What is CBD? Everything You Wanted to Know

hemp plant

What Is CBD And What Does It Have to Do With Hemp And Marijuana?

In one word – cannabis. You see, hemp and marijuana are like siblings. Both derive from the cannabis plant, but each has a different composition. While both hemp and marijuana can have any amount of CBD, they differ in the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they have, the psychoactive ingredient that makes you high (more on THC vs. CBD – Know the Differences Between CBD and THC).

While hemp has no or negligent amounts of THC, Marijuana is THC dominant. Therefore, hemp is 100% legal as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, while marijuana is illegal in most states. CBD is completely non-psychoactive. Period.

In general, the market offerings divide CBD products into three main categories: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate. These all define the composition of the substance whereas:

  • Full-spectrum implies that the end-product is composed of the entire plant and includes its original composition, including all cannabinoids. Full-spectrum products are the least manipulated, and therefore contain THC. However, to maintain legality, levels cannot be over 0.3%.
  • Broad spectrum means that the end-product undergoes an extra step in the refinement process. It contains many of the minor cannabinoids in addition to CBD, however it does not include any THC.
  • Lastly, isolate means that the end composition includes only CBD and no other cannabinoids.

So How Does CBD Work?

As explained in a previous blog post, Is CBD Psychoactive? Common Misconceptions of CBD, our bodies have an endocannabinoid system, a network made up of cell receptors and corresponding molecules in the nervous system, organs, immune system, connective tissues, and glands.

When certain cannabinoids bind with key cannabinoid receptors, they relay messages and give cells specific instructions.This translates to our sensations and the way our bodies react to CBD.

CBD Use Throughout History

While there is certainly a great deal of hype surrounding CBD, its medicinal qualities are not a recent discovery. Anecdotal accounts of the use of cannabis are widespread throughout history, though there is a lack of verifiable sources and scientific support to verify its validity.

The first documented use of cannabis-derived medicine dates back to 2737 B.C., when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used a cannabis-infused tea to aid with a variety of ailments including memory, malaria, rheumatism, and gout.

Queen Victoria is believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps during her reign, which ended in 1901.

Throughout history, cannabis served as a valuable resource. But as modern medicine evolved, it was not recognized by most in the medical community due to a lack of scientific evidence. Plus, the many legal constraints didn’t help its case either.

Back in 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana. By 2000, 7 others followed suit. With the legalization of medical marijuana, the medical community began expanding its research into the potential use of cannabinoids for medical use, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and numerous neurodegenerative diseases.

It was in the year 2000 that people began sharing their own personal CBD success stories, shedding modern light on its potential benefits.


In 2010, a powerful story emerged and spearheaded the movement even further. Charlotte Figi, a 4-year old girl in Colorado, was born with a very rare form of chronic epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Dravet Syndrome is a rare and devastating form of epilepsy that affects approximately 1 in every 16,000 to 21,000 infants.

Charlotte lost most of her ability to walk, talk, and eat, and experienced 300 seizures per week. While her parents tried every option modern medicine had to offer by the time Charlotte was 5, they realized that traditional doctors could not help their daughter.

After consuming a small dose of CBD oil extracted from a high-CBD cannabis strain, Charlotte’s seizures ceased almost immediately, restoring many of her normal functions and giving her the opportunity to live a normal life

While these are anecdotal reports only, they have ignited public interest in CBD. Research continues today and more data is needed to provide adequate, scientific support for the usefulness and efficacy of CBD beyond vague historical accounts.

Readers are encouraged to do their own research and speak to their healthcare professional regarding CBD use.

So How Did CBD Become Such a Hot Topic and What is the FDA’s Position?

Social media has played a huge part in spreading awareness of CBD success stories. It has become a hot commodity, the new gold rush. And while this is a blessing in advancing the field, it’s also a curse. Since brands selling CBD-related products are popping up like mushrooms after the rain, all claiming to heal anything and everything, false and mislabeled products are emerging on the market.

That’s exactly why the FDA stepped up and began cracking down on CBD product distributors. For a deeper dive into the FDA’s stand on CBD, read the 6 Key Points – FDA’s First CBD Public Hearing on CBD.

In 2018, the FDA approved the CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. It is approved to treat rare seizures associated with two types of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome (what Charlotte Figi suffered from) and Lennox-Gastaut. But once an ingredient in a drug is approved by the FDA, it must follow “drug” guidelines, and here lies the challenge in the market.

Since CBD was approved for the treatment of seizures, the FDA must regulate all CBD-containing products. In fact, once an active ingredient is approved in an Rx drug, like Epidiolex, you can’t make claims about it if it’s included in any sort of ingestible or dietary supplement. However, CBD can legally be sold as a cosmetic ingredient in topical products.

Since this market is rapidly changing, we advise you to do your due diligence by conducting your own research or following our newsletters and social media channels.

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What’s Out There? And How Can It Help Me?

Now that we’ve learned some CBD facts and history, it’s time to look at what’s out there on the market right now.

CBD is popping up in all forms, from CBD-infused essential oils used for massaging to edibles, topicals, and vape pens. There’s even CBD-infused clothing being sold. Yes, you heard it right. There seems to be no limit to what the human brain can come up with in riding the CBD trend.

And with so many products out there, it’s important to distinguish those with real efficacy versus those with questionable claims and illegal status.

There’s enormous value in using products that are supported by years of research, testing and great expertise like CBDMEDIC™’s Topical Pain Relief products. They contain naturally-derived analgesics such as camphor and menthol, essential oils like clove and peppermint to enhance the cooling effect, and emollients like CBD hemp oil and jojoba oils that soothe the skin. Together, the ingredients work to ease tired muscles and relieve joint pain.

Whether you’re an athlete suffering from muscle soreness or someone with arthritis pain, our topical pain relief line will help get you up and moving.

And as always, we make a point to address a common misconception and say that when it comes to CBD and drug testing – there’s no need to worry. Rest assured that enjoying the benefits of CBD is 100% legit.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out our post on CBD trends for 2020!

Want to learn more about the CBD revolution? You are invited to join our community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t be shy. Share your CBD success stories with us.



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