Beginner’s Manual: What is CBD?

What is CBD blog image

Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is everywhere. It’s a non-psychoactive compound found in parts of the cannabis plant infused into myriads of products—tinctures, toothpaste, creams, gummies, etc. 

As an in-demand compound in the health and wellness space, CBD amassed around 600 million users worldwide. However, despite its popularity, many still need to learn what CBD is. 

Dig into this article to get bite-sized yet in-depth CBD information. 

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • CBD is a cannabinoid used by over 600 million users in the world. 
  • CBD is categorized into full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. 
  • CBD’s consumption methods include sublingual, oral, topical, and inhalation. 
  • Today, many CBD products are sold in tinctures, creams, vape e-juices, beverages, gummies, smokables, and more. 
  • CBD’s effects are triggered once the molecules interact with the human endocannabinoid system
  • CBD was made federally legal after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Okay, What Is CBD? 

CBD is one of the 540 compounds found in Cannabis Sativa. As one of the most-studied cannabinoids, it quickly gained favor from customers seeking the compound’s benefits without the “high.” 

CBD is often represented as an “extract” made into several products for different consumption methods: 

  • Sublingual: Tinctures, drops, and oils. 
  • Oral: Edibles, gummies, and beverages. 
  • Inhalation: Vaping e-liquid, pre-rolls, etc. 
  • Topical: Creams, shampoos, toothpaste, etc. 

Most of the commercially available CBD products today are extracted from hemp (a type of cannabis plant with lesser THC concentration). CBD was removed from the controlled substance list following the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018.

Nonetheless, some states have unique protocols for selling and using CBD products within their jurisdiction. 

CBD extracts fall into three categories, which are: 

  • Full-spectrum 

A full-spectrum CBD extract not only contains CBD but all the other active compounds found in cannabis, like terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. 

THC or Delta 9, a controlled substance, may be included in the mix, but it needs to only be below 0.3%. 

  • Broad-spectrum 

A broad-spectrum CBD extract is similar to a full-spectrum extract. The only difference is the formulation has zero THC. 

  • Isolate 

CBD isolate is often dubbed as the purest form of CBD extract as it doesn’t contain any cannabis compound except CBD. 

🗒️ Take Note

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (formerly called the Farm Bill) legalizes CBD extract, given that it’s from hemp. Also, CBD extracted from marijuana can’t be publicly sold since marijuana exceeds the 0.3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis limitation. 

What Is CBD Used For?

It’s important to understand that CBD is not a cure-for-all. Ongoing research aims to understand how CBD works in the human body and what conditions it can support. 

Nevertheless, people are expertly incorporating CBD into their daily routine. Take inspiration from some of the most common ways people use CBD.

Taking CBD for a Morning Boost

Many of us are in autopilot mode in the morning. Adding CBD at the start of your day can add a spring to your steps. 

The best CBD products for this time of day are CBD capsules, soft gels, and tinctures. Add drops of CBD tinctures to your morning drinks or pop a capsule/soft gel after breakfast. 

Adding CBD to Your Nighttime Routine

Preliminary research found that CBD promotes a good night’s sleep, even more effective than its sibling compound, THC. Adding CBD 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime helps you get that nice sleepy transition. 

To further enhance sleep quality, lower your room’s temperature, turn off the lights, or meditate. 

Consuming CBD for a Quick Wind-down

Stress is not a new thing. Anything could ruin a mood, whether it’s because of work or a simple traffic issue. Luckily, products like CBD are there to help. However, it won’t solve all of your problems alone but it’s a great companion for whenever you need a break. 

Some of the products designed for these situations are salves mixed with eucalyptus and CBD, tinctures, or gummies. 

Supplementing Your Skin Care Routine With CBD

No matter what generation you’re in, developing a skincare routine is everything. What’s great with CBD-based skin care lines is getting that nourished look with the added hydration and a smoothening effect from other ingredients. 

You can purchase CBD lotions from any credible stores. If none of these products are available, you can mix CBD tincture drops with your favorite lotions or moisturizers. 

🔍 Ongoing Studies

Clear evidence of CBD’s positive involvement in the said conditions is yet to be produced. However, the attention from the medical community says a lot about CBD’s potential. 

How Does CBD Work?

CBD principally works in the body through absorption into the bloodstream. It enters in different ways: through the lungs, the back of the tongue, the oral route, and the skin. 

