Questions abound regarding CBD. Does it get you high? Is it safe? What does it help relieve? Here we answer some of the most pressing questions. Learn all about CBD oil a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history going back thousands of years. cannabidiol definition: 1. a compound (= a chemical that combines two or more elements) that is present in cannabis (= a…. Learn more.
What Is CBD?
Does CBD get you high? What are its benefits? Will it show up on a drug test? There are many questions surrounding this cannabis product. Here we answer some of the most common ones.
Kathleen Felton is a writer, editor, and content strategist with several years of experience working in digital media. She is an expert in health, pregnancy, and women’s lifestyle.
While modern-day CBD might still seem new, CBD has been around for centuries. According to a 2020 article in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, CBD use was first attested to about 12,000 years ago in Central Asia. Since then, CBD has enjoyed notoriety for its medicinal applications.
Today’s CBD comes in a variety of products and uses. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, and beauty companies are spiking their products with CBD. Then there are CBD gummies, touted to ease everything from anxiety and headaches to muscle aches and arthritis.
But despite its popularity, information on CBD can be confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it, how to make sure the products you’re buying are legit, and what it does. And is it even legal? So we dug deeper to find the answers to the most pressing questions about CBD.
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a naturally-occurring chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that contain hundreds of compounds that have a wide range of effects on the body.
Two different cannabis plants are marijuana and hemp. Two of the chemicals in these plants are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Marijuana has higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD. Hemp has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.
Unlike THC, which creates a “high” when used, CBD is not psychoactive. Therein lies the major difference.
So CBD Won’t Get Me High?
Nope. While cannabis plants contain hundreds of compounds (called phytocannabinoids), there are two main players: CBD and THC. “CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” said Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”
There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that, for unknown reasons, some people just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. “Usually, they’re the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol,” said Dr. Chin. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely with medical supervision.
It’s also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (more on this later). Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised or even contains small amounts of THC. And while they don’t regulate CBD products, the FDA will issue warning letters to companies who violate certain laws, such as those companies producing products containing THC or making false medical claims on their labels.
What Does Hemp Have To Do With CBD?
You’ve probably heard the terms cannabis, marijuana, and hemp used synonymously regarding CBD. The plant genus Cannabis sativa has two primary species—hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there’s a much higher percentage of CBD in hemp, which also has very low (less than 0.3%) levels of THC compared to marijuana.
When people talk about hemp oil, they’re referring to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. There are no cannabinoids—CBD or THC—in hemp oil. This ingredient is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits.
What Are the Health Benefits of CBD?
Read any CBD product testimonials and you’ll see that people claim CBD has helped with a slew of health conditions, including back pain, osteoarthritis, and even cancer. But the only CBD medication that is currently FDA-approved is Epidiolex, which the agency approved for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy.
“My practice has patients walking in every day asking about CBD,” said Houman Danesh, MD, director of integrative pain management for the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But while there’s lots of anecdotal evidence, Dr. Danesh noted that it’s still difficult to say what the real benefits are due to a lack of research.
“Right now, you just have pharmacies trying to make some sort of sense out of it and say, ‘Yes, it works for this,'” said Dr. Danesh, “but that’s not the way medicine is practiced—it should be based on evidence, and there’s not a lot of evidence to really support these claims.”
And while unbiased research is scant, some studies are showing promise. For example, a 2021 observational study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research suggests that CBD-rich treatment helps relieve moderate to severe levels of pain, anxiety, and depression, as well as improves overall wellbeing in people with these symptoms. The study did not show the benefit of CBD in those with mild symptoms.
Is CBD Worth Trying for Pain Management?
According to Dr. Danesh, there are two main types of pain: musculoskeletal and nerve. “There could be benefits for both conditions,” said Dr. Danesh.
The tricky part is that there’s some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, explained Dr. Danesh. “Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need [both] CBD and THC.” This makes accessing a product that will help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. For example, in some states, CBD is available over the counter, but you need a prescription for THC.
Figuring out how much you should take is challenging as well; the dosage that alleviates one person’s pain might do very little for someone else. “And until we can study it, it’s the wild west,” said Dr. Danesh.
So is it worth trying? “I think CBD is a safe thing to try,” said Dr. Danesh, but he urged people to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it.
Can CBD Help With Anxiety?
CBD might be worth trying to help manage symptoms of anxiety. “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe,” said Dr. Chin. “It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response,” explained Dr. Chin. For this reason, people with anxiety may find it helps them feel more relaxed.
