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What Is CBD? Here's What to Know About Cannabidiol Since CBD seems to be on everyone's lips — literally — let's run through what CBD is, what CBD does to your body, and what the health benefits are.


JUL 13, 2018

What is CBD, or cannabidiol, that everyone's buzzing about? If you don't already, you're about to see this stuff everywhere.

We're on the edge of a CBD explosion. The U.S. market for CBD products is estimated to be worth $2.1 billion by 2020, up 700 percent from 2016; the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances; the Food and Drug Administration just approved an epilepsy medication containing CBD oil for the first time. 

You can rub CBD oil on your skin or drop it under your tongue; you can eat it as a sugarcoated gummy or drink it as a Goop-approved cocktail. There's evidence (some scientific, plenty anecdotal) that it helps with epileptic seizures, opioid addiction, PTSD, arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, chronic pain, and much more. If you believe the hype, CBD can do just about anything for your physical and mental health — and it won't get you high as a kite.

Since CBD seems to be on everyone's lips — literally — let's run through what CBD is, what CBD does to your body, and whether CBD is legal.

What is CBD?

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the body's endocannabinoid system in ways that researchers are still working toward understanding.

One of those cannabinoids is CBD, or cannabidiol (pronounced cann-a-bid-EYE-ol). CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it won't get you high — and there's a growing body of evidence that it has a number of health benefits.

CBD vs. THC: What's the difference?

The main one is that CBD will not make you high. Of all those different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the two best known are CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

CBD and THC are both found in marijuana, but it's the THC that's responsible for weed's mind-altering effects. THC is psychoactive; CBD is not. As long as your CBD products don't contain THC — or contain very small amounts of it — you can reap their potential benefits without going full Pineapple Express.

What are the benefits of CBD?

There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that CBD helps treat a variety of ailments. People are turning to oils, gummies, and other CBD food and drink products to relax at the end of a long day. Retired NFL players are using CBD to manage physical pain, debilitating headaches, and sleeplessness. Spa clients are even using CBD skin products to fight signs of aging.

We're still in the early stages of understanding CBD's effects on the body, but there's already scientific evidence — some of it funded by the U.S. government — that CBD has legitimate medical benefits, too.

To name just a few: Animal research and small-scale human studies have pointed to CBD's anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, NPR reports. A study is underway to see how CBD helps patients with PTSD and alcohol use disorder, and another is exploring how CBD might help curb drug cravings in people with opioid addiction. Cannabinoids like CBD may also be effective at treating cancer-related side effects, according to the National Institutes of Health.

CBD and epilepsy

You've probably come across a viral story about CBD's seizure-fighting capabilities in patients with epilepsy. 


"I have seen cases where a child who's having hundreds of seizures a day got put on CBD and had a truly phenomenal benefit," Dr. Orrin Devinsky, MD, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Health, tells — though he adds that those miracle cases happen fairly infrequently.

"We should absolutely test CBD across as many epilepsy syndromes as possible."

Devinsky puts more weight behind the scientific advancements: In June, the FDA approved an epilepsy drug called Epidiolex, which contains a purified form of CBD oil. In controlled clinical trials, the drug was proven to reduce seizures in people with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome — and it didn't produce as many of the unpleasant side-effects that come with other epilepsy medications.

"It's exciting," Devinsky says — but he still has questions. Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome comprise "well under 5 percent" of epilepsy cases in the U.S. "What about the other 95 percent, with regard to CBD?" he asks.

Studies on CBD and epilepsy with focal seizures, for instance, showed the compound was no more effective than a placebo.

"The jury's still out," Devinsky says. "This is why we do science. People who think they know ahead of time are often wrong. My own view is to be humble, skeptical, and open-minded. We should absolutely test CBD across as many epilepsy syndromes as possible."

Is CBD legal?

Effectively. While the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana and its extracts — including CBD — as illegal, because the FDA's declaration that Epidiolex is a "safe and effective" treatment option, CBD has to be reclassified lower on the DEA's Controlled Substances Act, and it must happen in the next 90 days, per a DEA spokesperson.

Purifying High-Quality Cannabis/CBD Extract by Distillation

Sponsored by PolyScience Jul 4 2018

Cannabis and cannabis-derived oils are considered to hold medicinal uses. Several therapeutic benefits of cannabis may be provided by high purity cannabidiol (CBD) oil without the mind-altering effects, in a format that is easy for consumers. CBD oil is prepared through the short-path distillation of crude cannabis oil, where precise temperature control is required during the distillation process to produce high purity oil.

For thousands of years, cannabis has been used medicinally and it is said to provide various therapeutic benefits from relaxation and pain relief, to preventing the spread of cancer and controlling epileptic seizures.

Currently, nine states have made cannabis legal for recreational use, with an additional 29 states allowing the medical use of cannabis. This legalization has increased the sales of legal cannabis in North America to about $6.6 billion in 2016, of which 71% was earmarked for medical use.

