CBD 101

If you’re new to the world CBD, you may be unsure of which CBD products could be of use to you. Additionally, all of the CBD industry jargon can be a bit confusing. So here’s a “five minute” crash course on CBD.

What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol (pronounced ca-nuh-bi-DYE-ol). It is one of over 80 chemical compounds (called cannabinoids) found within the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp. Unlike THC — the chemical in marijuana that causes a “high” — CBD is non-psychoactive.

While the FDA is still researching the potential uses of CBD, some people claim that CBD products have a wide variety of medical and therapeutic benefits.** So far, scientific research has found that CBD can help to treat two types of seizure disorders in children, in a medication called Epidiolex that has been approved by the FDA.

Scientists are also studying whether CBD might be effective in treating other conditions, including anxiety, sleep, pain, and drug and alcohol use disorders (source). But the scientific research on CBD is still evolving.

In the meantime, consumers have been very interested in purchasing CBD for personal use. Sales growth has exploded for CBD products such as oils, lotions, gummy candy, and more. The industry is conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025 (source).

Is CBD Legal?

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the United States. Therefore, CBD which is derived from hemp is legal to sell across the United States.

It is important to note, that CBD is contained within both hemp as well as within marijuana. Hemp are marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, and there are some important differences between hemp and marijuana.

While the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the United States, it did not legalize marijuana or products derived from marijuana. (Note: The CBD Guide provides information only about legal, hemp-derived CBD products which contain less than 0.3% THC.) 

One other “wrinkle”: although the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to sell hemp-derived CBD, it may not be included in products marketed with therapeutic claims, and it may not be marketed by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. Hemp-derived CBD may only be included in “cosmetic” products, and only if it contains less than 0.3% THC (source).

What Are The Benefits Of CBD?

This is a bit of a “loaded” question, since CBD cannot be included in products marketed with therapeutic claims; and in any case, the scientific research on CBD is still in early stages.

So, before we answer any questions regarding the benefits of CBD, we need to state our FDA Disclosure:

Statements regarding the efficacy and safety of CBD products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Given the above, we believe the best way to answer this question is to report what CBD consumers themselves say.

In a 2019 Gallup Survey, 14% of U.S. adults reported using CBD products, while 50% do not use them, and 35% are not at all familiar with them (and presumably did not use them).

The CBD users in the Gallup poll cited pain relief (40%), anxiety (20%), insomnia (11%), arthritis (8%), migraines/headaches (5%), and stress (5%) as the top six purposes for their CBD use.

Here’s a more extensive list of the purposes cited in the poll, along with the percentage of respondents who cited each as their top reason for CBD use:

  • Pain relief (40%)
  • Anxiety (20%)
  • Sleep or insomnia (11%)
  • Arthritis (8%)
  • Migraines or headaches (5%)
  • Stress (5%)
  • Muscle spasms or soreness (4%)
  • General health (4%)
  • Mental health, PTSD, ADHD, or neurological disorders (4%)
  • Recreational (4%)
  • Depression (2%)
  • Skin care (2%)
  • For their pet (1%)
  • Gastrointestinal or digestive issues (1%)
  • Inflammation (1%)

What Types Of CBD Products Can I Buy?

The CBD product industry is experiencing massive growth, whether measured by pure sales volume, or by the number and variety of products offered.

Consumers purchase CBD products for many reasons. CBD users in the 2019 Gallup poll cited pain relief, anxiety, sleep/insomnia, arthritis, migraines/headaches, and stress as the top six purposes for their CBD use (source).

But what kind of products are available? And which CBD products are the most popular?

Categorizing CBD products can be a bit tricky, since the regulatory environment is still evolving, and product positioning differs across the hundreds of different CBD brands. 

Different brands can use different product names for products which are substantially similar. Additionally, sometimes a product will be marketed towards a typical consumer purpose (e.g. “sleep aid”) rather than its physical form (e.g. “gummies” vs. “topicals”).

That said, here the top-level product categories offered by five leading CBD brands online (source), as of March 1, 2021:

  • CBD Capsules (& Softgels) (5)
  • CBD Topicals (4)
  • CBD Pet Products (4)
  • CBD Gummies (3)
  • CBD Oil (2)
  • Bulk CBD (2)
  • CBD Tinctures (2)

Each of the above product types were offered by multiple leading online CBD brands.

Additionally, each of the following products types were sold by a single leading online CBD brand:

  • CBD Concentrates (1)
  • CBD For Dogs (1)
  • CBD Powders (1)
  • CBD Sleep Aids (1)
  • CBD Supplements (1)
  • CBD Vapes (1)
  • Pain Relief (1)
  • Skincare (1)

But What About…?

You may still have more questions! That’s OK — we’ve created an extensive FAQ to provide you with further information.

Click here to visit our extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions about CBD.