What is CBD? A Cannabinoid in Hemp & Cannabis

what is cbd

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a naturally occurring chemical constituent of the cannabis plant genus. It is one of the major cannabinoids besides THC, CBG, CBN and CBC found in hemp and cannabis plants. In contrast to THC, CBD is a barely psychoactive cannabinoid and many medicinal properties are attributed to it. Both by researchers and users.

However, the largest proportion of CBD or cannabidiol occurs in the plants as an acid in the form of CBDa. In addition to the main cannabinoids, there are about 90 other secondary cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants. Since CBD and THC account for the largest part, these are also the cannabinoids that have been best researched so far.

Depending on the cannabis strain, the CBD content in relation to the total chemical constituents of the plant extract, is about 20-40%. The majority of the remaining chemical components are other cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another molecule with many properties, but unlike CBD it has a strong psychotropic effect. But also chlorophyll, secondary cannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids are included in this plant extract as long as it is a full extracted plant extract.

Nowadays, CBD is known equally among scientists, doctors and marijuana consumers, but it has not always been that way. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was not yet clear exactly what components and active ingredients make up the plant “cannabis sativa” despite the fact that it has been used over the centuries for medical as well as recreational purposes.

Fortunately, the research of some pioneers of that time began to bear fruit. With these first discoveries began the history of the exploration of the CBD molecule.

Where does CBD come from?


As already mentioned, CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and the hemp plant. In order to determine where CBD comes from, or where most of it occurs in the plant, we must first determine the parts of which the plant consists. The cannabis plant can be divided into 5 main parts.

  • Root
  • Stem/Branches
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Seeds

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that there are female and male cannabis plants. The female and the male plants produce flowers in the so-called flower phase which correspond to the respective sex. At maturity, the male plants pollinate the female flowers, causing seeds to develop in the female flowers.

Cannabinoids are mainly produced on the female cannabis flowers. In the so-called trichomes on the surface of female cannabis flowers. These trichomes are also called resin and contain about 95% of all cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Which means that CBD also comes from the flowers of the female cannabis plant.

It is wrongly assumed that the seeds of the cannabis plant also contain cannabinoids. This is not correct. Seeds contain no cannabinoids, therefore it is not possible to extract (produce) CBD Oil from the seeds of the plant.

The roots of the cannabis plant also contain virtually no cannabinoids, so that even the roots are no source for CBD and the production of CBD Oil.

The stem and branches of the cannabis plant contain a little more cannabinoids than the seeds and the roots. However, even here cannabinoids are sparse and so the stem and branches are therefore not an ideal source for the production of CBD extracts.

After the flowers, the leaves of the cannabis plant contain the second most cannabinoids. Especially the leaves that are near the flowers or are located among them. These leaves are also called petals. However, these are not nearly as potent as the flowers themselves.

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What are Cannabinoids?

Trichomes – The source of Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are natural substances found in all 3 major genera of the cannabis plant (Sativa, Indica and Ruderlis). A cannabis sativa plant contains 500 organic compounds and 85 of them belong to the cannabinoid group.

Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, others not. However, the best medical potential (effect) has been observed when all cannabinoids are present and mutually supportive in their action. This effect is called the entourage effect.

Of all the cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol CBD are the best known and the best researched so far. Although THC also has strong medical potential and can have a positive effect on the human body, this substance is also psychoactive and overconsumption can lead to anxiety and paranoia.

CBD is a barely psychoactive cannabinoid, but it has a calming effect on the human nervous system. In addition, this cannabinoid is said to have a number of medicinal properties covering a variety of psychological and physiological disease symptoms.

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Endogenous Cannabinoids

Every “higher living form” has an endocannabinoid system in which there are endogenous cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors can also bind to exogenous cannabinoids that are formed outside the body. However, cannabinoids formed in the body are called “endogenous”. Endogenous is within while exogenous is outside of the body, these are also used as terms in other areas of medicine.

endogenous cannabinoids

In 1992, the first endogenous cannabinoid was discovered with the “anandamide”, meanwhile also “2-arachidonylglycerol”, “2-arachidonylglycerylether” and “O-arachidonylethanolamide” were also discovered. There may be dozens of other endogenous cannabinoids that our body produces itself. These are messenger substances that dock to the cannabinoid receptors and trigger a reaction.

Exogenous and Endogenous Cannabinoids

Among the exogenous cannabinoids are phytocannabinoids and synthetic or semi-synthetic/artificial cannabinoids. The endogenous cannabinoids are always natural products found within our body.

