Cannabidiol — more commonly referred to as “CBD oil” — is one of more than 100 different chemical compounds found in the the cannabis plant. These compounds, known as “cannabinoids”, react with a biochemical communication system in the body called the endocannabinoid system.
The recently discovered network of cannabis receptors plays an important role in psychological functions like sleep, pain, mood, and appetite.
Perhaps the most widely known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the majority of the psychological effects. Like THC, cannabidiol is also found in marijuana. But unlike THC, cannabidiol does not induce intoxication or get you “high”.
Instead, CBD oil helps promote relaxation, healthy sleep, and pain relief. Because the compound is associated with a variety of health benefits but lacks mind-altering effects, it is being marketed as treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders, in addition to issues like anxiety, epilepsy, and pain.
Although CBD oil can be manufactured synthetically, it’s most easily and often harvested from industrial hemp. To harvest CBD oil, producers use extraction solvents to separate and collect CBD oils from the seeds and stalks of the hemp plant.
The oil is typically tested for cannabidiol content and treated in a heating process known as decarboxylation, which helps the CBD react more easily with the body.
A member of the cannabis family, industrial hemp contains high amounts of natural cannabidiol but negligible amounts (less than 0.3 percent) of mind-altering THC. Virtually non-existent levels of THC make it impossible to get high on CBD oil that has been extracted from industrial hemp.
Note that in states where marijuana is legal, CBD oil can also be extracted from marijuana plants. When extracted from marijuana plants, CBD oil may have higher levels of THC — as much as 30 percent — and include psychoactive effects.