If you’ve got questions about CBD, you’re not alone. Scientists only isolated the first endocannabinoid in 1992, and we’re still learning more each year about how CBD works with the body’s immune and central nervous system receptors. Similarly, there is a lot of catching up to do with peer-reviewed studies on humans, given that limitations on hemp-derived CBD were only removed in 2018. So if you’re new to CBD entirely or just unclear on some of the science, dive into our CBD 101 guide for the answers to some of the most common questions.  

What Does “CBD” Stand for?

“CBD” stands for cannabidiol, one of the 60+ natural cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is by far the dominant cannabinoid, accounting for up to 40 percent of hemp extract. CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, and studies have shown that it can be effective in blocking the central nervous system’s response to external stressors. 

What’s the Difference Between CBD and Cannabis?

Cannabidiol is an extract from the cannabis sativa plant. When people think of ‘cannabis’ as a product, they are usually referring to the leaves or flowering bud. CBD is just one of the hundreds of natural compounds found in cannabis (including THC). Where the THC content is below 0.3%, the plant is typically referred to as ‘hemp’. 

Does CBD Show up on a Drug Test?

CBD is usually absorbed and flushed from the body in a matter of hours and doesn’t attach to hair follicles, so it will not show up on a drug test. Bear in mind too that most drug tests are not screening for CBD but for THC. For peace of mind, stick to CBD products that contain zero THC (check the certificate of analysis). 

Will CBD Make Me Feel High?

Because CBD is extracted from the Cannabis sativa strain of hemp, it is often bundled (mistakenly) with marijuana in the minds of both consumers and regulators. CBD is not a psychoactive compound, however, and cannot get you high. The confusion arises from another natural cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which does produce psychoactive effects. THC is removed during processing and by law CBD oils and tinctures cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC. CBD often makes users feel calm, relaxed or focused, but never high or “buzzed.”

Is CBD Legal?

Since the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is legal in the U.S., provided it contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Elsewhere, rules vary. CBD is now also legal in the majority of EU countries, Canada, Brazil, and South Africa. Other countries, such as Japan and South Korea, restrict use for medical purposes only, or allow only oils that contain 0% THC. That said, CBD cannot be marketed as a drug or food supplement in the U.S. and the FDA places stiff restrictions on CBD producers making any medical or health claims about benefits. Producers can only point to existing scientific research on the potential benefits. 

Is CBD Safe?

By itself, CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that carries no health risks. Even the World Health Organization supports the position that “there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” That doesn’t mean everyone can or should take CBD. The following groups in particular should either avoid CBD or seek professional advice first from their medical practitioner.

Avoid CBD if you are…

  • Under 18 years of age. You have to be 18+ to buy or consume CBD in the U.S. 
  • Pregnant or nursing. The FDA strongly advises against CBD use during or following pregnancy. 
  • Taking certain medications. Check with your doctor about possible drug interactions. 
  • Subject to regular drug testing. Even at THC levels below 0.3 percent, some CBD formulas can return a false positive. If in doubt, use a 0 percent THC formula. 

How Do I Pick a Quality CBD?

Unscrupulous CBD vendors exploit the fact that consumers are largely unaware of the difference between a low-quality and premium CBD formula. The difference in purity and effectiveness can be significant, however. You don’t need a strong scientific background to pick out the quality. Look instead for producers who supply a Certificate of Analysis from a third-party laboratory. This will list the ingredients, from the CBD content to the presence of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and other undesirable ingredients. 

Effectiveness is another important factor to consider. By nature, CBD is a lipophilic compound that is not easily absorbed into the body. That means that even if you’ve found a formula that is thoroughly tested, it’s likely that only a fraction of the CBD is actually absorbed into the bloodstream. With NextEvo’s SmartSorb technology, the use of a scientifically-backed emulsion helps deliver CBD to your bloodstream faster so it can begin working within your body’s natural systems in as little as 10 minutes.


Harvard Health Publishing - Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don't

Newswise - The discovery of the endocannabinoid system: Centuries in the making

Orlando Magazine - CBD 101: All The Things You Need to Know

USA Inquirer - CBD 101: Everything You Need To Know About This Medication Alternative