What is CBD Oil?

You’ve probably heard about Charlotte Fiji, whose rare seizure disorder, Dravet’s Syndrome, was dramatically alleviated by the cannabis extraction, CBD Oil. Her story was featured on CNN and her success has prompted hundreds of parents to petition their state’s legislatures to legalize CBD Oil. But, what is CBD Oil? is it the same as medical marijuana? Does it have psychoactive properties? What is its legal status? How do you use it? And, why is everyone so excited about it?


Cannabis has been used historically for medicinal, ritual, recreational and industrial purposes. The two main species of the cannabis plant are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is Cannabis sativa that is bred for industrial hemp to make rope, fiber, wax, resin, cloth, pulp, paper, fuel, biodegradable plastics, construction, body products, health food, bio-fuel, mulch, animal bedding, and birdseed, among others.

In addition to its uses for industrial hemp, cannabis sativa—as well as cannabis indica and hybrid strains—can also be bred for medical or recreational marijuana, which has higher medicinal or psychoactive properties. Thousands of different varieties can be selectively bred to significantly raise or lower the active ingredients of a strain. For example, one of the active ingredients in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive component. Plants can be bred to have as little as 0% of THC or as much as 25%. 


The active ingredients in cannabis are called cannabinoids, and these are unique to the cannabis plant. Already more than 70 different cannabinoids in cannabis have been identified, including not only THC, but also Cannabidiol, or CBD. Other cannabinoids include CBG, CBC, CBN, THCa, THCv, CBGa, CBCa, CBCa, and CBDa among others. While the chemical structure of these cannabinoids is related to THC, their biological effects are quite different as they have no psychotropic potential. THC is associated with pain relief, suppression of muscle spasms, reduction of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. CBD is associated with the following:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Sleep-inducing
  • Reduces nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle relaxtant
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antipsychotic
  • Anticancer
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Antidiabetic
  • Relieves autoimmune disorders
  • Stimulates bone production
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial

In addition to showing remarkable results in epilepsy, CBD has also shown potent anti-psychotic and anti-cancer effects. A new film, Weed the People, by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein features young cancer patients who have been helped by CBD oil. No other medicinal herb or pharmaceutical drug possesses such a wide array of therapeutic applications.


CBD Oil is extracted from either the mature seeds or the mature stalks of the cannabis plant. It can be used as an ingestible in tinctures, supplements or capsules, as a highly concentrated oil that can be diluted in olive oil or in a smoothie, or as a topical in creams, oils and salves.

The CBD oil that Charlotte Figgi made famous is from a cannabis strain grown in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers, well-respected growers of medical marijuana. Charlotte’s Web, named after Charlotte Figgi, is now a recognized strain of medical marijuana with less than 0.3% THC. As long as CBD oil has a THC content of below 0.3%, it can be sold legally in all states . Below that level, a product is classified and sold as a nutritional supplement; above that level, it is sold only in the 30 states (and the District of Columbia) that legalize medical marijuana laws.


CBD Oil is generally sold over the counter for stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and inflammation. For a serious condition, consult with a healthcare practitioner versed in the use of CBD. And, it’s a good idea to consult with your primary health care provider before you take CBD, especially if you’re taking prescription medications. Here are two doctors experienced with CBD who may be able to offer referrals:

If you are looking for help with Parkinson’s Disease, Maureen Leehey, MD, and her neurology team at the University of Colorado School of Medicine are launching a pioneering study on CBD and Parkinson’s.


Dr. Rav Iker, author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain, says that his patients have found that CBD alone (less than 1% of THC) is not an effective analgesic for chronic pain unless it is used in conjunction with some THC. According to Dr. Iker,

“the combination of the cannabinoids CBD and THC is the safest and most potent pain-relieving medicine in existence.”

CBD and THC work synergistically: THC appears to enhance the analgesic effects of CBD. According to Dr. Iker, the products that are the most effective for pain have a CBD: THC ratio of 1:1, 2:1, or 3:1. Dr. Iker’s book has an extensive list of the best marijuana strains for relieving pain, including:

  • Harlequin
  • Cannatonic
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Otto
  • Haley’s Hope
  • Lucy
  • Cannatsunami
  • Strawberry Cookie
  • Remedy

If you are looking for a CBD product to relieve pain, choose one that has the CBD:THC ratios recommended by Dr. Iker.


With so much enthusiasm with CBD, the market is flooded with products and it is hard to know which ones are the most reliable. Here are some good things to consider when looking for a good company and an effective product:

  • How does the product look?
  • Is the packaging clear? Does it give you the information you need?
  • Is the website aesthetically pleasing?
  • Is it simple and easy to use?
  • What is the mission of the company?
  • Who are the owners of the company?
  • Is the product independently reviewed? Are there user reviews?
  • What is the company’s customer service reputation?
  • Is the product sourced domestically or internationally?
  • What is the carrier oil?
  • Do you like the taste?
  • Are the ingredients organic or certified organic?
  • What is the cost of the product? The price per milligram of CBD?

