What is CBD Oil?


Even at my age, I use text-speak shortcuts – such as lol, idk, brb, atm – and I don’t mind learning more. So when I saw “cbd”, what was I to think? (“Come Back Down”?)

‘CBD oil’ is one of those terms that gets bandied about, but often people are not sure what it is.


How do we define CBD?

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

The letters C, B and D are not the initials for three separate words like in text-speak, they are short for the word ‘Cannabidiol’.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a ‘cannabinoid’ from the cannabis plant, and  is one of many active compounds found in cannabis, including 80 – 100 other cannabinoids.

Cannabis has been cultivated for centuries, and has always been valued for its medicinal properties from cannabinoids, especially Cannabidiol, as well as for its fibres used in clothing and construction.

To make CBD Oil, the raw cannabis first needs to be baked to ‘decarboxylate’ it. This special process activates the CBD. Then it is soaked in alcohol for quite some time. This process extracts a concentrated form of Cannabidiol, which is then mixed with a carrier oil to preserve it and make it easier to handle.

You can read our full article on how to make CBD oil here.

It is often administered using a dropper to place a few drops under the tongue where it can be quickly absorbed. Vaping is popular as it is enjoyable and also easily absorbed. CBD Oil is also available in edibles, such as gummies, coffee, chocolates or honey, and in lotions and creams for applying to the skin.


The Cannabis Plant

The plant genus ‘Cannabis’ includes more than one species of plant. The most noteworthy two are Cannabis Sativa, usually called ‘hemp’, and Cannabis Indica, commonly known as ‘marijuana’. Unfortunately, many people are only aware of ‘cannabis’ as referring to marijuana.

What is CBD and THC, and what is the difference? 

Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabinoids – including Cannabidiol – and both contain some of the psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol, which is shortened to THC. Hemp contains such a tiny amount of THC that it can never get you ‘high’, while marijuana boasts a substantial quantity.

CBD is highly valued for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and THC has therapeutic benefits, and can also give users a ‘high’, especially when it is smoked. For more information check out this article.


Will CBD Oil get you high?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two separate compounds found in Cannabis. Cannabidiol will not get you high. But when the Cannabidiol is made into CBD oil, it often contains other compounds, such as THC and some of the other chemicals from the Cannabis.

The Cannabidiol may be extracted from either hemp or marijuana and, depending on the extraction process, the CBD oil may contain some THC. If the CBD oil is from hemp, the THC content will be miniscule, and it will definitely not get you high. CBD oil from the marijuana plant could contain larger amounts of THC, but it is also unlikely to get you high because of the presence of the Cannabidiol.

According to the ADF (Alcohol and Drug Foundation), “CBD is thought to have an anti-psychoactive effect that controls or moderates the ‘high’ caused by the THC. CBD is also thought to reduce some of the other negative effects that people can experience from THC, such as anxiety.”

So while CBD oil with THC may ease your pain, and even help you to fall asleep, it is unlikely to make you feel high. That doesn’t mean that there is no THC in your system. And if you are stopped by the police for a roadside drug test, or if you have a drug test at work, even though you are not at all incapacitated by the THC, it may register (even after several days) if there was enough of it in your CBD oil.

Is Hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil? 

Cannabidiol is extracted from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the cannabis plant, either hemp or marijuana.

The seeds of the hemp plant are also harvested, and cold pressed to extract the oil, which is marketed as “Hemp Oil”, “Hemp Seed Oil”, or “Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil”. It does not contain Cannabidiol.

Although hemp seed oil contains no Cannabidiol, it is regarded as something of a superfood, high in antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, adding nutritional value to your diet and also yielding great results when applied topically as skincare.

Compared to actual CBD oil, hemp seed oil is cheap, and readily available in health food stores. People looking for reasonably priced CBD oil could be forgiven for thinking they have come across bargain priced hemp based CBD oil.

Hemp seed oil is often used as a carrier oil for the Cannabidiol in CBD oil. Other common carrier oils are avocado oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil and pomegranate oil.


Benefits of CBD oil 

Both CBD and THC attach to the cannabinoid receptors in the human body, and it has been found that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, assisting with pain and sleep. As a digestive aid it has anti-bacterial and anti-nausea capabilities. People with neurological problems have found it is anti-epileptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety.

Clearly there is potential for Cannabidiol to replace many pharmaceuticals.

The list of conditions CBD can potentially treat and mitigate is growing. We spoke with Dr Ben from CDA health about the common patient conditions they are treating. Please note, some of these treatments involve prescription of both THC and CBD.


Is CBD oil legal in Australia, and how can you get some?

CBD Oil is legal in Australia, with medical approval.

Medicinal Cannabis, which includes CBD oil, is only legally available in Australia through the Special Access Scheme (SAS), but not many people have accessed it so far. This is because the process is complicated and expensive. Regulations vary from state to state, and patients need to find a doctor who is registered to prescribe it. The patient must have a serious condition, and have already tried other medications without success.

Recreational use of CBD Oil is not legal in any state in Australia.


How to get CBD Oil in Australia 

It is possible to get CBD Oil in Australia.

You could find a doctor who will prescribe exactly what you need and provide ongoing care. Or you could decide to go it alone and buy your product through one of the many online suppliers. You will first need to carefully research exactly what you need, make sure you get what you pay for, and work out how to use what you buy.


How hard can it be?

Despite the long words (cannabinoids, cannabidiol) and the abbreviations (CBD, THC), CBD Oil isn’t that confusing. Those who would benefit from using it are able to access it one way or another.

For more articles on the topic visit our homepage.



Bradford, Alina. “What Is THC?” LiveScience, Purch, 18 May 2017, www.livescience.com/24553-what-is-thc.html.

Lapidos, Rachel, and Rachel Lapidos. “CBD and Hemp Seed Oil Are Totally Different Things-Here’s What You Need to Know.” Well Good, Well Good, 11 Feb. 2019, http://www.wellandgood.com/good-looks/hemp-oil-vs-cbd-oil/.

“Medicinal Cannabis.” Medicinal Cannabis – Alcohol and Drug Foundation, adf.org.au/drug-facts/medicinal-cannabis/.

As a retired educator, after 20 years' teaching primary school children in Australia and 10 years' training adult ESL students in 6 countries around the world, Ruth Wickham is now a freelance writer with a special interest in Cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Ruth Wickham

Writer, Hinterland co.

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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn't replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

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