CBD is all the rage now and there’s a LOT of information (and misinformation) out there. My goal is to give you a helpful user guide. So, what is CBD?
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a constituent of both the hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same family, cannabis. These constituent parts of cannabis plants are called cannabinoids. CBD is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in hemp plants, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. 
The main difference between the two is that hemp contains very small amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning hemp CBD products don’t make you high. Marijuana contains higher amounts of THC, which means it does make you high. It’s similar to breeding dogs and cats; hemp plants are cultivated to produce less THC while marijuana plants are cultivated to produce more.
So, if there’s THC in hemp, are CBD products legal?
Is CBD Legal?
First of all, note that CBD is NOT medical marijuana. CBD products are currently legal on the federal level. The 2018 Farm Bill took CBD products out from under the Controlled Substances Act and put them in the category of plant products, where they logically belong. You don’t need an Rx for it.
States and municipalities around the country are, to varying degrees, in the process of complying with the 2018 Farm Bill. Check with local authorities for the specifics in your area.
In the U.S., CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are fully legal. Any cannabis plant with over 0.3% THC is illegal at the federal level. The government has determined that this is the level below which it will NOT impair your mental capabilities and is non-psychoactive. CBD products with less than 0.3% THC will NOT impair your ability to drive, work, or perform everyday tasks.
Cannabis products that contain more than 0.3% THC are a Schedule I substance and are therefore illegal in the U.S. CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC can be freely sold just like any other plant product. Anything with THC levels of 0.3% and higher is subject to state laws regarding medical and recreational marijuana. 
What About Drug Testing?
NOTE: Studies have shown that ingesting full spectrum CBD products with up to 0.3% THC by dry weight (the federal legal limit) can cause confirmed positive results when screening urine and blood specimens.
If you’re subject to any form of employment drug testing or screening, I recommend that you DO NOT use full-spectrum CBD products before consulting with your healthcare practitioner, drug screening/testing company, or employer. You might want to try THC-free CBD products (not as effective as full-spectrum CBD, but better than no CBD). Because of the changes that came about with the 2018 Farm Bill, I expect that drug screening procedures will change over time.
Full-Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Isolates
Full-spectrum CBD Oil has not only CBD but also other Cannabinoids like CBC, CBN, CBG, and THC. The amount of THC is less than .3%. However, even at .3%, the THC will build up in your body over time.
Broad Spectrum CBD is Full-Spectrum CBD with the THC removed. A CBD isolate contains only CBD with no other cannabinoids. An isolate is much less effective than the whole plant because all the parts work together to create what is referred to as an “entourage” effect, meaning they work better together than separately.
History of Cannabis Hemp
Cannabis hemp is the world’s oldest domesticated crop. It’s been used for at least 4,700 years to relieve everything from pain to bad moods. The Chinese have been using hemp since at least 2737 BC when Emperor Shen Nung wrote that it relieved his pain and digestive issues. Anthropologists found cannabis pollen in the tomb of Ramses II, who died in 1213 BC. In India, the plant is considered sacred and has been used in rituals, spiritual ceremonies, and health practices since 1400 BC. It was introduced to North America in 1606 and was considered a staple crop by the 1700s.
In 1619, America’s first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia, “ordering” all farmers to “make tryal of” (grow) Indian hemp seed. More mandatory (must-grow) hemp cultivation laws were enacted in Massachusetts in 1631, in Connecticut in 1632, and in the Chesapeake Colonies into the mid-1700s.
Even in England, the much-sought-after prize of full British citizenship was bestowed by a decree of the crown on foreigners who would grow cannabis, and fines were often levied against those who refused.
Cannabis hemp was legal tender (money) in most of the Americas from 1631 until the early 1800s. Why? To encourage American farmers to grow more.