In their article, “The 20 Best CBD Oils for 2018,: Rave Reviews compares the top 20 CBD companies. Here are their top five:


Because the field of medical cannabis is changing so rapidly and research lags behind usage, it’s important to create your own criteria for evaluating a good CBD product and company. Research a company and review its website and customer reviews before you buy. When you use a product, consider the milligrams of the product. Start with a lower dosage at first and increase the dosage after you experience its effectiveness or lack of effectiveness. Keep track of the dosage and what you experience after you take different dosages. Note how many times a day you have to take it. Consider your body weight when determining proper dosage. Don’t be afraid to ask for a refund if a product doesn’t meet your expectations.

About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include  Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Homeand A Quiet Place.Ihave conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.

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Peggy O'Mara

About Peggy O'Mara

Editor and Publisher of peggyomara.com. Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

25 thoughts on “What is CBD Oil?

    • Peggy O'MaraPeggy O'Mara Post author

      Thanks, Andy. I didn’t include on purpose as I just wanted to focus on indica and sativa as they are the cultivated ones, and ruderalis, as you know, is the wild variety.

  1. Frank Registrato


    This is a fabulously educational article. Thank you for making the distinctions for everyone clear and easy to understand. We work with CBD here in Colorado grown from Industrial Hemp. Our first harvest happened earlier this year. The future of CBD therapies is now and we are so happy to be able to supply people with high quality CBD products at a good price. Stop by our site to say hi. We are nice people and will work with people to help them get what they need. Don’t see a sale on the site, e-mail us…we’ll give you sale pricing. We are Colorado proud and know what we are doing. One love!! YCBS – Frank

  2. Stephen Bradley

    This was an incredibly well-researched and written article that breaks down CBD medicine very well. Interestingly, many people are also finding that the efficacy of extracts based on high THC strains is the same or better than CBD strains when processed in a similar manner, and without decarboxylation it doesn’t get the patient high. Here’s a fantastic example: http://www.healthyhopes.org/blog/watch-this-little-girls-seizures-stop-when-given-emergency-cannabis-oil

  3. Mamajose

    Hi so does the same law stand for the uk..as in less than 0.2 percent thc is legal…we have a child very similar to Charlotte figi with intractable epilepsy x kind thanks mamajose x

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  5. shyshy

    Hi Peggy! I have some questions that I would prefer to keep private, is there an email address I can write you so I don’t have to post on this page? Thanks!

    • Peggy O'MaraPeggy O'Mara Post author

      I don’t know about the legality of CBD in Greece. However, I know of two companies that make CBD oil from hemp that is not psychoactive and so is not illegal anywhere.

      One of the companies is HempMeds with their Real Scientific Hemp Oil. They say they ship worldwide.

      The other company is Dose of Nature with their RedStrap Hemp Extracts. Here’s a review I wrote of their products.

      I haven’t used either of these products myself long enough to recommend their effectiveness, but I know that both companies are available to answer questions and are very responsive. Good luck!

  6. Nikki

    Are there any studies or articles that I can show my mamas who are looking to use CBD while breastfeeding? I’ve found some, but always looking for more. I am an affiliate for a top notch CBD vendor called AON Mother Nature. We offer several high quiality USDA organic lab tested (labs available), CBD oil products from gummies, vapes, edibles (to come next week)…. So exciiiiiiiting!!!!
    Our USDA organic hemp farmers that supply out CBD oil, won cannabis cup for best CBD edibles), we also offer sprays, vapes, gummies, companion blend (for out 4 legged kids) and more. Please feel free to call my 745-645-2757 or check out my facebook closed group CBD share and heal. I am not a sleazy sales woman, I am a woman, partner, mother, and friend, that wants to share this top notch vendor co. That I found. Please feel free to contact me or ask to join my fb CBD share and heal group. Be well! ❤️ here is my affiliate link http://www.aonmothernature.com/#_a_2033

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  8. Kevin

    As I am in the UK where high THC is illegal, do you know if CBD oil is an appetite stimulant please, despertate to help my wife. Thanks in advance?

    • Peggy O'MaraPeggy O'Mara Post author

      Here is a study from the National Cancer Institute that says: “Many animal studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite in mice.[38] Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.[39]”

  9. Pingback: With no chance of Getting a Person High, OK Lawmakers to consider a form of Medicinal Cannabis for Some Adults – OKG News

  10. Cynthia Mosher

    Excellent article, Peggy, and very timely too. I have a patient with epilepsy who is looking into CBD oil. I will send her a link to your very informative piece. Thank you!


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