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What Is CBD Oil and Is It Safe?

If you’re just learning about CBD, you might have questions surrounding the cannabinoid and its safety.
By Eva Green |
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CBD oil use has skyrocketed throughout the years thanks to scientific studies, verified customer reviews, and industry expert publications that support its efficacy. The relatively recent arrival of a prescription CBD medication, Epidiolex, has caught the public’s attention, particularly those concerned with Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, and other seizure disorders. So the use of CBD is becoming more and more widespread. Even though it might be tempting to jump right in and purchase the first bottle of CBD oil you come upon, finding the right brand and product for your own unique health benefits and wellness needs takes time and proper research. Hopefully, our brief guide will inform you and point you in the right direction.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is created by extracting the beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients from the leaves, stems, flowers, and stalks of the cannabis plant. In order to obtain the cleanest and purest oils, the CO2 extraction process is the industry preferred method over other processes like ethanol or solvent extraction. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the plant’s components, while CBD isolate oils are specifically created to only contain 99% pure cannabidiol, as the rest of the cannabinoids and plant parts have been filtered out. Most CBD oil sold in the United States is derived from hemp, which is a type of cannabis plant that is bred to produce a very low amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the legality of all hemp-derived CBD oil has been established to sell and buy throughout the United States. Additionally, these products must also contain 0.3% or less THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid responsible for causing that well-known euphoric “high” sensation. While marijuana contains well over that federally legal THC limit, the hemp plant is bred to naturally contain less than that amount of THC. It needs to be noted, however, that while hemp-based CBD oil is federally legal across the United States, each state has its own set of laws regarding CBD oil. So if you’re wanting to buy CBD oil, you might need to double-check with your state’s laws before spending any of your hard-earned money.

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What are the Benefits of CBD Oil?

There are many documented beneficial effects of CBD from hemp oil. Some of the more notable benefits include:

  • Pain relief — Scientists discovered that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate functions like sleep, appetite, pain management, and immune system response. While the body produces its own endocannabinoids, adding cannabinoids from CBD can help give a much needed boost to the endocannabinoid system. One study in particular found that CBD use can help alleviate chronic pain by positively impacting cannabinoid receptors activity, interacting with neurotransmitters, and offering an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Easing of Depression and Anxiety — CBD has shown promising results in the treatment of some mental health conditions that include anxiety and depression. In one study, researchers discovered that CBD helped treat insomnia in children with an anxiety disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Another study found that CBD is a potential alternative treatment for anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders.
  • Cancer Symptom Relief — In one study, participants diagnosed with cancer experienced a notable reduction in pain when given CBD and THC as opposed to participants who were just given THC extract. Additional studies are currently ongoing.
  • Possible Neuroprotective Benefits — Researchers believe that CBD can help those with neurological disorders by positively impacting the body’s endocannabinoid system. One study in particular found that when CBD was used to help treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, or MS, that it reduced muscle spasticity in those with MS, and decreased seizures in those with epilepsy.
  • Sleep Improvement — Some scientific studies suggest that CBD may help alleviate sleep issues in those diagnosed with sleep disorders.  

Is it Safe to Use CBD Oil?

CBD tinctures are generally considered safe and well-tolerated in a majority of the population. However, if you are on prescription medication or have concerns about taking CBD in general, then never hesitate to reach out to your primary care doctor, medical specialist, or prescribing physician about possible adverse effects. Some prescription medications have a grapefruit warning attached to them. This means that eating grapefruit, drinking grapefruit juice, or eating certain citrus fruit can negatively impact the way the body metabolizes medication. Interestingly, CBD can work in very much the same way that grapefruit does with these types of medications. Mixing CBD with grapefruit warning prescription medications can cause too much of the medication to enter into the body, which can have harmful repercussions in the long run. Therefore, always consult with your prescribing physician before starting on a CBD regimen.

