Quick Overview

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an element of the cannabis plant. Containing no psychoactive effects of marijuana, the product has recently gained popularity in many age groups. Legislation regarding the substance has changed, as well.

CBD users claim it helps with a variety of ailments including insomnia, sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, and pain. While medical studies about CBD oil treating illnesses is still in its infancy, several studies back up claims that CBD can help with some medical issues.


Bioavailability refers to the amount of a given substance that enters the bloodstream. One of the most important factors in bioavailability is the delivery method.

Injections, for example, contain 100 percent bioavailability since the substance is immediately introduced into the bloodstream. Oral administration, on the other hand, will have a much lower level of bioavailability since the substance needs to go through the liver and digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream.


The scientific name for CBD. Cannabidiol is one of 113 phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant. When ingested or absorbed into the body, CBD interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system.


A fast-growing and flowering plant, part of the hemp family. Cannabis is the genus of plant from which CBD is derived.

CBD oil:

An abbreviation for cannabidiol oil. CBD oil is an extract from the flowering part of the hemp plant. Once extracted, it’s then diluted into another oil called the carrier oil (often coconut or hemp seed oil). By law, CBD oil can contain no more than 0.03 percent THC, and therefore does not have psychoactive properties.

Certificate of Analysis:

A Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is a report from an accredited lab that shows the official percentages of the various cannabinoids, as well as any potential contaminants, contained within a sample of the product.


Each CBD oil, edible, topical, or vape contains a certain amount of CBD referred to as the concentration, or the strength.

The concentration indicates how many milligrams of CBD are in each bottle. For example, a tincture could be labeled as 1500 milligram of CBD in a 30 milliliter bottle. This means there are 1500 milligrams of CBD in the entire tincture. If a serving size is one milliliter, the user will be ingesting 50 milligrams of CBD per use.

CO2 Extraction:

CO2 extraction, also known as supercritical fluid extraction, uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract CBD and other phytochemicals out of the plant in a clean and efficient manner.


This type of CBD oil has been processed to remove all cannabinoids including THC leaving only CBD. Crystalline-isolate CBD oil is preferred for those who take drug tests that detect THC.

Delivery Method:

CBD can enter the body in several ways, known as the delivery method. The most common delivery methods for CBD are orally, in capsule or tablet form, sublingually from a tincture of CBD oil, topically though a cream, or inhalation.


Edibles are foods or candies made with a CBD-containing ingredient, generally a CBD oil. These are popular with users who don’t like the taste of CBD oil in tinctures or don’t like swallowing a capsule or tablet.

Endocannabinoid System:

Present in humans and other mammals, this is a communication system in the brain that regulates cognitive and psychological processes. CBD interacts and impacts the endocannabinoid system once it has entered the body.


Approved in 2018, Epidiolex is the first, and currently only, drug that contains CBD that is certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Epidiolex is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Extraction Method:

Extraction method refers to the method in which the CBD and other elements are extracted from the plant. Currently the most advanced and widely used is CO2 extraction which uses pressurized carbon dioxide. The second most common uses a solvent such as ethanol, butane, propane, or isopropyl for extraction. The oldest known method uses olive oil to extract.


Flavonoids are plant compounds that are abundant, biologically active, and water-soluble. They are a class of secondary metabolites that include pigments which give plants a variety of colors as well as contributing to a variety of functions within the plant such as UV filtration and nitrogen fixation. They can also act as chemical messengers, and physiological regulators.

For humans, flavonoids are important antioxidants and are reported to have a variety of benefits such as reduction of free radicals, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic effects.

Full-Spectrum Oil:

A full-spectrum CBD oil is an extract that has not been purified, isolated, or refined in any way which would remove the other naturally occurring elements of the hemp plant, such as terpenes, lipids, waxes, or other cannabinoids.


Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant which is grown for industrial purposes and contains extremely low concentrations of THC (less than 0.3 percent), as defined by the Agricultural Act of 2018. Hemp does, however, contain high quantities of CBD, making it a common source for CBD products.

