Here’s What You Need to Know About CBD Oil

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

In the past year there’s been a growing buzz for CBD, short for “cannabidiol” which is a chemical compound found in marijuana. It comes in a variety of forms, including oil, creams, and capsules. While CBD won’t make you high, many people have found that it helps with moderate anxiety and chronic pain. It also, apparently, makes for a pretty good vinaigrette.

What Is CBD Oil?

The two most prevalent oils that come from cannabis plants are hemp oil and CBD oil. According to Westword’s in-house weed expert, the biggest difference between the two is which part of the plant they’re sourced from; hemp oil is pressed from the seeds, while CBD oil is derived from the flowers. Neither oil contains THC, the psychoactive chemical that makes Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties seem like the pinnacle of western cinema.

Hemp oil and the kind of CBD oil that we’re discussing are sourced from hemp, which is a kind of cannabis that must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp is considered an agricultural product, while marijuana is, you know, a recreational one.

CBD oil gets its own powers (and its abbreviation) from cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in the cannabis plant. It has recently been considered as a treatment option for everything from anxiety to chronic pain, and researchers have considered its potential to help with some forms of pediatric epilepsy and with opioid addiction.

Here’s where we point out that no, this is not the same as medical marijuana; that involves marijuana, not hemp, and it definitely includes THC. Also, double-no, these claims have not yet been evaluated by the FDA.

CBD Oil and Food

CBD oil has also started to appear in foods-with-benefits, like Not Pot chocolates, a snack that is being sold as a “chocolate with benefits.” Its manufacturer suggests that CBD content might aid relaxation and de-stressing. Somewhat confusingly, though, it uses cutesy branding like “We go high,” while reminding customers that no, really, CBD oil isn’t going to make you high.

At this year’s Orange County Fair, chef Keiko Beatty did a cooking demonstration that involved using CBD oil in a vegan chocolate pudding and in the strawberry vinaigrette that accompanied her arugula tofu hemp salad. And, on the other side of the country, organic vegan juice bar Raleigh Raw has started offering CBD oil as an add-in for its smoothies.

Just remember, whether you’re eating CBD oil in bite-sized chocolate pieces or pouring it over your salad, those Garfield movies are still going to be terrible.

Have you tried cooking with CBD oil? Have you felt any less stressed after consuming it?