Cannabis has a number of active compounds that can benefit health and treat a variety of symptoms and conditions. The most well-known of these compounds is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. However, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has received attention for its health benefits.

Just what is CBD oil? How is it used? Is it classified as marijuana? What are the health benefits, is it myth or misconception of medical marijuana? What are the risks? We’ll take a look at each question and hopefully provide some answers.

What is CBD Oil?

Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, and typically, a plant has much more THC than CBD. Strains higher in CBD are being bred and cultivated for smoking, but the primary use of CBD is to extract it into an oil for medical use. While CBD is derived from marijuana, it is unlike THC in that it is not psychoactive. That is to say that it does not give a person the mind-altering “high” that THC is well-known for providing.

Most CBD oil comes from hemp. Hemp differs from cannabis plants used for consumable marijuana in that they are not bred to have higher amounts of THC.

How to Consume CBD Oil

CBD oil can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, It can be used in cooking. Two of the more popular ways of administering CBD oil are as a tincture or in vaporization. When used as a tincture, a few drops of CBD oil are placed under the tongue.

CBD oil is often sold in single-use cartridges for the purpose of vaporization. The cartridges are replaceable and sometimes refillable, and are used via vape pens. Some people place a few drops of CBD oil in their e-juice, or vape juice, and ingest it that way.

How Does CBD Oil Affect the Body?

The human body has specific receptors that cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, attach themselves to. They are known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors, primarily located in the brain, are utilized by THC. They affect coordination, movement, mood, and emotions as well as pain.

CB2 receptors are located throughout the body, and most commonly found in the immune system. They affect pain and inflammation. It was initially thought that CBD oil bound itself to these receptors, but now scientists believe that CBD oil works by influencing the body to use more of its own naturally-produced cannabinoids.

Health Benefits & Risks

It is currently believed that CBD oil has natural pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps people who suffer from chronic pain due to injuries or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Patients with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia have already used CBD oil to great effect in pain relief.

Another possible use of CBD oil is to temper withdrawal symptoms from nicotine and other drugs, such as opiates.

CBD oil has also shown promise as a treatment for psychiatric conditions like depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions. It has also shown to be effective in treating epileptic disorders, often reducing the number of seizures that occur in people with these conditions.

It should be noted that there have been few long-term studies into the risks of CBD oil. Many studies have found that it is well tolerated, with fatigue and tiredness reported as one of the major side-effects. Other patients have noted changes in appetite as well.

If you are looking for a natural alternative to some prescription medications, CBD oil may be right for you. It has a variety of potential uses, many of which are currently being studied. As always, speak with your physician before beginning any medication, even those natural, as possible interactions with current medications are possible.

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

About the Author

Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at with primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.