What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis with a variety of benefits. But unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD by itself cannot get you high because it isn’t a psychoactive compound.

What is CBD? It’s a safe, healthy, and legal alternative for anyone who wants to experience the benefits of cannabis without the high.

Where Does Cannabidiol Come From?​

What is CBD, a cannabis compound (which is called a cannabinoid), if it doesn’t have the same effects as THC? In short, cannabidiol is one of the most essential compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants.

The Difference Between CBD and THC

There are hundreds of compounds in hemp and cannabis plants.

Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, which is abbreviated to THC, are two of the most common and best understood. There is also CBG, CBN, THCV and more.

THC is the primary compound responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive effects. In other words, THC is the reason why weed produces a ‘high’ feeling.

Though CBD exists side by side with THC, its effects are profoundly different. More specifically, CBD cannot get you high. Its effects are largely internal.

Why Should CBD Come from Hemp?

Though marijuana and hemp may look similar, they’re very different legally and genetically.

  • Marijuana typically has high concentrations of THC
  • Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC.

Specifically, hemp contains a maximum of 0.3 percent THC by law. This is to trace an amount to create any sort of negative effects.

For that reason, you can produce legal, non-psychoactive CBD oil tinctures, gummies, edibles, and more from hemp.

At the same time, if you consume psychoactive cannabis, you’re also consuming CBD. How much depends on the strain.

CBD Is 100% Legal

What is CBD’s legal status? Today, cannabidiol is 100% legal in all 50 states.

For a long time, CBD was subject to the same federal laws as cannabis. This changed in 2014 when the Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, but with heavy restrictions.

Since then, farmers, researchers, and universities have been producing and researching industrial hemp applications. They’ve been especially focused on cannabidiol.

In 2018, Donald Trump signed a new Farm Bill that took hemp off the list DEA’s Controlled Substances List.

Now that hemp is legally distinct from psychoactive cannabis, hemp farmers can produce, sell, export their products. They can also even qualify for government subsidies and bank loans.

Today, hemp and its primary compound CBD are totally legal—and are becoming a booming agricultural industry.

You Cannot Get High from CBD

You cannot get high from CBD, plain and simple.

And though CBD and THC exist side-by-side in the cannabis plant, they actually have opposite effects.

Not only is CBD a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but some studies show that CBD can actually bind to the same receptors as THC within the human body. This could actually tamper the ‘high’ brought on by THC.

Medical cannabis that contains THC also has a variety of benefits. But for many patients or people looking to benefit from cannabis without disrupting their everyday routine, there is CBD.


Cannabidiol is a relatively new discovery, which means that the scientific community is still in the process of uncovering its medical and medicinal benefits.

As of today, cannabidiol has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that we cannot legally make any definitive claims about how hemp-based products can benefit your health.

However, we can say that a growing body of research from around the world have encouraging findings about hemp medicine. These could soon change the way we create medicine and wellness products.

Additionally, an increasing number of people claim to benefit from cannabidiol, which they use for both medical and medicinal purposes.

If you’re wondering ‘What Is CBD?’, we encourage you to conduct your own research to learn more about its medical benefits before making a personal decision about how to use it.

How Does Cannabidiol Work?

What is CBD and why would it have any health benefits in the first place?

Cannabis, whether CBD or THC, can have a profound impact on the human body thanks to the endocannabinoid system, a complex network that maintains homeostasis—meaning equilibrium—within the human body.

The Endocannabinoid System

Though it was only discovered in 1992, the endocannabinoid system is a crucial biological system responsible for many of the human body’s core functions.

It’s called the “endocannabinoid system” because it was discovered when scientists were trying to understand the impact that THC–the first ‘cannabinoid’ ever discovered–has on the human body.

Today, we know that the endocannabinoid system is made up of three elements:

  1. Cannabinoid receptors
  2. Endocannabinoids
  3. Metabolic acids

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems.

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB-1 and CB-2.

  • CB-1 receptors are usually located in the brain, liver, kidneys and throughout the nervous system.
  • CB-2 receptors are typically found in the immune system and gastrointestinal system.


Endocannabinoids are the cannabinoids produced naturally by the human body. They bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. There are differnet kinds of endocannabinoids, all of which have different roles.

However, endocannabinoids are responsible for how we experience pain, moods, motor skills, immune function, appetite, memory, and other key bodily functions.

Metabolic Enzymes

There are two types of enzymes in the endocannabinoid system: monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).

These enzymes will get rid of the endocannabinoids once they’ve fulfilled their role to maintain that homeostasis.

