The vast majority of CBD oils come in bottles measuring either 15 milliliters (mL), or 0.5 ounces; or 30 mL, or 1 ounce. However, CBD concentration is more important than bottle size. Concentration refers to the ratio of hemp oil solution (measured in mL) compared to the amount of CBD cannabinoid (measured in milligrams, or mg). A 15-mL bottle may contain 100 mg of CBD, 300 mg, 500 mg, or more. The higher the mg amount, the stronger the CBD oil will be. For this reason, the ‘mg’ measurement is also referred to as the oil’s strength; i.e., 400-mg oil might be called 400-strength oil.
Answering the question “what is CBD oil” would be incomplete without mentioning the many CBD oil benefits. In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. You can even find CBD for pets that is specially formulated to safely allow your pets to experience the natural benefits of CBD. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page.
I first encountered CBD while on sabbatical a few years back. As I drove up the Oregon Coast Highway, it was hard to miss all the cannabis shops along the Pacific. I stopped in one, perused the menu, and selected two marijuana specials — Nine-Pound Hammer and Trainwreck — and some CBD gummy bears. The cannabis was, well, as advertised, and the CBD candy, as far as I could tell, was a fruit-flavored placebo.
At this point, I could basically write a book about the best (and worst) ways to biohack your anxiety, so I was more than willing to give CBD oil a shot. For this story, I tried eight different varieties of CBD oil over the course of eight days and recorded how I felt. Each day, I took the CBD oil around the same time—always depositing the same dosage under my tongue and waiting 60 seconds before swallowing—and went about my day. Here are my favorites, how they worked (OK, and tasted), and which you should consider buying.
Phytocannabinoids are the herbal, natural and classical cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The glandular structure called the trichomes is where the concentrated viscous resin of the plant is found. There are over 60 cannabinoids that have been isolated from the plant. Tetrahydracannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabinol (CBN) are the most prevalent ones and have also been the most studied. Cannabidiol (CBD) accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. It has been widely reported that CBD offers the greatest possible benefits of any of the extracts found in the plant. CBD can also be derived from hemp. Hemp and cannabis both contain large amounts of natural CBD, but hemp is naturally low in THC; thus, making it easier for manufacturers to create high CBD-infused products with low to non-existent THC levels. Since THC is (mostly) still illegal in the United States, most CBD items we carry are derived from hemp. Each CBD product varies in the amount of CBD and THC levels found in the product. No items we carry are over the legal limit of THC levels, which is 0.3%, according to U.S. Federal Law.
Yet even those who believe in this power recognize that CBD medicine remains largely unexplored: Treatments are not systematized, many products are not standardized or tested, and patients (or their parents) are generally left to figure out dosing on their own. While some suppliers and dispensaries test the CBD and THC levels of their products, many do not. “We really need more research, and more evidence,” Kogan says. “This has to be done scientifically.”
Although I’m no physician, and am not qualified to recommend any drugs for any specific medical purposes, and you should consult your doctor when considering the consumption of anything that may be medicinal: If you’re looking to experiment with CBD products, you might consider looking for CBD products that are “whole plant” extract based from very high CBD cultivars. If you’re in a State that has a legal Cannabis system, you may also find more therapeutic benefits from non-hemp derived CBD products.
CBD has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties in cell cultures as well as in animal models of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s,xii,xiii,xiv stroke,xv glutamate toxicity,xvi multiple sclerosis (MS),xvii Parkinson’s disease,xviii and neurodegeneration caused by alcohol abuse.xix Nabiximols (trade name Sativex), which contains THC and CBD in roughly equal proportions, has been approved throughout most of Europe and in a number of other countries for the treatment of spasticity associated with MS. It has not been approved in the United States, but clinical trials are ongoing, and two recent studies reported that nabiximols reduced the severity of spasticity in MS patients.xx,xxi There have been limited clinical trials to assess the potential efficacy of CBD for the other indications highlighted; however, a recent small double-blind trial in patients with Parkinson’s disease found the CBD improved quality-of-life scores.xxii
When it comes to anxiety, however, CBD seems to be much more helpful. First of all, it does not produce psychoactive effects so you won’t feel paranoid. Second, CBD is superior to THC in the sheer number of conditions it helps with. It regulates many physiological processes such as sleep and appetite and also helps the body relax. It’s also proven to reduce chronic inflammation, which can make anxiety disorders worse.
Epilepsy. A specific cannabidiol product (Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) has been shown to reduce seizures in adults and children with various conditions that are linked with seizures. This product is a prescription drug for treating seizures caused by Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It has also been shown to reduce seizures in people with tuberous sclerosis complex, Sturge-Weber syndrome, and febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES). But it's not approved for treating these other types of seizures.
Final thoughts: Hemp oil and hemp derived CBD oil is legal in all fifty states, but there certainly is a stigma to it. Because of that it can be very hard to find reliable information to educate yourself with. This is a great dietary supplement and may help decrease inflammation, improve skin, help with mild pain, etc. If you have severe pain, hemp derived CBD oil may be what you need.
Distinguishing cannabis and hemp can be confusing, so let's make it simple. There are many varietals of Cannabis sativa, all of which have different amounts of THC and CBD. Cannabis sativa varietals that have more than 0.3 percent THC are commonly referred to as marijuana. Hemp is any varietal of Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
Phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil has a higher concentration of CBD compared to other cannabinoids. When ingested, CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system. This triggers the body to consume more of its own cannabinoids, which directly influences our immune system—where the majority of CBD receptors are found. This helps reduce inflammation and pain and promotes a healthier immune system.
Various strains of "medical marijuana" are found to have a significant variation in the ratios of CBD-to-THC, and are known to contain other non-psychotropic cannabinoids. Any psychoactive marijuana, regardless of its CBD content, is derived from the flower (or bud) of the genus Cannabis. Non-psychoactive hemp (also commonly-termed industrial hemp), regardless of its CBD content, is any part of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not, containing a ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. Certain standards are required for legal growing, cultivating, and producing the hemp plant. The Colorado Industrial Hemp Program registers growers of industrial hemp and samples crops to verify that the dry-weight THC concentration does not exceed 0.3%.
Though very rare, some people report side effects when using hemp oil. These side effects include low blood pressure, dry mouth, slowed thoughts, lightheadedness, and sedation. Animal studies have not found any toxicity issues with using CBD. In fact, a study in 2006 found that "the available clinical data suggest that CBD can be safely administered over a wide dose range." As always, because there aren't long-term safety studies, you should always check with your health care provider before starting hemp oil.
Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. It increases the skin elasticity and water retention capacity in tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in hair conditioners.
It’s also important to select CBD oil products based on your concentration preferences. Some forms of CBD oil – such as vapors and tinctures – normally have higher-than-average concentrations, whereas sprays and topicals tend to have lower concentrations. Remember: higher concentration means more pronounced effects, but not necessarily mean higher quality.