Still, one of the biggest misconceptions about CBD is that it’s a wonder drug. “A lot of times, people think CBD is a cure-all—and it’s not,” said Dr. Chin. “You should also have a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good nutrition. CBD is not going to fix everything.”
What’s the Best Way To Take CBD?
The best way for you to administer CBD depends on your reasons for taking it.
Some people don’t want to ingest anything and therefore prefer a topical CBD cream or ointment. “You can apply it to muscles, joints, and ligaments and still get a nice localized release,” said Dr. Chin.
The biggest differences between tinctures, edibles, and vape pens are the speed of delivery and how long the effects last. Vape relief is faster but wears off faster too—usually in about two hours, said Dr. Chin. “Say you woke up in the morning and pulled your back out. You might want to take CBD through a vape pen, which delivers [CBD] in 10 minutes.”
Tinctures and edibles take longer to work but last four or five hours. “A tincture looks like a little liquid that you put under your tongue, and you feel relief within half an hour,” said Dr. Chin. “If you prefer to taste something, you choose an edible, whether it’s a capsule, gummy, or baked good.”
What Should I Look for When Shopping for CBD Products?
“There are literally hundreds of CBD brands at this point,” said Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals and an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping.
What’s on the Label?
If it’s a dietary supplement, it should have a back panel with an FDA disclaimer and warning section, according to Beatty. “Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too.”
Has It Been Third-Party Tested?
Your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label’s accuracy. A third party is a reputable independent organization that has no ties to the company selling the product.
Quality assurance is a real concern in the industry. Take the 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study, for example, which tested 84 CBD products and found that 26% contained lower doses of CBD than stated on the bottle. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party or check the retailer’s website if you don’t see it on the product’s label.
NSF International is one of the leading third-party testing organizations for supplements. If you’re not sure your supplement is third-party tested or you want to confirm its NSF certification, you can use the search tool on the NSF site for this purpose.
What’s the Dosing?
This is a confusing one for many people. “A lot of brands don’t do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing,” said Chris Roth, CEO and co-founder of Highline Wellness.
When thinking about dosing, also consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate. Full-spectrum could include other cannabinoids like cannabidivarin or cannabigerol. This is important, since “there’s something called the ‘entourage effect’ when all together, they’re more effective than any one of them alone,” explained Roth.
Isolate, on the other hand, is 100% CBD. “Some people might only need 10 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, but with isolate, even taking 80 or 100 milligrams might not have the same effect,” said Roth.
Does It Claim to Cure Disease?
If the product claims to cure disease, this is a hard pass. “You should avoid any company that makes disease claims,” said Beatty. “If [they are making these claims], it means they’re either willing to break the rules, or they’re not aware of the rules.”
Is There a Batch Number?
You know how you check your raw chicken or bagged lettuce every time there’s a recall to make sure the one you bought isn’t going to make you sick? You should be able to do that with CBD products too. “This is a huge indicator as to whether they are following good manufacturing practices,” said Beatty. “There should be a way to identify this product in case it was improperly made so the company can carry out a recall.”
Are There Additional Ingredients in There?
As with any supplement, you want to know everything you’re ingesting in addition to the main event. For example, “sometimes I notice that [CBD manufacturers] will add melatonin,” said Dr. Chin.
Where Are You Buying It?
You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, and even coffee shops in many states. Then there are the plethora of online retailers selling CBD products. When in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, said Beatty. “Typically, they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you.”
Is It Legal?
First, a little background. Industrial hemp was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, according to the CDC. Interestingly, “Some of our early presidents grew hemp,” noted Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, a cannabis industry attorney based in Oklahoma.
Nearly 80 years later, the 2014 Farm Bill took the position that states could regulate the production of hemp and, as a result, CBD. Then in 2018, President Trump signed a new Farm Bill—the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—that made it federally legal to grow hemp.
This means that “consumers everywhere if they’re compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products,” explained Parrish, “and among those will be CBD.”
In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA’s, purview. “Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge,” said Parrish. “But while it’s legal under federal law, it’s up to each state to set their own policy.”
These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in several states. In other states, it’s legal in some form, such as just for medicinal purposes. And still, other states permit just CBD oil.
For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.
“It’s kind of ironic,” said Parrish. “With marijuana, we have got the federal government saying ‘No’ and a bunch of states saying ‘Yeah, it’s OK.’ But with hemp, the feds say ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ but we still have some states saying it’s not.”
Can You Travel With CBD?