What Does the Endocannabinoid System Do?

At its most fundamental, the endocanabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis within the body in most of its core functions.

This complex network of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes help the body contend with both external stimuli as well as meet its internal needs.

This means balancing the biological processes that control memory, fertility, pain-sensation, digestion, inflammation, mood and more.

Keep in mind that the endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1992. By comparison, other biological functions of comparable size–think about nervous, muscular, digestive systems–are much better understood.

There is a lot we’re still learning about the endocannabinoid system. But new research suggests that the endocannabinoid system is hugely significant.

How Cannabinoids Interact with the Body

Since the body has cannabinoid receptors for its naturally-occurring endocannabinoids, external cannabinoids like THC and CBD can have profound effects.

For starters, cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis generally have longer effects than those produced by the body.

For example, the body’s naturally-occurring version of THC, anandamide, creates that feeling of euphoria that you feel after working out. THC has a longer life than anandamide, though it also binds to the CB-1 receptor.

By comparison, CBD, which usually binds to CB-2 receptors, can help regulate other functions without the negative psychoactive effects.

Overall, CBD can play a role in maintaining homeostasis throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system.

A Brief History of CBD

Though THC has received the bulk of media and academic attention, the scientific community has known about cannabidiol since the 1940s. But human use of cannabis stretches much further back.

The earliest instances of cannabis farming occurred in 500 BCE in Asia. But other cultures in Africa, Europe and, later, America, produced cannabis for various uses.

Though some cultures did grow potent THC-rich cannabis for religious purposes, cannabis was primarily used medicinally between the 4th and 20thcenturies.

Ancient for cannabis range from pain relief to hair loss to nausea. Queen Victoria even used it to combat menstrual cramps. In the 19th century, cannabis medicines were commonly sold at pharmacies.

Many of cannabis’ applications throughout history can be connected to what we know about CBD today. But cannabidiol was first named and discovered in 1940.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that scientists understood the molecule’s structure, and not until the 1990s did research on the compound begin in earnest.

A pivotal moment in the history of cannabidiol was when the British government awarded GW Pharmaceuticals a license to produce cannabis extracts without psychoactive effects.

CBD research has progressed since then and will continue to make strides now that hemp farming is legal on a federal level and cannabidiol was been taken off the DEA Controlled Substances list.

CBD for Pets

There is a multitude of products that combine pet wellness with cannabidiol. They’re often designed to produce the same positive effects in dogs and cats as cannabidiol wellness can in humans.

However, just as the FDA hasn’t given issued any official advice on CBD, the American Veterinary Medical Association has yet to issue any statements on CBD for pets.

In other words, it’s up to you to choose whether you want to integrate cannabidiol into your pet’s diet.

If you do choose to give your pet cannabidiol, make sure that the product you choose is derived from American hemp. This way you know that there no chance of your animal experiencing any negative effects.

Best Ways to Take CBD

Topicals are most often used to assuage localized aches, inflammation, muscle soreness and more.

But is best to smoke it? Are CBD edibles healthier? Here’s a closer look at the most common ways people take cannabidiol.


CBD oil tinctures are one of the most popular ways to consume CBD. Specifically, they’re alcohol-based extracts of hemp plants that are easy to measure out and store.

Tinctures are also easy to combine with food and drinks. Coffee, brownie, or green juice—you can infuse anything with a CBD tincture.


Creams, balms, sprays, and oils can help all different types of pain. Specifically, topicals are most often used to assuage localized aches, inflammation, muscle soreness and more.

Topicals can also help with skin conditions, athletic injuries, arthritis, and muscular pain. Keep in mind that topicals are often made for external use only.


Edibles are one of the most common forms of cannabis, especially for CBD. Not only are edibles easy to consume, but they’re the most delicious way to enjoy cannabis’ health benefits.

Additionally, there is no shortage of variety when it comes to edibles. Though Star Power CBD gummies are one of the most popular options, there are plenty of ways to get excited about cannabidiol’s health benefits without tasting hemp.


Cannabidiol capsules are an easy way to integrate CBD into your vitamin or medication routine. For starters, capsules are discreet and flavorless, and they also have long-lasting effects.

Capsules are also incredibly easy to dose since the exact amount is written on the package. For people who want to make CBD apart of their daily lives, there’s no easier way to do it than with a capsule.


In any of its forms, CBD can help promote overall day-to-day wellness. This is thanks to its role in the body’s newest discovered biological system: the endocannabinoid system.

From tinctures to gummies to topicals, there is a type of CBD that fits everyone’s lifestyle and health needs.