What is CBD used for, and how do you use it? We get questions like this all the time here at CBGenius, which is why I decided to sit down with the team and whip up this comprehensive guide. Whether you want to use CBD for arthritis, anxiety, ADHD, or any other condition, I provide all the answers you need to get started below, and I’ve even thrown in some of my tips for finding the best brands and CBD products for your purposes.
What Is CBD, and What Is CBD Hemp Oil Used For?
Since its discovery in the 1940s, cannabidiol (CBD) has captivated the imagination of the scientific community. Recently, CBD has found its way into the consumer sphere, and it’s now no exaggeration to say that cannabidiol has become a worldwide craze.
Despite its incredible increase in popularity, there’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which rules on all food, drug, and supplement-related matters, there isn’t enough known about CBD at this point to definitively determine the safety of this substance. In almost every case, therefore, CBD has the regulatory status of a “new drug,” which means that CBD producers have to be very careful about how they talk about this non-intoxicating cannabinoid.
For instance, we can’t say, “You can use CBD for this,” or “CBD has been shown to benefit that.” What we can do, however, is provide you with more detailed information on this cannabinoid and what people have chosen to use it for. Before I get there, however, I’d like to dive into the details of CBD, its history, and its current regulatory status.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, which means that it’s a natural constituent of the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as hemp or cannabis. Cannabinoids are similar to terpenes, and it’s actually possible to reconstruct CBD from terpenes like limonene in laboratory settings. At this point, however, it’s only economically feasible to derive CBD from hemp.
Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, which means it doesn’t cause a euphoric high. It’s possible to trace this lack of an intoxicating effect to CBD’s relatively low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are the main constituents of the endocannabinoid system. Instead of affecting these high-inducing receptors, CBD appears to have a relationship with other parts of your nervous system.
CBD comes in a variety of different forms, and CBD products are widely available on the general market. So far, cannabidiol has only been approved for one medical application, and this FDA approval only applies to the drug Epidiolex, and not to CBD products in general.
History of CBD
CBD was discovered as part of the initial efforts to map the constituents of the cannabis plant that took place in American labs in the 1940s. Up until the 1990s, CBD remained relatively unknown in the consumer sphere, and it persisted as a niche interest of certain fringe cannabis researchers around the world.
As medical marijuana became popular during the last decade of the 20th century, however, discussion of the potential medical applications of cannabis entered the public sphere, and CBD became more well-known throughout the 2000s. By the early 2010s, fledgling recreational marijuana programs started cropping up in states like Washington and Colorado, and by the middle of the decade, CBD had become a household name.
Cannabidiol commerce picked up steam when CBD companies started taking to the internet to sell their wares. While the world of CBD eCommerce was relatively limited until 2018, new federal legislation has incentivized droves of entrepreneurs to start their own CBD companies, and there are now thousands of cannabidiol producers across the United States.
Current Regulatory Status of CBD
For all intents and purposes, CBD currently has the regulatory status of a “new drug.” It is not a dietary supplement, and it is only a prescription drug when it is marketed as Epidiolex by the international pharma giant G.W. Pharmaceuticals. It is, therefore, out of compliance with the FDA’s regulations on “new drugs” to make any direct or inferred claims about the effectiveness of CBD for a particular condition.
In general, this state of affairs stems from the FDA’s policy to separate product education from sales of the same product. CBD hasn’t been singled out by this regulatory framework; in fact, all supplement and over-the-counter (OTC) drug manufacturers must abide by similar regulations. It’s all part of the FDA’s efforts to keep consumers safe, and here at CBGenius, we’re proud to promote consumer safety by complying with these standards.
CBD has, however, taken a major leap into the mainstream by losing its last legal connection with marijuana. In 2018, Congress voted to remove CBD from the DEA’s definition of marijuana, which means it’s now impossible to construe cannabidiol products as being legally synonymous with this Schedule I drug. That’s why the CBD industry has become pretty crowded lately, and we’re all now awaiting further regulatory action from the FDA, which this agency assures us is rapidly forthcoming.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
While we’re restricted from discussing the potential medical benefits of CBD, we can provide some information on this cannabinoid’s general benefits:
1. It’s Non-Intoxicating
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause an intoxicating effect. In the industry, we used to refer to this benefit as “non-psychoactive,” but that’s not quite true. CBD does appear to have a psychoactive effect, but this effect simply doesn’t cause you to become high, paranoid, confused, or anxious.
2. It’s Natural
Every year, approximately 70,000 Americans die from opioid overdose. The human body simply isn’t made to process opioids, and these synthetic drugs can stop you from breathing all too easily. Cannabidiol is a natural extract of the hemp plant, and it does not appear to have any overdose potential whatsoever. This could be great news for people who are tired of being poisoned by harmful prescription drugs.
