What is CBD All About? The Beginner’s Guide to Cannabidiol

If you are living with a chronic condition, such as anxiety, depression, or pain, chances are someone has suggested that you try CBD. After all, it’s natural and doesn’t come with the side effects associated with pharmaceuticals, right?

As the various states in the USA have begun to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use, there has been a surge of CBD products to the market. However, despite the attention it has garnered, there is still a lot of confusion around CBD- what it is, what it treats, how to take it, and whether or not it’s even really legal.

If you are a beginner who is just getting into the world of CBD and you’re not sure where to start, this guide is for you. We have created this guide to try to answer some of your questions regarding CBD and to clear up some misconceptions about it. Hopefully this can help you decide whether CBD is an option for you.

What is CBD?

The very first thing we need to do is explain what exactly CBD is.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the 100+ active chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant. Another active compound, tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, is the one that most people know because of its psychoactive properties. It is what gives you that “high” sensation.

CBD is non-psychoactive, but it still has many of the same medical benefits as THC, which allows you to benefit from the therapeutic properties without leaving you feeling “stoned”, which is the feeling that is commonly associated with THC.

That being said, there is some belief that marijuana sourced CBD products, that is CBD products that contain THC, may be more effective than those that don’t. However, if you live in a state that has not legalized medical marijuana or you can’t get these strains, you may still get some benefit from products made with industrial hemp-sourced CBD.

Before you jump into using CBD products, make sure that you take the time to check your state laws regarding CBD.

Types of CBD

When you start looking at CBD products, there are three basic types that you will encounter. They are:

  • Full Spectrum
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Isolate

It is important that you understand all three, so we will explore each of them below.

Full Spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is exactly what it sounds like- it contains the full spectrum of the extracts from the cannabis plant, including:

  • CBD
  • Flavonoids
  • Essential Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Other cannabinoids, such as CBC, CBN, CBG, etc

Legally, a product can be labeled as CBD and still contain up to 0.3% THC. If the concentration is higher, it must be labeled as a cannabis product. Cannabis and CBD are not the same thing. Cannabis products have a psychoactive effect, but CBD products, even with trace amounts of THC do not.

Broad Spectrum

Broad spectrum CBD is a lot like full spectrum, except it does not contain THC. This type of CBD is processed a step further to remove the THC. That being said, while most of them are 100% THC-free, some may contain up to 0.1% THC.


The third type of CBD is isolate. This is considered “pure” because it is extracted from the plant through a process that leaves everything else behind. Since the isolate is pure CBD, you can be sure that you are getting a product that is 0% THC.

What is CBD used to Treat?

As we mentioned, there are several conditions that CBD is being used to treat. Now that we’ve explained more about what CBD is and the three basic types, we’ll look into some of the most common uses for CBD. This will help you understand why it has become so popular.

Anxiety Relief

According to the experts, approximately 40 million Americans have anxiety or will have anxiety at some point in their lives. Most of them will be prescribed pharmaceuticals from their physicians to keep their symptoms under control. However, in recent years, there has been a push away from these synthetic medications as more people look for a natural way to treat their anxiety. One of those alternatives is CBD, as there are many studies that support the use of CBD to treat general anxiety, as well as several other conditions, including:

  • OCD
  • Social anxiety
  • PTSD

While many patients have experienced relief from their anxiety symptoms, others have experienced worsening of their symptoms. Therefore, more research is needed to confirm whether or not it is beneficial for those with anxiety.


If you deal with insomnia, that is difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, CBD may be helpful. Some research indicates that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is responsible for regulating a variety of bodily functions- including sleep patterns. If you take prescription or even OTC medications to treat your insomnia, you are at risk of becoming dependent. However, with CBD, there is no risk of dependency and you’re not likely to feel overly sleepy the next morning.

Pain Relief

Some research indicates that CBD relieves pain, especially chronic pain associated with various conditions, including:

Pain relief is one of the main reasons that people are trying CBD products. Typically, prescription and OTC pain relievers come with some unwanted side effects. That being said, experts say that there are few to no side effects associated with CBD. The worst that may happen is drowsiness or dry mouth.

Skin Conditions

Patients who have skin conditions, including eczema, acne, and others may experience relief with CBD products. Topicals can be used as part of your skincare routine or you can use them to target breakouts. It is also important to note that if you enjoy getting tattoos, you can use CBD topicals to help with the healing process.


According to the experts, CBD is not habit-forming. Therefore, you are not likely to become dependent on it. However, if you do have an addiction to harmful substances, such as heroin, CBD may help. In one study of heroin addicts, CBD reduced cravings and helped mitigate the symptoms of anxiety and depression in those who were recovering from addiction, which is one of the most common reasons for relapse.

Ways to Take CBD

When you start shopping for CBD products, you’ll find that there’s a wide variety to choose from. This allows people to tailor their use based on their needs. Below, we’ll look at the most common CBD products you might encounter.


These liquids, typically oils, are infused with CBD and placed under your tongue with a dropper. The mucosa in your mouth is packed with capillaries that quickly absorb the CBD, getting it to your bloodstream almost immediately.

Oils/tinctures are a great option for those who are unable to take pills or capsules and want something that will work quickly.


Topicals, that is CBD-infused creams/lotions are used in the treatment of muscle and/or joint pain. In addition, they are beneficial for treating some skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema.


CBD capsules/pills are used in the treatment of seizure disorders and digestive problems. Recently, the FDA has approved Epidiolex for treating seizure disorders. This is the first high-potency CBD drug on the market.

There is one disadvantage to capsules/pills. They take a bit longer to take effect.


Edibles are a common way to take CBD. Many people like gummies because they are yummy, discrete, and affordable. Plus, you don’t have to guess at the dosage you are getting. Each gummy contains a set amount of CBD.


The last CBD product we’ll look at is vaping. Inhaling vaporized CBD is the quickest way to experience the effects. It’s inhaled and absorbed into your bloodstream from your lungs. However, at this time it is still unclear whether or not vaping damages lung tissue- so if you choose to vape CBD, exercise caution.

What is the Proper Dosage of CBD?

Last but not least, we’ll look at the proper dosage. As a beginner, it’s best if you start out with a low dosage and slowly increase it- if necessary. Also, keep in mind that there may be variations in CBD content between the various products. Therefore, when you are starting a new package or switching products, be cautious.

Again, it’s important to start low until you know how your body is going to react. In clinical studies, there has not been a specific dosage determined- varying dosages have been used. Therefore, more research is required to determine the safest and most effective dosages for the various uses.

Each product will have a recommended dosage- so follow that, unless your physician has instructed you otherwise. If you have certain medical conditions, such as liver problems, you may need to use lower dosages to avoid serious, detrimental side effects.

Things to Keep in Mind about Dosing

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering CBD dosing:

If you’re using CBD for seizures, discuss the best product/dose for your condition with your physician.

Many of the oils on the market contain 1 milligram per drop- so it’s easy to increase dosages. However, make sure that you read the labels closely so that you are aware of what each drop contains.

Dosages in edibles, especially gummies, is also pretty straightforward. Most of the time one gummy contains 5 milligrams. However, check the label to verify this before you change your dose.

If you are using topicals, start out sparingly and increase as needed.

Vaping can be tricky because dosage depends not only on the concentration of the liquid, but the amount that you inhale.

ALSO READ:Best CBD Oil: Rating the Top-Rated CBD Oils to Buy in 2022

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