CBD Facts: The Real Truth About CBD Oil

CBD Facts: The Real Truth About CBD Oil

It seems like everywhere you turn, someone’s talking about cannabidiol (CBD). It’s a hot topic among local and national news outlets. Professional athletes talk about and endorse CBD products left and right. And when you consider that one in seven people in the United States use CBD for one reason or another, you’ve probably had conversations about it with friends and family. When it comes to CBD facts, it’s complicated. 


All this discussion about CBD oil facts is a good thing. New evidence for CBD’s use comes to light frequently and there’s great interest among scientists and doctors. And there are dozens of clinical studies in progress.


But confusion about CBD oil facts, origins, legal status, uses, properties, and applications is rampant. And while misconceptions are common among the average person, people in the news media, law enforcement officers, politicians, doctors, and academics also get the facts about CBD oil wrong sometimes. As a result, it can be difficult to discover the truth about CBD oil.


With the state of things, a little clarity goes a long way towards helping people make important decisions about CBD and their health.

A man in a white hat and a blue t-shirt looks out over a field of mature hemp plants

Where Does CBD Come From?

Getting the truth about CBD oil starts with understanding its origins.


CBD is a chemical compound produced by plants from the Cannabis genus. It’s typically extracted from the species Cannabis sativa L. Pretty simple, right? 


Don’t worry. It’s about to get a little more complicated.


There are two major strains of Cannabis sativa – hemp and marijuana.


Sometimes, people make a mistake in saying that the CBD products you’ll typically find online and in stores derive from marijuana. But that’s rarely the case since marijuana is still considered an illegal substance under U.S. federal law. 


Instead, the CBD tinctures, topicals, gummies, sleep aids, and capsules available for sale usually contain extracts from hemp – a strain that contains negligible amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.


THC is the chemical responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana.


Hemp is a strain of cannabis that’s federally legal in the U.S. when it contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. 


The CBD Facts: Most CBD in the United States derives from federally legal hemp plants – not marijuana.

A brown, glass bottle of CBD oil with a full dropper sits on a wooden table beside a hemp plant with a diagram of the chemical make up of THC and CBD

Is CBD Psychoactive?

In short, no CBD is not psychoactive. Thanks to its lack of THC content, there are no associated “high” feelings from using hemp-based CBD products.  


But, this question can also be a little tricky. Journalists and researchers commonly refer to CBD as non-psychoactive. But what is the truth about CBD oil and psychoactivity?


The common definition of “psychoactive” describes substances that affect the mind or behavior. By this view – and in the eyes of researchers – caffeine is psychoactive.


But caffeine doesn’t cause intoxication, does it? This indicates that the words “psychoactive” and “intoxicating” do not mean the same thing.


When journalists and researchers describe CBD as non-psychoactive, they probably mean that it’s non-intoxicating. By contrast, the high levels of THC found in marijuana make it both psychoactive and intoxicating. But CBD with low levels of THC allows for the many properties of the cannabis plant, minus the high.  


The CBD Facts: THC-free CBD is considered non psychoactive. While researchers may confirm CBD’s psychoactive properties, it does not cause intoxication.

A gavel on a white background sits next to a mature cannabis leaf

Is CBD Legal in the United States?

Yes. And no. Sort of.


Confused? So are a lot of people – including some law enforcement agencies.


To unravel the mystery and understand the truth about CBD oil and its legal status, let’s start with U.S. federal law.


Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the cultivation and processing of hemp became legal. Therefore, it is legal to extract CBD from hemp and introduce it into interstate commerce.


But state laws do not always mirror federal law. For instance, many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use. But marijuana is still illegal under U.S. law.


So, is CBD oil legal? There are many similar issues with CBD oil facts. Although it’s lawful for sale and use under federal regulations, state laws on CBD and cannabis vary. To make matters more confusing, local governments often pass their own ordinances. When state law is unclear, local agencies have to make a judgement call.


The CBD Facts: Federal law states that it is legal to farm, process, sell, purchase, own, use, and ship hemp, and therefore, hemp-based products across state lines. Some state and local laws place restrictions on hemp.

A collection of CBD oil capsules sits nestled in a bed of hemp leaves

Is THC Present in CBD Oil?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.


