What is CBD?


With hemp and cannabis laws shifting dramatically on the state level in recent years, you’ve likely heard the term CBD mentioned online or on the news. In fact, the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act specifically removed CBD from the list of controlled substances and gave many Americans access to CBD for the first time. Read on to understand how CBD has proven anecdotally to help relieve and manage symptoms in a more natural and non-addictive way.

As a result of the increased media exposure that CBD is receiving (and since you’re reading this right now), you’re also probably curious how CBD products or CBD oil could benefit you. Is CBD safe? Is CBD legal? How do you use CBD oil? How do you figure out the appropriate dosage for the desired effect? All these questions, and more, will be answered!

Quality Product

First things first, what is CBD? Cannabidiol - CBD for short - is a natural, non-psychoactive cannabis compound found in hemp and marijuana. Many users of CBD have described finding relief for a variety of conditions including arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and others.  CBD comes in a variety of forms, including oil, salves, tinctures and creams. 

As with any other medication and anything you put in your body in general, it’s vital that you do some research and speak with a medical professional. You want to find a quality product that works and poses no risk to your health. Unfortunately, snake oil salesmen are present on the internet, so here are a few things you can do to find a product that may provide you with some relief, and that you are satisfied with.

  • Labels - Choose products with clear labels indicating the source, ingredients, and amount of CBD per dose. The dosage should be measured in milliliters (MLs) for oils and milligrams (MGs) for edibles or topicals. If not indicated, you should probably be weary. Also, be sure the label contains a manufacturing date, as well as a batch number for quality control purposes.
  • Tested by a Lab - Choose products that are verified as free from pesticides, mold, bacteria, and any other contaminants
  • High Quality Ingredients - Only select ingredients of the highest quality. The hemp should be 100% organic. Corn syrup and any other additives can compromise the quality of a CBD product and could have other side effects
  • Safe Extraction Methods - Do not purchase any CBD products derived through unsafe extraction methods using solvents such BHO, propane, or hexane. Supercritical CO2 extraction is considered safe and does not cause unwanted effects resulting from the presence of solvent residues.

The Benefits of CBD

Oil rich in CBD (or CBD Hemp Oil) acts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. In short, the endocannabinoid system is the system which drives to achieve balance, or homeostasis, in our bodies. Full balance = full wellness. CBD oil aids in the process of wellness.


CBD produces many effects through the body’s molecular pathways making it pleiotropic. Unlike THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana that creates the feeling of being “high” by binding cannabinoid receptors in the brain, both cannabis-derived and industrial hemp-derived CBD do not target those receptors. They instead act as modulators, meaning that they control the shape of cannabinoid receptors instead of binding to them directly. In fact, CBD even reduces THC’s ability to bind with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, allowing medical marijuana patients to medicate without feeling the “euphoric” psychotropic effects associated with cannabis consumption.


Is CBD Safe?

CBD has been considered a safe compound without psychotropic effects, meaning users have stated they did not feel affected or inhibited by CBD. However, as with any supplement, the source and quality of your CBD products is of prime importance. Products using unsafe extraction methods, solvents, and lacking quality control and transparency about dosage should be considered potentially dangerous.

Despite thousands of miracle stories about the benefits of CBD oil and how it has allowed people suffering from debilitating conditions to live a normal life, CBD’s benefits are still viewed with skepticism by some. This stems from the prohibition and stigma that the cannabis plant and its users have been forced to suffer thanks to misinformation and hysterical propaganda for nearly 100 years. The confusion has even bled into hemp-based CBD oil that contain no psychoactive properties. Don’t let unfounded rhetoric prevent you from getting the relief that CBD oil and CBD products can offer you. Our endocannabinoid systems have been starved of CBD for too long!

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about CBD, and the answer is relatively straightforward. CBD oil can be extracted from both hemp stalk and a cannabis plant, and the law does not treat them equally.

To understand where we stand with hemp today, a brief history lesson will be valuable for context:

  • In 1971 the U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act that made all hemp plants illegal for cultivation, use, and delivery.
  • The 2014 Farm Bill revised this just slightly by making hemp legal in some states based on state run programs.
  • The 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act moves hemp to a single set of federal rules under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about how hemp is grown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be supervising and regulating what hemp products are sold and how they are marketed to U.S. consumers.

As of December 20th 2018, all hemp-derived products are federally legal and able to be shipped across state lines. Any product or bi-product of marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance. Its Schedule I status means that according the DEA and the Federal Government, anything derived from cannabis (including marijuana-derived CBD) has “a high potential for abuse,” and has “no currently accepted medical use.” Despite much scientific, medical, and anecdotal evidence to the contrary, cannabis with above .3% THC remains illegal federally. As with many things, politics, money, greed and power played a large role in labeling cannabis as a Schedule I substance. 


How To Use CBD Oil

CBD products and CBD oil supplements come in a variety of forms, and their applications differ accordingly.

  • Tincture - Pure or full spectrum CBD oil can be taken underneath the tongue and held for 60 seconds. This allows for the CBD to be better absorbed into the bloodstream. Tincture is ideal for measuring and adjusting specific dosage.
  • Liquid - CBD hemp oil can be taken orally or mixed into beverages or food as a supplement.
  • Capsules - CBD hemp oil capsules can be taken orally as any other supplement or vitamin. This is the easiest way to take CBD on a daily basis.
  • Vaporizers - When vaporized and inhaled, CBD will enter the bloodstream more rapidly by circumventing the liver and digestive tract. It is the fastest way to absorb CBD but the hardest to measure dosage.
  • Edibles - Edibles are foods that have been specifically designed to contain hemp oil, and are eaten to deliver your dose of CBD. Some examples include gummies, granola bars, and coconut oil.
  • Topicals - CBD topicals are applied externally and can come in the form of salve, hemp oil shampoos, moisturizers, and pain relief creams.


Because of the unfortunate stigma that still surrounds cannabis and hemp, doctors are often unwilling to prescribe cannabinoids due to being unsure about dosage. Its Schedule I classification makes it difficult to gain funding for scientific research and at this moment most medical schools do not even offer information on CBD’s benefits to future physicians.

Between the medical establishment’s reluctance to get on board with CBD oil as treatment, variations in CBD product quality, the condition/symptoms you are trying to seeking relief from, and physiological traits such as age and weight, it may feel difficult or overwhelming to figure out the appropriate dosage for you. Here a few guidelines on how to do so:

  • Start Low and Go Slow - If you’re unfamiliar with CBD products, start with a low dose and work your way up gradually. You can always take more, but you can never take less.
  • Microdose - Rather than taking your entire dose for the day in 1 serving, space it out and taking smaller doses throughout your day.
  • Application Is Everything - Based on the application method, the same dosage could have different effects. Different application methods are digested differently by the body and the effects can be perceived differently by way of onset time, level or relief, and/or how long the relief lasts. Keep an eye on the CBD ratio of the product you are taking. 200mg of orally applicated CBD tincture may have a slightly different effect if vaporized or consumed via an edible.
  • Be Consistent - Take the same CBD doses for several days/weeks to see how it makes you feel. Try keeping a journal to observe the effects and adjust your dose accordingly.
  • Different Strokes for Different Folks - Everyone’s body is different, and dosages affect people differently. What works for you may not work for someone else.

Unsure on what’s best for you? Receive a customized product, dosage and application recommendation from Relief Scout by going through the 1 minute questionnaire.

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