That same 2018 Farm Bill means you can now travel between states with legit CBD products. “Flying with CBD should pose no issues now,” said Parrish. However, Parrish added that if you’re traveling with a tincture, be mindful of TSA limits on how much liquid you can carry on an airplane.
Parrish also noted that you can mail CBD products, just like “companies that comply with the Bill can ship their hemp-derived CBD products anywhere in the US.”
Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
CBD should not show up on a drug test as long as you’re buying third-party tested CBD with no added THC, said Dr. Chin. But Dr. Chin did point out that athletes, who often are required to take more sensitive drug tests, “could potentially test positive” for trace amounts of THC if they’ve been using CBD products.
Can I Take CBD While Pregnant?
The short answer to CBD use during pregnancy is no. Because there is so little research on this topic, a 2020 review of the literature published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology states that pregnant individuals are placing their fetuses in danger by using CBD products. Another reason, said the study authors, is that many CBD products have other ingredients that may not be safe to use while pregnant.
It’s always wise to err on the side of caution when pregnant or breastfeeding, so forego the CBD until your little one is no longer dependent on you for nourishment.
Can I Give It to My Dog?
Are you tempted to give your pup one of those CBD dog biscuits? “Generally we expect CBD products to be safe, and they could show some benefit for anxiety in pets,” said John Faught, DVM, a veterinarian based in Austin, Texas.
But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. “I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don’t know how to distinguish them at this time,” said Faught.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol ( CBD ) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists.
Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes. But unlike THC , CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.
CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC , depending on how much of each compound is consumed. Many people want the health benefits of cannabis without the high – or with less of a high. The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating, and easy to take as a CBD oil, makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time.
CBD : The Multipurpose Molecule
Many people are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals with harsh side effects – medicine more in synch with natural processes. By tapping into how we function biologically on a deep level, CBD can provide relief for chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many other conditions.
Extensive scientific research – much of it sponsored by the U.S. government – and mounting anecdotal accounts from patients and physicians highlight CBD ’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of maladies, including (but not limited to):
- Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
- Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
- Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD , PTSD , alcoholism) (colitis, Crohn’s)
- Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia) (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
CBD has proven neuroprotective effects and its anti-cancer properties are being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. A 2010 brain cancer study by California scientists found that CBD “enhances the inhibitory effects of THC on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival.” This means that CBD makes THC even more potent as an anticancer substance. Also in 2010, German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, in adult mammals.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD and THC interact with our bodies in a variety of ways. One of the main ways is by mimicking and augmenting the effects of the compounds in our bodies called “endogenous cannabinoids” – so named because of their similarity to compounds found in the cannabis plant. These “endocannabinoids” are part of what scientists refer to as the “endocannabinoid system.”
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. It has major implications for nearly every area of medical science and helps to explain how and why CBD and THC are such versatile compounds – and why cannabis is such a widely consumed plant, despite its illegal status.
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience – our mood, our energy level, our intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, hunger, and more.
What happens if the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function properly? What are the consequences of a chronically deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system?
In a word, disease.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health ( NIH ), suggested in a 2013 publication.
By modulating the endocannabinoid system and enhancing endocannabinoid tone, CBD and THC can slow – or in some cases stop – disease progression.
There’s a lot of excitement about the healing potential of CBD – with good reason.
But it wasn’t until June 25, 2018, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) recognized cannabidiol as a medicine by approving Epidiolex, an almost pure pharmaceutical CBD formulation, as a treatment for two severe pediatric seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
This was the first time since the peak of the reefer madness era 80 years ago – when “marihuana” became a crime instead of a cure — that the federal government had given an official thumbs-up for a cannabis-derived product.
In response to the FDA ’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA later “descheduled” Epidiolex and removed it from the federal government’s list of controlled substances.
But the DEA kept cannabis and CBD (when derived from a cannabis plant with more than 0.3 % THC ) on Schedule I as an illegal narcotic. In the world according to Uncle Sam, pharmaceutical CBD is officially the only good cannabinoid while the rest of the plant remains an ‘evil’ weed.
Given CBD ’s reputation as a popular, artisanal remedy, one would think that Epidiolex would command a lot of “off label” attention. After all, physicians often prescribe pharmaceuticals off label to treat conditions that were not the actual focus of clinical trials. But the costly price tag for Epidiolex (more than $30,000 annually) precludes off label prescribing as well as affordable access for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
For those who can’t obtain pharmaceutical CBD , there are numerous internet storefronts, community markets, coffee shops, health clubs, chiropractic offices, upscale boutiques and gas stations that retail various hemp-derived CBD oil products, including pure CBD isolates comparable in chemical make-up to Epidiolex.
