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What Is CBD Oil?

If you’re new to using CBD oil and other CBD products, you’re probably wondering, “what is CBD oil, anyway?” Well, wonder no more! We’re making understanding CBD oil, the benefits of CBD and how to use CBD oil easy.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound produced by the cannabis plant. Over the last several years, the use of CBD oil has quickly grown in popularity and moved into the mainstream. 

Across the United States, CBD shops are popping up in shopping malls, street corners and online. In fact, demand for CBD is growing so quickly that sales of CBD oil and other CBD products are expected to surpass $1 billion by 2020.

Today, CBD oil can be found in a variety of products, from tinctures and drops to CBD-infused gummies and other edible products to CBD skin products like balms, lotions and even cosmetics. Even pets can get the benefits of CBD thanks to the growing popularity of CBD dog treats and other CBD pet products.

But while the mainstream acceptance of CBD oil may be a recent phenomenon, CBD oil has actually been used for centuries to promote overall health and wellbeing.

What is CBD Oil? Variety of CBD products in a collageThe History of CBD Oil

CBD oil and CBD-infused products may be a modern day movement, but CBD oil and hemp - the cannabis plant from which it is typically derived - have a long history of use. 

The earliest written record of the use of cannabis appears in ancient China around 6000 B.C., shortly after the rise of human civilization. Historians believe that cannabis had begun to be used for wellness by 2700 B.C.

By the 16th century, cannabis was being cultivated all over Europe and the North American colonies. In fact, in 1533 Henry VIII actually required all farmers to grow hemp. Similarly, in the 1600s the colony of Virginia - soon followed by Massachusetts and Connecticut - created laws that mandated the cultivation of hemp by farmers. Hemp seeds were even considered legal tender and used to pay for goods and services in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

So why did the use of CBD and hemp begin to slow down in the 20th century? 

Modern History of CBD Oil

In the early 20th century, scientists began to develop medicines like opioids. As the popularity of opioids to treat pain, stress and a variety of other medical conditions began to rise, the use of cannabis-based products began to decline.

By the late 1930s, a war on cannabis had begun in the United States and the cultivation of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act listed cannabis - including both hemp and marijuana - as Schedule I substances with no medical benefits and a high risk of dependence, and the possession of any form of cannabis was banned.

Despite this ban, researchers continued to explore the benefits of cannabinoids and the way they react with the human body over the following decades. In 1996, the state of California was the first to legalize the use of cannabis for the treatment of certain medical conditions.

Over the past few decades research into the health benefits of CBD derived from hemp - and other cannabinoids - has continued to expand. And this work has led to CBD oil gaining acceptance by the general public and health experts alike. 

Today, CBD oil is available to most people in the United States and the research into the effects of CBD on the human body has only continued to grow. Modern technology has provided new methods of extracting and isolating hemp-derived CBD and has even improved the bioavailability of CBD oil through processes like nanoemulsions, increasing its potency.

What is CBD Oil & Where Does it Come From?

Now that we understand the history of CBD oil, let’s dive deeper into the cannabis plant that produces CBD oil.

Cannabis is one of a species of plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two primary types of cannabis plant that are grown for human consumption: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.

Sativa plants are taller and produce more fiber. These are the species from which hemp cultivation arose, producing not only CBD oil but also fiber for clothing, baskets and more. Indica plants are shorter and bushier and less suitable for farming for industrial purposes, but well-suited for producing medical marijuana.

So which of these plants is used to produce the CBD oil found in CBD products used today? The short answer is, it depends.

Pictures of hemp plant and CBD oil to answer what is CBD oilThe Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

There are many differences between hemp and marijuana beyond the plant from which they are derived. 

Marijuana is high in the psychoactive compound THC - the compound in marijuana that causes a high. As such, marijuana is correctly considered to be a “drug.” It’s cultivated primarily for medicinals and recreational purposes, and can be produced using both indica and sativa plants.

Hemp, on the other hand, is not marijuana. Although hemp does contain some cannabinoids, it has negligible amounts of THC. In fact, in order to be cultivated legally, hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. 

Even today, most industrial hemp is grown for its fiber and contains small concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. Still, many of the CBD products on the market are derived from this kind of industrial hemp. 

Palleviate products are different because the CBD oil used in our products is made from a CBD-rich strain of hemp known as PCR hemp, or phytocannabinoid rich hemp. This plant contains up to 10 times the concentration of CBD as typical industrial hemp and still contains only negligible amounts of THC, meaning it does not cause a high.

Types of CBD Oil

Now that we know the types of plants used to produce CBD oil, let’s explore some of the different types of CBD oil available on the market and the different benefits of CBD oils.

CBD from PCR Hemp vs. CBD from Marijuana

While most CBD oils are derived from hemp, oils can also be extracted from marijuana. The oils made from marijuana plants are referred to as cannabis oil. These extracts often contain some CBD, they’re intended to contain enough THC to cause a high. Like marijuana, these extracts are considered illegal Schedule I drugs in the United States.

When we discuss CBD oil on the Palleviate website, we’re talking about CBD oil produced from PCR hemp, not THC-containing cannabis oils made from marijuana. To take that one step further, our products are typically made from two primary types of CBD oils: full spectrum CBD oil and broad spectrum CBD oil.

What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Raw PCR hemp extract contains a number of compounds in addition to cannabinoid compounds like CBD, which can have beneficial effects for users. One class of these compounds are called terpenes. Full spectrum CBD oils are labeled as such because they retain the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant. Full spectrum CBD oil also contains the plant’s original concentration of THC - about 0.3%. 

What is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?

Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to full spectrum, with one primary difference: it has all trace amounts of THC extracted. Broad spectrum CBD oil contains the same concentrations of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found in full spectrum CBD oil, but contains 0.0% THC. The majority of Palleviate’s products are made with this type of CBD oil, and are ideal for anyone who wants absolutely no THC in their CBD products.

CBD oil and hemp plant collage to show what is CBD oilWhat is CBD Oil Used For?

Now that we’ve explored the history of CBD and what CBD oil actually is, it’s time to dive into the uses of CBD and the benefits of CBD. Ready to keep learning? Click the button below to explore the benefits of CBD.


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The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.