CBD Oil: What Is It?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoid compounds found in most strains of Cannabis sativa, also known as marijuana.1
Cannabinoids are compounds that react with specific receptors found throughout the human body. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another popular cannabinoid, CBD oil doesn’t have psychoactive properties.1 This means consuming it doesn’t produce a high.
CBD oil is not the same as cannabis oil, marijuana oil, or THC oil. Those products contain THC, which is an important difference.
CBD oil can be extracted from most strains of cannabis. But a few strains have high concentrations of CBD and are sometimes referred to as industrial hemp. In general, hemp is the name of varieties of cannabis with no or trace amounts of THC.
The entire hemp plant is used when making CBD. There is a common belief among medical marijuana communities that using the whole hemp plant provides a wider spectrum of cannabinoids and related health benefits.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
The two most common methods for making CBD oil are alcohol extraction and CO2 extraction.
The alcohol CBD oil extraction method involves soaking the hemp plant in a solvent, allowing the CBD and other cannabinoids to leech out in to the oil.
The CO2 method is a form of supercritical-fluid extraction (SFE). 2 This forces carbon dioxide (CO2) through the hemp plant causing the cannabinoids to separate from the plant and be collected in the various chambers. Either extraction method can be used to make organic CBD oil.
What Does CBD Oil Do?
In the simplest of terms, CBD oil stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a collection of receptors found throughout the body. There are two types of these receptors: Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2).4
CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are abundant in the gastrointestinal tract, peripheral nervous system and many cells related to the immune system.4
When cannabinoids attach to either a CB1 and CB2 receptor, they cause unique cannabidiol effects. CBD and other cannabinoids can influence a multitude of metabolic and chemical processes within the body. For example, it can inhibit pain receptors, counteract psychoactive responses, and interfere with the growth of tumors.5
Does CBD Oil Get You High?
Is there such a thing as a CBD oil high? No, as there are only trace amounts of THC in CBD (cannabidiol) oil it doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect.6
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Because cannabis is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Schedule I list of controlled substances, CBD oil is not legal according to U.S. federal law.7 Although CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, it is still falls under the definition of marijuana, according to new regulations from the U.S. Department of Justice.21
In states where cannabis is legal, CBD oil can be openly bought and sold. As of December 2017, those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. As of 2017, 25 states have created state laws that permit the medical use of marijuana.3 In recent years, 16 more states have passed CBD oil-specific laws that allow the use of CBD oil that contains low amounts of THC (usually 5% or under).
Despite the legal standing of CBD oil in the above-noted states, according to article VI of the U.S. Constitution, if state and federal laws disagree, federal laws prevail.8 However, federal laws are seldom enforced in states where the use of cannabis is legal or decriminalized.
In Canada, CBD is not a controlled substance and it’s legal to buy CBD oil from an authorized dispensary and with a medical prescription. Purchasing cannabis for recreational or non-prescribed medical purposes is currently illegal, however, that is expected to change in mid-2018.9
Because there are many CBD medical uses and it has no psychoactive properties, most workplace drug testing doesn’t include a CBD oil drug test. The thinking is that CBD doesn’t pose a risk to job performance or safety.
CBD Oil Benefits
People have long believed in the health benefits of CBD oil. These include:
- Anti-Cancer Activity
- Anxiolytic Effects
- Reduce Autism Outbursts
- Minimize Treatment-Resistance Seizures
- Analgesic Properties
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects
- Natural Antidiabetic Agent
- Psoriasis Relief
In recent years, scientific research on the topic has increased, with many findings supporting some of the traditional CBD (hemp oil) benefits. So, what exactly what is CBD used for? Below, we take a look at the top CBD medical uses.
CBD Oil Cancer Research
Preliminary in vitro and animal research notes that using CBD oil for cancer treatments may provide positive results. Researchers have found when CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated by CBD, they release antigens that can inhibit cancer cell migration, adhesion, and invasion.11
For example, a study to understand the interaction between CBD oil and cancer cells in animal subjects found that CBD inhibited the growth and metastasis of certain tumors. The research also suggests that “cannabinoids might be synergistic with radiation therapy as well as with chemotherapy”.10
While research into CBD treatment of cancer is ongoing, the concept is gaining credibility within the medical community.
CBD Oil for Anxiety
Many people report that when they use CBD oil, anxiety diminishes. In one study, subjects with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) were given either a placebo or 400mg of CBD. Both subjective and quantifiable tests on limbic and paralimbic brain areas showed that the subjects who received the CBD had reduced symptoms of SAD.12
Another preliminary study found a correlation between CBD and reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).13
CBD Oil and Autism
There are numerous anecdotal reports of parents using CBD oil for autism. The common experience is that CBD benefits children with autism by calming them during stressful or “triggering” moments.
To date, there is no published research on CBD oil autism treatment. However, several major clinical studies and trials are underway. Some of the research includes using CBD oil for ADHD and determining the ideal CBD oil dosage for children.
CBD Oil for Seizures
As medical marijuana becomes legal in more jurisdictions, more parents of children with epilepsy are turning to CBD oil. Many anecdotal reports say that with CBD oil, seizures are minimized.
Research into CBD oil and seizures offers early support for these self-reports. A 2013 clinical survey investigated the use of CBD products in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. After receiving CBD-rich cannabis, 84% of the subjects experienced a reduction in seizure frequency.14
Observations by the parents of the subjects also included increased alertness, improved mood, and better sleep.14
CBD Hemp Oil for Pain
Pain relief is possibly the most common use of hemp CBD oil. There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that indicates using CBD oil for pain is quick, effective, and non-addictive.
