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What is CBD? Learn More About Cannabidiol

Posted by Jim Higdon on May 29th 2020

What is CBD? Learn More About Cannabidiol

All of us are at different stages of understanding CBD and its benefits, but those at the beginning still need to know the basics, like what is CBD?

Science has only recently uncovered the beneficial properties of hemp-derived cannabidiol, which is often abbreviated as CBD. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and the effects of CBD from the cannabis sativa plant, are changing how we approach therapeutic care.

When Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill allowed hemp with trace amounts of THC to be grown nationwide.1 Hundreds of CBD oil companies are now flooding the market with hemp derived CBD products. With CBD hemp products in the news and in stores everywhere, curious consumers often wonder: what is CBD oil and how does it work?

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol.2 It is one of many naturally occurring chemical compounds found exclusively in the hemp plant. These molecules, known as phytocannabinoids, were found to have potentially beneficial properties by scientists.3

There are at least 100 phytocannabinoids4 present in the cannabis plant.5 CBD is one of the main cannabinoid compounds that is responsible for the health benefits associated with cannabis use.6 Unlike its fellow cannabinoid THC, CBD is non-intoxicating. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive component of the strains of cannabis known as “marijuana.”7 Legal CBD hemp oil contains less than 0.3% THC,8 and does not have the same psychoactive and heady effects as when you ingest or smoke marijuana.

Through the study of these cannabis-based compounds, a previously unknown neuro-receptor system was discovered that came to be known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

CBD works by allowing the body to heal itself by balancing the ECS: a network of receptors overlaying the central nervous system of all mammals, including humans. ECS receptors can be found throughout most of the body’s systems. It has a lot to do with how the body modulates and maintains our optimum health and well being.9

Your body naturally produces neurotransmitters, called endocannabinoids, that bind to the ECS receptors. Oftentimes, people experience a deficiency in endocannabinoids resulting in the body experiencing an imbalance. The phytocannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant mimic the body’s naturally occuring endocannabinoids. Supplementing the body with these hemp compounds can greatly improve ECS receptor activity, thereby helping the ECS work better.10

The ECS works with two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain, central nervous system, and gut. THC is able to alter the mind and perception because it binds with CB1 receptors in the brain. But CBD does not bind with CB1 receptors. Instead, CBD binds with CB2 receptors,11 found in the other organs of the body and in peripheral tissue, including the skin.

While every phytocannabinoid in the cannabis plant has an important purpose, CBD has the most impact on the CB2 receptors of the ECS. That is how CBD oil has risen to the top of the health industry in such a short amount of time.

What is CBD oil and how is it made?

To make full spectrum CBD oil, the first step is extracting CBD compounds from the hemp plant material, then mixing it with a carrier oil.12 Most companies use a supercritical carbon dioxide method to extract CBD from hemp. However, this high pressure method13 tends to leave the oil with a harsh, bitter taste. Producers often add flavors and sweeteners in an attempt to make it more palatable.

Through an extensive research-and-development process, Cornbread Hemp decided to use organic sugarcane ethanol to extract CBD from hemp because it's a more gentle solvent.14 This method yields a full spectrum CBD oil with a smooth taste that doesn't need to be masked with added flavors.

There are many different carrier oil options when making CBD oil. Hemp seed oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable glycerin can all be used to dilute the raw hemp extract to the desired potency. But the best carrier oil for CBD is MCT oil, or coconut oil.15 The molecules in MCT coconut oil are small enough to pass easily through our skin membranes. This makes it a great choice for delivering CBD to the body’s system, increasing the CBD’s bioavailability and absorption rate.

CBD oil is very versatile and can be made into many different products and applications. You can buy CBD as a sublingual oil, tincture, capsules, or as a vape pen. It can even be used to make edibles like CBD gummies, honey, tea, or even canned drinks. CBD is also becoming more common in beauty and spa products, like lotions, salves, and bath bombs!

Why Choose Full Spectrum vs THC-free?

Studies show that hemp-derived cannabidiol oil works best when it is full spectrum.16 This means that the oil has the full range of the 100+ cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, and THC all working together causes them to perform better than any one component in isolation, this is known as the “entourage effect.”17

Broad spectrum CBD products have all of the cannabinoid components except THC.18CBD isolates are just the single CBD compound suspended in carrier oil.19 Some people think that if CBD is the main player, then they only need CBD by itself to work. However, scientists have found that all of the cannabinoids, including THC, are needed to supplement the ECS as intended.20

To get the best results from taking CBD, make sure you are purchasing a product that is full spectrum, instead of a CBD isolate or broad spectrum oil.

