Beginner’s Guide to CBD Oil

More people than ever before are shifting their opinions about cannabis. All thanks to a simple cannabinoid known as CBD.

CBD oil was a game changer for the legalization movement, and something anybody interested in marijuana should know about.

It’s something that’s been on everyone’s tongues lately, from A-list celebrities to health-conscious consumers.

Here, we provide you with a comprehensive resource so that you can quickly become an expert on how CBD oil works, and how to use it to your advantage.

Whether you’ve never tried CBD, tried it once or twice, or are a regular consumer, our CBD oil guide has the information you need to sound like an expert.

Let’s begin, shall we?

CBD Oil Guide: The Essentials

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a completely non-psychoactive, naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. Its popularity has been rising steadily in recent years for it claimed benefits.

CBD oil is extracted from hemp and marijuana plants. Both belong to the cannabis family (Cannabaceae).

It’s been shown numerous times to boost the endocannabinoid system, a naturally occurring system in the body that uses cannabinoids produced by the body itself (such as anandamide).

The well-deserved popularity of CBD has given rise to an abundance of CBD goods available on the market.

This is because CBD oil is easy to use and has a high “bioavailability”.

Having a high bioavailability means it can enter the body efficiently, allowing smaller doses to remain effective.

Because CBD comes from both hemp and marijuana, it’s obvious that you may have some concerns about using CBD oil.

Don’t worry, we explain everything below. Before we head over to the meat of the article, it’s time for a short history lesson.

The History of CBD Oil

Cannabis is one of the earliest – if not the earliest – agricultural crops.

The first records of cannabis use date back 10,000 years.

Since then, the cannabis plant has been grown for food and textiles in many different cultures.

Traditionally, people used hemp fibers for making ropes and fabrics, the seeds for nutrition, and the flowers and resin for medicine.

From chronic pain to skin infections, cannabis was a well-respected medicine among some of the greatest civilizations of the past.

As humans began to understand that different varieties of cannabis serve different purposes, they started cultivating both hemp and marijuana.

Hemp plants tend to grow tall, thin, and ‘fluffy’. Marijuana plants are short, bulky, and full of resinous aromatic flowers.

In 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen-Nung used hemp oil topically for rashes and irritated skin.

In African countries, such as Egypt, pregnant women were given cannabis before childbirth to help ease the pain.

When hemp arrived in Europe, it was used to make clothes, ropes, and even building materials.

Queen Victoria’s doctor, J.R. Reynolds, prescribed her a CBD-rich strain of marijuana to make her menstrual cramps more manageable.

Historical reports on the use of hemp and cannabis in Europe between the medieval age and the industrial revolution mention cannabis as a substantial agent in the treatment of rheumatism, rabies, epilepsy, and tetanus.

At the beginning of the 20th century, particularly in the United States, marijuana plants were bred to contain rich concentrations of THC to make them more potent and psychoactive.

This thriving cannabis culture all came crashing down in the 1930’s with the start of the marijuana prohibition.

In the 1980’s, following the War on Drugs, President Reagan’s administration invested millions of dollars in studies that were aimed to prove that marijuana caused brain damage and cognitive impairment.

Not only did those studies fail to achieve the prejudiced politicians’ goals, it also led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in humans.

Today, researchers are rubbing their hands together to go all-in with the studies on CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. They want to understand how it works, and what its limitations are.

There’s big money in that…

The CBD market alone is estimated to hit $2.1 billion by 2020 with $450 million of that generated by the hemp industry alone.

CBD Oil and the Endocannabinoid System

Although research on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is still in its infancy, we’ve made huge progress in our understanding of CBD and the ECS.

Below, we shed some light on the endocannabinoid system and its relationship with cannabidiol.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System and How Does It Function?

Simply put, the endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors and neurotransmitters that are spread throughout the entire body. The largest concentration is in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system.

In order to better understand how the endocannabinoid system works, let’s use the “key-and-lock” metaphor.

The endocannabinoid system consists of two sets of receptors – CB1 and CB2. These are your locks. Cannabinoids can be used to activate the lock and produce an array of physical and psychological effects [1].

Interestingly, your body produces its own cannabinoids; these are called 2-AG and anandamide.

Whenever the endocannabinoid system goes out of whack, more of these cannabinoids are released to bring the body back towards homeostasis (balance).