As an organism, however, there are no great opportunities to form more or less of these endogenous cannabinoids themselves, e.g. to achieve a more pleasant effect.

In the case of exogenous cannabinoids, however, it is possible to take them in any amount, if they are available. Since marijuana always contains several cannabinoids at the same time, it would hardly be possible for normal users to take more of one cannabinoid without also including the other contained cannabinoids.

However, if today’s world wants it, then all of this would be possible, as the cannabis strains can be optimized for breeding goals. On the other hand, the active ingredients can be extracted from the flowers as pure substances and then dosed very precisely.

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What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is a component of the human nervous system.

This mainly consists of the two receptors CB1 and CB2.

These receptors are responsible for the secretion and transportation of vital messenger substances (neurotransmitters).

The CB1 receptor is (in simple words), responsible for the interconnectedness of our nervous system, but also, for example, for the regulation of our sense of pain.

Furthermore, this receptor is also responsible for our addictive behavior and the suppression of bad memories.

These are but little mentioned factors that are actually controlled by the CB1 receptor.

This receptor is located mainly in the cerebellum and also in the intestine.

The CB2 receptor, on the other hand, has its main function in controlling our immune system. Thus, both receptors are vital building blocks in our complex nervous system.

The endocannabinoid system can be influenced by chemical as well as plant-based substances, both in a negative and a positive sense. For CBD and the other Exogenous Cannabinoids, this part of the nervous system is, so to speak, the landing site.

From here, the precious ingredient cannabidiol can exert its effect in the human organism. THC also finds its effect there, allowing the consumer to experience its psychoactive properties.

CBD, which acts as an antagonist to THC, can counteract the effect of THC in the endocannabinoid system with its inhibitory and blocking action.

CBD works by interacting indirectly or directly with the two receptors CB1 and CB2. As a result, it can simultaneously have anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory and also calming properties. All of this happens without intoxication, as CBD is one of the non-psychoactive constituents of the cannabis plant.

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How does CBD work?

cbd receptor system

As already mentioned, cannabidiol can intervene directly in the endocannabinoid system. The messengers of the two receptors CB1 and CB2 are positively stimulated by the CBD.

A lack of messenger substances in our nervous system can develop diseases. This refers to both physical and emotional disorders.

In more simple terms, one can imagine that the two receptors, in order to fight a disease, do not emit enough messenger substances that our body understands as a fight against the disease.

The CBD helps these receptors to send stronger signals (messengers). The mechanism doesn’t go beyond this, but the effects are almost a miracle.

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What Side Effects does CBD have?

Basically, CBD has very few side effects and most importantly none that are dangerous to the health. Research has shown that CBD does not produce any harmful effects even at very high doses of 1600 MG. However, as with all substances, there are also certain side effects. Depending on the dose and individual, the following side effects may occur.

Increased tremor in Parkinson’s patients

Early research suggests that at high doses CBD may increase the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, it has also been found to have a beneficial effect in reasonable doses while treating Parkinson’s disease.

Dry mouth

According to another study, a dry mouth is one of the side effects of CBD oil. This effect is said to be triggered by the endocannabinoid system, which causes the inhibition of salivary secretion.

Argentine researchers showed, in a study published in 2016, that cannabinoid receptors are present in the submandibular glands responsible for the production of saliva. When these receptors are activated, saliva production changes, resulting in a dry mouth.

Low blood pressure

A high dose of CBD oil can cause a small drop in blood pressure. This usually happens within a few minutes after the CBD enters the system. Patients often feel dizzy with lower blood pressure. You should consult your doctor first if you take medicines for blood pressure and you plan to take CBD.

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The difference between Cannabis oil and CBD oil

CBD Tinctures

Like all cannabis oils, CBD oil is obtained from a certain Cannabis Strain (Hemp). Depending on the variety used, the corresponding herbal active ingredients, known as cannabinoids, are contained in both oils.

In contrast to a product called “cannabis oil”, CBD oil contains only a comparatively small proportion of THC. The THC content in CBD oil should always be below 0.3 percent. Only then is it possible to sell this cannabis oil legally in the US.

CBD oil or hemp oil is made from hemp plants (Cannabis sativa) that do not exceed this limit. If a product is offered explicitly as cannabis oil, it is so that the buyer can know that the THC content in the product offered is higher than 0.3 percent.

The terms “hash oil” or “marijuana oil” and “THC oil” are used as synonyms for the name cannabis oil. The term “hemp oil” should not be confused with hemp seed oil as it refers to CBD oils made from hemp (cannabis sativa).