In a 2012 animal study, CBD suppressed chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without creating a tolerance in subjects. Researchers found that CBD interacted directly with pain receptors involved with chronic pain, not just endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.15
CBD Oil for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
A clinical study into the CBD oil effects on symptoms of IBD yielded encouraging results.
Researchers found that CBD may aid proper function of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARG) sites, which regulate fatty acid storage and glucose metabolism.16,17 The disruption of these metabolic processes is implicated in IBD, making cannabidiol oil an attractive alternative treatment for gastrointestinal conditions.16
CBD Oil for Diabetes
Known for its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD oil has been researched for its use in diabetes. In a 2006 animal study, researchers found that CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes developing in non-diabetic obese (NOD) subjects. Of the subjects who didn’t receive treatment, 86% developed diabetes.18
CBD Oil for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease. The hyper-proliferation of epidermal keratinocyte (type of skin cell) plays a role in its manifestation.19
Research into treatments for this chronic ailment found that cannabinoids, including CBD, can inhibit keratinocyte proliferation.19 That finding lends credibility to anecdotal reports that using a topical cream made with CBD oil helps eliminate the visible symptoms of psoriasis.
CBD Oil Side Effects
According to both clinical studies and anecdotal reports, the side effects of CBD appear to be minimal and non-toxic. The top CBD side effects noted from users include dry mouth, lightheadedness, and drowsiness although not all the time.
A 2017 clinical review of CBD safety found the most frequently reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight.20
However, there is limited clinical data to show if there are negative side effects of CBD when used in conjunction with other medications.
For users wondering how to use CBD oil products, it generally depends on the form. The most common CBD products include:
- Tincture (CBD oil drops)
- Vape liquid
- Topical creams
Where Is CBD Oil for Sale?
How to buy CBD oil will vary depending on where you live. If you live in a state with legal recreational and/or medicinal cannabis use, you can buy it in-store or online.
If you’re not in one of those states and wondering where to buy CBD oil, you can buy CBD oil online. Contact the seller to understand how they deliver across state borders. The U.S. Postal Service considers cannabis products to be contraband, so delivery should be by courier.
CBD oil prices can vary widely and depend on factors such as plant source, percentage of CBD or production methods. Users can find products that sell for anywhere from $30-$200 for a 4ml bottle.
Some people say the best way to compare prices is to look at the amount of CBD in milligrams. All reputable suppliers include CBD information on the label.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Atakan, Z. (2012). Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. 2(6). 241–254. http://doi.org/10.1177/2045125312457586
- Karger, B. L. (2014, April 15). Separation and purification. Retrieved December 29, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/science/separation-and-purification/Exclusion-and-clathration
- Mead, A. (2017). The legal status of cannabis (marijuana) and cannabidiol (CBD) under U.S. law. Epilepsy & Behavior, 70, 288-291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.11.021
- Reggio, P. H. (2010). Endocannabinoid Binding to the Cannabinoid Receptors: What Is Known and What Remains Unknown. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 17(14). 1468–1486. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120766/
- Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2010). Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 39(2). 167-179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008
- Martin-Santos, R.; A. Crippa, J.; Batalla, A.; Bhattacharyya, S.; Atakan, Z.; Borgwardt, S.; Allen, P.; Seal, M.; Langohr, K.; Farre, M.; Zuardi, AW.; K. McGuire, P. (2012). Acute Effects of a Single, Oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Administration in Healthy Volunteers. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 18(32). 4966-4979. https://doi.org/10.2174/138161212802884780
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Drug Schedules. Retrieved December 22, 2017. https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml
- Cornell Law School: Legal Information Institute. (2017, June). Supremacy Clause. Retrieved December 29, 2017 from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/supremacy_clause
- Government of Canada. (2017, August 8). Current Cannabis Laws. Retrieved December 29, 2017 from – View Reference
- Abrams, D. I. (2016). Integrating cannabis into clinical cancer care. Current Oncology.23(S2). S8–S14. http://doi.org/10.3747/co.23.3099
- Massi, P., Solinas, M., Cinquina, V., & Parolaro, D. (2013). Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 75(2). 303–312. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04298.x
- Crippa, J.A., Derenusson, G.N., Ferrari, T.B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F.L.S., Martin-Santos, R., Simões, M.V., Bhattacharyya, S., Fusar-Poli, P., Atakan, Z., Filho, A.S., Freitas-Ferrari, M.C., McGuire, P.K., Zuardi, A.W., Busatto, G.F., Hallak, J.E.C. (2010). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 25(1). 121-130. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881110379283
- Schier, A.R., Ribeiro, N.P., Silva, A.C., Hallak, J.E., Crippa, J.A., Nardi, A.E., Zuardi, A.W. (2102). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria. 34(S1). S104-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729452
- Porter, B.E., Jacobson, C. (2013). Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. 29(3). 574-577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.08.037
- Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S.R., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H.L., Ren, K., Xu, Y., Zhang, L. (2102). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 209(6). 1121-1134. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20120242 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585736
- Giuseppe, E., De Filippis, D., Cirillo, C., Iuvone, T., Capoccia, E., Scuderi, C., Steardo, A., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L. Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Brief Overview. Phytotherapy Research. 27(5). 633-636. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.4781/full
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2017, December 31). PPARG peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma [Homo sapiens (human)]. Retrieved December 29, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/5468.
- , L., Zeira, M., Reich, S., Har-Noy, M., Mechoulam, R., Slavin, S., Gallily, R. (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity. 39(2). 143-51. DOI: 10.1080/08916930500356674. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16698671
- Wilkinson, J.D., Williamson, E.M. (2007). Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis. Journal of Dermatological Science. 45(2). 87-92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdermsci.2006.10.009
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.2(1). 139–154. http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
- S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Clarification of the New Drug Code (7350) for Marijuana Extract. Retrieved January 2, 2018 from – View Reference