Everything You Need to Know About CBD Hemp Oil

Whether you’ve seen it in your health food store or read about it in the news, the buzz about CBD just keeps getting louder. People are drinking it in tea, swallowing it in capsules and putting it by the dropperful under their tonguesSo, what the heck is CBD and is it really the miracle everyone thinks?

We're here to help you push past the hype and get right to the facts about CBD. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about about today's top-trending supplement and what it can do for you.

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What is CBD Hemp Oil?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. It is one of more than 100 unique compounds found in hemp, known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are known to promote health and to keep people resilient to changes in their environment. And while CBD is an incredibly safe and therapeutic component of cannabis, as its popularity grows, so do the many misconceptions associated with it. 

Web Divider LineThere is one question in particular that keeps many potential users at bay: Is CBD marijuana and will it make me high? The answer: no and no.Web Divider Line

There is one question in particular that keeps many potential users at bay: Is CBD marijuana and will it make me high? The answer: no and no. CBD is non-psychoactive (it doesn’t make you feel euphoric) and is considered extremely safe. In fact, CBD can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC, the component of marijuana that makes you feel “high.” 

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family, but are completely different in function, cultivation and application. Marijuana generally has a high level of THC and is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp contains a negligible amount of THC (but is high in CBD) and is used in dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, paper and more. Just like oranges and lemons are both citrus, hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, but look different and have a different chemical makeup. 

In summary:CBD Citrus GraphicCannabis Species Graphic-1

  • Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family, Cannabis sativa L., but are completely different in function, cultivation and application.
  • Marijuana generally has a high level of THC, the psychoactive compound that makes you high, and is used for medicinal or recreational purposes.
  • Hemp may contain a trace amount of THC (0.3% or less is allowed), but hemp has significant levels of CBD.
  • CBD extracted from marijuana is illegal in most states. CBD extracted from agricultural hemp is legal under federal law, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC or less.


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How Does CBD Work? ECS CB Receptor Body Graphic

The human body is self-regulating. When you become too hot, your body produces sweat to cool you down. When your blood sugar becomes elevated after a meal, your body secretes insulin to lower it. And when you become dehydrated, your body sends your brain thirst signals so you drink water STAT. Like a tightrope walker, it’s constantly shifting to keep balanced and healthy - a process called homeostasis. One way our bodies maintain homeostasis is via the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It keeps our bodies functioning optimally by adapting to change.

Your Body's Master Control System

Discovered in 1992, the ECS is a network of cell receptors (CB1 & CB2) spread throughout the entire body that controls some of our most vital life functions including eating, sleeping, relaxation and cognition. The ECS also assists in the body’s overall recovery and repair. It’s like your body’s “master control.” CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and spinal cord, while CB2 receptors are concentrated in immune cells in the peripheral nervous system. 

Cell Receptor Graphic PPTOur bodies naturally produce compounds called endocannabinoids (endo=inside) that bind to those receptors, like a key fitting into a lock. CBD hemp oil is a plant-based cannabinoid – or phytocannabinoid (phyto=plant) – that acts upon cell receptors in a similar way to help activate the ECS.

AEA GRAPHIC 3CBD & The Bliss Molecule

CBD also interferes with an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) and prevents it from breaking down Anandamide (AEA) - or “the bliss molecule” - allowing your own naturally-produced bliss a longer lifespan.

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CBD & Your Health

Many medical studies show that CBD has potential for benefiting human and animal health via its connection to the ECS. While research is ongoing, it’s fair to say CBD is capable of affecting almost every biological process in your body as it acts upon your CB1 and CB2 cell receptors (and helps your natural endocannabinoids work their magic as well). Many people are using CBD products for supplementing their good health and for addressing specific health issues. We encourage you to do your own research, consult with healthcare providers familiar with CBD and use the following websites as resources as newly published research is coming out in real time.

Your individual response to CBD is just that - individual.

Responses to CBD depend on the amount used, frequency and length of use. In addition, your body’s metabolism, weight and health status all play a role in determining how you react to CBD oil. Some people report a quick response, while others report a slower response. We definitely recommend consulting with your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how CBD hemp oil may be working for you.

CBD and Medication Interactions

Like grapefruit, CBD can inhibit the cytochrome P450 group of liver enzymes. Thus, it can affect the potency of medications in either direction, making them stronger or weaker. Unfortunately, researchers haven’t yet determined which doses of CBD may interact with the metabolism of different drugs. A 2013 study found no interactions along the CYP metabolic pathway for doses of up to 40 mg of CBD. But a later study found doses as low as 25 mg of CBD did block the metabolism of an epilepsy drug.‡ A patient’s doctor may want to monitor his or her blood levels of medication to make sure they’re getting the correct amount of their prescribed medicine while using CBD.

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Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal?

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp derivatives like CBD have been permanently removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act and are no longer considered illegal by the DEA as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. (§ 297A) That said, there are still some legal hurdles regarding CBD as a dietary supplement. Here is a summary of the key points addressed in the 2018 Farm Bill.