3. It Helps U.S. Farmers
There’s no doubt that the United States has been taken advantage of by its trading partners for years, but the Trump Administration’s recent tariffs against China have forced farmers to take a hit. Thankfully, many agricultural entrepreneurs have been able to switch from loser crops like soy to hemp, which is selling at high prices all across the nation. When you buy American-grown CBD, you help U.S. farmers make it through these tough times, and you stimulate the growth of the CBD industry even further.
Types of CBD Oil
Before I get into what CBD is used for, it’s important to provide some basic background information on the different types of CBD you might encounter on the market:
1. Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Also known as “raw hemp oil” or “full-spectrum CBD oil,” full-spectrum hemp oil is the form that hemp oil takes right after it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. As such, this type of CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that are naturally present in hemp buds. By law, full-spectrum hemp oil must contain less than 0.3% THC, but it does contain trace amounts of this intoxicating cannabinoid.
Despite some of the conflicting information you might have found on the internet, the only difference between marijuana and hemp is the way that Cannabis sativa is bred. “Marijuana” is simply cannabis that has been bred to be high in THC, and “hemp” is cannabis that has been bred to be high in CBD or not high in any cannabinoids at all. Full-spectrum hemp oil is the viscous, oily extract of Cannabis sativa that has been bred to be high in CBD but low in THC.
2. Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil
For years, it was only possible to have CBD with trace amounts of THC or CBD without any other cannabinoids and terpenes at all. Recently, however, CBD producers have learned how to surgically extract the THC from full-spectrum hemp oil, and the resulting substance is called “broad-spectrum hemp oil.”
This nomenclature indicates that broad-spectrum hemp oil contains almost the entire spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes naturally present in hemp with the removal of THC being the only exception. Broad-spectrum CBD is rapidly taking the place of full-spectrum hemp oil all over the world, but it’s still unclear whether the total removal of THC might have detrimental effects.
3. CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is CBD with everything else removed. While full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD take an oil form, CBD isolate takes on a crystalline form that can be crushed into powder. It’s possible that removing all the other cannabinoids and terpenes from CBD might reduce its benefits, but at the same time, isolate CBD is an incredibly useful tool for adding CBD to hemp extract. If you have a full-spectrum hemp extract batch that only contains 30% CBD, for instance, you can add CBD isolate until your extract is 40, 50, or even 60% cannabidiol.
What Is CBD Used For? Top Questions You Should Ask
Disenchanted with the mainstream, pharmaceutical medical system, an increasing number of people around the world are looking to alternative medicine for answers. Hemp has been a part of the natural healing world for decades, so it’s no surprise that natural food shops, vitamin stores, and head shops around the nation have embraced the CBD phenomenon with open arms.
People in desperate need of relief are looking everywhere for answers, and many of them have landed on CBD as something they believe they should try for their conditions. Again, FDA regulations prohibit us from indicating whether CBD will work for your condition, but we are at liberty to run down a brief list of conditions people commonly choose to try CBD for and inform you of the current regulatory and research status of CBD for each condition. Here’s some basic info on the top nine CBD condition questions people ask on Google:
1. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Pain?
CBD has not been approved as an analgesic pharmaceutical drug, OTC drug, or supplement. Research into CBD for pain is, however, ongoing, and some scientists believe they have achieved promising results in this arena.
There are two main types of pain: inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Inflammatory pain is caused by overactive inflammation, which is a natural immune reaction that your body uses to heal itself. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to your immune system, and these two types of pain are mediated by different bodily mechanisms.
While there is some overlap between these two mechanisms, inflammatory pain is generally regulated by your TRPV1 receptors, and neuropathic pain is generally regulated by your 5-HT1A receptors. The 5-HT1A receptors are the most abundant serotonin receptors in the body, and any substance that stimulates these receptors would be effective against depression, anxiety, and various digestive issues as well as neuropathic pain.
Substances that stimulate your TRPV1 and 5-HT1A receptors reduce pain, and they also provide a variety of other system-wide benefits. It’s unclear how the FDA will regulate CBD as a pain treatment, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from using CBD in the hopes that it will alleviate their chronic aches and pains.
2. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Cancer?
As one of the major scourges of the modern era, people everywhere are desperate to find safe and natural treatments for cancer. Therefore, the FDA takes any statements regarding CBD and cancer very seriously, and we do not wish to intimate in any way that CBD is a chemopreventive substance.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the development and progression of cancer, but gene expression appears to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of this disease. Since it doesn’t fit into any existing categories, GPR55 is considered to be an “orphan receptor,” and the stimulation of this receptor appears to prevent some of the gene expression problems that lead rise to cancer.
