Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid with a wide scope of medical applications. Of the 85 known cannabinoids (the active ingredients in the cannabis plant), CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most widely studied.

CBD has risen in popularity because it provides real relief and because it doesn’t induce the traditional ‘high’ associated with conventional high-THC. The medicinal properties of CBD are so valuable because it’s potent event in small doses and overdose is impossible. You can get instantly improve your quality of life by using CBD, even if you’re already healthy!

Where does CBD come from?

Now you’re probably wondering, if it’s so different than normal ‘recreational weed’ with high THC content, where does CBD come from? Most commercial CBD products derive their CBD from industrial hemp. By definition, hemp is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC.

So is there a difference between ‘hemp’ and ‘cannabis’? No, it’s the same species of plant; the only distinction is the amount of THC the plant contains. This is a legal distinction that allows for the cultivation of low-THC cannabis in certain states, as it was deemed that you couldn’t get ‘high’ on strains testing below this THC threshold.

Then why is it called CBD oil? How is CBD oil made?

All CBD products are derived from a plant-based extract. While it’s completely viable and possible to smoke a high-CBD strain in a pipe or bong, the dosage will be exceptionally mild. So when you hear about CBD treatments being administered through the use of ‘CBD oil’, it’s a concentrated form of the beneficial cannabinoids from the plant.

‘CBD oil’ is a very broad term that can refer to a variety of different products and extraction methods, but the raw CBD extract itself is still the final objective. You can think of this process like an espresso machine: as the water passes through the puck of ground coffee beans it strips them of their oils (which contain the caffeine, flavor, and aroma) into a filtered, highly concentrated solution.

The CBD extraction process is similar, it produces highly concentrated CBD-rich oil that is then infused into a carrier oil (coconut, MCT, etc.) to make accurately dosed products like tinctures and gel caps. Thus when buying CBD oil, it’s important that CBD has been decarboxylated (activated) and is infused in high-fat oil that allows the body to absorb the CBD contained.

Is ingesting CBD oil the only way to consume?

Not at all! There are a variety of CBD products on the market today – each of which uses a different method of action to relieve symptoms. In addition to oil-based ingestibles like tinctures and gel caps, there are also CBD-rich topical salves, topical sprays, bath salts, chapsticks, water and smokeables. The best consumption method for you will depend on the results you seek. Click here for our CBD consumption guide.

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.