CBD is one of the hottest products on the planet right now. There have been many different studies into it and the results are very promising. For example, there is evidence to suggest that it can help reduce pain and inflammation and can also help to treat stress and anxiety.

The CBD industry is growing every year. It has the potential to be worth billions of dollars in the next few years. But the question still remains: what is CBD?

There is much to talk about in this fascinating subject. Here is a brief guide to explain what CBD is and 7 key terms everyone should know about it.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of the two most common compounds found within the marijuana plant. It is naturally produced and is used in products such as edibles and oils to provide a range of health benefits to the user.

The other common substance produced by the marijuana plant is THC. Unlike CBD, THC is responsible for giving users a high upon consumption. This means that you will not get high from taking CBD.

The human brain has specific receptors that accept CBD. These are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors and they are responsible for the assimilation of CBD molecules into the body.

Now, here are 7 key terms to expand your understanding of CBD

1. Cannabidiol

noun, kan-eh-buh-die-el

Cannabidiol is the official name of CBD. According to Marina Turea, writing for CBD Kyro, it comes from the marijuana plant and has been shown to have numerous positive health benefits, such as protecting the body from oxidative stress, reducing stress and anxiety and relieving pain and inflammation in sore areas.

However, it’s important to note that cannabidiol is not actually approved by the FDA, even though it was made legal at the federal level in the 2018 Farm Bill. The only exception to date is for using to treat a rare form of epilepsy.

While the results are promising, more research is needed before CBD can be approved to be used as a natural alternative to medicine. It’s readily available online and in stores across the country but just know that research into its effects is still ongoing.

2. Psychoactive

adj, sigh-ko-ak-tiv

This means that the product may get you high. While CBD itself does not have any psychoactive properties, THC does. Any product that contains more than 0.3% THC has the potential to get you high so be careful with how much you take.

3. Hemp

noun, hemp

This refers to a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant and the fibers it contains, which were originally used to make fabrics. Hemp is now bred with higher amounts of CBD and is legal in more states than marijuana. 

Interestingly though, CBD derived from industrialized hemp is identical to CBD derived from marijuana. Unless it contains THC, CBD is not psychoactive.

4. Terpenes

noun, tur-peens

These compounds give cannabis plants their flavor and aroma. Two common ones? “Limonene has an uplifting, citrus flavor, and myrcene is mind-relaxing and has a clove-y scent,” says Grant Rogers, a brand manager at Extract Labs, a hemp-derived CBD company based in Colorado. 

Think of it like the subtleties of wine, adds Sally Nichols, the president of Bloom Farms CBD, a California-based CBD company. Still, Lee urges consumers to take the mood-altering claims with a grain of salt. “The research we have with terpenes, and most of CBD, does not match the marketing claims,” says Lee, citing the lack of well-controlled studies.

5. Bioavailability

noun, by-oh-ah-vale-ah-bill-ah-tee

How fast CBD enters the bloodstream to take effect. Smoking and vaping are the most immediate because the CBD goes into your lungs. However, the effects will not last as long compared with other methods of taking CBD.

Holding a tincture under the tongue for absorption takes about 10 minutes. A soft gel capsule or gummy ingested orally can take up to several hours because it has to work through your digestive system; your response time can be lengthened by how much food you’ve eaten. 

6. Microdosing

noun, mike-row-dose-ing

Microdosing is the latest technique for consuming CBD oil, and has already gained tremendous traction with both CBD providers and users.

As illustrated by Daily CBD Mag, an example may help paint a more vivid picture of how CBD microdosing is practiced:

“Let’s assume that each morning you have been consuming 30 mg of CBD for your insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain or other condition.

With microdosing, you may break down your full day’s dosage of 30 mg into five individual 6 mg doses that you take in the morning, at lunchtime, in the middle of the afternoon, with supper, and right before you retire to bed.

Note that the eventual dose doesn’t actually change because you are still delivering 30 mg CBD into your body by the end of the day. The biggest difference can be seen in the effects you will feel.”

7. Certificate of Analysis (COA)

noun, sir-tiff-ik-et uf an-al-uh-suss

Any reputable CBD product should have one done by a third-party lab. Find the batch number on your product (usually on the bottom or side), and check the brand’s site for its COA report. Ensure the level of THC is under 0.3 percent. (Concentrations vary, but most readings hover between 0.05 and 0.11, well below 0.3 percent.) Heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials should also be included; look for “ND” (“not detected”).


CBD is not going anywhere any time soon for multiple reasons: the industry could be worth $22 billion in a few years and it has the potential to save lives.

As more and more studies look into its properties, the more we will know about how it can help a variety of illnesses and ailments. 

Until then, it’s always best to proceed with caution. Consult your doctor or medical professional if you have any questions about CBD. This is especially important for anyone taking existing medication as CBD could interact with it.

Photo by Kym MacKinnon