Every Question You Have About CBD—Answered
Does CBD get you high? What are the actual benefits? Will it show up on a drug test? Here’s everything you need to know about the product that’s suddenly everywhere.
There’s no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. If you live in a state where it’s currently legal, you might feel like CBD has gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, beauty companies are rushing to release lotions with CBD or hemp oils in their formulas. And everyone from your anxious coworker to your arthritis-suffering dad wants to get their hands on some CBD gummies.
But even though it’s infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you’re buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about CBD.
OK, first things first. What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant, whish is also known as marijuana or help, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.
So you’re saying CBD won’t get me high?
Nope. The cannabis plant is made up of two main players: CBD and THC. “CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” says Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”
There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. “Usually they’re the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol,” she says. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.
It’s also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (more on this later). Because the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised, or even contains small amounts of THC.
Where does hemp come in to all this?
You’ve probably heard the terms cannabis, marijuana, and hemp all tossed around in relation to CBD. The plant Cannabis sativa has two primary species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but there’s a much higher percentage in hemp, which also has very low (less than 0.3%) levels of THC compared to marijuana.
When people talk about hemp oil, they’re referring to oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. There are no cannabinoids—CBD or THC—in hemp oil. This ingredient is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
The only CBD medication that is currently FDA-approved is Epidiolex, which the agency approved last year for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. But many people swear CBD has helped with a slew of other health conditions, including back pain, osteoarthritis, even cancer.
“My practice has patients walking in every day asking about CBD,” says Houman Danesh, MD, director of integrative pain management for the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But while there’s lots of anecdotal evidence, he says, “it’s still very difficult to say” what the real benefits are due to a serious lack of research.
“Right now, you just have pharmacies trying to make some sort of sense out of it and say, ‘Yes, it works for this,'” he says, “but that’s not the way medicine is practiced—it should be based on evidence, and there’s not a lot of evidence to really support these claims.”
Still, is CBD worth trying for pain management?
There are two main types of pain, Dr. Danesh says: musculoskeletal and nerve. “There could be benefit for both conditions,” he says.
The tricky part is that there’s some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, says Dr. Danesh. “Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need CBD and THC.” This makes accessing a product that will actually help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. In New York, where Dr. Danesh practices, for example, CBD is available over the counter. But as soon as you add THC, you need a prescription.
Figuring out how much you should take is challenging as well; the dosage that alleviates one patient’s pain might do very little for someone else. “And until we can study it, it’s the wild west,” Dr. Danesh says.
The takeaway? “I think CBD is a safe thing to try,” says Dr. Danesh. But he urges patients to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it.
What about my anxiety—can CBD help with that?
CBD might be worth trying to manage symptoms of anxiety. “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe,” Dr. Chin says. “It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response,” she says, so people with anxiety may find it helps them feel more relaxed.
Still, one of the biggest misconceptions about CBD is that it’s a wonder drug. “A lot of times people think CBD is a cure-all, and it’s not,” Dr. Chin says. “You should also have a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good nutrition—CBD is not going to fix everything.”
I’ve heard of edibles, tinctures, vape pens. What’s the best way to take CBD?
It really depends on what your goal is and why you’re taking CBD in the first place.
Some people don’t want to ingest anything and therefore prefer a topical CBD cream or ointment. “You can apply it to muscles, joints, and ligaments and still get a nice, localized release,” Dr. Chin says.
The biggest differences between tinctures, edibles, and vape pens are speed of delivery and how long the effects last. Vape relief is faster but wears off faster too—usually in about two hours, says Dr. Chin. “Say you wake up in the morning and pulled your back out, you might want to take CBD through a vape pen, which delivers in 10 minutes.”
Tinctures and edibles take longer to work but last four or five hours. “A tincture looks like a little liquid that you put under your tongue, and you feel relief within half an hour,” Dr. Chin says. “If you prefer to taste something, you choose an edible, whether it’s a capsule, gummy, or baked good.”
What should I look for when shopping for CBD products?
“There are literally hundreds of CBD brands at this point,” says Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals and an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping.
What does the label look like?
We don’t mean the color or millennial font. If it’s a dietary supplement, it should have a back panel with an FDA disclaimer and warning section, according to Beatty. “Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too.”
Speaking of which: Has it been third-party tested?
