CBD Facts: The Real Truth About CBD Oil and It’s Complicated
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. Here are some questions you’ve probably heard or asked yourself:
“Does CBD come from marijuana?”
“Does CBD oil get you high?”
“Is CBD oil legal?”
“Does CBD oil have THC in it?”
“How do you find the best CBD oil?”
“Will CBD oil help with (fill in the blank)?”
Let’s answer them one at a time so you know the difference between CBD facts and myths.
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.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
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.
Does CBD Oil Get You High?
In short, no. CBD does not get you high. Thanks to its lack of THC content, there is no intoxication 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?
What Does “Psychoactive” Mean?
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 and does not cause intoxication.
Is CBD Legal in the United States?
Yes. And no. Sort of.
Confused? So are a lot of people – including some law enforcement agencies. That’s because laws in the United States have so many layers.
Federal vs. State Cannabis Laws
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 or Not?
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 judgment call. A good place to start is our state-by-state guide of CBD laws.
The CBD Facts
Federal law states that it is legal to farm, process, sell, purchase, own, use, and ship hemp and hemp-based products in the United States. Some state and local laws place restrictions on hemp.
Is There THC in CBD Oil?
Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.
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. These are known in the industry as
- Full spectrum
- Broad spectrum
The level of THC depends on which formula the company uses in its products. Let’s look at each in turn.
Full Spectrum CBD Extraction
Full spectrum extraction pulls out the whole range of useful substances from hemp alongside the CBD. These substances 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.
Broad Spectrum CBD Extraction
Broad spectrum extraction removes THC to undetectable levels, effectively rendering the CBD formula THC-free.* These products will still feature other plant compounds and cannabinoids, giving them a “broad” but not “full” profile of hemp components.
cbdMD’s Superior Broad Spectrum formula is a version of this, involving the cannabinoids cannabinol and cannabigerol, along with select terpenes.
CBD Isolate Extraction
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. Some people like this form, but many prefer the synergy of the hemp ingredients working together.
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.
How Do You Choose the Best CBD Oil?
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.
Here are some things to look for that signal good CBD quality:
CBD Lab Testing
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.
Good Manufacturing Practices
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.
Independent CBD Oil Reviews
One consequence of CBD’s elevated profile is that lots of independent sites have sprung up evaluating different CBD brands and warning consumers away from scams. Just be sure that the site itself isn’t an “advertorial” masquerading as a review piece. For more information, check out our post How to Spot Fake CBD Oil and Protect Yourself From Scammers.
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.
Can I Take CBD For...?
Hold your horses there, cowpoke.
There's a 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. But be careful about claims that it can treat any specific disease.
CBD Research is Early
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.
Don’t Believe All CBD Claims
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 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. It’s best to use CBD as a tool to support overall wellness.
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.
If you’re shopping for your first CBD product, this article is a great place to start.
If you want to learn more about how CBD products are made, this short article will answer all your questions.
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.