Any substance that stimulates the GPR55 receptors should be considered carefully as a chemopreventive agent. Current cancer-fighting treatments are incredibly harmful and largely ineffective, so the search for novel cancer treatments is certainly warranted.
3. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Diabetes?
There is no scientific consensus on the safety or utility of CBD oil for diabetes. Ongoing research seeks to get to the bottom of the relationship between CBD and this common disease, but the FDA has not approved CBD for the treatment of diabetes in any context.
With that said, a rapidly-increasing number of doctors around the nation are becoming aware of CBD, so bringing up your interest in this cannabinoid during your next doctor’s visit wouldn’t be as abnormal as it might have been a few years ago. While medical professionals cannot recommend CBD for your condition, your doctor may be able to provide you with insight from clinical studies and other sources regarding the potential benefits of CBD for diabetes. Plus, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before you try anything new, and CBD is no exception.
4. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a painful condition that is caused by damage to your nerves. Any substance that improves your nerve health and reduces inflammation would, by nature, improve the symptoms of neuropathy. At present, the FDA has not ruled on the viability of CBD as a treatment for neuropathy, but plenty of consumers who have used CBD for this purpose have left anecdotal testimony behind to light your way.
5. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Arthritis?
Whether you want to know more about CBD for wrist pain, CBD for joint pain, CBD for psoriatic arthritis, or CBD for arthritis in general, we recommend that you check out some of our customer reviews for starters. Our customers have used CBD for conditions just like yours, and unlike us, our customers aren’t prohibited from revealing their true feelings about CBD.
Can CBD help with psoriatic arthritis? That’s not for us to say. However, studies are ongoing into CBD for joint repair and other purposes, which means there’s a wealth of scientific literature out there that might point you in the right direction.
6. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Epilepsy?
There is an emerging scientific consensus on how to use CBD oil for epilepsy. The FDA has, in fact, approved a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex as a treatment for certain types of intractable childhood epilepsy. Therefore, it is possible to say that Epidiolex, which is a CBD product, is a viable treatment for epilepsy, but we cannot say the same for any CBD product other than Epidiolex even if that other product is exactly identical to Epidiolex.
The critical difference is that G.W. Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Epidiolex, has successfully petitioned the FDA to approve its cannabidiol drug for epilepsy. No other company has taken the same measures, and just because Epidiolex has been approved, that doesn’t mean that CBD is necessarily a viable treatment for the conditions Epidiolex treats or any other types of epilepsy.
The approval of Epidiolex does, however, indicate that the FDA amassed significant evidence to believe that the CBD produced by G.W. Pharmaceuticals under the name “Epidiolex” is a viable treatment for certain types of epilepsy. This regulatory decision indicates that CBD is not entirely without merit, and the approval of Epidiolex in 2018 has spurred even more research into CBD for epilepsy and other conditions.
7. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety?
CBD oil is not approved as an anxiolytic drug in any contexts. However, CBD for anxiety is a potential application that’s getting a lot of attention in the news media and scientific community. All it takes is a quick look at available customer reviews to recognize that many people use CBD for this purpose, and rest assured that the FDA is taking this anecdotal testimony into account as it rules on the safety and effectiveness of CBD for anxiety and other conditions.
Whether you want to use CBD for social anxiety or another type of anxiety-related condition, count on us at CBGenius to bring you the relevant information as it becomes available. For now, type “CBD for anxiety studies” into Google to find public-domain CBD studies that have been published by NCBI and other governmental and non-governmental entities.
8. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for Depression?
As you’ve looked into cannabidiol and GABA and the differences between CBD and Zoloft, you’ve probably come across information indicating that there’s currently research underway into CBD and depression. Whether you want to use CBD for depression and anxiety or depression only, looking into the available research is an excellent place to start.
It’s important to point out that CBD might contraindicate certain antidepressant drugs that increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. You should consult with your doctor before you start using any new substance.
9. Is There a Consensus on How to Use CBD Oil for ADHD?
Which CBD oil is best for ADHD? Unfortunately, we’re prohibited from providing this kind of advice here at CBGenius. We can, however, point you to the dozens of clinical studies that have been performed regarding CBD if you’re in need of answers. Whether you’re looking for CBD for ADHD and ODD for yourself or CBD for ODD for your child, taking a look at some of the available studies is a great place to start.
How Does CBD Work?
There’s a lot we know about CBD, but there’s also a lot we don’t know. Here’s a brief overview of how to get the best information available on how CBD works in the body and brain:
How Does CBD Work in the Body?
As a CBD writer representing a CBD producer, I can’t make any claims related to potential benefits CBD might offer. I can, however, reiterate the fact that CBD and THC affect the body in completely different ways. CBD does not have a strong affinity with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which means it relies on different chemical channels to exert its observed effects.
