The Beginner’s Guide to CBD: What You Need to Know About Cannabidiol

If you live with a chronic condition such as pain or anxiety, you’ve probably heard about CBD–especially if you live in a place that allows medical marijuana use.

As more states in the U.S. legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, CBD is becoming widely available. Despite the media attention, though, many people are still unsure of what CBD is or how it can help them.

If you’re considering trying CBD, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some questions and answers to help clear up common misconceptions surrounding the product and its uses.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. It is not psychoactive like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the most well-known of the compounds.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is nonpsychoactive. This means that people who take CBD can reap its therapeutic benefits without the “high” feeling that often comes with THC.

CBD products derived from hemp, or those containing THC, may be more effective than CBD made from marijuana. If you don’t live in a state where medical marijuana is legalized or if you can’t get these specific strains of cannabis, you can still benefit from products containing industrial hemp-derived CBD.

Research on cannabidiol (CBD) is limited, but the findings of the few studies that have been done are promising. CBD has been studied as a possible treatment for various mental health conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • addiction
  • schizophrenia

CBD oil has been found to reduce arthritis pain in animal studies and may be effective for this purpose in humans. In other studies, CBD cream has proven effective in reducing pain and inflammation.

CBD is available in several different forms because people have different preferences. Here are the most common forms of CBD:

Oils and tinctures

These liquids, made with cannabis-derived CBD compounds and placed under the tongue with a dropper, are absorbed by the oral mucosa and enter the bloodstream.

Oils and tinctures can be an effective means of administering medication to someone who cannot swallow pills or capsules.

Creams and lotions

CBD-infused topicals are used to relieve the pain and inflammation of muscle and joint ailments. They can also be used to mitigate some forms of skin irritation, particularly eczema and psoriasis.

Capsules and pills

The F.D.A. recently approved Epidiolex, a drug that contains high-potency cannabidiol (CBD), for use in the treatment of seizure disorders and digestive problems.

One potential problem with capsule forms is that it take a while for action to be felt.


Gummies are some of the most popular ways to consume CBD. They’re affordable, portable, discreet, and tasty. You also know exactly what dose you’re taking.


Vaporized CBD oil, like e-cigs for CBD, can be used to target specific areas of the body. Although slower than inhalation, oral administration can still have positive effects on the body.

Although the jury is still out on whether e-cigarettes do damage to lung tissue, enthusiasts of CBD e-juice should exercise caution.

How much should I take?

You should start with a small amount of CBD, and gradually increase your dosage. The amount of CBD in each product may also vary slightly. Start slowly when switching products or brands.

CBD includes a compound that has been shown to reduce seizures. However, it is important to consult a doctor as you are beginning to experiment with CBD and make sure to start with a low dose.


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