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What is CBD Oil? The Complete Guide to CBD Oil - Knowns and Unknowns

Cannabidiol (CBD Oil) may not be a psychoactive chemical like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but the buzz around it will not die down any time soon. So, we launched an examination of the product, to find out what kind of benefits it can offer you and how you can start benefiting from it.

The popularity of CBD, just like anything else, could be due to overhype. This may be, in part, the result of a lack of deeper understanding about dosage, delivery methods, and how it works once in the body. That is why you might see CBD-infused tampons and other wacky products.

what is cbd oil - cbd oil against background of cbd

To be clear, as a medicine or supplement, CBD has to be taken in specific doses to have an effect.

Much about the substance is still unclear, but we have a solid idea of where all this is headed, the potential benefits, and what the research says.

In this examination of CBD, we will look at it from every angle to find out what is known about it and what we have yet to discover or are discovering.

That way, CBD will become demystified and stand a chance of benefiting you once you start taking it.

If you are just curious to answer the question ‘what is CBD’ or ‘what is CBD used for’ and do not necessarily want to hop on the bandwagon, this article is for you too.

Let’s dive in.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol is one of the many active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. It is not a psychoactive compound like its well-known cousin THC.

So, what is CBD oil good for?

CBD oil has been shown in numerous preclinical observations, clinical trials, and cannabis studies evaluations to have the potential for therapeutic and medicinal use for a broad range of pain, anxiety, and mental-related issues.

You can take advantage of all these benefits without feeling high, which is associated with THC. We are about to cover that in a segment about the entourage effect, something we think every enthusiast should know about.

Check the laws governing you regarding CBD oil and cannabis use before agreeing to buy anything that could land you in trouble.
For now, let’s dive into answering questions like, ‘what is CBD oil used for?’

The Entourage Effect of Full-Spectrum CBD oil

In answering the question 'what is full-spectrum CBD?’, we usually end up talking about the entourage effect.

Full-spectrum CBD extracts have all the compounds that occur naturally in Cannabis, including some traces of THC (the cannabinoid associated with the ‘high’ feeling)

The Cannabis plant is not made up of just THC or CBD. It contains about 120 phytocannabinoids. Every single one of them affects your endocannabinoid system when taken. The system is what keeps your body in balance (homeostasis).

As it stands, CBD and THC are the two most extensively researched Cannabis phytocannabinoids. That is why we know a lot about what they do when taken and wherein they have an effect on the body. THC and CBD can be taken together or separately, using various methods.

Some research has shown that when taken together, along with the other seemingly minuscule compounds in the plant (known as terpenes/terpenoids), the effects are more profound and effective than when taking either THC or CBD alone.

One reason that could explain this is the interaction between terpenes and phytocannabinoids. In essence, the theory argues that the compounds are more effective when taken altogether than separately.

What Does the Research Say About the “Entourage Effect?”

In a 2011 review of studies in the British Journal of Pharmacology, results showed that taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes together might be good for:

  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Cancer
  • Fungal infection

In addition to that, research from 2018 showed that some of the flavonoids and terpenes might contain neuroprotective and anti-inflammation properties. The researchers proposed that the combination of these compounds could improve CBD’s benefits and potential.

As with most of what we know about the world of CBD and cannabis, there is a lot that needs thorough research before we can come to concrete conclusions about the entourage effect. However, the connection between taking full-spectrum CBD and increased benefits is nearly undeniable.

For UK residents, though, the law still prohibits the sale of products with more than 0.2% THC.

Is CBD no good without THC?

No. CBD has shown its effectiveness when taken by itself. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t inform you that having access to the full-spectrum options may offer more benefits. However, if you get just CBD, its benefits alone are sufficient.
So, what is CBD good for? Well, it helps the consumers deal with some of the symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and pain.

Furthermore, many users do not want to get 'stoned' or feel 'high.’ CBD is for them. It contains less than 0.3% THC, which will not only not show up on a drug test when taken in moderate amounts but also give you all the benefits without leaving you a little woozy.

There is not much that’s wrong with having THC along with your CBD. However, it all comes down to what the users prefer. For most working people, productivity during the day is important, which is where CBD comes in handy to give you the benefits you require without taking you out of commission for a while.

The Nature of CBD Oil

One of the most common questions we get is, ‘what is the difference between Hemp oil and CBD oil?’

The reason people ask is that they do not know the exact way these definitions are structured. We are about to clear it up.

We also have to answer the inevitable follow-up question, 'is CBD oil a mixture of both, or is it from a specific part of the plant?'

Legally, we are only allowed to have 0.2% THC or less in the products sold. The UK's laws are clear on this. They do not explicitly say anything about CBD, but through interpretation of the law, we know that it is not illegal to sell CBD, as long as the THC levels are within what’s considered legal.

Let’s look at the difference:

Cannabis CBD and Hemp CBD both contain THC, along with about 540 other substances. The main difference is how much CBD and THC they contain. We know that Cannabis has less CBD and more THC. Hemp contains more CBD and little THC.