  • Hemp is now permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It is forever deemed an agricultural commodity and is no longer mistaken for marijuana.
  • By redefining hemp to include its "extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives," Congress has removed hemp products (such as CBD) from the CSA. (§ 297A)
  • This means the DEA no longer has any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. (§ 10114)
  • While State and Tribal governments may impose separate restrictions or requirements on hemp or hemp products, they can't interfere with the interstate transport. (§ 10114)
  • Hemp farmers may now finally access needed crop insurance (Title XI) and fully participate in the USDA programs for certification and competitive grants. This is a huge win for farmers.
  • The FDA continues to exercise jurisdiction over the regulation of ingestible and topical hemp products.
  • CBD derived from hemp is no longer considered illegal by the DEA as long as it contains lo.3% or less THC. However, CBD derived from marijuana is still not legal on the federal level, nor are CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC.

*U.S. Hemp Roundtable

Web Divider LineCBD products made from hemp are generally regarded as legal as long as they contain 0.3% THC or less by dry weight.
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Can states have different laws?

Yes, laws can vary from state to state. While State and Tribal governments may impose separate restrictions or requirements on hemp or hemp products, the 2018 Farm Bill explicitly prohibits them from interfering with the interstate transport of CBD. Thus, it is entirely lawful to sell CBD hemp oil across state lines. Throughout the U.S., the trend is toward greater acceptance. Recently, the FDA recognized the “substantial public interest in this topic and the clear interest of Congress in fostering the development of appropriate hemp products.” 

Click here to watch our free 4-minute video, "Is CBD Legal? Yes, No. Sort of..." 

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Key Terms You Need to Know

There are a few key terms associated with CBD that every educated consumer should know.

Full Spectrum:

All the good things you get from hemp come from hundreds of naturally occurring compounds and nutrients working together. When these compounds are combined as nature intended, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. This is called the Entourage Effect. Because different compounds amplify each other's effects, full spectrum CBD hemp oil is considered more effective than isolated, single-molecule components.


One component that contributes to the Entourage Effect, terpenes are the oils that give cannabis its unique smell and flavor. Terpenes are important for getting the maximum benefit from CBD because they bond with cannabinoids to turbo charge them. 


An essential step in creating CBD oil, the decarboxylation process converts inactive components in cannabis into active components. In its natural state, cannabis produces a precursor to CBD called CBD-A. In order to turn CBD-A into beneficial CBD, one carbon atom must be removed - or decarboxylated. At this point CBD is activated and available for the body to use.


Hemp comes from the non-psychoactive varieties of Cannabis sativa L, which have 0.3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp is similar to marijuana, in that they come from the same plant family (cannabis), but are genetically distinct and different in their use, chemical makeup and cultivation methods. Sort of like lemons and oranges are both citrus fruits.


Non-GMO means non-genetically modified organisms. GMOs are created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. Scientists and consumer groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs.

Third Party Laboratory Testing:

Independent third party lab testing is used to ensure product quality and integrity because third-party labs are not affiliated with the raw material supplier, manufacturer or company whose name appears on the product. 

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How to Choose the Right Product for You

When you're trying out a new supplement, it's imperative to choose a company you trust. The Barlean family has been making healthy oils and supplements in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 30 years. As a leader in the natural foods industry, we stake our reputation on innovating and creating the quality products our customers have come to expect. And like all of our products, our Ideal CBD Hemp Oil meets the very highest standards of excellence. 

Ideal Sourcing:

Our oils are sourced from high-grade, industrial hemp grown by reliable, environmentally responsible and passionate farmers.

Ideal Extraction:

We use safe and reliable extraction methods that have stood the test of time to bring you the purest, highest quality oils.

Ideal Nutrition: 

Our full spectrum oils contain a full profile of nutrients found in cannabis - nutrients that work better when they work together.

Ideal Safety:

Our oils are third party laboratory tested for purity and potency to ensure independent quality analysis of every batch. You can trace your specific bottle and batch here by scanning the QR code that appears on every bottle or by going directly to barleans.com/lookitup.

Ideal Legal Compliance:

Enjoy peace of mind knowing that Barlean's products are 100% compliant with federal cannabis laws. Barlean’s Ideal and Extra Strength Ideal CBD Hemp Oils as well as our Seriously Delicious CBD Hemp Oils are derived from industrial hemp grown on farms sanctioned by Colorado’s IHRP and it contains less than 0.3% THC. Barlean’s Organic Ideal CBD Hemp Oil is derived from the seeds and stalks of industrial hemp and contains less than 0.1% THC.

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More Resources

We've covered a lot of information here, but believe it or not, there's even more. Check out some of the resources below to keep learning about CBD and what this amazing gift from nature can do for you.

Free CBD Videos and Webinars

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Our FAQs are the Bomb!

We've put together an extensive list of FAQs to address every subject under the sun when it comes to CBD hemp oil. Check it out!

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CBD Blog Posts

We've got a whole library of CBD blog posts on a wide variety of subjects. Check them out, you won't be sorry.

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Printable Cheat Sheet

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A few of our CBD blogs...

Here's a sampling of some of our CBD blog posts if you're interested in taking a deeper dive into more CBD specifics. Click on any of the titles below to read the full blog posts.