What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.
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The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.
CBD additives come in many forms, but all fall into three major categories: CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, and CBD isolate. While “CBD oil” and “CBD-rich cannabis oil” may seem like two words for the same product, they differ significantly, mainly due to the fact that two distinct kinds of cannabis are used to make each.
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis varieties, including hemp, completely illegal, but the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp for fiber, while also legalizing the extraction of CBD from hemp if the hemp was grown in accordance with the law. This bill led to the rapid expansion of wholesale CBD products including oils, balms, creams, and gummies. Interstate commerce of these products lies in a legal gray area because CBD and cannabis extracts are still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, but the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has not enforced this regulation on businesses that sell CBD oil.
Making CBD oil
On a large scale, CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to carrier oil. Other minor cannabis components with some medical benefits, (such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV), are extracted alongside CBD. Terpenes, the components responsible for the smell of cannabis and other flowers and plants, are sometimes reintroduced to harness additional medical benefits. Because CBD oil contains other components, it may be referred to as broad-spectrum CBD oil, which reportedly has greater benefits than if CBD is taken on its own.