Hemp Farming Act of 2018:

This act changed the legal status of growing industrial hemp plants in the U.S. Under this act, growing and harvesting hemp for CBD extraction is legal so long as the final CBD oil contains 0.3 percent or less THC.

Hemp Oil:

The term hemp oil most commonly refers to oil made from the seeds of the hemp plant, it can also be called hemp seed oil. While hemp oil does contain trace amounts of CBD, it is only present in extremely low concentrations making it an unreliable source of CBD.


Marijuana is any plant in the cannabis family defined by its THC content being higher than 0.3 percent by dry weight, as opposed to hemp which contains a lower percentage of THC. Marijuana includes two types of plants: cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.

Medical Marijiana:

Using cannabis or cannabis products in an attempt to treat a medical condition. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is prescribed by physicians to patients.


Microdosing CBD refers to taking a smaller and more frequent doses of CBD rather than a larger dose one or two times per day. The reasoning behind this is an individual may experience the benefits of CBD for extended periods by administering it throughout the day rather than taking the daily dosage all at once.

This method may be more beneficial for some and not for others. Microdosing is often recommended for those using CBD for pain relief or reduction of inflammation since it maintains stable CBD levels throughout the day.


Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by plants. They are produced by glandular trichomes on the surface of the cannabis plant. Of the more than 100 cannabinoids produced by the plant. The most well-known and studied phytocannabinoids are CBD and THC.

Recreational Marijuana:

Recreational marijuana, as opposed to medical marijuana, refers to the legal classification for sale, possession, and production of marijuana as well as it’s intended use. States with legalized recreational marijuana allow for sale and consumption of marijuana to any consumer of legal age from a marijuana dispensary for use without any special approval or prescription.

The particular details of the law varies by state as well as federally.

Sublingual Administration:

Sublingual administration is absorbing a product, generally a tincture, spray, solution, or a small pill, by placing it under the tongue, allowing it to dissolve and soak into the bloodstream through the tissues of the mouth. Sublingual products are not meant to be swallowed, but dissolved into the tissues and blood vessels under the tongue.

This is a faster method of medicating than ingesting a product. Sublingual administration avoids the digestive system and liver from processing it, potentially reducing the product’s effectiveness.


Terpenes are natural, organic compounds present in a wide variety of plants and are responsible for taste and scent.


THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. THC is responsible for producing the “high” sensation or mind alteration effect of marijuana consumption.

Third-Party Testing:

Third-party Testing refers to using an independent company or organization to review the manufacturing process and test the products for quality, safety, and potency. Third-party testing delivers the certificate of analysis (COA).


Tinctures are most commonly a mixture of alcohol and water which is used to naturally extract CBD oil, although other methods can be used, such as glycerin, vinegar, or oils. Other ingredients may then be added to a tincture to create a more distinctive product such as essential oils for flavoring.

Topical CBD:

Topical CBD products are applied directly to the skin, generally in the form of creams, ointments, or oils. When applied to the skin, CBD soaks in through the pores and acts upon the endocannabinoid system in the skin. This allows the product to be used locally instead of systemwide in the case of an ingestible CBD product, for example. Users report topical products contains benefits like reduction of inflammation, joint pain, skin disorders, and arthritis.

Whole Plant:

Whole plant refers to CBD products that process the entire plant and retain not just the CBD as in an isolate, but all of the other elements that naturally occur in the plant. This includes terpenes, other secondary cannabinoids, and fatty acids.

Many CBD users prefer whole-plant process since other elements of the plant play a role in the effectiveness and natural balance of the end product. Whole plant extraction will contain some level of THC, but legally must be below the 0.3 percent federally allowable limit.


Winterization is a refinement process of taking ‘raw’ hemp oil once extracted, adding an alcohol to it, then freezing it. This process separates any phytonutrients, chlorophyll, waxes and fats as well as most terpenes from the oil leaving a more purified CBD product.

Additional Resources