The Market for CBD Oil is Growing Rapidly

In the past few years, cannabis oils have become popular with consumers, because of their ease of transport, ease of use, and increased accessibility. Several cannabis-derived oils are currently available that include cannabis oil, hemp oil, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil, marijuana oil, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The concentration of various cannabinoids in the oils is the major difference between the types of cannabis-derived oils.

Cannabis is made up of a range of biochemical and pharmacological compounds. The two well-known cannabinoids in cannabis are CBD and THC. CBD is believed to have many therapeutic uses, whereas THC causes the mind-altering effects of cannabis. Since CBD is not psychoactive, it does not cause the mind-altering effects of THC or marijuana. Therefore, CBD oil enables consumers to access the therapeutic benefits of cannabis but without the mind-altering effects.

In contrast to THC and cannabis containing oils, CBD oil is legal in Europe, and 17 states (where medicinal cannabis use is otherwise illegal) have passed laws permitting the use of CBD oil with restricted levels of THC for treating conditions such as epilepsy, when other treatment options are ineffective. In 2016, the CBD oil market was worth approximately $170 million and is anticipated to quickly grow to an estimated $2.1-$3 billion in consumer sales by 2020.

What are the Therapeutic Effects of CBD Oil?

The therapeutic effects of CBD oil went unnoticed for a long time, perhaps because THC was regarded as the primary active constituent of cannabis owing to its psychoactive effects. Yet, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in the therapeutic applications of CBD oil.

Several retrospective studies, clinical case studies, and open-label clinical trials have proposed CBD oil to be effective in treating treatment-resistant epilepsy. Moreover, cannabis-derived oils have several potential benefits for cancer patients including increased appetite, while reducing vomiting, nausea, insomnia, pain, and depression. In addition, animal and in vivo studies indicate that cannabinoids may have a direct anti-cancer effect.

Research proposes that CBD oil has several other therapeutic effects such as treatment of sleep disorders, chronic pain disorders, anxiety disorders, inflammation, acne, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Despite this fact, more research, such as placebo-controlled clinical trials, is needed to confirm the full therapeutic effects of CBD oil.

Short-Path Distillation for Precise Oil Extraction

It is possible to extract oils from cannabis plants in a number of ways, often using alcohol, solvents, or supercritical CO2. After extracting the crude oil from the cannabis plant, the oil is purified by distillation. Cannabinoids can be extracted individually to yield clear and clean distillates that are 99% pure and this is done by controlling the pressure and temperature of distillation in a process known as short-path distillation.

Short-path distillation is specifically suitable to cannabis oil distillation because it avoids thermal decomposition of the volatile cannabinoids. Precise distillation is very critical for the production of medicinal CBD oils, as THC levels are rigorously controlled in many medical applications.

In short-path distillation, the crude cannabis extract is heated in a flask with reduced pressure. The heat is slowly increased, and the crude oil constituent molecules boil at their specific boiling points in order to form vapors. The vapors ascend a short distance into a vertical condenser, where water cools them and the compounds in the oil are collected separately.


FDA approves first marijuana-based epilepsy drug: CBD oil

USA TODAY NETWORKLilly Price, USA TODAYPublished 10:39 a.m. ET June 26, 2018 | Updated 8:36 a.m. ET June 27, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a drug derived from marijuana for the first time Monday, giving the go ahead to treat two rare forms of epilepsy with the compound cannabidiol, also known as CBD, found in hemp and marijuana. 

Epidiolex, a form of cannabidiol, will be legally used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two serious and rare kinds of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first approved treatment for Dravet syndrome, according to the FDA.

Though CBD is extracted from marijuana sativa plants, it does not produce the high typically associated with marijuana because it does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC. Instead, CBD is often used in oil form as a way to relieve anxiety without the high. 

"This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement


Epidiolex was effective in reducing the frequency of seizures in patients with the two syndromes in clinical trials. Since both Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet synonym appear in early childhood, Epidiolex is legal in treatment for patients two-year-old and above.

Both syndromes feature uncontrollable and severe seizures resulting in some form of learning disability, such as hindered languages and motor skills. 

More: Canada passes legislation legalizing marijuana, sales expected within 12 weeks

More: Marijuana-based epilepsy drug could soon get federal approval, a historic first

For families with loved ones suffering from these seizure disorders, the approval of Epidiolex offers "much-needed hope," Christina SanInocencio, executive director of LGS Foundation, said in a statement. But even with CBD oil, most individuals with LGS "will continue to have life-long, debilitating seizures," she added. 

Some side effects presented in the clinical trials include sleepiness, sedation, lethargy, elevated liver enzymes, decreased appetite, diarrhea, rash, weakness, insomnia, poor quality sleep and infections, according to the FDA.

CBD is currently considered a Schedule I drug because of its relation to marijuana. Trials were conducted to examine the abuse potential of CBD. 

The CBD industry is worth $200 million, according to the CBD summit. The use of CBD in treatment for other diseases and disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, is being tested.  


Contains less than 0.3% THC as required by the  Kentucky Department of Agriculture Program.

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Representations regarding efficaciousness and safety of  Cannatrait products have not been evaluated by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any ailment or disease.

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