The endocannabinoid system has been found to be involved in the following biological functions:

  • Stress management
  • Body temperature control
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Mood and social behavior
  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Metabolic rate
  • Reproductive function
  • Inflammation
  • Immune response
  • Pain perception
  • Memory and learning
  • Neuroprotection
  • Insulin and blood sugar regulation

How CBD Oil Affects Your Endocannabinoid System

The majority of cannabinoids, such as THC, interact with the endocannabinoid system by finding directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors.

This is how you get high from THC; its molecular structure allows it to bind to these receptors like a glove. Once THC reaches the receptor, it sends a chemical message, which can be interpreted as: “Hey, you there! You’re about to get high in a couple of seconds!”

It does this by forcing a change in the homeostatic mechanisms CB1 receptors control in the brain and spinal cord. This causes changes in special regions of your brain like the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex [7], producing what we experience as a marijuana high”.

CBD, however, is a completely different story.

This cannabinoid has another way of working with the endocannabinoid system.

Instead of relying on binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it slows down the breakdown of anandamide by competitively inhibiting the enzyme responsible known as FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) [3].

This means CBD fights for a spot to get broken down by the same enzyme, thereby reducing the amount of anandamide that gets broken down instead.

Let’s use shopping as a metaphor for this concept.

You find the item you want and you head up to pay at the counter. Normally it would only take 30 seconds to go through and pay for your item, but all of a sudden 20 more customers come in, also wanting to pay for their item. Instead of getting the full attention of the cashier, you have to wait in line for some other people to go through first.

CBD, like THC, does bind to the CB2 receptors but lacks the ability to bind to the CB1 receptors, which is what causes most of the psychoactive effects [5].

At this point, you’re probably wondering how to distinguish CBD oil from other products. So, let me put an end to your confusion.

What Does CBD Oil Look Like?

CBD oil typically comes in the form of a liquid tincture.

They’re designed for sublingual (under the tongue) consumption, or orally by swallowing the liquid.

It’s made by mixing the CBD extract with a food-grade oil such as MCT oil.

A carrier oil like MCT oil is required because CBD is fat-soluble. This means that it dissolves in fat instead of water, and allows the body to store it in fat tissues.

Consuming CBD along with fat increases the bioavailability of CBD oil.

Using CBD Oil

CBD tinctures are extremely easy to use.

All you have to do is place a few drops under your tongue, wait 30-60 seconds, and swallow– simple as that.

Additionally, you can add the drops to juice or tea and drink as normal.

The effects should be noticeable within several minutes after ingestion.

Determining High-Quality From Poor Quality CBD

It’s important to know how to tell the difference between high-quality CBD oil and poor-quality CBD oil.

A decent CBD oil usually comes in an amber-gold or pale-yellow color, with clear consistency and free of any plant material.

Whenever you come across a CBD product that falls short of these requirements, its an instant red flag. No CBD oil should have chunks, foul smells, or thick black colors.

CBD Oil Extraction: How It’s Done

The process behind extracting CBD oil from the plant is a lot like other plant extractions.

As mentioned, CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp varieties of the cannabis plants. Many companies source their Cannabidiol from industrial hemp plants to avoid legal issues from using THC-rich marijuana strains.

We can distinguish two common methods of CBD oil extraction:

1. Alcohol Extraction

Anything that’s soluble in fat is also soluble in alcohol. This means that we can efficiently pull CBD and cannabis terpenes out of the plant using simple drinking alcohol (ethyl alcohol).

This is a useful method of extracting CBD but is considered lower quality to supercritical CO2 extraction.

2. Supercritical CO2 extraction

Most self-respecting companies utilize supercritical CO2 extraction to produce CBD oil.

CO2 extraction involves filtering the gas through a number of temperature-controlled chambers under high pressure to create a special supercritical phase. While in this phase, CO2 behaves like both a gas AND a liquid. It also gives it extremely efficient solvent properties that essentially strip the chemicals out of the cannabis material.

Once the extraction is over, chemists use a special method called chromatography to get rid of any plant residue from the final products.

Sometimes, manufacturers will also extract terpenes and other chemical compounds to make “full-spectrum” CBD oil.

The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana CBD Oil

A CBD oil guide wouldn’t be complete without highlighting the differences between hemp and marijuana CBD Oil

After all, one of the most popular questions among beginners is whether the source of the Cannabidiol makes a difference when it comes to its effect.

The short answer is “No.”

