Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound obtained from the cannabis plant, which is experiencing a surge in popularity in the past few years, thanks to its many therapeutic benefits. It’s no wonder it is hitting health shops in the high-street.

CBD oil, previously considered only as an option for individuals with serious conditions, is getting a lot of interest from wellness fans, due in part to extensive media coverage.

Healthspan medical director Sarah Brewer noted that aside from media, the popularity of CBD is actually being driven by ‘word of mouth’ with a number of individuals who swear by CBD in helping treat various conditions such as promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, ensuring a good night’s sleep, improving general feelings of wellbeing, and reducing pain.

But what is CBD oil exactly?  Is it the same as cannabis? Are there any risks associated with using it?

CBD is among the over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids or chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant. To produce a CBD oil, the compound is extracted from hemp and blended with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed.

Marijuana and hemp are derived from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, yet they are entirely different from one another.

Marijuana farmers in the past years have cultivated a particular breed of the plant containing high THC levels and other compounds which interest them.

On the other hand, hemp farmers have not altered the plant which they use to produce CBD oil.

CBD is not psychoactive like the more popular cannabinoid known as Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC). This means it can’t get you ‘high’, a euphoric feeling that is usually linked with cannabis.  It is the most active ingredient in marijuana. While both CBD and THC can be obtained from marijuana, they have varying effects.

THC has a mind-altering effect when taken by any means as it breaks down as soon as it is introduced into the body.

Is CBD oil legal?

The legality of the CBD oil is facing a reasonable amount of misperception. Yet while a lot of cannabinoids are considered controlled substance, CBD oil is legal in the U.S. for medical and recreational purposes as long as the products are derived from local industrial hemp strain that contains little to no THC.

Several states have legalized CBD oil usage as a hemp product, yet not the general use of medical marijuana. The laws generally differ from one state to another. The truth is, legislation concerning CBD and marijuana in the U.S. can be quite puzzling, even in states where marijuana is legal. State legislators however generally approve the use of the compound at certain concentrations to treat various epileptic conditions.

As far as the THC content is concerned among CBD oil products, there are stringent restrictions in place. Federal law required that CBD oil must contain less than 0.3% THC.

How to use CBD oil?

The easiest way to take CBD oil is through a tincture or spray where you only need a few drops to hold under your tongue for a couple of minutes to be absorbed prior to swallowing.

The CBD oil can likewise be added to smoothies or water.  It is also available in capsule form, gummies, e-liquid for vape pen and creams that could be topically applied.

As for the dosage, a general rule of thumb is, to begin with, the smallest possible dose and build it up over the next few weeks. The effect is immediate anyway, hence you can quickly tell if the lower dosage works for you. Nevertheless, consulting your physician remain the best thing to do before giving a new remedy or medication a try.