Nearly every expert Health spoke to agreed that your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label’s accuracy. This is a real concern in the industry—take the 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study, for example, which tested 84 CBD products and found that 26% contained lower doses than stated on the bottle. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party (aka not the actual brand) or check the retailer’s website if you don’t see it on the product’s label.
What’s the dosing?
This is a confusing one for many people. “A lot of brands don’t do a good job of clearly instructing their consumer on the dosing,” says Chris Roth, CEO and co-founder of Highline Wellness. When thinking about dosing, also consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate: Full-spectrum could include other cannabinoids like cannabidivarin or cannabigerol (this is important, since “there’s something called the ‘entourage effect’ when all together, they’re more effective than any one of them alone,” Roth explains), while isolate is 100% CBD. “Some people might only need 10 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, but with isolate, even taking 80 or 100 milligrams might not have the same effect,” he says.
Does it claim to cure any diseases?
If so, hard pass. “You should avoid any company that makes disease claims,” says Beatty. “If so, it means they’re either willing to break the rules or they’re not aware of the rules.”
Is there a batch number?
You know how you check your raw chicken or bagged lettuce every time there’s a recall to make sure the one you bought isn’t going to make you sick? You should be able to do that with CBD products too. “This is a huge indicator as to whether they are following good manufacturing practices,” says Beatty. “There should be a way to identify this product in case it was improperly made so the company can carry out a recall.”
Are there additional ingredients in there?
As with any supplement, you want to know everything you’re ingesting in addition to the main event. For example, “sometimes I notice that [CBD manufacturers] will add melatonin,” says Dr. Chin.
Are you buying it IRL?
You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, even coffee shops in many states right now. But when in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, Beatty says. “Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you.”
That all sounds good, but is it legal?
First, a little background. Industrial hemp was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. (“Some of our early presidents grew hemp,” notes Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, a cannabis industry attorney based in Oklahoma.) Nearly 80 years later, the 2014 Farm Bill took the position that states can regulate the production of hemp and, as a result, CBD. Then last year, President Trump signed a new Farm Bill that made it federally legal to grow hemp.
This means that “consumers everywhere, if they’re compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products,” Parrish explains, “and among those will be CBD.”
In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA’s, purview. “Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge,” Parrish says. “But while it’s legal under federal law, it’s up to each state to set their own policy.”
These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it’s legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.
“It’s kind of ironic,” says Parrish. “With marijuana, we have got the federal government saying ‘No’ and a bunch of states saying ‘Yeah, it’s OK’—but with hemp, the feds say ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ but we still have some states saying it’s not.”
Can you travel with CBD?
That same 2018 Farm Bill means you can now travel between states with legit CBD products. “Flying with CBD should pose no issues now,” Parrish says. However, if you’re traveling with a tincture, be mindful of TSA limits on how much liquid you can carry on an airplane, she adds. (You can also mail CBD products, just like “companies that comply with the Bill can ship their hemp-derived CBD products anywhere in the U.S.,” Parrish notes.)
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
It should not, as long as you’re buying third-party tested CBD with no added THC, says Dr. Chin. But she does point out that athletes, who often are required to take drug tests that are more sensitive, “could potentially test positive” for trace amounts of THC if they’ve been using CBD products.
Last question: Can I give it to my dog?
Tempted to give your pup one of those CBD dog biscuits? “Generally we expect CBD products to be safe, and they could show some benefit for anxiety in pets,” says John Faught, DVM, a veterinarian based in Austin, Texas.
But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. “I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don’t know how to distinguish them at this time,” Faught says.
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Does CBD get you high? What are the benefits and effects? Can you use it for pain and anxiety? Will it show up on a drug test? Is CBD legal? Experts answer all your top questions about CBD.
CBD Nutrition: A Guide to Building a CBD Infused Diet
CBD continues to dominate health and wellness sectors. But, introducing CBD into your diet is about much more than just taking a few drops of CBD oil. Read on for an in-depth look at how to keep up a CBD-rich diet.
Are you looking to incorporate CBD into your diet? You’re not alone. Whether it be to relieve specific symptoms or simply improve their overall health and well-being, people all over the globe are looking to include CBD and other cannabinoids in their daily diet.
Keep reading for a detailed look at how a CBD infused diet could help you live a healthier, happier life.
Why Include CBD in Your Diet?
Cannabinoids have taken the spotlight in the world of health and wellness. Everyone from athletes to stay-at-home parents are now looking to cannabinoids to lead a healthier lifestyle.