If you’re looking for a longer, more specific answer, we need to dig deeper into the cannabinoid and terpene content of marijuana- and hemp-derived CBD oil.

Hemp-derived CBD

Hemp is grown specifically to be rich in CBD and contain only trace amounts of THC (usually below 0.2 or 0.3%). Since cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD allows you to experience an array of benefits offered by cannabis without making you feel high.

Marijuana-derived CBD

In most countries, marijuana is still illegal. The possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana can still get you prosecuted in some parts of the world like The Philippines or Malaysia.

Currently, you can buy marijuana-derived CBD oil in 9 US states for recreational use and in 31 states for medical use.

Some varieties of marijuana are specifically bred to elevate CBD content. We often measure the ratio between THC and CBD to give an idea of its effects and best uses. You can find marijuana strains with a 2:1 or even 1:1 THC to CBD ratio.

To cut the long story short, CBD is the same no matter the source. The effects of CBD oil, which depend on the whole cannabinoid content, can vary between hemp and marijuana-derived CBD – and so does the law.

What’s more crucial, is to select a product that’s sourced from pesticide-free plants because the harmful pesticide residues can make their way into the final product.

When choosing CBD oil, also make sure your supplier provides third-party lab test results with each batch of its products.

CBD Oil Guide: Dosage Instructions

If you’re looking for raw numbers, you’ve come to the wrong place.


Because there is no optimal CBD dosage that would suit everyone. CBD affects everyone differently.

For now, let’s focus on figuring out the potency of your CBD oil.

CBD tinctures usually come with a dropper. One full dropper contains around 1 mL of oil, which equals 20 drops. I recommend you count the first on, however, as they can vary between manufacturers slightly.

So, for example, if you have a 250 mg tincture in a 30mL (1 ounce) bottle, we calculate that 1 mL will contain about 8 mg CBD.

An ounce (30mL) of a 500 mg bottle, in turn, has approximately 16.6 mg of CBD per 1 mL, and a 1000 mg tincture comes with somewhere around 33 mg of CBD in 1 mL.

Based on these facts, you can estimate the amount of CBD by using the number of drops and CBD per mL.

Why Does CBD Affect Everyone Differently?

CBD dosage is going to be different between individuals. This has to do with several factors that impact the way CBD affects your body, including:

  • Genetic Predispositions
  • Gender
  • Biochemistry
  • Overall Health
  • Tolerance
  • Metabolism

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs. CBD Isolate: Which One Should I Choose?

When scrolling through a selection of CBD goods online, you may notice that some products are labeled as “99% pure CBD” or “CBD Isolate”. Others are listed as “full spectrum CBD extract”.

What’s the difference?

Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between these products and which one will work better for you.

1. Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

Simply put, full-spectrum CBD oil is the same concentrations of cannabinoids found in the original plant.

There are over 113 other cannabinoids in hemp and marijuana, plus the trichomes and buds on the cannabis flowers contain a range of terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals.

Here’s a list of additional compounds available in full-spectrum CBD extracts:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins E, A, and C,
  • Zinc and phosphorus
  • Iron and calcium
  • Magnesium and potassium

Studies have found that full-spectrum CBD oil is more effective than CBD isolate, which scientists described as “the entourage effect” [6].

The concept of the entourage effect is based on the theory that the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds of the source plant can amplify each other’s effects.

2. CBD Isolate

A CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids, no terpenes, flavonoids, and extra compounds – just Cannabidiol.

Since CBD isolate is missing so many desirable ingredients, you may be thinking “it must be inferior to full-spectrum CBD extracts”.

In many cases, you would be correct, however, there are many people out there who actually prefer CBD isolates over full-spectrum extracts.

Here are 4 reasons why people may prefer a CBD isolate:

  • Isolates contain higher amounts of CBD per dose
  • A CBD isolate is completely THC-free (full-spectrum extracts contain < .03%)
  • You can precisely control the concentration of CBD in isolates
  • They are taste and odor-free; you can add CBD isolate to an edible product and use the benefits of Cannabidiol without feeling the distinct earthy taste of CBD oil.

Where to Buy CBD Oil

There are three places where you can buy CBD oil.

1. Online

You can buy CBD oil online, which we strongly recommend.

Buying online is easy, safe, and convenient; all it takes is a few clicks of a mouse and your products will be shipped to you within 1-3 business days on the average.

Besides, it’s easier to make a background check on your potential CBD oil supplier so that you can verify if the company can be trusted or not.