Although hemp seed oil contains a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, it has only negligible trace levels of THC or CBD (or even none at all). In the production of CBD oils or cannabis oils, the hempseed oil is often used as an additive to bring its effect to full development. There are also cannabis oils that have been made or diluted with olive oil.

While the name “Hemp Oil” is popular in the US and is used to describe everything that was at least partially derived from a hemp plant, in other countries, an oil classified by the designation with the generic term “cannabis oil” may not meet the narrower definition of CBD oil. The conceptual distinction thus has to do mainly with the remaining restrictions imposed by the legal requirements.

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The difference between Hemp and Cannabis

Cannabis Sativa Hemp

One particular area that remains very misunderstood is the difference between what is often referred to as hemp and what is commonly known as cannabis and/or marijuana. In fact, these two “species” are actually one and the same. The only difference is in their genetic makeup.

These differences were due to adaptations to environmental changes and selective breeding over many centuries. The factor that divides this plant into two categories is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC that it produces.

This three-letter shortcut makes many cannabis users and laymen alike prick up their ears, because it is this molecule that gives the cannabis plant the ability to produce the psychoactive experience of the famous cannabis noise.

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How to use CBD?

There are 5 common ways to consume CBD oil and, before writing it down, it should be noted that you should not eat or drink for 15 minutes after consuming the CBD oil. In this way you can get the optimal effect of the oils.

1. The sublingual intake of CBD oil

When you talk about sublingual intake of CBD Oil, you usually mean taking the oil through your mouth. You take the oil orally by putting a few drops of CBD Oil under the tongue and then swallow the drops.

CBD Oil has a strong bitter taste. If you cannot sustain the taste for 15 minutes, rinse oil with water or another type of non-alcoholic liquid. But if you want to achieve the optimum effect of the oil, avoid all types of liquids for 15 minutes after ingestion.

2. The use of vaporizers/e-cigarettes

Another way to consume cannabis oil is with an evaporator or an e-cigarette.

As a result, the necessary substances are dissolved and the bad substances (toxins) are reduced. For the best smoking experience, please read the supplied vaporizer/e-cigarette guide as the cannabis oil must be heated to a certain temperature before use.

3. In food and drink

CBD is also available in edible form in Gummies, cakes and cookies etc. A very welcome form for those who do not like the taste of CBD oil and want to give the CBD a delicate and creative touch. Very popular with parents who want to give their children CBD oil and want to make it appealing to their kids.

4. With capsules

Some do not like the taste of CBD at all, for these people there is a good alternative: capsules filled with CBD oil.

As a result, your taste buds do not come in contact with the oil, as it is in the capsule and only gets absorbed after dissolving in the gastrointestinal tract.

In addition, capsules have the advantage that you can always dose exact quantities. Simply place the capsule in your mouth and swallow with a non-alcoholic liquid. However, you must be aware that the effect of the oil starts later, because the capsule must first be dissolved.

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How can you buy CBD?

buy cbd oil

When buying CBD oil, you should be careful, wherever you buy it from. This is because not all CBD products are of high quality or potency.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of black sheep among the CBD oil traders who not only sell inferior CBD but also products that contain less or no CBD at all.

Also, the amount or concentration of CBD plays a crucial role which you have to consider when buying CBD. You can buy CBD oils or products with CBD in a variety of places. Among others, CBD products are distributed by:

  • Medical Marijuana dispensaries
  • Countless online shops
  • Growshops
  • And sometimes also normal pharmacies

To assist you in purchasing CBD products, we have written the following guides for you:

How is CBD manufactured?

Actually, CBD is manufactured from the cannabis plant. That’s why we’re actually talking about how to take the CBD from the source (the plant).

One of 3 currently common extraction methods is often used to dissolve and collect the cannabinoids such as CBD from the cannabis/hemp plant. These extraction methods are:

  • Supercritical CO2 Extraction
  • Alcohol Extraction method
  • Oil-based Extraction

The supercritical CO2 extraction process is currently the best way to extract CBD. This is therefore used by major commercial CBD oil manufacturers. However, as this method is not applicable to home-based private production, many people rely on extraction with alcohol or oil in the manufacture of various cannabis oils.

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How is the CBD content determined?

There are two different ways you can test for cannabinoids. It’s either with an HPLC or with the GC. If you hear someone testing with other methods it’s probably not a scientifically validated method.

But the problem with the GC is, that GC uses heat to test for these cannabinoids. And as said earlier, all the acidic cannabinoids are very sensitive to heat. So the GC can give you no information about the acidic cannabinoids.