It is crucial to keep in mind that cannabidiol (CBD) does not change, whether derived from hemp or cannabis. The chemical makeup of CBD is not dependent on which plant it is extracted from.

The amounts available to extract depend on the source, which is why hemp is preferred, especially in the UK where broad/full-spectrum CBD (meaning that which contains some level of THC higher than the legal limit) is not sold.
So, the next time someone asks you, ‘what is the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil?’ you’ll know what to tell them.

The Difference between Hemp, Cannabis, and Marijuana

In essence, we are talking about the same plant here. The distinctions these names provide are based on the levels of THC, the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. THC is what usually brings in contention among proponents of cannabis use and detractors of it.

The chemical produces a ‘high’ (the slightly altered mental state that terrifies so many people).

All these names refer to plants in the Cannabaceae family, with some botanical and cultural differences. As with many plants, different strains can be grown to produce more THC and change over time, depending on where they are grown, by whom, and under what political and weather conditions.
Let's break down the fundamental differences:


Hemp is also known as Cannabis sativa L. Marijuana and Hemp may belong to the same family and even species in some cases, but different in the chemical composition and characteristics. Hemp contains low levels of THC, for which marijuana is popular. However, it has higher levels of CBD.

For instance, in a place like the US, the legal definition that distinguishes hemp from marijuana is based on the level of THC in the plant. Hemp is named Cannabis sativa L. for plants containing 0.3% or less THC.

Plants that go above the 0.3% limit stop being hemp and become marijuana. They remain controlled in the UK and across the pond in the US. In the UK, they are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971


You can think of marijuana as the problematic cousin of the well-behaved hemp varieties. Though they share a species, they are chemically and legally defined differently, with significant implications.

Since marijuana contains perceptible levels of THC, it produces intoxication effects when consumed. In many places, it is illegal. However, many of its proponents have successfully fought back in multiple US states and gotten it legalised. Even though the industry is problematic in many ways, that is more of a policy/politics than a plants issue.

One of the most common ways marijuana is sold is by drying and curing its flowers (buds). Other methods include extraction of the concentrated THC to produce edibles, oils, and other THC-infused products.


The term Cannabis is taxonomic and refers to a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae (which has up to 170 known plant species). The genus divides further into three species (Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis).

The origins of this genus remain a mystery, as there is no significant fossil evidence pointing to where it diverged from other organisms. However, it could have diverged about 27.8 million years ago, according to some studies.

The point here is that this taxonomic term acts as a blanket that classifies both hemp and marijuana plants. For all their perceived differences, hemp and marijuana are all just cannabis.

NOTE: Distinguishing these plants according to the legal classification is a great way to stay out of trouble and be on the right side of the law, so you aren’t accidentally caught up in something just because the definition wasn’t clear.

How to Take CBD

CBD comes in many different forms. After it has been extracted from the plant, it is usually in a form that can be infused into a variety of products. They include:

CBD Oils And Tinctures

These are usually suitable liquids infused with CBD. They are ingested by placing a few droplets under the tongue (sublingually). The area under your tongue is populated by a high number of tiny capillaries that absorb the compounds directly into the bloodstream, meaning that the effects are felt much faster.

CBD Pills, Capsules, And Edibles

CBD pills and capsules have already demonstrated their usefulness in dealing with digestive problems and seizures. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration recently made Epidiolex legal as the first highly potent CBD drug used to manage and treat seizure disorders. The one problem with capsules and pills is that they take some time to break down and be absorbed into the body, so the effects may take some time to manifest.

CBD Topicals

The topical forms are delivered as lotion and creams. They are used to treat muscle and joint pains. Because the compound can be absorbed through the skin, it works when using the right concentration. However, the effects are diminished, which is why ingesting it, ending up in the bloodstream is best.

CBD Transdermal

Transdermal products are applied to the skin, but their effects aren't on the same level as topicals. They are designed to push the cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream at a constant rate. If there is THC, you will feel it since it works in much the same way as a nicotine patch.

Transdermal experiences are comparable to sublingual delivery methods.
It is worth noting that if the product is relatively new, the chances are that it has not been tested for long enough to know for sure how it works and how long it takes to deliver the effects. As such, we recommend sticking with the well-known or proven forms from a reputable supplier.

NOTE: Though mentioned several times as a delivery method, vaping and e-cigarette products came under investigation in the United States in September 2019, after a spate of severe lung diseases linked to those products' use. The situation has not been resolved yet, which is why we recommend holding off on vape or e-cigarette products until more information comes to light.


Some CBD makers have been investigated (or are under investigation) for making wild claims that include the lie that CBD can cure all forms of cancer or COVID-19. We need a lot more research with standardised testing, peer-reviewed studies, and human trials to nail down exact doses, causes of effects, and how the endocannabinoid system benefits from the ingestion of cannabis-derived products.

So far, things have been going well enough to get a high-potency CBD-infused drug in the mainstream US market. The UK is a bit behind on the issue but should come around after some time.

If you decide to try CBD, we recommend getting it from a reputable source, talking to your doctor (especially if you are taking other medication). For more information and advice concerning CBD and its products, book a free consultation with us to get some expert takes on anything you may be curious about.