Those who need CBD oil in bulk can count on decent wholesale deals, too.

2. Local Dispensaries

If buying CBD online is not an option, you can try to get your bottle of CBD oil locally. CBD products are sold in dispensaries, which are government regulated retail stores.

Dispensaries allow users to buy CBD in person. If your state’s legislature doesn’t allow cannabis for recreational use, you’re going to need a medical cannabis card or, at least, a doctor’s recommendation.

3. Head Shops

For hemp-derived CBD goods, you can visit one of your local head shops or specialty retail stores like apothecaries or wellness centers. Similar to dispensaries, these types of stores provide CBD users with a wide range of hemp products and accessories.

One major drawback to be aware of when buying from head shops is that they aren’t regulated. This means the owner can actually sell anything he/she considers “high-quality”, even if it’s not.

As a result, there are many stores that sell oils and other supplements which contain no CBD at all, just to take advantage of the rapidly growing market.

Bottom Line

CBD oil is a versatile supplement that many people are incorporating into their lifestyle to enhance the quality of their lives.

CBD (and cannabis in general) have a long record of historical use, tracing back thousands of years.

It’s important to keep in mind CBD is not an officially approved drug; it’s classified as a dietary supplement. Therefore, if you suffer from a chronic health condition or are taking medications, discuss your intentions with a medical professional before adding CBD oil to your diet. CBD may interact with your medications.

If you’ve benefited from CBD by any means, we encourage you to share your story in the comment section below.

Let’s raise the awareness about Cannabidiol and what it can do for people!


  1. 1. Pacher, P., & Kunos, G. (2013). Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease–successes and failures. The FEBS journal, 280(9), 1918-1943. View source.
  2. Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical neurology international, 9. View source.
  3. Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., … & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry, 2(3), e94. View source.
  4. Consroe, P., Benedito, M. A., Leite, J. R., Carlini, E. A., & Mechoulam, R. (1982). Effects of cannabidiol on behavioral seizures caused by convulsant drugs or current in mice. European journal of pharmacology, 83(3-4), 293-298. View source.
  5. Ignatowska-Jankowska, B., Jankowski, M. M., & Swiergiel, A. H. (2011). Cannabidiol decreases body weight gain in rats: involvement of CB2 receptors. Neuroscience letters, 490(1), 82-84. View source.
  6. Ben-Shabat, S., Fride, E., Sheskin, T., Tamiri, T., Rhee, M. H., Vogel, Z., … & Mechoulam, R. (1998). An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity. European journal of pharmacology, 353(1), 23-31. View source.
  7. Katona, I., Sperlágh, B., Sı́k, A., Käfalvi, A., Vizi, E. S., Mackie, K., & Freund, T. F. (1999). Presynaptically located CB1 cannabinoid receptors regulate GABA release from axon terminals of specific hippocampal interneurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 19(11), 4544-4558. View source.


6 replies on “Beginner’s Guide to CBD Oil

    • Rstaff

      Hi Matthew!

      None of the hemp oil products on Amazon contain CBD as Amazon doesn’t allow such products to be listed.

      All of our CBD oil products, including both the 250mg and 500mg strengths, are full spectrum.

      Hope that helps!

  • Higher Olive

    This is a wonderful, informative post! I have often been questioned about whether hemp products I use such as hemp seed oil and hemp milk are safe and how they relate to the marijuana plant. I never knew the answer to these questions except to say that they are a different part of the plant that doesn’t contain THC. Now I truly understand the difference! Thank you

  • Mindy Jollie

    I had no idea that there are so many different cannabinoids, or that CBD extracts contain omega-3 fatty acids. My friend has been considering using cannabis to help ease her anxiety. I’ll have to make sure she finds a good store that can guide her to the right variety for her anxiety.

  • Sandra Patterson

    You make a good point that when buying CBD oil online, it is a bit easier to do a background check on the seller. My sister has been thinking about getting CBD oil to help her with the skin problems she has been having recently. I wonder if that will really help, but I don’t see why she shouldn’t try it!

  • Amy Anderson

    Wow! Thank you. That was super helpful and informative.
    I’m a firm believer in the power of diet and lifestyle practices to keep us healthy and even manage serious health challenges. But, sometimes we need a little extra help—and there’s nothing wrong with that. The promise that CBD oil shows to bring relief and answers fills me with so much hope, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for my knee pain.


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