How to Use CBD Oil

CBD oil works best when it’s used consistently. To that end, it should be taken around the same time(s) each day. When you take CBD oil on a regular schedule, you’ll be able to experience more of its benefits, with greater impact than you would if you inconsistently took your oil. When you take your CBD oil, you should drop it under your tongue and hold it there for about a minute. After that, in order to get maximum absorption, you can swish the oil around in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. When you hold the oil sublingually, you’re allowing all of the beneficial compounds, terpenes, and phytonutrients to enter into your bloodstream through the thin membranes under your tongue. This is the best way to get the strongest impact from your CBD oil. As a side note, along with consistency, you also need to be patient with your body when starting a new CBD oil regimen. It will take time for you to feel the effects of cannabidiol. As with anything in life, patience and consistency are key.

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What’s the Right CBD Oil Dosage?

Since everyone’s body is uniquely different, a dose of CBD that works well for one person will not work well for another. There is not one set dose of CBD that works perfectly for everyone, therefore, the best way to find a dose that fits your body is to start low and go slow. For example, if you’ve purchased a bottle of 600mg full-spectrum CBD oil, start by taking a ½ a dropper full once a day and sticking with that dose for about a week. This will roughly equal 10mg of CBD oil a day. During this time, consider keeping a written account of any improvements you feel or of issues that may not be improving. After one week, check-in with yourself to see how you’re doing. If you need to increase your dose, you should do so at this time. Next, move up to ½ a dropper twice a day, or 20mg of CBD a day. Keep on tracking your improvements and issues. After another week has passed, check in with yourself again. If you still feel the need to increase, do so. Follow this pattern until you’ve found the best dose for your body. Keep in mind that you can also increase the strength of your CBD oil over time if you need to.

Is CBD Oil Better Than Gummies or Cream?

There are multiple ways to incorporate CBD into your daily dietary supplement routine. The question people ask themselves is which form of CBD is best? CBD gummies are wildly popular due to their fun flavors and candy-like eating experience. Topical creams and salves are also much beloved, particularly among those with very specific muscle and joint pain. Where CBD oil excels is in its bioavailability and efficiency. Because CBD oil is taken under the tongue, the human body is able to incorporate the CBD into the bloodstream quickly and for a widespread effect. Chewing gummies involves the digestive system, and therefore slows the absorption speed and can take away some of the impacts of the CBD. Topical CBD ointments are for localized discomfort, and will not affect the body systemically.

Does CBD Get You High?

Since all CBD must be derived from hemp in order to be federally legal throughout the United States, there is no way that you can get high from CBD oil made from the hemp plant, or Cannabis Sativa. Remember that the hemp plant is naturally bred to have low levels of THC. As a result, hemp-based oils contain 0.3% or less THC, and therefore will not cause feelings of euphoria. Conversely, CBD oils made from marijuana will cause users to feel a euphoric “high” sensation because the plant contains well over 0.3% THC. These types of oils are only legal in states where medical marijuana and/or recreational marijuana laws have been passed.

Are There Any Potential Side Effects?

CBD oil is pretty well-tolerated among many people. The side effects associated with CBD are both mild and minimal. Some of the main issues that people can experience while taking CBD are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
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Can I Buy CBD Oil Safely?

The short answer is that yes, you can safely purchase CBD oil. You will be able to find CBD oil both online and in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The long answer is that, while you can find CBD oil just about anywhere these days, not all of the oils out there are created equal. There are a host of reputable brands that sell clean, potent, and pure CBD oils that have been thoroughly tested, and there are also subpar brands out there that sell unclean oils that are loaded with harmful chemicals and solvents. In order to avoid buying CBD oil from a brand that cuts corners to sell cheaply made CBD oils, you need to do your research. Start by looking into the brand’s reputation, reading verified customer reviews, and looking through any and all third-party lab reports. In doing these things, you will quickly find out which brands are the best and which ones don’t deserve your hard-earned money.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil Risks, Safety, and Use

CBD oil is an excellent natural alternative that has a lot of benefits linked to it. CBD is a healthcare option that utilizes our own endocannabinoid system in order to bring us back into homeostasis or systemic balance. It also has the potential to ease the symptoms of many tough health conditions including anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis, and neurological disorders. These health issues can typically improve through the consistent and regular use of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum oils, as they work with the body’s endocannabinoid system to bring it back into a state of balance. Before starting any type of CBD oil regimen, consider the pros and cons as you do your research into both the oil and the brand. If you still have questions or concerns, then your primary care doctor or medical specialist can help guide you in the right direction and offer medical advice related to including CBD in your health regimen.

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