Benefits to Using Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Since the ECS has influence over many body systems, there are a myriad of benefits to enjoy by taking CBD.

Cannabidiol has been shown to help the body alleviate inflammation. People suffering from gastrointestinal issues often turn to CBD capsules for relief, and CBD hemp oil is widely held to be useful for safely getting to sleep at night.21 Similar to how different supplements are recommended for individual needs, different types of CBD can have different effects on our bodies.

The average CBD consumer may be purchasing CBD oil for their stiff joints, or to help them sleep better. What they don’t know is that there are countless other benefits that CBD is doing for their bodies! That's why anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD users become more aware of their bodies' anxiety levels, and other subtle differences that can lead to big changes.

Can CBD Oil Get You High?

Legal hemp plants are not the same type of cannabis as medical grade marijuana. The strains of hemp used to produce legal CBD oil have a very low amount of THC,22 the intoxicating cannabinoid that gives people the euphoric feeling of being “high.”23 According to federal law, the THC level of hemp must not exceed 0.3%.

In fact, doctors have found that CBD can block THC from interacting with the receptors in the brain that cause you to feel high.24 As we’ve mentioned before, full spectrum CBD oil that has trace amounts of THC tend to have greater benefits than those without.

Can CBD Oil Cause Side Effects?

CBD hemp oil can have a synergistic effect on some medications you may be taking. This may make your medications work more efficiently in your body. This could cause your medications to have a stronger effect, and subsequently amplify any side effects associated with that medication.

We encourage you to talk to your health care provider when it comes to taking CBD with your existing medications. Your doctor may be able to lower the dosage of your drugs, or you may even be able to stop taking them altogether.

The other great news about CBD is that you can’t overdose on it.25 Just like its cannabis sibling, marijuana, there has never been a single recorded overdose of CBD.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Even though cannabis has been a part of human history for millennia, the legal status of the cannabis plant in the United States has been in flux for the past century. The Drug Enforcement Administration currently defines marijuana as a schedule i drug, placing it in the most restrictive class of controlled substances.26 The other drugs in this specific class are illegal because they have a high potential for abuse, no medical use, and pose severe health and safety concerns. Placing mankind’s oldest medicinal plant on the same list as drugs like heroin and LSD has been in question by lawmakers ever since it was first decreed.

As of the summer of 2020, as many as 33 states have passed laws that allow the medical use of cannabis plants containing large amounts of THC with a doctor's recommendation. And at least 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well.27

In 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law, opening the door for US farmers to cultivate cannabis hemp crops containing not more than 0.3% of THC.28 This allowed for legal hemp derived products like CBD oil to be sold legally nationwide. However some states continue to pass restrictions and state laws banning hemp-derived CBD products.29 In short: Make sure to research your state’s individual laws regarding hemp and CBD possession before purchasing.

When you are shopping for a reputable hemp product, you want to look for CBD oil producers who provide third party lab reports to the public. These lab reports should include potency test results, as well as full safety screenings. This ensures that they are producing a safe and legal CBD product containing less than 0.3% THC.30

Will I Fail a Drug Test?

Although hemp products containing trace amounts of THC are now legal to produce and consume in the US,31 you should research your workplace drug testing policies before beginning a hemp oil regimen. Even if you are using a “THC free” product, many drug tests still recognize CBD as THC. Not even CBD isolates are guaranteed to not cause a positive result on a drug test.32

Our hope is that employers will one day stop discriminating against workers who use cannabis. Until then, it is important to contact your human resource department for their policies on CBD and drug testing before trying hemp oil infused products. However, if you’re itching to get started right away, you can always try using CBD externally with one of our full spectrum CBD topical products, including CBD creams and CBD lotions.

Does CBD Oil Work?

The biggest question on the minds of people new to the hemp oil phenomenon is: does CBD oil really work? Hemp has always been identified as a medicinal plant, with medical usage dating back to the earliest civilizations. Currently, there are countless published scientific case studies showing that cannabidiol has a real effect. The World Health Organization has acknowledged that the studies, in animals and human, that examine the benefits of cannabis have resoundingly positive test results.33

Furthermore, it is difficult to ignore the many testimonials of CBD users! Still think it’s a placebo effect? People who have tried pet CBD oil on their furry friends can attest that it works for them too!