You could pay your taxes with cannabis hemp throughout America for over 200 years. You could even be jailed in America for not growing cannabis during several periods of shortage, e.g., in Virginia between 1763 and 1767. [Herndon, G.M., Hemp in Colonial Virginia, 1963; The Chesapeake Colonies, 1954; L.A.Times, August 12, 1981; et al.]
From 1842 through the 1890s, very potent cannabis and hashish extracts were the second and third most consumed medicines in America. The U.S. Pharmacopoeia listed cannabis as the primary medicine for more than 100 different illnesses or diseases until 1937.
Cannabis was America’s number one analgesic for 60 years before the rediscovery of aspirin around 1900. From 1842 to 1900, cannabis made up half of all medicine sold.
Cannabis extracts were produced as medicine in America by Squibb, Parke-Davis, Eli Lilly, Smith Brothers, and others, without a single documented fatality.
CBD was also part of the human food chain. Until 1937, dairy cows ate feral hemp, which was rich in CBD; the CBDs passed to humans through the cow’s milk. Pigs, chickens, and other livestock were also fed hemp and the CBDs were in their meats and eggs. Now, these animals are mostly fed GMO grains.
How CBD Works
For those who like the scientific details, Martin A. Lee (author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, a lecturer at universities such as Harvard and Columbia, and the founder of ProjectCBD, the world’s biggest authority on the many benefits of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids), says that CBD:
- Helps keep anandamide (a natural cannabinoid the body makes, called the “bliss” molecule) in your system longer, making you feel less anxious and depressed, and relieving pain.
- Activates 5-HT1A receptors, which help you secrete more “feel good” hormones, like endorphin, serotonin, and oxytocin.
- Blocks GPR55 signaling, which might slow down the growth and migration of certain cancers. 
Simply put, CBD works in the body at a system level, not a symptom level. CBD helps the body go into and stay in homeostasis, which is a state of equilibrium in which nothing is out of balance. In this state, the body will heal itself as God designed.
The human body has a little-known system called the endocannabinoid system (discovered in 1992 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University of Jerusalem). CBD and other cannabinoids bind themselves to the endocannabinoid receptors on many cells in the body, which then sends a message into the nucleus of the cell that causes inflammation to be reduced in our central nervous system and throughout our immune system. This restores homeostasis to the whole body.
There are more receptors in the body for cannabinoids than any other kind of receptor. This indicates the importance of CBD and other cannabinoids to the human body, which is good news for everyone in America because we are inflamed from environmental toxins (glyphosate, heavy metals), chronic biological infections (bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds), and an inflammatory diet that causes leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disorder. When our bodies are out of balance, disease starts.
Regarding autoimmune disorder, CBD stimulates the CB2 receptor, which helps control your immune system, by enhancing the effects of the AG-2 endocannabinoid. By enhancing the AG-2 endocannabinoids, CBD helps the body stop sending out so many immune cells that cause the autoimmune attack. CBD also helps reduce sensitivity to pain, offering relief as it helps lessen inflammation.
What CBD Can Do for You
Here are some effects of CBD, according to clinical research:
- Reduces neuropathic pain 
- Relieves spasms and inflammation 
- Reduces seizure frequency in epilepsy patients 
- Relieves anxiety and insomnia caused by PTSD 
- Slows down the advancement of MS 
- Acts as an antipsychotic 
- Relieves anxiety [case study]
PubMed lists almost 25,000 studies (search “Cannabinoid”), including:
- 533 studies regarding nausea and vomiting
- 1,784 studies showing CBD suppresses pain
- 1,168 studies showing CBD improves brain function
- 295 studies showing CBD improves sleep
- 2,042 studies showing CBD fights cancers and tumors
- 1,368 studies showing CBD protects from inflammation
- 413 studies showing CBD helps with anxiety relief
- 802 studies showing CBD helps fight neurodegenerative disease
In 2011, Bergamaschi et al created a review of 132 CBD studies, analyzing both its effects and side effects. Here’s what the review concluded:
Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. [Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA; Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent; Current Drug Safety; September 2011; 6(4):237-49]
Lee says that CBD is proven to be a generally safe compound (much safer than its pharmaceutical equivalents) and that side effects of CBD have mostly been found in vitro or in animal studies. Studies done on humans did not show any side effects of CBD.
