What is CBD? All you need to know

What is CBD? All you need to know

What is CBD?

Over the past few years, CBD has leapt into the spotlight. From CBD oil to tea, to gummy bears to skin cream, CBD is now available in more forms than ever. But despite CBD’s both long history and newfound popularity, many people still have questions about it. What exactly is CBD, and where does it come from? Is it legal, and can I travel safely with it? Let’s take a look.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a chemical extracted from the hemp plant. It’s the less controversial cousin of the hemp plant’s other popular extract, THC: tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance known to make you feel “high.” CBD is not psychoactive, and is the extract that many believe helps them with stress and health problems.

While it’s true that the hemp plant produces THC, the THC content is extremely low, at a maximum of about 0.3%. The hemp plant produces a much higher proportion of CBD, making it the ideal cultivar for CBD extraction. Because of this, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp at an industrial level, meaning that CBD could be extracted and sold on a massive scale. As a result, CBD’s popularity skyrocketed. With CBD production easier than ever, products became more widely available to more people, and for a lot less.

But though hemp cultivation is now widespread, another CBD producer remains illegal in many states: marijuana. While it produces high CBD levels, making it a prime candidate for extraction, it can also produce up to a whopping 40% THC (as compared to hemp’s 0.3%). Because of this, legislation involving growing marijuana on an industrial scale is far more difficult to navigate for lawmakers, especially at a federal level.

Why should I use CBD?

While there’s a wealth of information about CBD everywhere, from real-person testimonials to scientific research papers, the FDA prohibits CBD producers from claiming that the substance has a curative effect on specific health conditions. But if that’s the case, why do so many people use CBD products?

While CBD’s popularity in the US is more recent, it’s documented use for therapeutic reasons can be traced back thousands of years, to ancient China, India, and Egypt. Many people say they use CBD because they believe it helps with various health problems. According to CBD users, it can boost your mental, physical, and emotional health and help to manage ordinary, everyday stress. Something we all need, right?

Are these CBD products legal?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: products with CBD are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. Most states define legal CBD as a product derived from industrial hemp, as it produces a maximum of 0.3% and therefore falls within the Farm Bill requirements. However, keep an eye on your CBD product’s THC percentage. CBD products extracted from marijuana can contain a higher amount of THC, and therefore are only legal in some states. While CBD is federally legal, some states still place restrictions on the purchase of CBD. Make sure to read your state’s laws before purchasing CBD products.

Is it legal to travel with CBD?

Because of CBD’s association with marijuana, and the legal restrictions imposed on it, you may be wondering if it’s wise to travel with CBD products. Thankfully, the answer is a simple one. As hemp-extracted CBD products with under 0.3% THC are legal at the federal level, you can travel with them domestically without getting into any trouble. Proving your product’s legality is vital: we’d recommend traveling with the product’s packaging in order to show that its THC level falls within federal laws. Check the label carefully so you aren’t faced with unpleasant surprises before your trip starts.

Though domestic travel with CBD products is possible, taking them on an international trip is a bit more complicated. The rules for transporting these products are different in every country. In one, it’s perfectly legal, but in another, you could be arrested. While it might seem like you could quickly research your destination’s CBD and cannabis laws, the answer is often unclear, and the actual application of these laws varies wildly by country. We would advise you not to take any risks if you aren’t 100% sure that it’s legal (and, even better, socially acceptable!) in the country you are traveling to.

In short

To recap: CBD products are usually extracted from the hemp plant, and therefore do not give you a “high” feeling. According to some users, CBD provides a boost to your mental, physical and emotional health. As a result, CBD products are increasing in popularity every day: you can find CBD in coffee, in tea, in skin creams, gummy bears, or even in pet products. But don't forget: always check the percentage of THC on the label before choosing to travel with CBD products!