Upon entering the bloodstream, CBD can interact with the receptors (CB1 and CB2) of the body’s endocannabinoid system or the ECS. Stretched throughout the body, the ECS helps regulate multiple bodily functions such as sleep, appetite, and more. 

🧠 Fun Fact

CB1 receptors mainly help in regulating the functions involved in the central nervous system. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors manage the peripheral nervous system, affecting involuntary movements like heartbeat or breathing. 

CBD molecules attach more to CB2 receptors, triggering several events. When CBD-influenced CB2 receptors transmit signals, recipient cells will work differently. Ultimately, this affects several organs in the body. 

Although CBD molecules have a lesser binding affinity to CB1 receptors, they can still attach to some. A CB1 receptor bound to a CBD molecule no longer gets attached to a floating Delta 9 THC molecule. This first-come, first-serve mechanism mellows the psychoactive effects of THC. 

The rate of the body’s absorption of CBD and other available cannabinoids is called bioavailability. Increasing bioavailability means increasing the volume of CBD for bodily use. 

Is CBD Legal? 

The short answer is YES. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 made hemp federally legal, as well as its derivatives (including CBD). Now, the growing, producing, manufacturing, and selling of hemp allowed CBD products to be readily available to the public.

Definition of Hemp According to The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

“HEMP.—The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

At the state level, laws on CBD use vary—some fully allow it, while others have restrictions over it.

CBD legislation by state

Can You Fly With CBD Within the US? 

In general, you may fly with CBD within the US border. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows CBD products with less than 0.3% THC or are FDA-approved. Such products under the 3-ounce limit can be stored in carry-on or checked bags. Vape with CBD can only go in your carry-on. 

The tricky part is flying in or out of states with unique laws on CBD products. For example, in Idaho, they require CBD products to have 0% THC. Thus, it’s best to research your destination’s flying regulations about substances like CBD before booking. 

🧑‍✈️ Does the TSA care?

The TSA doesn’t zealously search bags for CBD products as it’s more interested in checking for bombs and other hazards. However, they can refer you to the authorities once they encounter any illegal substance during a routine screening.

CBD Products and Ways to Take Them 

You probably know by now that CBD comes in different product forms categorized under four main consumption methods—Sublingual, Oral, Inhalation, and Topical. 

Each consumption method has different sets of values and pros and cons. In this section, explore the different ways to take CBD and how these ways compare to each other. 

CBD Tinctures (Taken Sublingually)

Cannabidiol tinctures, or CBD oil, are a type of CBD product taken orally or sublingually. 

CBD oil is typically a CBD extract diluted with a carrier oil. The product is bottled in an amber-colored glass with a dropper that dispenses the liquid. 

How to take CBD tinctures?

Step 1: Squeeze the top of the dropper to suck in the oil. 

Step 2: Measure the amount of product by checking where the liquid stops on the measuring line. 

Step 3: Squeeze the contents under the tongue. Hold it for a minute or two before swallowing. 


  • Versatile enough to be infused into food and beverage
  • High bioavailability


  • Strong earthy taste

Capsules and Soft gels (Taken Orally)

CBD capsules and soft gels are taken orally like a pill. Softgels contain CBD extract with a carrier oil. Meanwhile, capsules contain ground or powdered hemp flowers or pure CBD crystals.

Each capsule and soft gel contains a specific amount of CBD. This dose is uniform across capsules and soft gels of a brand. This feature makes dosing easier for beginners. 

How to take CBD capsules and soft gels?

Swallow them with water like a regular pill. 


  • Discreet
  • Flavorless
  • Precise dosing


  • Dose can’t be modified

Edibles (Taken Orally)

CBD gummies and other treats like CBD chocolate chips are infused with CBD oil. They don’t have the signature bitter taste from CBD tinctures, so you can enjoy them as sweet and delectable goodies. Edibles are also available in different flavors. 

Like CBD capsules and soft gels, edibles offer precise CBD doses per gummy or brownie square. You may also lessen the dose by cutting the edible in half (or quarters). 

How to take CBD Edibles?

You eat them like how you would typically eat candies, gummies, or baked goods. 


  • Sweet (comes in a variety of flavors)
  • Precise dosing
  • The dosage can be modified


  • Lower bioavailability
  • Slow-acting

CBD Drinks (Taken Orally)

CBD seltzers, teas, and juice are crafted with CBD extract. Unlike alcohol, CBD drinks won’t make you dizzy since legal CBD shouldn’t contain more than 0.3% THC. 

