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CBD Oil: Everything You Need to Know

Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil is a hemp-based product frequently associated with the treatment of many ailments. It has gained popularity during recent years because of its many proven health benefits. Much like conventional medication, Cannabidiol Oil can be prescribed to a patient in need.

As with any other Cannabis products, legality still doesn’t apply to every state and many may require a recommendation from a tending licensed doctor so it can be acquired for medication.

In this article, we’ll get to know the different kinds of CBD oil, their benefits, and side effects as well as other things you may need to be aware of before using this hemp product.

What is CBD Oil and Where Does it Come From?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active ingredient found in Cannabis Sativa, more commonly known as marijuana or hemp. This element is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana - that “high” sensation you get whenever you take puffs of smoke. While THC may be the active ingredient, CBD or Cannabidiol is next in line as an essential compound obtained in Hemp plants. THC and CBD are only two of more than 100 cannabinoids that can be extracted from Marijuana.

How CBD Oil Affects the Body

Unlike THC, CBD doesn't have psychoactive properties which means it can't create a high sensation. Nevertheless, it can induce effects on the human body, particularly the brain. While more studies are needed to determine the exact causes of these effects, it's been observed that CBD interacts with two cannabinoid receptors in the body, namely CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors can be found throughout the body but are mainly signified in the brain. These receptors synchronize movements such as mood, emotion, pain, thinking, and memory. CB2 receptors are mainly present in the immune system and can affect pain and inflammation. While THC’s psychoactive characteristics interact with the CB1 receptors, CBD fires them up so the body can produce its own cannabinoids. These qualities allow CBD to help reduce pain, anxiety and even improve psychotic symptoms.

Photo by Kimzy Nanney

Types of CBD Oil

Before making a purchase decision, you should be aware of the different types of CBD products that are available for consumption. Each form has varying levels of CBD extracts which affect characteristics such as taste, potency, and effects on the body. The 3 most popular consumable CBD oil extracts are Full-spectrum, Broad-spectrum, and Pure CBD Isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD contains small hints of every component of a hemp plant. This allows you to experience the full range of benefits a cannabis-based product has to offer. However, because of the “full-spectrum” of chemicals that come with this variant, it may contain large enough doses of THC to induce a high sensation.

Broad-spectrum CBD

This recently discovered variant contains no traces of THC. This means that it has a zero chance of getting you high. Though you get to remain clear-headed, its drawback is that you lose the health benefits that THC provides.

Pure CBD Isolate

Pure CBD isolates, as its name would suggest, are made up of almost 100% cannabidiol. They contain no other active components of the cannabis plant. Isolates also don't have THCs which makes them more consistent with providing the benefits of CBD to the body. The main drawback is that you also lose the “entourage” effect of other cannabinoids.

Photo by Erin Hinterland

CBD Oil's Benefits

CBD oil has been proven to be effective in treating a variety of neurological disorders including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. It also acts as pain relief and is effective against inflammation.

Epilepsy (Seizure Disorder)

In 2018, the FDA has approved the use of a CBD-based product called Epidiolex. This medication is used to treat patients with epilepsy and reduce their symptoms. CBD is effective for treating the disorder because of the way it can target the body's endocannabinoid system. This helps in reducing the frequency of seizures. Other types of synthetic drugs find this difficult to accomplish.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

CBD can also support the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Sativex, a nasal spray drug developed by GW Pharmaceuticals is based on CBD and THC extracts. It helps manage symptoms of MS such as pain, muscle spasms, and bladder problems. Once the cannabinoids in Sativex interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, it provides symptom relief which allows the patient to improve quality of life.

Mental Illnesses

While the THC in cannabis may further exacerbate anxiety and depression, CBD helps to reduce them. Cannabidiol chemicals help in regulating bodily functions such as mood, pain, thinking, and sleep. It's also been observed to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain which may result in improvements in depression symptoms.

Studies have also suggested that CBD helps in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders such as PTSD, generalized anxiety, and panic disorders.

Other Benefits

Although not fully proven to be actual treatments, initial research has shown that CBD could have promising results for many other health-related problems:

  • Cancer cell growth

  • Type-1 diabetes

  • Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

  • Other neurological disorders such as neurodegeneration and neuronal injury

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Acne

Risks and Side Effects

While many benefits are present, CBD use may also involve risks and side effects. Many CBD products still haven’t undergone thorough testing and do not have FDA approval. When using CBD oil products for medication, it is advisable to first speak to a medical professional.

Studies show that risks and side-effects of using CBD oil include:

  • Increased risk of liver damage

  • Effects on mood such as increased irritability

  • Changes in alertness which may impact daily function

  • Gastrointestinal issues and appetite loss

  • Risk of fertility reduction for males

  • Negative interactions with other substances such as alcohol and drugs

  • Interference with fetal development during pregnancy

  • Can worsen Parkinson's disease


When it comes to cannabis or cannabis-related products, legalities are different throughout the United States. If you want to get into specifics, you should check in with your local state laws regarding the use of cannabis products. As a general rule, only FDA-approved products are federally legal. The rest vary in legality depending on the state.

Under the Farm Bill, hemp-based products are considered legal so long as they have less than 0.3% THC. For many CBD products, THC content falls below this level.


Marijuana legalization is currently sweeping across the US, New York being the most recent addition to the list. This means that CBD products will eventually become more accessible as time goes on.

Demands for CBD have already sky-rocketed especially in recent years, mostly due to its therapeutical benefits. As regulations become more lenient, expect more products to undergo further research and testing as they hit the market.

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