In fact, some research even suggests that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (or CECD) could be the underlying cause of everything from migraines and irritable bowel syndrome to chronic pain and depression. For many, that’s enough to warrant looking into natural ways to incorporate CBD and other cannabinoids into their diet.
What Foods Can Naturally Stimulate Cannabinoid Activity?
The obvious way to incorporate more cannabinoids into your diet is by consuming cannabis. However, you can also stimulate the endocannabinoid system (the body’s natural network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids) by eating more of the following foods:
Hemp, chia, and flax seeds
Eggs, sardines, anchovies, and walnuts
Infusions, teas, and herbs
Studies suggest that omega fatty acids (especially omega-3 and 6) can help stimulate endocannabinoid activity  .
All of which are full of essential fatty acids.
Cocoa powder has been shown to contain three types of N-acylethanolamines  , fatty acids that may mimic anandamide (an endocannabinoid naturally produced in the body) and either activate cannabinoid receptors or naturally increase anandamide levels.
Many spices, teas, and herbs contain terpenes like (beta-caryophyllene, pinene, limonene, linalool, and more) that may stimulate the endocannabinoid system.
Studies have also shown that alcohol may impair the endocannabinoid system  , so stay away from booze if you’re interested in boosting your cannabinoid levels.
Does Raw Cannabis Contain CBD?
Just like juicing fruits and vegetables has gained popularity, so has juicing raw (or live) cannabis. However, it’s important to note that live cannabis plants do not contain CBD. Instead, they contain precursor molecules like CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) and THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), which will convert into CBD and THC when decarboxylated.
Nonetheless, the cannabinoids found in live cannabis have a wide variety of benefits of their own. CBDA, for example, was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential in a 2018 study  . Hence, if you’re looking to make cannabinoids part of your daily diet, juicing live cannabis plants is definitely a great place to get started, especially if you want to avoid its psychotropic properties.
Do Hemp Seeds/Hemp Seed Oil Contain CBD?
Another common misconception is that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil contain CBD. However, CBD is only present in the trichomes of cannabis flowers and plant matter, not the seeds nor the oil made from cannabis/hemp seeds.
Nonetheless, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are extremely nutritious and rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc.
How to Easily Incorporate CBD Into Your Diet
If you’re looking to reap the benefits of CBD nutrition, keep reading.
Start With a Well-Balanced Diet
CBD isn’t a miracle panacea, and it won’t magically make you healthy if you’re not already following a strong, balanced diet. So, before you reach for a CBD dropper or try cooking with CBD, make sure you take the time to evaluate your current eating habits and ensure you’re consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and grains.
Introduce Your Body to CBD Gradually
When introducing a new supplement into your diet, it’s important to do so gradually. CBD, in particular, is a unique compound that affects everyone somewhat differently, and people often have to experiment with different doses to find the “sweet spot” where they experience optimal relief/results.
If you’ve never used CBD before but are interested in trying it as a general health supplement, we recommend starting with a low dose of a medium-strength CBD oil, like our 5% or 10% CBD oil. We recommend starting with a single daily dose of a ¼ dropper, taken either in the morning or evening.
CBD Oil 10%
|CBD Oil 10%|
|CBD per drop: 5 Mg|
|Carrier: Olive Oil|
Keep the oil in your mouth (preferably under your tongue) for about 60 seconds for faster absorption and pay close attention to how the oil makes you feel for the rest of the day. If you’re not getting the desired effects with this dose within one week, step up your dose to a ½ dropper.
Remember that CBD is non-toxic and generally well-tolerated, so you can essentially take as much as you want (within the recommended dosing guidelines), but there’s no reason to overdo it. Just be sure to let your body adjust to larger doses to avoid unwanted side effects (while it’s rare, some people experience sleepiness upon beginning CBD use).
Find the Right CBD Product
We always recommend people start their CBD nutrition journey with CBD oil. There are a number of reasons for this:
– CBD oils are readily available in many parts of the world
– CBD oils give you the flexibility to adjust your dose and find your own “sweet spot”
– CBD oils have a fast onset and usually take effect within 15–20 minutes
However, you may find that CBD oil doesn’t quite give you the effect you’re looking for. If, for example, you’re after long-lasting effects or an easier way to dose, you may want to opt for a product like our CBD Softgel Capsules. Available in 4% and 10% concentrations, these capsules offer a slow, long-lasting release of CBD via the digestive tract.