It can only tell you about the Non Acid Cannabinoids. The heat is decomposing these compounds. It’s definitely decarboxylate all of them and you’re trying to measure it as these compounds are in a state of flux. And that’s just a kind of fuzzy.

So better to use the HPLC Method because it keeps the cannabinoids in their natural state. They’re in their liquid state. There’s no alteration. There’s no heat or anything like that happening.

And so we get a much more accurate and a much more realistic picture of what’s actually in the sample that it is tested.

Related cannabinoids

As mentioned earlier, there are currently about 85 known cannabinoids, the so-called phytocannabinoids or exo-cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Since CBD and THC are most common in relation to the amount, they are also called main cannabinoids, while the rest, which are less well studied, are called secondary cannabinoids. These include the following cannabinoids, just to name a few:

  • CBG – Cannabigerol
  • CBC – Cannabichromen
  • CBND – Cannabinodiol
  • CBN – Cannabinol
  • CBT – Cannabitriol
  • CBE – Cannabielsoin
  • CBL – Cannabicyclol
  • CBCN – Cannabichromanon

What are terpenes and terpenoids?


Terpenoids and terpenes are aromatic constituents found in many thousands of plant species. These substances are responsible for the cannabis varieties having a different taste and smell. We have known for decades that these substances are found in cannabis, but the knowledge of their therapeutic potential has only recently begun to increase.

Terpenes are an extensive class of naturally occurring organic ingredients. They are also known as Isoprene, since their structure is based on recurring isoprene chains (C5H8). Terpenes are important components of plant resins and essential oils derived from such plants.

Terpenes are simple hydrocarbons, while terpenoids contain other functional groups that can consist of several chemical elements. However, it has become customary to take the term “terpene” and the terpenoids in many existing spellings.

The terpenoids, also known as isoprenoids, are the largest group of organic ingredients found so far and consist of at least 20,000 different molecules.

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The entourage effect

The term “entourage effect” comes from the cannabis research and states that a plant-compound-mixture has a higher biological activity than the isolated pure substance itself.

The hemp plant has a variety of phytocannabinoids and terpenes which play a crucial role in the so-called entourage or synergy effect.

By combining different cannabinoids with terpenes, an optimized effect can be achieved, whereby the supply of cannabidiol in already moderate doses can provide great results.

This increase in activity can already be achieved by preserving certain plant substances in particular terpenes and other phytocannabinoids.

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The challenge of CBD oil production is to produce special extracts:

  • which contain sufficient terpenes and other cannabinoids for the purpose of the entourage effect
  • where cannabidiol is fully decarboxylated from CBDa (Acid form) to the active ingredient CBD.
  • which are 100% free of THC. A low THC content in products can already be problematic in some states under the current legal situation.

What is CBD: Myths and Facts

There’s a lot of confusion about what CBD is and where it comes from. So we’d like to dispel some of those myths.

There are quite a view people that assume that CBD oil contains only CBD. Due to the extraction method (Co2, Alcohol etc.) it contains other cannabinoids like CBD, CBDa, CBN, CBC, terpenes and flavonoids to get the full entourage effect.

So CBD is extracted from industrial hemp right?

Well, it can be but it’s not the only source. CBD oil can be made from both industrial hemp and other CBD containing Cannabis Strains (Marihuana), as they are both the cannabis plant.

Is CO2 extraction the only way to make CBD?

CBD oil can be made using any extraction method. Co2 . is the best since it preserves the terpenes and flavonoids. However it does require expensive laboratory equipment.

Industrial hemp has low THC, right? Yes, this is generally the case. Industrial hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 percent THC.

However, when the extract is concentrated, these THC levels can increase above the 0.3% level. But it needs an lab test on the final extracted product to make sure how much it really contains

Many people have heard that CBD is good for epilepsy

It’s true, there is some anecdotal evidence that CBD may be an effective treatment for epilepsy, but it also has antiproliferative properties, which means it could stop cancer cells from spreading. Research is underway to support this using human trials.

CBD oil is legal everywhere in the world right?

Hemp plant CBD products, with a THC content of less than 0.3%, are legally available in many countries. A CBD extract derived from a cannabis plant that has a higher THC content is illegal in most countries. Always inform yourself about local laws before ordering CBD.

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Is CBD oil just a single molecule extract?

There are products that consist of so-called isolated (pure) CBD. This crystalline CBD powder is dissolved in a vegetable oil. It is not a fully extracted CBD oil that also contains other cannabinoids for the entourage effect or terpenes. These products are not as effective as Fully Extracted CBD Oil, so we do not recommend such CBD products.

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