What is CBD oil?

Last updated on February 10th, 2020

CBD oil is an oil based mixture that contains a known amount of the active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD). When consumed, whether under the tongue or with food, the effects of CBD oil can usually be felt within 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Taking CBD orally this way is one of the fastest ways to experience its effects.

CBD oil comes in many flavors and has many applications for different people, from help with sleep to anxiety reduction and pain relief.

An example of the Supplement Facts of a typical CBD oil product

What’s in CBD oil products?

Consuming pure CBD isolate on its own is not very practical — the human body has trouble digesting it in this powdery, tasteless form. When added to a natural carrier like palm or coconut oil, CBD readily dissolves and is distributed throughout the final solution. This makes it easy to control dosing across different products.

Common carrier oils include:

  • Coconut
  • Palm
  • Grape seed
  • Olive
  • Avocado
  • Hemp seed
  • Sunflower seed

Other natural chemicals are added to CBD-infused oil products, like terpenes and natural flavors, for enhanced effects. These chemicals are already a part of products you probably know – lotions, balms, and essential oils, for example.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Isolate – What’s the Difference?

The spectrum of a cannabidiol oil product describes its CBD source and chemical contents.

Full spectrum CBD oil products maintain all of the natural compounds found in the original hemp plant, along with CBD. These can include terpenes, THC, and vitamins and amino acids. The amount of THC found in these products has to be 0.3% or less by dry weight to be legal, so full spectrum products won’t get a person high. However, if you’re routinely drug tested, you are safest to avoid full spectrum products.

Broad spectrum CBD oil products maintain all of the natural compounds found in the original hemp plant except THC. There is no THC in a broad spectrum CBD oil, which should be verifiable through a certificate of analysis.

Isolate CBD oil products are the purest. Unless they are flavored, they will only contain a carrier oil and pure CBD.

What immediate effects can I expect if I take CBD oil?

Experiences among our reviewers who have tried CBD oil products include noticeable effects with:

  1. Minor pain management – relief from minor aches and pains, nerve pain, and increases in range of motion after workouts. Reviewers who have tried CBD creams for pain also report localized pain relief.
  2. Sleep –  staying asleep through the night and increased dream activity.
  3. Mood stabilization – subjective reduction in low-level anxiety.

Reviewers of CBD oils have reported drowsiness in higher doses (50+ mg), especially if taken when already drowsy. The effects of long-term CBD use are not well studied.

Should I take CBD oil if I take medication?

Talk to your doctor. Cannabidiol impacts how the body interacts with other chemicals inside it and there are some known drug interactions. Taking CBD can cause your body to feel the effects of other medications more intensely.

Are CBD Oil Products Legal?

Yes. CBD oil products come in a range of concentrations for a variety of uses, but they are not the same as hemp oil. CBD oil products can contain traces of THC — in the United States, as long as the product contains less than 0.3% THC content, it is considered legal and will not get the user high.

Be sure to check product labels (and the rules of your state) very carefully. These guidelines will vary especially in states where marijuana is legalized for medical and recreational use.

CBD oil can be vaporized with a pen

CBD vape oil distillate typically comes in a 2 1/2-inch cylindrical chamber used with common vape pens. The vapor is inhaled to realize the benefits of CBD. These solutions tend to be alcohol-based, and the effects can be felt very quickly.

  • Vape oil comes in a variety of flavors and concentrations
  • Fast onset of effects
  • Cost-effective

CBD gummies/small edibles are easy to consume and carry

Gummies can be a fun, sugary, and discreet way to consume CBD – but it takes longer to feel the effects. Gummies or edibles are usually consumed once or twice per day and make it easy to dose pets.

  • Come in a variety of flavors, sizes, and concentrations
  • Easy to consume
  • A sweet treat
  • Easy to serve to pets

Topical CBD creams can help with local pain relief

CBD ointments and balms can be used to treat pain or inflammation. Some topical products come in travel-size rollers that can be applied conveniently on-the-go. CBD creams can be used as fast-acting alternatives to aspirin for headache relief.

  • Come in a variety of scents
  • Can be used to treat chronic pain
  • CBD is absorbed through the skin
  • Easy for on-the-go travel