Is CBD Oil The Same as CBD? Is it Legal? | cannabisMD

Is Cannabidiol Oil The Same as CBD? Is it Legal?

Cannabidiol oil, is it legal?

Image Credit: By Andrei Korzhyts on Shutterstock

CBD is the abbreviation of cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is an extract of the cannabis plant. There are about 60 cannabinoids (chemicals derived from cannabis that mostly interact with the human endocannabinoid system) in cannabis, the second most abundant is cannabidiol (the first being THC, the chemical that gets you high). Cannabidiol itself is not an oil. When cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis to make cannabidiol oil, there are three main forms you can buy:

  1. Pure

  3. Partial spectrum
  4. Full spectrum oil
  • Pure CBD:
    This is a solution of cannabidiol in oil and nothing else. It is one of the most popular choices for people looking for medicinal cannabis products because cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, or it does not get you high. This means it can be used when you need to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis but need to keep your mind clear for work or home life. Some people find the psychoactive effects of cannabis intolerable, making CBD potentially the choice for them.

    As well as being non-psychoactive, CBD has a whole host of properties that make it an effective medicine in its own rights. It is not toxic, so it can be used in high concentrations with complications, the side effects are minimal and rare, so as an alternative therapeutic medication, it can be a sensible choice.

  • Partial Spectrum CBD:
    This could be cannabidiol oil with no THC and the rest of the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant (which could make it legal in some places). It could also be CBD with irritating terpenes filtered out for people with sensitive skin. Differing concentrations of cannabinoids are being experimented with and the role of terpenes and cannabinoids contributing to the effects of each other in what is known as the “entourage” effect is gaining recognition.
  • Full Spectrum Cannabidiol Oil:
    Depending on the strain of cannabis the oil is extracted from, full spectrum oil will have high concentrations of THC and CBD, with CBD being more prevalent in some than others. Because CBD has only relatively recently been recognized as a medicine in isolation from cannabis, high CBD strains are harder to find. There is a lot of interest in breeding them, but for the moment full spectrum oils generally have a higher concentration of THC than CBD.

With any of the oils, you should always try to get organically and fairly traded cannabidiol oil. There are companies that independently test and verify the advertised concentrations of different cannabis oils, so if you can get a certified supply you will be more able to get consistent results. Full spectrum cannabidiol oil would be likely to have psychoactive effects, so should be avoided for people who cannot or do not want to tolerate that. However, if you are applying the oil topically, it is very unlikely you will feel any psychoactive effects.

Safety of Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol oil is a drug. It should therefore be treated with the respect that any drug should be afforded. That is to say, you should read up on all the effects and possible side effects before you try it. Always keep someone informed of what you are taking it in the unlikely event of a bad reaction, they will know what you have taken and be able to inform the emergency services. This is extremely unlikely and as far as this author can tell, nobody has ever died from taking CBD. It is highly tolerable and a very safe drug. Side effects can include dry mouth, diarrhoea, nausea, tiredness, and discomfort. These are rare and will stop when you either stop the therapy or develop a tolerance to the drug.

Legality of CBD

The legality of CBD is a complex and confusing issue. It depends entirely on where you live. Some states in the USA have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana , so cannabidiol is included in that. Others have not. Currently, the Federal government prohibits cannabis products but tolerates states’ right to make their own decisions. In Canada, CBD was recently legalized alongside cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. In the UK and most of Europe, CBD can be obtained in some products but is illegal if it is a part of the cannabis plant or alongside THC in certain concentrations.

There is no clear answer to whether it is legal or not, so this site’s advice is to look up the legislation that applies to your country or state online and be very sure about the exact legality of CBD. There can be severe penalties, regardless of how you intend to use it and regardless of the fact that it is a relatively safe medication. If you are obtaining CBD for a child, be very sure about the legality of it. It might be legal for adults in some places but not for children. There are places where it is prescribed to children but giving them it otherwise could end that person in jail.

Talking to your Doctor

In some states and countries, your doctor is legally obliged to report you to the relevant authorities if you disclose you are using an illicit drug. In other states, there is no obligation. If you have obtained the drug illegally, which is never endorsed by this site, make sure you know about your doctor’s legal obligations to disclose such activity before you discuss it with them.

Talking to your doctor about the medications you are taking is essential. They need to be able to monitor your condition as best they can and they cannot do this without knowing everything you are taking. Taking CBD when it is illegal is not recommended not just because you might get hauled off to jail for a long time, but that you need to be open about your medications if you are taking them.

Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at

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