CBD oil products and flower with varying levels of THC and CBD are also available for smoking or vaping at cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized the herb for therapeutic use.
In response to massive consumer demand, a huge, unregulated market in CBD oil products reached a critical mass in 2018. A surge of consumer interest in all things CBD was suddenly newsworthy with hosanas of praise coming from athletes, film stars, soccer moms, and parents of desperately ill children.
CBD oil has been touted as a curative for the sick and a preventive for the healthy, an all-purpose palliative for pets as well as people of all ages.
But along with a growing awareness of cannabidiol as a potential health aide, there has also been a proliferation of misconceptions about CBD and cannabis therapeutics.
The CBD Challenge
CBD is a molecule, not a miracle. Many people could benefit significantly from legal access to a wide range of cannabis remedies, not just low- THC or no- THC products. CBD alone may not always do the trick. There is compelling evidence that CBD works best in combination with THC and the full spectrum of other cannabis components.
Figuring out how to optimize one’s therapeutic use of cannabis is the driving force behind the great laboratory experiment in democracy known as medical marijuana that’s been unfolding state-by-state and country-by-country in recent years.
The advent of potent cannabis oil concentrates, non-intoxicating CBD -rich products, and innovative, smokeless delivery systems has transformed the therapeutic landscape and changed the public conversation about cannabis.
It’s no longer a matter of debating whether cannabis has merit as an herbal medication – today the key challenge is discerning how to utilize cannabis for maximum therapeutic benefit. Given its low-risk profile, many people are using CBD as an add-on therapy to their existing treatment plans.
But most health professionals know little about CBD or cannabis therapeutics and they lack sufficient expertise to adequately counsel patients regarding dosage, modes of administration, CBD / THC synergies, and any risk factors, including interactions with other drugs.
Instead, the onus has been on a loose-knit community of self-reliant patients, supportive families and a few pioneer physicians who’ve learned a lot through trial and error and shared information about how to navigate promising avenues of cannabis therapy.
What About CBD from Hemp?
What began as a grassroots populist rebellion against cannabis prohibition has morphed into a multibillion-dollar market catalyzed by the rediscovery of CBD as a wellness option. CBD oil is red hot these days, and it seems that everyone – do-gooders as well as profiteers – wants a piece of the action.
CBD has also catalyzed the rebirth of the U.S. hemp industry, which lay dormant for decades because of drug war politics. The 2018 Farm Bill includes a provision that legalizes the cultivation of hemp (cannabis with no more than 0.3 % THC ) in large part because of the popularity and driving economic force of CBD .
Growing hemp is now a legitimate agricultural enterprise in the United States. But extracting CBD -rich oil from hemp biomass and marketing CBD oil concentrates and isolates for ingestion and inhalation steps on Big Pharma’s toes and is frowned upon by the DEA and the FDA .
Legalities aside, hemp-derived cannabidiol is just a mouse click or a phone tap away for anyone willing to roll the dice and purchase CBD oil products that are manufactured with little regulatory oversight.
The upside of all this is easy access to CBD oil; the downside is inconsistent quality.
Many hemp-derived CBD oil products are mislabeled as to cannabidiol and THC content. And poorly processed CBD oil may be tainted with toxic solvent residues, pesticides, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and other contaminants.
Fortunately, good quality CBD oil products are also available for the conscientious consumer – the label reader, the brand researcher – who understands that cannabis and CBD are best used as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Copyright, Project CBD . May not be reprinted without permission.
Meaning of cannabidiol in English
a compound (= a chemical that combines two or more elements) that is present in cannabis (= a drug, illegal in many countries, that is made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant) and that may have a use in medical treatment:
- In her study, mice with a variant of ALS were given a combination of THC and cannabidiol, another compoundfound in marijuana.
- Now new researchlabstudies show that an extract of marijuana, cannabidiol, can stopeyesgrowingleakybloodvessels.
- Cannabidiol occurs in plants from Morocco, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and in some plants from India.
- Cannabidiol works in multipleways to block the toxinleakages from the bloodvessels and to preventdestruction of nerves in the retina.
You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:
Examples of cannabidiol
Chronic cannabidiol administration in rats was found to produce anxiogenic-like effects, indicating that prolonged treatment with cannabidiol might incite anxiogenic effects.
It bears structural similarity to the other natural cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabidiol, and cannabinol, among others.
These examples are from corpora and from sources on the web. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors.
Translations of cannabidiol
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