What Exactly Is CBD Oil, and Should You Be Using It?

POPSUGAR Photography | Brinton Parker
POPSUGAR Photography | Brinton Parker

Is it possible? Can cannabis can be beneficial without having to get you high? Yes, and that's because of CBD. What exactly is CBD, and why is it making waves? Let's break it down, starting with the common questions you probably have.

Does CBD Get You High?

Short answer: no.

The high feeling most people associate with marijuana comes from THC, an active component found in the plant. Besides its brain-altering capabilities, THC binds to receptors in the brain and can help with many several ailments and disorders, some of which include appetite loss, nausea, migraines, glaucoma, chronic pain, and arthritis. For context, there are close to 100 cannabinoid compounds in a cannabis plant, but THC is the only one that is psychoactive.

CBD is also a natural component in cannabis, but unlike THC, it doesn't get you high. CBD binds to receptors all throughout the body instead of the brain and does not cause a feeling of euphoria. It contains very low amounts of THC (0.3 percent), not enough to get you high.

What Is CBD Oil Used For?

CBD may help to . . .

"[Because CBD] has anti-inflammatory effects, [it] could be helpful for patients with chronic inflammation," said William Hayes Wilson, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital's chief of rheumatology. "I'm a pragmatist."

How Do You Take CBD?

The most common usage for CBD is as an oil delivered as a tincture. You simply drop it into whatever liquid you're drinking. You can also get CBD through edibles, vapor, sprays, and salves. The oil itself can come in many unusual flavors: blueberry custard, chunky monkey, gummy blast, and even unicorn milk. Different varieties also target different benefits: immune booster, anxiety formula, sleep formula, stress formula, or pain relief.

Wilson also told POPSUGAR that patients who suffer from localized pain are great candidates to use the oil because they can just rub it on whatever part of their body is hurt. "There are some people who have pain in just their feet or their hands," he said. "Rather than treating their whole body, you could treat it with something topical like CBD oil."

It's important to note that because CBD products are not regulated, there are no guidelines for dosage. It's up to the user to determine what works for them.

Where Do You Get It?

You can order CBD oil from the comfort of your own home or pick it up at a local dispensary.

Is It Legal?

This is tricky. As of August 2017, medical marijuana is legal in 28 states (plus Washington DC), and CBD is legal in an additional 15 states. Experts estimate that that CBD market will be worth $3 billion by 2021. Though the oil is available online, the FDA states that it is illegal to transport it across state lines. However, some distributors have found a way around this by keeping the levels of THC low in their CBD-based products. The products from Colorado-based company Charlotte's Web contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which means they can ship to all 50 states.

Any cannabis products referenced above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The writer is not a medical doctor, and their experience is based on personal use, the results of which may not be typical or intended. The legality of cannabis products varies by state, and readers are encouraged to check their local laws before purchasing and using cannabis products. Nothing in this article should be construed as advice regarding the legal status of cannabis products. Any views expressed in this article by a third-party sponsor are those of such sponsor, and do not necessarily represent the views of POPSUGAR.