Your Complete 2021 Guide to CBD



What is CBD?

The short answer: CBD is a plant-based compound known for its calming effects.

The details:

Your CBD adventures start with one fundamental question: What is CBD?

CBD—or cannabidiol if you like using words with lots of syllables—is, in the most basic terms, a chemical compound. The word “chemical” might make you think of synthetic substances created in a lab, however CBD is 100% natural. In fact, it comes from a plant you’ve probably heard of before: the cannabis plant.

Some people freeze when they hear the word “cannabis.” That’s because many people use “cannabis” and “marijuana” synonymously to describe the drug that gets you high.

When we’re talking about cannabis in the context of CBD, we’re just talking about a plant that contains over 400 compounds called cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are psychoactive; they affect your mental processes. Many cannabinoids, including CBD, are not psychoactive.

What Does CBD Stand For?

The short answer: CBD stands for cannabidiol.

The details:

CBD stands for cannabidiol. The term spares us from trying to say and spell cannabidiol over and over again.

The “cannabis” portion of the word indicates the compound’s origin in the cannabis plant. The “diol” portion of the word indicates the two alcohols in the compound. (In this case, alcohol simply describes a molecule made of carbon (C), oxygen (O), and hydrogen (H) atoms—not a tasty adult beverage.)

Most cannabinoids have similar names. This makes it easy for us to tell they share cannabis as their mother plant.

  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

  • Cannabinol (CBN)

  • Cannabigerol (CBG)

Does CBD Get You High?

The short answer: No.

The details:

CBD does not get you high.

Many people react to this statement with a healthy dose of dubiousness. Why not? It comes from the cannabis plant!

CBD alone—when it’s not paired with other compounds in the cannabis plant, such as THC—does not produce the psychoactive (mind-altering) effects we perceive as “getting high.”

Just one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD can be isolated from the other compounds to make a product with practically no chance of triggering a high.

However, CBD products often contain some THC, which is psychoactive. Check the labels and certificates of analysis (COA) to find out if your product contains any percentage of THC.

CBD Clinical Trials

The takeaway: Keep an eye out for news of CBD clinical trials that will verify or call into question the promising health benefits many believe CBD provides.

The details:

Throughout this post, you’ll learn that many experts withhold their optimism on the benefits of CBD, pointing to a lack of evidence from controlled trials and systematic research. Promising results from CBD clinical trials would give them satisfying evidence.

Clinical trials on CBD have been relatively limited so far, but, as CBD benefit claims multiply and CBD popularity grows, we’ll likely see more trials.

If you want to see some hard data from current and completed clinical trials, then you can browse the United States National Library database of CBD clinical trials.

THC vs CBD

Short answer:

CBD and THC are different compounds. THC is psychoactive; it affects your mental processes (it gets you high). CBD is not psychoactive.

The details:

CBD and THC, like siblings, have a lot in common, but they also have many key differences.

Different compounds, or cannabinoids, CBD and THC both come from the same parent plant, but they interact in your body, specifically in your body’s endocannabinoid system, in different ways.

CBD and THC share a molecular structure, but they have a different arrangement of atoms. This simple difference in atomic arrangement explains why the two compounds interact with your endocannabinoid receptors in different ways and why CBD doesn’t get you high while THC does.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

The short answer: CBD can stay in an average person’s system for up to 5 days. However, the length of time CBD stays in any individual’s system fluctuates depending on a variety of factors, including dosage, CBD form, the person’s weight, and more.

The details:

If there’s any chance you might have to take a drug test, then, of course, you’ll wonder how long CBD stays in your system, just in case. (But for the record, if the CBD you took contains no THC or CBN, then you should be fine, even if the CBD is still in your system.)

Studies investigating CBD’s lifespan in the body have found—in general—that the compound can stay in the blood for up to 5 days. Other studies found that CBD might stay in the urine for only 24 hours.

Just as different bodies and different circumstances affect the metabolism of food and alcohol, different circumstances and bodily characteristics affect how a body will absorb, process, and retain CBD.

So what factors are most influential to how long CBD will stay in your system?

  • How you take the CBD. (Results will differ depending on whether you ingest, smoke, or vaporize your CBD.)

  • Your own individual metabolism.

  • What else, including food, is in your system when you take the CBD.

  • How much CBD you take and how often.

What Drugs Should Not Be Taken with CBD?

The short answer:

Many drugs could interact with CBD, and it’s important to check with your doctor before you mix CBD with medications, including over-the-counter medications.

The details:

In the grand scheme of things, experts have really only scratched the surface of CBD research, experiments, and investigations. That’s why you’ll have a hard time finding a straightforward answer about what drugs you should not mix with CBD.

