online

For many people, buying CBD online may be the only option.  Buying online can be a benefit because it gives you the ability to spend more time researching the manufacture and reading product reviews.  Be sure to look for products that post their lab results so you know exactly how much CBD is in the product.

No matter where you are buying your products be sure they have lab results to verify they contain the amount of cannabidiol claimed.

In conclusion, cannabis is a growing industry.  CBD and its healing benefits as the front runner of everyone’s attention.  If you or someone you know suffers from any of the above ailments, CBD could be a new pathway for treatment.

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