How Does CBD Work in the Brain?
Since CBD doesn’t significant stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it doesn’t operate via the same neurological mechanisms that THC uses. The potential psychological effects of cannabidiol are a hot topic in the CBD research arena, so check out some of the studies on CBD’s suspected mechanisms of action to get up to speed with CBD’s observed neurological effects.
How to Choose the Right Way to Use CBD
Now that we’ve covered some basic information on using CBD, it’s time to dig into the details on the different methods for using CBD that cannabidiol producers have devised:
1. Vaping CBD
Any substance you vape enters your bloodstream through your lungs to cause nearly instantaneous effects. Some vaporized substances permeate your lung walls to enter your bloodstream more effectively than others, and other substances might cause a dangerous condition called lipid pneumonia if they are inhaled.
Generally, the oil-like substances known as vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are considered to be safe for vaporizing, and most vape products use these substances as a base regardless of their active ingredients. While vaporizing a substance offers almost instant effects, these effects generally only last 30 minutes or less.
2. Using CBD Topically
Certain types of substances absorb through your skin and enter your bloodstream when they are applied topically. Water-based topicals permeate your skin the best, and this type of application method is known as transdermal administration.
Oil-based topicals generally stay on the surface of your skin, which might provide topical benefits, but these effects are only skin-deep. Certain water-based topical formulations, however, provide systemic effects by absorbing into your bloodstream. Since this type of administration bypasses the liver, it offers almost 100% bioavailability.
3. Taking CBD Orally
Oral administration is the most popular application method for all sorts of different prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and supplements. The main benefit of this administration method is its long-term effects; since substances you ingest orally absorb into your bloodstream through your digestive lining for the entire time that they pass through your digestive tract, they commonly provide effects that last upward of six hours.
This application method suffers from a critical flaw, however. Your liver filters out a large quantity of the substances you consume orally, which renders the bioavailability of an orally-administered substance down to 20% or lower. Oral administration is generally paired with a more quick-acting and bioavailable application method to provide balanced effects.
4. Applying CBD Under Your Tongue
Applying a substance under your tongue allows it you enter your bloodstream directly before it is swallowed. There is a large artery directly under your tongue, and holding a substance against this artery allows it to pass through a thin mucous membrane and directly into your bloodstream. These immediate effects don’t last long, but they counterbalance the low bioavailability of oral administration.
How Do I Pick the Best CBD Brand?
In closing, here are a few tips for picking the best CBD brand on the market:
1. Lab Testing
Reputable companies always provide lab reports for their products. Due to the current lack of FDA regulatory oversight, these CBD lab testing results are critical tools that customers use to determine the quality of the cannabidiol products they purchase.
Price-per-milligram (PPMG) is a calculation of the cost of each milligram of CBD in a product. Our Full-Spectrum CBD-Plus Oil Elixir – 1500mg, for instance, contains 1500mg of CBD and costs $89.99, so its price-per-milligram is $0.06, which you’ll find is quite low compared to industry standards.
There’s no reason to include toxic ingredients in CBD products. Always check the ingredients label of a product you’re considering to make sure its contents are up to snuff.
4. Product Reviews
You can learn a lot from the reviews that customers leave for CBD products and CBD brands in general. Types of reviews to look out for include product reviews, brand testimonials, and independent blog reviews.
5. Scientific Backing and Trustworthiness
Always be wary of companies that sell CBD like it’s snake oil. CBD is a new substance, and its temporarily confusing regulatory framework is nothing to be embarrassed about. The science of CBD is compelling enough for any company to lean on, so make sure that the company you’re considering is treating you like a partner instead of a mark.
How to Use CBD: Summing It Up
As you can see, there’s a lot left to learn about CBD. While this cannabinoid has taken great leaps into the mainstream of American culture in the last few years, it’s still in a regulatory gray area, which mainly affects us as producers. While we’re restricted in what we can say about CBD, there are far fewer factors stopping you from accessing the cannabidiol market as a consumer than there were a couple of short years ago. We can’t provide any legal advice on cannabidiol, and keep in mind that the legal structure surrounding CBD is always in flux. It’s safe to say, however, that the CBD industry is on the up-and-up, and it’s only a matter of time until the dust settles and the FDA makes its move.
As a CBD writer, I think these are exciting times for the CBD industry. The market is expanding exponentially, and better and better products are being developed with this glut of income. As always, however, I strongly caution to you be diligent and do your homework when you use CBD. You won’t have the FDA’s regulations backing you up when you make CBD purchasing decisions, which means it’s up to you do the proper research yourself and pick a winner from the ever-expanding CBD market.