Experts do know that our bodies use the same set of enzymes to metabolize CBD as we use to metabolize most medications available on the market. That means there’s a chance CBD could interact with a majority of medications.

This doesn’t mean that the interactions would be catastrophic, significant, or even noticeable; it just means there’s a big chance CBD and your medication could interact and alter each other’s intended effects, leading to different outcomes in your body.

It will take years for experts to develop a more straightforward answer to this question. For now, play it safe by talking to your doctor or pharmacist before mixing CBD with any medications.

CBD Dosage Calculator

If you’re trying CBD for the first time, then you probably have no idea how much to take.

All the products you find have vastly different concentrations, so it’s hard to even guess what a standard dose might be.

Try to find your ideal CBD dosage by using this crowd-sourced CBD dosage calculator.

You simply plug in some information, and the calculator recommends a dosage. The tool calculates answers based on their pools of self-reported user data.

This is the perfect place to start if you’re new to CBD or if you haven’t achieved the results you were hoping for so far in your CBD adventures. What is CBD Oil?

The short answer:

CBD oil is simply the CBD compound infused into a carrier oil.

The details:

So we know CBD is technically a compound, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that reacts with receptors in our bodies to produce a calming effect.

Now it’s time to get into more practical questions. How do you actually get CBD into your body?

Oil is one of the most popular vessels for CBD.

CBD oil is essentially just the CBD compound infused into a carrier oil. After that infusion, the oil will have a concentration of CBD. There’s no standard concentration of CBD across CBD oils, so the potency of these products varies.

CBD Oil

The takeaway:

CBD oil products mimic the naturally oily plant material they’re extracted from.

The details:

Have you ever wondered why so many CBD products are CBD oils?

The CBD-rich parts of the cannabis plant are naturally resinous and oily. So when we extract the CBD from these bits, what we get is already thick and oily. It’s primed for infusions into other carrier oils.

So when you enjoy a CBD oil, you’re enjoying CBD close to its natural state.

To dive even deeper, the CBD we extract to create oils and other products come from trichomes. Some experts call trichomes “plant hair,” because of their growth structure and their ability to retain metabolites. (Even the word “trichomes” comes from the Greek word for “hair.”)

Naturally resinous, the CBD solvent we can extract from trichomes will vary in CBD potency, depending on the CBD present in the trichomes and also the method used to extract the CBD from the trichomes.

CBD Oil Benefits

The takeaway:

CBD’s reported benefits hold promise for a variety of health issues.

The details:

People who’ve tried CBD have reported a wide range of benefits. While many effects and benefits could be considered subjective, these benefits also come along with anecdotal evidence that could be extremely compelling for anyone looking to achieve similar benefits.

Here’s a sampling of some potential CBD benefits:

  • Pain management. Studies showed rats on CBD had decreased activity in brain regions associated with pain.

  • Anxiety and depression reduction. One study showed that CBD can reduce anxiety in humans preparing to speak publicly. Animal studies demonstrated effects similar to antidepressants.

  • Chemotherapy side effect management. CBD reduces chemotherapy-induced nausea.

  • Skin clearing. A laboratory test-tube study showed that CBD might help block the production of excess skin oils and the inflammatory response that leads to acne.

  • Seizure management. CBD helps reduce epileptic seizures.

  • Heart health. Some research subjects saw a decrease in blood pressure when taking CBD, and CBD appeared to be able to reduce inflammation and cell death in patients who had already succumbed to heart disease.

CBD Benefits Chart

If your head is spinning from hearing about one CBD benefit here and another there, then you need something that can give you a quick view of the full range of anecdotally reported CBD benefits. You need a CBD benefits chart.


This comprehensive chart from The Physicians’ Choice bullets out a complete list of potential CBD benefits.

As an added bonus, the chart also lists the benefits of other cannabinoids, including THC, CBN, and CBDA.

Here are some potential CBD benefit highlights from the chart:

  • Antibacterial properties

  • Cancer-fighting capabilities

  • Pain and anxiety relief

  • Seizure reduction

  • Bone-boosting capabilities

  • Neuron shielding abilities

  • Psoriasis treatment potential


Conclusion At the end of the day, if your health condition and current treatment permit, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give CBD a go. Choosing your first CBD product shouldn’t be too hard: pick a CBD oil type and a means of intake that is most suitable for you and your way of life. If you find that a particular product doesn’t work for you, you can always either switch the oil type or the product itself. Take a look at our CBD products. They meet all the requirements we talked about in this post. Help yourself to what sounds good to you, and start enjoying this exciting new world of CBD!

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