What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)? [Benefits, Risks, Uses, & More]

What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)? [Benefits, Risks, Uses, & More]

The legalization of CBD use (both recreational and medical) across many US states have made the demand for cannabidiol (CBD) skyrocket in just a few years.

Dietary supplements, CBD oil, and other hemp-derived CBD products have sprung up to potentially manage health conditions like chronic discomfort, with users hoping for success where other medications have failed.

Let’s look at what exactly CBD is and what it can do for you. We’ll review the possible health benefits of cannabis-derived products as well as their usage, effectiveness, and even legality.

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 80 cannabinoid chemicals in the Cannabis sativa plant. It works mainly in the brain and affects the body differently than THC, the most famous of these cannabinoids.

For starters, pure CBD does not cause the high that recreational users seek through THC, as per the World Health Organization. It is not psychoactive and does not have abuse potential.

Instead, it is seen as a vital component of medical marijuana. Some users swear by its ability to promote discomfort management, better relaxation and mood, and even a healthy lifestyle.

A prescription drug form of CBD is used to treat seizure disorders. While CBD may also be used to deal with anxiety disorders, multiple sclerosis, and more, these claims are not FDA-approved.

The Legality of CBD Products

Federal law has made the growth of hemp, and thus derivatives such as hemp oil and hemp-based CBD, legal by removing them from the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

This makes CBD products derived from the hemp plant subject to FDA regulation. That said, the laws legalizing CBD products still vary from state to state.

Before consuming CBD products as a means of supplementation or as discomfort relief, you must first study your state laws and read up on any adverse effects CBD may have on your body.

You must also be aware of the exact legal status of marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) in your area, or else expect a visit from the Drug Enforcement Administration instead of the FDA.

What Do CBD Products Do to You?

DISCLAIMER: Most CBD products available are not FDA-approved. The following benefits may not yet be backed by clinical trials or human studies, though they are widely touted by users.

CBD appears in Epidiolex, a prescription drug that is actually FDA-approved. It is used to treat severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.

CBD is also widely used to manage discomfort symptoms, though it should not be used as a replacement for prescription discomfort medications.

It’s believed that CBD positively impacts the endocannabinoid system, which may help treat neuropathic discomfort. Users also believe it can help fight physical discomfort from multiple sclerosis or muscle spasticity.

CBD’s other potential (though unproven) benefits are its ability to regulate blood pressure and aid in managing sleep disorders. It has even been said to help in fighting off mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.

CBD is seen as a means by which users can relax and find themselves in a better mood. It helps soothe bodily aches and discomforts and can help keep your brain working the way it should.

What Are the Ingredients of CBD?

CBD is a chemical extracted from the flower of the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as the hemp plant. It is most commonly extracted via CO2 (supercritical carbon dioxide) extraction.

This chemical is one of the key cannabinoids and is the main ingredient in CBD oil, chewables, tablets, and more. It is legal for both medical and recreational use where the law applies.

When distributed in oil form, CBD is bonded to a carrier oil such as olive oil, which makes it easier to consume. It is also used in cosmetic products and mixed into serum or cream formulations.

CBD may interact negatively with certain ingredients or medications, so you will need to be careful when consuming or applying it. Always read the labels before using a CBD product.

What Are the Different Types of CBD?

CBD manufacturers use different methods for extracting CBD cannabinoids from hemp. This leads to different ranges and concentrations of CBD in the products they intend to use it on.

Let’s go through these CBD ranges, as well as what makes them unique, below:


This range is made using every part of the cannabis plant and contains less than 0.3% THC content. This amount of THC is not covered under the Controlled Substances Act and, therefore, is legal in most jurisdictions.

The full-spectrum range includes CBD and several other cannabinoids in its formulation.

While it may not get you high enough to fail a drug test before even taking it, it is not pure CBD and may have unintended consequences for some users.


Broad-Spectrum CBD, meanwhile, is made with most cannabis plant compounds. Broad Spectrum contains trace amounts of THC, though it will ideally not contain any THC at all.

While it should also not produce a high like full-spectrum products, the effects of the cannabinoids may be heightened due to the “entourage effect,” where their combined presence amplifies the benefits.


A CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD product, as it does not contain any other cannabinoid like THC. It will not produce a high or have any unintended effects from other chemical compounds.

As the name implies, it isolates CBD, synthesizing it and making it available for use in gummy bears, oils, cosmetic products, and more. It is odorless and tasteless, which makes it far more useful and versatile.

If you are looking to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to CBD or are using it for more health-based reasons, this pure crystal version would be the best place to start.

What Are the Health Benefits of CBD?

