Your Complete Guide to CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil
  • THC and CBD oil have the same basic molecular structure, with subtle differences in the arrangement of atoms that makes the difference between getting high and not.

  • Research is emerging and more comprehensive studies are needed, but science is getting there. The science behind CBD shows effectiveness for pain, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions and more.

  • CBD generally shouldn’t show up on drug tests, but sometimes it does if you’re taking high doses every day.

  • There are several extraction methods that affect quality, and you can take CBD by ingestion, inhalation, sublingually, or transdermally.

  • Some say it’s legal in all 50 states, but since it’s a new kid on the supplements block, it’s a big gray area that’s not well understood

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the two most abundant cannabinoid chemicals found in the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Whether in oil, vapor, candy, or coffee, CBD is growing in popularity for its effects on pain, chronic illness, inflammation, cancer, brain disorders, and so much more.

The other well-known chemical in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The main differences between the two, coming up. Read on to find out all about CBD, how it’s made, how to take it, the legal stuff, and more.

What is CBD? Cannabis vs. THC vs. CBD

THC and CBD have the same basic molecular structure, with subtle differences in the arrangement of atoms that makes the difference between getting high and not. If you’re after the whole mind-altering route, this is the article you’re looking for.

Your body has an endocannabinoid system, which in short means that it has receptors for cannabinoid compounds like CBD and THC. CBD and THC both interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, a biological communication system that regulates a wide array of functions, like:

  • Pain

  • Appetite

  • Mood

  • Memory

  • Immune response

  • Sleep

CBD and THC have chemical structures similar to the body’s own endocannabinoids, which allows them to interact with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors. You can read more about how the endocannabinoid system works here.

The main difference between CBD and THC? THC causes euphoria and other mind-altering effects, CBD doesn’t. Not even a little bit. Also, THC is in high quantities in marijuana, and CBD is abundant in hemp.

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What does CBD do? CBD oil benefits

Since all cannabinoids are Schedule I drugs in the US and Schedule II in Canada, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops and red tape to get your hands on it for research.

Research is emerging and more comprehensive studies are needed, but science is getting there. Here’s just a smattering of the things scientists were able to demonstrate that CBD does:

  • Measurably relieved chronic pain in combination with THC

  • Triggered breast cancer cell death and down-regulated the gene that makes certain aggressive strains of breast cancer proliferate

  • Inhibited lung cancer invasion and metastasis (spread)

  • Significantly reduced multiple sclerosis symptoms in patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled study and a larger series of multi-center randomized placebo-controlled trials

  • In larger doses (160mg), it helped participants you sleep — even in people who typically suffer from insomnia.

  • Higher doses decreased anxiety during public speaking.

  • Increased alertness in small doses (15 mg) in humans and rats.

  • Prevents seizures.

  • Decreased social anxiety by regulating the amygdala, a part of your brain that controls fear.

  • Substantially improved symptoms of schizophrenia.

  • Showed antioxidant activity. A test tube study showed that CBD protected neurons from inflammation and oxidative stress better than both vitamin C and vitamin E, and it prevented oxidative damage to DNA associated with colon cancer.

  • Showed potential as a neuroprotective. CBD decreased brain damage after stroke in rats.

There’s more — anxiety, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions — CBD is worth a look in any disease process that’s rooted in inflammation (which is most of them).

CBD oil side effects

CBD is generally well tolerated. Some people report that it makes them sleepy or drops blood pressure. Since there are cannabinoid receptors in the skin, you might notice dry skin after using CBD. But a thorough review showed that CBD does not effect:

  • Sensory perception

  • Alertness, awareness

  • Consciousness

  • Behavior

  • Inhibitions

  • Food intake

  • Heart rate

  • Blood pressure

The review found that extremely high chronic daily doses affected the liver metabolism and some fertility measures, but you need a lot of CBD to get there.

Just like grain and vegetable farmers, cannabis producers spray their plants with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. So, you can end up with adverse effects from the chemicals that have nothing to do with the active ingredient, CBD. Research the brand and choose pure products without chemicals.

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Does CBD show up in drug tests?

Hemp-derived CBD isn’t pot, but depending on the strain it could contain trace amounts of THC — not even close to amounts that will get you high. If you’re using extremely high doses of CBD (looking at 1000 mg a day or higher every day), your exposure may be high enough to give you a positive result. This should be considered a false positive result, since CBD use is not drug use. But, interpretation is up to the party who orders the test.

If your employer does random drug screens, dig into your HR materials to see if using CBD might lead to any hassle.