In order to discover the truth about CBD oil, it’s important to understand that there are a few different methods for the extraction of CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp – each resulting in different formulas.


For instance, some methods extract a wide variety of materials alongside CBD. These substances may include flavonoids, essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, including small amounts of THC. 


To be clear, federally legal THC levels are not enough to cause intoxication. But even small amounts of THC can trigger a positive drug test for marijuana. And some other cannabinoids may produce false positives for THC in certain tests.


Other processing methods remove THC to undetectable levels, effectively rendering them THC-free.* These products may still feature other plant compounds and cannabinoids. 


Another CBD product type – commonly described as CBD isolate – removes all other substances before infusing the pure, isolated CBD into an oil or similar. In other words, isolate formulas are the purest form of CBD available.


cbdMD takes things a step further by using multiple isolated cannabinoids and other plant compounds in their Superior Broad Spectrum formula. This hybrid method for producing CBD products allows cannabinoid levels to remain consistent across all product batches.


The CBD Facts: Some products contain THC, but legal limits on the substance prevent intoxication. Even so, they can cause positive drug tests. Others contain undetectable levels of THC.

A clear bottle of CBD oil sits between a brown glass dropper bottle and a clear glass dropper bottle on a wooden table

Aren’t All CBD Oils Pretty Much the Same?



In order to get the truth about CBD oil, it’s crucial to understand that there’s little standardization in place for the extraction and formulation of CBD products. To make matters more difficult for consumers, there are bad actors in the CBD industry who create products that can mislead or endanger unaware CBD users.


For every CBD industry leader who produces clean, safe, unadulterated, and legal products, many others cut corners or introduce unhealthy substances into their formulas.


This is a serious problem. Anyone shopping for CBD should research products carefully. One of the best ways to evaluate a CBD provider is to ask for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory. In this document, you’ll discover any contaminants and THC levels.


If a CBD company won’t provide a CoA, you cannot trust the safety of its products.


Another way consumers can distinguish properly manufactured products from those of poor quality is to look for independent verification of good manufacturing practices (GMP). For instance, cbdMD’s facilities earned GMP registration for dietary supplements through NSF International.


The CBD Facts: There are reports of poorly made, mislabeled, and contaminated CBD products on the market. Do thorough research and choose your CBD wisely.

CBD For a Variety of Problems, Right?

Hold your horses there, cowpoke.


There’s good reason for all the excitement around the potential of CBD. Early, preclinical studies show encouraging results. And there’s no shortage of personal success stories and anecdotal evidence about the applications of CBD for wellness.


While that information shows promise, it’s also important to note that unbiased, clinical, peer-reviewed research on the facts about CBD oil is in the early stages. Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug used to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, is the only FDA-approved use for CBD at the present time.


The way hemp companies market their products can obscure the truth about CBD oil. Even though CBD and other hemp extracts are legal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow CBD sellers and product makers to make drug claims about CBD oil facts.


Keep that in mind when you’re shopping for CBD oil.


After all, if a company openly disregards the law by making drug claims, what other illegal or unethical things might they do behind the scenes?


The CBD Facts: Clinical studies on CBD’s effects and applications are in the early stages. Companies marketing their CBD products as solutions for specific needs, are doing so unlawfully.

750 mg CBD oil, 750 mg CBD Freeze, and a CBD bath bomb from cbdMD sit on a bathroom counter top

Arm Yourself with Information

With all the noise in the media surrounding the facts about CBD oil, it’s difficult to get the truth about CBD oil. Don’t despair. You’re not alone. Even the lab coats get it wrong sometimes.


Here are a few articles that can help you make better choices about which CBD product is right for you and how to buy them at the best possible prices.


CBD Buyers Guide

If you’re shopping for your first CBD product, this article is a great place to start.


The Complete Guide to How CBD Oil is Made

If you want to learn more about how CBD products are made, this short article will answer all your questions.


7 Reasons Why CBD Is So Expensive

This article explains why some CBD products sport a premium price tag, but it also shares information on how you can save money easily when shopping for CBD products online.

If you still have questions, our friendly in-house customer support team members are always happy to help during any part of your journey. You can speak with them via the chat function of our website (see the “Live Chat” icon at the bottom right of any page on cbdMD.com) or use the information on our support page.


Disclaimer: The cbdMD blog contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.