CBD drinks come in different flavors; they can also be hot or cold. Aside from refreshing, they’re meant to deliver CBD to the consumer. 

How to take CBD drinks?

Drink them like a regular beverage. CBD teas are prepared like normal tea as well. 


  • A gentle and delicious way of consuming CBD
  • Available in different flavors and temperatures


  • Lower bioavailability

CBD Topicals (Applied to the Skin)

These CBD products are applied externally on the skin. CBD topicals can be in the form of lotions, creams, balms, salves, deodorants, etc. 

Each CBD topical is designed to address a specific skin problem. Some products can be for beautifying while others are meant for after-workout relief. 

How to apply CBD topicals?

Apply the product to the affected skin. Massage until fully absorbed. 

⚠️ Warning

Topicals should only be applied on the skin. They’re not meant to be taken orally or in any other way than what’s intended. Always follow what’s indicated in the product’s manual. 


  • Supports localized skin and muscle issues
  • Fast absorption rate


  • It doesn’t affect your overall bodily systems
  • Has lower bioavailability

CBD Vape Distillate (Uses the Inhalation Method)

Also known as CBD vape juice, these CBD e-liquids are specially formulated for vaporizers or e-cigarettes. Aside from CBD, they can contain additives, flavoring, glycerine, etc. 

Vaping, same as smoking, is one of the fastest ways to experience CBD effects. 

How to use CBD vape use?

Prefilled vaporizers often have cartridges filled with CBD vape juice already. All you have to do is activate the device and inhale the CBD vape juice in vapor form. 


  • It doesn’t burn hemp (produces vapor instead of smoke)
  • Fast onset 
  • High bioavailability


  • Contains other ingredients aside from CBD extract

CBD Smokables (Uses the Inhalation Method)

One of the ways to enjoy smoking CBD is through CBD cigarettes, pre-rolled joints, and dried hemp flowers manually rolled into a joint. These smokables are often dried hemp flowers rich in CBD.

How to smoke CBD smokables?

Joints and other dry-hemp smokables are lit at one end of the stick and inhaled on the other end. Based on the type of smokable product, you might need some preparations, such as manually rolling a joint or directly smoking a ready-to-go pre-rolled joint. 


  • Fast and efficient
  • Natural flavor (terpenes preserved)


  • Weed smell sticks to you and your surroundings
  • Dosing can be tricky
💁 Helpful Article

As a beginner, always start with the lowest dose, slowly increasing until you achieve your desired results. Learn the correct starting dose for CBD beginners to maximize the benefits of the compound. 

First Impressions Last: Start Your CBD Journey With the Best

Purchasing a CBD product can be intimidating at first. With so many options out there, it’s easy to get lost. Luckily, reputable stores like The Hemp Doctor offer CBD in a balance between diversity, quality, and affordability. 

Explore our rich catalog of CBD products, including tinctures, gummies, vape cartridges, soft gels, topicals, and hemp flowers, and experience The Hemp Doctor difference. 


What is CBG vs CBD? 

CBD and CBG are cannabinoids naturally existing in cannabis. A significant difference between the two is that CBD is a major cannabinoid that exists at higher levels than CBG in cannabis. 

What is CBC?

Cannabichromene, or CBC, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It’s the third most abundant cannabis cannabinoid. Unlike CBD and THC, CBC does not directly bind to the ECS receptors. Instead, it works by enhancing other cannabinoids’ effects. 

What is CBN?

Cannabinol, or CBN, is another cannabinoid that naturally exists in parts of the cannabis plant. This compound isn’t known to cause “high” but has gained attention for supporting sleep. 

What is Kratom CBD?

Kratom CBD is the infusion of Kratom and CBD in one product. This product is primarily available in oil form. However, there are drawbacks to consuming Kratom CBD since there is no concrete evidence linking the safety of the infusion of the two substances. 

What is cannabis?

The cannabis plant is a genus of the Cannabaceae family. It has two major species, C. Sativa and C. Indica. It’s a genus indigenous to Asia and is now used for recreational or medicinal purposes. 

Is CBD a drug?

CBD is not psychoactive. Therefore, it’s not a drug or an addictive substance. It’s perceived to be the most therapeutic cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, but it’s currently not recognized as an official treatment for any disease except certain spectrums of epilepsy. 

What are CBD side effects?

Although well-tolerated, CBD side effects include dry mouth, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.