If, on the other hand, you’re thinking of using CBD for localised effects (such as to combat muscle soreness following a workout), you may want to consider using topical CBD infused products like creams or ointments. Unlike edibles and oils, these products deliver CBD to receptors in the skin, offering very localised outcomes without entering the bloodstream.
These options are just the tip of the iceberg; you can also find plenty of CBD vitamins and supplements to suit your needs and preferences.
Consider Using CBD in Food
If you want to make CBD a staple of your diet, you don’t have to rely on ready-made products like tinctures, edibles, and topicals. Many people use CBD-rich flower or oils to infuse their favourite meals. Doing so is super simple; for more information on CBD in food, check out our exclusive article on how to cook with CBD.
Also, make sure to check out some of the following CBD recipes to get you started!
Look Into CBD Vitamins and Food Supplements
CBD is starting to make its way into a wide variety of products. One of the latest trends in the health food industry is CBD vitamins and enriched food supplements. Unlike regular CBD oils or capsules (which just contain CBD and carrier oils like olive or MCT oil), CBD food supplements mix CBD with other highly nutritious substances.
CBD Hemp Seed Oil (available in many CBD concentrations), for example, takes all the benefits of hemp seed oil and combines it with the benefits of CBD. The result is a powerful supplement rich in linoleic acid and oleic acids (vital allies in promoting skin health), omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid (important for skin and women’s health), and, of course, CBD.
Other specialised CBD vitamins and food supplements may help with:
– Detoxing: CBD detox teas may help enrich cleanses via their potential to reduce appetite  and modulate immune function  .
– Sports training/recovery: CBD workout shakes combine CBD with protein, creatine, vitamins, and other superfoods designed to help athletes perform at their best and recover faster.
Starting a CBD-Rich Diet – FAQ
To close out this guide, we decided to provide answers to some of the most common questions on CBD nutrition. By the end, you should be ready to get out there and incorporate CBD into your daily life.
Is CBD a Novel Food?
Novel foods, according to UK and EU law, are new foods that haven’t been widely consumed by people in Europe or Great Britain. This can include foreign foods traditionally eaten elsewhere (like baobab, for example), foods containing new ingredients, or foods made with modern manufacturing processes (like bread exposed to UV light to increase vitamin D content).
CBD was added to the European Novel Foods list in January 2019, meaning CBD manufacturers need to formally apply to have their products authorised as a novel food before they can hit the shelves; a process that is very time-consuming and expensive.
If you’re living in the EU, make sure to only buy CBD infused products from respected manufacturers that comply with Novel Food law. Unfortunately, some countries aren’t as strict at enforcing these laws as others, and some manufacturers try to take advantage of this. Use your best judgement.
How Does CBD Fit Popular Diets (Vegan, Keto, Paleo, etc)?
At RQS, we take extra care when sourcing and manufacturing all of our CBD infused products. We only use top-shelf natural cannabis extracts with low levels of THC in order to meet EU and UK laws, and we use quality edible carrier oils in our CBD oil and softgel caps. Hence, you can rest assured that our CBD products will fit in perfectly with vegan, keto, paleo, vegetarian, and carnivorous diets.
What Is the Nutritional Value of CBD Oil?
Our regular CBD oils are made with an olive oil carrier. Given the small amount of oil you’ll be taking on a daily basis, the nutritional value is fairly insignificant, but ultimately positive. Those interested in using CBD in food are advised to incorporate the cannabinoid into healthy snacks and dishes (rich in healthy fats) to boost the cannabinoid’s nutritional potential.
The same goes for our CBD oils made with hemp seed oil carriers. These feature all the benefits of hemp seeds, including:
– Plant-based protein
– High levels of magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium
– Small amounts of zinc, iron, and calcium
– Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
– B vitamins, vitamin C, A, and E
Final Thoughts on CBD Nutrition
CBD nutrition isn’t rocket science, but it takes some time and experimentation to get the most out of a CBD infused diet. People who regularly use CBD, be it in their cooking or as a dietary supplement, often claim it benefits their mood, can aid in weight loss and moderating eating habits, improve sleep, and more. Check out our full list of CBD infused products and start reaping the benefits of this amazing cannabinoid today!
CBD is the latest wellness trend, and for good reason. Read this article to learn how (and why) to enrich your diet with CBD oils, capsules, and supplements.