Cornbread Hemp offers CBD products made from organic Kentucky-grown hemp mixed with organic MCT coconut oil for maximum bioavailability. We send all our products to a third-party lab for safety and potency testing. Our lab reports are easily accessible to customers via scannable QR codes on all of our product packaging.

With Cornbread Hemp you can count on fast-shipping, reliable customer service, and above all you can count on receiving the highest quality CBD products from our region of the upper South and lower Midwest. Need more advice on how to choose the best CBD oil? We got you.

References

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Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Peter Grinspoon, M., 2020. Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know And What We Don’T - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence

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Moore, M., 2018. How The Endocannabinoid System Was Discovered | Cannabis Sciences. [online] LabRoots. Available at: https://www.labroots.com/trending/cannabis-sciences/8456/endocannabinoid-system-discovered#:~:text=In%201992%2C%20at%20the%20Hebrew,Devane%20discovered%20the%20endocannabinoid%20anandamide.&text=This%20system%20was%20named%20the%20endocannabinoid%20system%20(ECS) Accessed August 11, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 3rd sentence and 4th paragraph, 2nd sentence

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https://Nccih.nih.gov. 2020. Under ‘how many cannabinoids are there?’ section, 1st sentence

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Nccih.nih.gov. 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/cannabis-marijuana-and-cannabinoids-what-you-need-to-know Accessed July 11, 2020. Under ‘how many cannabinoids are there?’ section, 1st sentence

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Peter Grinspoon, M., 2020. Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know And What We Don’T - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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CBD Oil Review. 2020. Can CBD Oil Get You High? | CBD Oil Review. [online] Available at: https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/can-cbd-oil-get-you-high/ Accessed August 11, 2020. Under ‘psychoactive vs. intoxication: what’s the difference?’ section, 1st, 2nd and 3rd paragraph (The whole section)

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Moore, M., 2018. How The Endocannabinoid System Was Discovered | Cannabis Sciences. [online] LabRoots. Available at: https://www.labroots.com/trending/cannabis-sciences/8456/endocannabinoid-system-discovered#:~:text=In%201992%2C%20at%20the%20Hebrew,Devane%20discovered%20the%20endocannabinoid%20anandamide.&text=This%20system%20was%20named%20the%20endocannabinoid%20system%20(ECS) Accessed August 11, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 3rd sentence and 4th paragraph, 2nd sentence

10.

Moore, M., 2018. How The Endocannabinoid System Was Discovered | Cannabis Sciences. [online] LabRoots. Available at: https://www.labroots.com/trending/cannabis-sciences/8456/endocannabinoid-system-discovered#:~:text=In%201992%2C%20at%20the%20Hebrew,Devane%20discovered%20the%20endocannabinoid%20anandamide.&text=This%20system%20was%20named%20the%20endocannabinoid%20system%20(ECS). Accessed August 11, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 3rd sentence and 4th paragraph, 2nd sentence

11.

Peter Grinspoon, M., 2020. Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know And What We Don’T - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Coming soon

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Best CBD Oils. 2020. Guide to CBD Extraction Methods: The Best Way To Extract CBD - Best CBD Oils. [online] Available at: https://www.bestcbdoils.org/cbd-extraction-methods/ Accessed August 11, 2020. Under ‘alcohol extraction’ section. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

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CBD Oil UK. 2020. What's the Best Carrier Oil For CBD? - CBD Oil UK. [online] Available at: https://www.cbdoil.co.uk/whats-the-best-carrier-oil-for-cbd/ Accessed August 11, 2020. 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence

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ECHO Connection. 2017. What Is Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil And Why Is It Important? - ECHO Connection. [online] Available at: https://echoconnection.org/full-spectrum-hemp-oil-important/ Accessed August 11, 2020. 1st and 2nd paragraph

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Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed August 11, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence

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Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed August 11, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence

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Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed August 11, 2020. 5th paragraph, 3rd and 4th sentence

21.

Nccih.nih.gov. 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/cannabis-marijuana-and-cannabinoids-what-you-need-to-know Accessed August 11, 2020. Under ‘are cannabis or cannabinoids helpful in treating health conditions? section, 1st paragraph and its bullet points

22.

Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/  Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/  Accessed August 11, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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Who.int. 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf Accessed August 11, 2020. page 5, 3rd paragraph and 2nd sentence