NOTE: CBD is widely celebrated for its many potential health benefits, such as its impact on discomfort reduction and better brain health, though it should NOT be used without medical supervision.

CBD has grown in popularity because of the potential effects it can have on its users. These include relaxation, improved mood, soothing aches and discomforts, and overcoming mental struggles.

CBD is most notable for its possible effects on the brain, and many users swear by its ability to help them feel better when they’re down or even when they’re at their lowest.

It might allow users to feel a sense of bliss and be free of the inhibitions and stresses that may weigh them down. It could possibly even aid in confidence, helping users perform at events like a simulated public speaking test.

It may allow users to relax without getting high like THC would, making it a great stress-buster at the end of the day or something to take during a quick break before carrying on.

It could also help users who experience annoying stinging, cramping, irritations, and soreness, allowing them moments of respite and even successful management of their hurt.

That said, CBD is not a miracle worker that can cure all diseases or heal all wounds. It may work as a supplement or additional help, but it is not meant to replace prescription medicine, and its potential effects are NOT guaranteed.

What Are the Possible Risks of CBD?

CBD has been a controlled substance for so long that its effects may not yet be fully studied.

This is why more research and scientific evidence are required before we can put our safety concerns to rest.

Aside from most likely appearing on a drug test, the FDA has warned companies to stop selling CBD products that claim to cure diseases and treat actual medical conditions.

This false advertising usually done for cannabidiol extracts sold online may lead to negative drug interactions, mixing with your prescription medication, and leading to health complications down the line.

Regular CBD users are also more likely to experience low blood pressure. They also show signs of liver injury due to the effort required for the liver to process the cannabidiol chemical.

It’s also important to note that only one type of CBD is FDA-approved.

Every other CBD product on the market is not entirely safe and may yield unintended consequences that even the manufacturers don’t know about.

Before taking CBD in any form, it is best to consult your doctor to see if it will clash with your current medication or health condition. You must also see if CBD products is legal in your jurisdiction.

How Do You Properly Use CBD?

CBD can be served or applied in many different ways. What’s important is knowing how much CBD is in the product you’re taking and what the proper dosage is before making it a regular part of your lifestyle.

Proper use of CBD starts with choosing from products that research studies suggest are effective and low on side effects. You must choose products made from US hemp that are legal in your area.

  • You can choose to take your CBD as edibles such as gummy bears. This method is the most pleasant way to take it, though it will linger longer before it takes effect 2-3 hours longer.
  • Another method is as a dietary supplement, although these aren’t FDA-approved and may interact negatively with your system. It would be much safer to apply it topically as a lotion.
  • The most effective way to take CBD is sublingually or under your tongue. The effect hits in minutes, entering your bloodstream instead of passing through your digestive system.

The human body can take whatever you put in it within reason. Whatever method you choose, be sure to follow the recommended dosage/serving amount to ensure your safety and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions people have when using CBD and see the best method and frequency when using it:

Is CBD a Drug?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in hemp plants that can help the body deal with several health issues. It is not a drug, though there are forms approved as prescription drugs for seizures.

CBD is readily obtainable as CBD oil, edibles, or ointments in states where marijuana is legal. However, depending on the THC content available, it may be considered a controlled substance.

What Is the Best Form of CBD?

An oral-based CBD product such as a CBD oil tincture under the tongue, a chewable, or a tablet is the best way to consume CBD. It is safer than synthetic methods and is mostly made of American-grown hemp.

This method allows the CBD to enter your bloodstream within 30-60 seconds when absorbed by the sublingual glands of the tongue. Its effects will be felt within 30 minutes of taking.

Can CBD Cause Memory Loss?

Everyone who’s ever dealt with a recreational cannabis user knows how forgetful and absent-minded they can be. However, Cannabis plants rich in CBD do not cause memory loss.

The THC content in marijuana affects the hippocampus, causing short-term memory loss and even impacting memory formation, especially in adolescents. This is due to its psychoactive nature.

Therefore, it is best to stick to high-CBD or low THC products in order to stay mentally sharp.

Is CBD Good to Take Every Day?

CBD is better taken daily, as this will allow the health benefits to compound due to CBD being fat-soluble. The more you take it, the more it builds in the body — the benefits stack over time.

CBD is metabolized through the liver like other medicines, so it’s better to take CBD combined with other vitamins, oils, and natural compounds rather than just pure cannabis.

This will allow you to receive the most nutrients out of your consumption and reduce the negative effects of marijuana.


CBD products have many potential benefits, with preclinical evidence showing them to be serviceable for managing health conditions like Dravet syndrome or psychiatric disorders.That said, the average CBD product made using cannabis plants is not FDA-approved, and you should not be taking CBD products to treat illnesses that other medicines are more capable of addressing.

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