He says that negative interactions with pharmaceutical drugs usually happen when a CDB isolate is used instead of a full spectrum product. “We don’t see a problem with drug interactions once CBD in low doses is a part of the whole plant [full spectrum] remedy.”
If you take pharmaceutical drugs, talk to your doctor about any possible interactions with CBD products. CBD is considered a natural blood thinner.
More information on reactions with medications can be found here.
For those who are healthy, CBD will keep your body in balance so disease can’t start.
How to Use CBD
Most CBD products take effect in as little as 10-60 minutes, provided you get the amount right. CBD oil usually takes effect in 10-20 minutes because it’s applied under the tongue. How long before it takes effect and how much is needed varies by person and requires experimentation with different amounts at different times of the day.
New research suggests that repeated administration of CBD is needed to reduce neuropathic pain and related anxiety.  One-time acute treatment is likely insufficient.
Lee says there is no standard and that almost everything related to CDB usage is highly subjective; however, he does give the following suggestions:
In a 1000 mg bottle of CBD oil, there are 30 mg of CBD in each dropper full. (There are 20 drops in 1 ml and 30 ml in a 1 oz. bottle. Therefore, each drop contains approximately 1.66 mg of CBD.) CBD is well tolerated in humans up to 1500 mg per day , so anything less should not cause any problems.
The FDA says that only doctors can prescribe specific amounts of a drug or supplement, but the FDA also requires that labels contain dosage instructions. So, my best advice is to ignore what it says on the label. Start with 1-2 drops per day and note how you feel. Increase every few days until you feel sleepy. If you feel sleepy and it’s daytime, reduce your dose.
It’s worth repeating: how long before it takes effect and how much is needed varies by person and requires experimentation with different amounts at different times of the day.
Resistance to CBD
Unfortunately, there’s a mountain of misinformation about hemp. Big Pharma, the FDA, and health industry lobbyists are determined to make sure you are confused and afraid of CBD (even though the FDA has approved a synthetic cannabis drug), so you will continue to take their addictive, ineffective, and harmful pharmaceuticals. How did we go from a country that encouraged the growing of cannabis, to one that made it illegal?
CBS News has some valuable information on the subject. 
If you look for the roots of America’s ban on cannabis, you’ll find nearly all roads lead to a man named Harry Anslinger. He was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which laid the groundwork for the modern-day DEA, and the first architect of the war on drugs.
Anslinger was appointed in 1930, just as the prohibition of alcohol was beginning to crumble (it was finally repealed in 1933), and remained in power for 32 years. Early on, he was on record essentially saying cannabis use was no big deal. He called the idea that it made people mad or violent an “absurd fallacy.”
But when Anslinger was put in charge of the FBN, he changed his position entirely.
“From the moment he took charge of the bureau, Harry was aware of the weakness of his new position. A war on narcotics alone — cocaine and heroin, outlawed in 1914 — wasn’t enough,” author Johann Hari wrote in his book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.” “They were used only by a tiny minority, and you couldn’t keep an entire department alive on such small crumbs. He needed more.”
Consequently, Anslinger made it his mission to rid the U.S. of all drugs — including cannabis. His influence played a major role in the introduction and passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which outlawed possessing or selling pot.
Fueled by a handful of 1920s newspaper stories about crazed or violent episodes after marijuana use, Anslinger first claimed that the drug could cause psychosis and eventually insanity. In a radio address, he stated young people are “slaves to this narcotic, continuing addiction until they deteriorate mentally, become insane, turn to violent crime and murder.”
