Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil

Noun | \kan-ə-bə-ˈdī-ˌȯl ˈȯi(-ə)l\

A concentrate, tincture, or cannabis extract with a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD), typically extracted from marijuana or industrial hemp. 


“I’m taking a CBD oil tincture to see if it helps with my arthritis.”


“Should I consider giving my dog CBD oil?” 

More About CBD Oil

A derivative of the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) oil has emerged as one of the most talked-about products types of 21st Century. The most-discussed and researched medicinal effects associated with the cannabis plant have been partly attributed to CBD, the second-most prominent cannabinoid in marijuana.


CBD oil has become a major wellness trend in recent years. Rising concerns over the rapid growth of the CBD oil market combined with limited federal regulation and hazards of mass-produced, poorly made, or potentially ineffective products have consumers wondering more than ever: What are the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil, is it legal, and how does one find the most effective products? 

What is CBD?

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is the second-most-prominent cannabinoid, right behind tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid which produces the psychotropic and intoxicating effects of cannabis. Phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids made by the cannabis plant, interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of our body’s endocannabinoids, receptors that the cannabinoids bind to, and enzymes that break them down. 

When you consume CBD, the cannabinoid binds to your body’s cannabinoid receptors. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

When you consume cannabis, phytocannabinoids bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors and signal chemical responses from the body. CBD binds to both of the body’s most well-researched cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, as well as several other biological pathways. It activates, for example, one of the brain’s central serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), which may explain CBD’s potential to treat depression and anxiety

CBD’s interaction with the body is complex, and as a result, elicits a wide variety of potential therapeutic effects. It also has the potential to both inhibit and contribute to the intoxicating effects of THC, possibly depending on how high the dose of CBD is compared with THC.

Types of CBD Oil

CBD oil comes in several different types and formulas. There’s CBD hemp oil, which is extracted from industrial hemp, and CBD oil extracted from marijuana. The most popular types of CBD oil typically fit into one of three categories:

  • Full Spectrum: Also known as whole-plant CBD oil, full-spectrum CBD oil is a mix of CBD, minor cannabinoids, cannabis-derived terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. In cannabis, the term full spectrum refers to a concentration of every compound extracted from the cannabis plant. 
  • Broad Spectrum: Contains a similar spectrum of all of the cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from the plant, but with the trace amounts of THC removed. 
  • Isolate: Often known as raw CBD oil, isolates strip away all other cannabinoids and terpenes until all that’s left is a crystalline powder of pure CBD. To create an oil consistency, crystalline CBD powder is usually mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. CBD isolates with a purity range of 99.9% and above won’t have trace amounts of THC, whereas a CBD isolate of 99.5% and below may still have traces of THC.  
CBD oil is used in many different types of products, including coffee. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

CBD oil may also be one of the following product types: 

  • Isolate: isolated CBD compound in a fine white powder
  • Concentrates: raw CBD oil, cartridges, vape pens, syringes, etc.
  • Infusions: CBD-infused edibles, capsules, topicals, and sublingual sprays


The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20, 2018, legalized industrial hemp, which according to federal guidelines, must contain less than 0.3% THC. Though CBD remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, CBD produced from industrial hemp under the regulations of the Farm Bill is considered legal. 


The same regulations apply to all CBD oils. Only CBD oil derived from hemp is considered federally legal. Consult your state’s cannabis laws and regulations to find out which CBD oils are legal to buy and consume in your area. 

Common Uses

Some of the ailments for which CBD oil is frequently used, and for which studies have shown successful treatment with CBD, include: 

  • Anti-inflammation/pain relief: A variety of studies have shown CBD has potential in treating inflammation and fibromyalgia. It may also treat migraines by signaling pain receptor pathways in the body.
  • Anxiety: CBD oil is often used as an alternative anti-anxiety medication. According to a recent study, 300 milligrams of CBD may be the optimal dose to effectively treat short-term anxiety, such as the kind associated with public speaking
  • Epilepsy/Seizures: Modern epilepsy patients, and parents of children experiencing seizures, are frequently turning to CBD oil as a possible supplement to help with their convulsive symptoms. Research on CBD as an anticonvulsant has been around since 1881, though the exact mechanisms of action remain unclear. 
  • CBD for pets: CBD oil is now frequently being used to treat several common ailments in dogs including arthritis, inflammation, epilepsy, and even anxiety. Little research has been done into CBD dosing for other pets, so it’s best to start with low doses and work one’s way upward when treating a dog with CBD oil. 


CBD products for pets have been lining dispensary shelves and other retail stores with increasing frequency. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

CBD Oil Product Labeling

When choosing a CBD oil product, be aware of labeling. Watch out for buzzwords, such as “organic,” “pure,” or “natural,” none of which have a scientific or legally acceptable definition, and avoid products that make claims about treating or curing diseases and conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forbids makers of CBD from making medicinal claims. Most reputable CBD producers will typically include the following information on their product labels:

  • Amount of active CBD per serving 
  • Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients
  • Net weight
  • Manufacturer or distributor name
  • Suggested use
  • Distinction as full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate
  • Batch or date code