What is CBD?
CBD, a wildly popular natural extract derived from non-psychoactive hemp plants is growing in popularity for its ability to provide relief from a wide range of debilitating ailments, including anxiety, depression, cancers and other chronic diseases.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with a wide scope of medical applications.
CBD is molecularly similar to THC (the compound found in cannabis plants known to get you high). However, CBD works much differently than THC.
The main difference you will feel with CBD is a noticeable lack of a psychoactive effect. CBD is gaining rapid popularity for its ability to provide similar symptom relief to THC while also remaining free of THC’s mind-altering effects.
In other words, CBD gives you a range of incredible benefits, but it doesn’t make you feel high.
CBD Uses: Symptoms and Treatments
Below you’ll find some of the top benefits for using CBD. This is not meant to be a fully exhaustive list, but rather a complication of the most prevalent applications of CBD:
- ADD/ADHD: CBD reduces hyperactivity and improves mental cognition. [6-8]
- Alzheimer’s & Dementia: CBD has neuroprotective properties that are effective in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s and dementia. [9-14]
- Anxiety: CBD exhibits anti-anxiety effects, multiple studies have validated CBD’s efficacy as an anxiolytic drug. [15-19]
- Arthritis: Suppresses inflammation that results in anti-arthritic effects. [20-23]
- Cancer: In addition to the well-known palliative effects of cannabinoids on some cancer-associated symptoms, a large body of evidence shows that these molecules can actually decrease cancerous tumor growth. [24-31]
- Concussions & Traumatic Brain Injuries: CBD has neuroprotective properties that are beneficial in the treatment of concussions and other conditions involving neurodegeneration. [32-39]
- Crohn’s, Colitis & Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): CBD reduces intestinal inflammation and damage associated with IBD. [40-46]
- Depression: CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects. [47-51]
- Migraines & Headaches: CBD (and THC) are more effective at reducing the frequency of acute migraine headaches than prescription drugs, and cause fewer side effects. [52-54]
- Pain Management: CBD is a known analgesic that’s proven to be effective in treating various types of neuropathic pain. [55-63]
- PTSD: CBD both acutely inhibits fear expression and enhances extinction to produce longer-lasting reductions in fear. It also reduces the anxiety and insomnia secondary to PTSD. [64-68]
- Seizures & Epilepsy: CBD exerts significant anticonvulsant effects on a molecular level while limiting neurodegeneration. [69-77]
- Sleep Disorders: CBD results in improvements in sleep quality and quantity. It also helps combat excessive daytime fatigue. [78-82]
Is CBD Safe? Can I Overdose on CBD?
Assuming the starting material was a quality product, CBD is completely safe and non-toxic. 
Studies have concluded that 700mg daily doses of CBD for 6 weeks induce no toxicity in patients — effectively proving that long-term daily consumption of CBD is safe.
No fatal overdose level of CBD has ever been reported Several studies have evaluated the safety of CBD in adults and have concluded it can be well tolerated even up to 1,500 mg/day. 
For reference, an effective dose for an epilepsy patient — who require much higher doses than most uses — is still only 200mg per day. In short, it is virtually impossible to overdose on CBD.
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.
How Does CBD Work?
Without going too deep into the science, CBD affects multiple sets of receptors all throughout the body.
CBD’s power comes from what it does to something called your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a network of receptors responsible for your overall homeostasis (you can think of it as the body’s “equilibrium,” or a sense of well-being). [83,84]
When homeostasis is in check, the body can maintain a relatively stable internal environment despite chaos or variations in the external environment. 
Why is CBD so Effective?
The effectiveness of CBD for relieving medical conditions. Data taken from Banfield Group’s 2019 CBD Industry Report.
Rather than binding to your cannabinoid receptors directly (like THC), CBD indirectly influences these receptors and helps your body naturally produce more endocannabinoids on its own. 
Because of its holistic impact on the overall state of the body, CBD is able to target the cause of the problem, rather than just the symptoms (like traditional pharmaceuticals do).
Regardless of your stance on hemp or CBD, a functional endocannabinoid system is essential for homeostasis and health. 
So does this mean you need to consume CBD every day to be healthy? No, not exactly.
For reference, endocannabinoids are produced naturally in the body and phytocannabinoids — like THC and CBD — come from plants.
Your body produces endocannabinoids on its own. However, because you do need to have a properly functioning endocannabinoid system to maintain health, many people choose to supplement their endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids like CBD — think of it as a daily multivitamin.
What does CBD Feel Like?
CBD targets the source of your problem while limiting symptoms—without interfering with day-to-day life.
The sensation you get from consuming CBD in any of its forms is often described as a “wave of relief” or “relaxation” that can be felt throughout the entire body.
A topical application can result in a nearly instant reduction in swelling, pain, and discomfort.
What to Expect the First Time
First time CBD users may look down at their watch 30 minutes after ingesting tinctures and stop to think, “I don’t feel anything, is it even working?”
An hour later, they’ve totally forgotten about their anxiety, pain, inflammation (or any other symptom). You won’t feel anything out of the ordinary. More than likely, you’ll eventually just realize that your pain has lessened, your anxiety has melted, or your depression has lifted.
The effect, although subtle, is an extremely effective healing remedy that is difficult to disregard.
Finding the Right CBD Product
CBD’s legal status is similar to that of a dietary supplement, meaning that it isn’t regulated by the FDA like other food and drugs. This can make the world of CBD products feel like the Wild West.
From a consumer standpoint, this means it’s essential you know everything about the products you buy before you trust a company with your health.
CBD Reviews Backed By Tests
Learn more about Key To Cannabis’ strict review process for CBD products. We are constantly working to provide consumers with the most thorough and accurate information about brands that advertise CBD products.
We only review and support products that provide public test results for their products related to safety, purity and CBD content.
Brands We’ve Reviewed:
Click these links to read more about our unbiased reviews of each of the products listed above. We hope they help you find the best product for your journey to natural health!
Key to Cannabis Mission
Key to Cannabis is dedicated to transparency and accountability in everything we do. We hope to provide you accurate, unbiased and trusted information on cannabis.