The problem was, there was little scientific evidence that supported Anslinger’s claims. He contacted 30 scientists, according to Hari, and 29 told him cannabis was not a dangerous drug. But it was the theory of the single expert who agreed with him that he presented to the public — cannabis was an evil that should be banned — and the press ran with this sensationalized version.
The second component of Anslinger’s strategy was racial. He claimed that black people and Latinos were the primary users of marijuana, and it made them forget their place in the fabric of American society. He even went so far as to argue that jazz musicians were creating “Satanic” music all thanks to the influence of pot. This obsession eventually led to a sort of witch hunt against the legendary singer Billie Holiday, who struggled with heroin addiction; she lost her license to perform in New York cabarets and continued to be dogged by law enforcement until her death.
The word “” itself was part of this approach. What was commonly known as cannabis until the early 1900s was instead called marihuana, a Spanish word more likely to be associated with Mexicans.
“He was able to do this because he was tapping into very deep anxieties in the culture that were not to do with drugs — and attaching them to this drug,” Hari said. Essentially, in 1930s America, it wasn’t hard to use racist rhetoric to associate the supposed harms of cannabis with minorities and immigrants.
So as the nationwide attitude towards cannabis began to fall in line with Anslinger’s, he testified before Congress in hearings for the Marijuana Tax Act. His testimony centered around the ideas he had been pushing all along — including a provocative letter from a local newspaper editor in Colorado, saying “I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigaret can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents.”
All these years later, many of the threads in Anslinger’s arguments are still present in the American conversation about legalizing marijuana. The act was passed in 1937, and the rest, they say, is history.
CBD with less than 0.3% THC is now legal in all 50 states. Cannabis with more than 0.3% THC is illegal on the federal level. 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana; medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. 
- The human body has a system to utilize CBD.
- CBD is known to have many benefits to humans.
- CBD was regularly grown and consumed in the U.S. until 1937.
- Health problems in the U.S. have skyrocketed since then.
Do you think there’s a connection?
How to Choose Quality CBD
Here are some suggestions for finding quality CBD.
- It’s best to go for a CBD product that’s from the United States. Avoid products being imported from Europe because hemp plants grown in Europe are not grown for CBD, they’re grown for fiber and for seed. Especially avoid products from China.
- Avoid product makers that claim they derived their product from the seed or the stem of the plant. You can’t get enough CBD from the seed or the fiber to be effective.
- Avoid products that contain additives. Anything added to a plant product will change its chemical structure, even if the thing being added is a good product on its own. You can’t be sure how that will affect your body.
- Buy from companies that grow organically from non-GMO hemp to avoid contamination with herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals. Hemp plants are known for absorbing virtually everything from the soil they grow in.
- Choose companies that use 3rd party independent lab testing.
- Choose a company that doesn’t use vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower, canola, etc.) as a carrier oil. These oils are unstable and can cause oxidation in the body.
- Look for products with a full (or broad) spectrum. Avoid isolates; don’t get just CBD alone, it should be part of a spectrum of plant extract. This is the only way to get the full benefits of CBD.
- Choose a product that contains no more than 0.3% THC. Unless, of course, you’re avoiding THC for drug screening purposes.
- Look for a product that is CO2 extracted, not heat or chemically extracted. CO2 extraction is a safe and very common method of extracting CBD from the hemp plant.
Where to Buy Quality CBD
Buying quality CBD is critical. I once tried a lesser quality CBD oil that made me very sick. Following the list above should lead you to a quality product.
Cannabidiol is one of those things that sounds too good to be true at first, but once you realize that its benefits are backed up by real medical research, you’ll see a whole new way of being in health opening up to you and your loved ones.
However, as Lee pointed out, you should always remember that CBD works best when combined with (less than 0.3%) THC and other cannabinoids (full spectrum), and you should always consult your doctor before adding CBD to your health regimen. 
Learn more about leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disorder in my new book, Be in Health: Bible-Based Health Restoration: Living in Harmony with God’s Ways Regarding Health. Available now.