What is CBD? CBD types, benefits and side effects explained

CBD Products

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which can make people feel “high,” CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. This means it won’t change how you think or feel in the same way that marijuana can. People use CBD because it might help with things like pain, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Types of CBD Products

CBD Isolate

Description: This is the purest form of CBD, with all other parts of the cannabis plant removed.

Benefits: No THC at all, so it’s a good choice if you want to avoid any THC. It’s also easier to control the dose.

Risks/Side Effects: Usually mild, like feeling sleepy, having a dry mouth, or losing your appetite.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Description: Contains CBD plus other natural parts of the cannabis plant, including small amounts of THC (less than 0.3%).

Benefits: All the different parts work together to make the CBD more effective, known as the “entourage effect.”

Risks/Side Effects: Because it has a tiny bit of THC, it might show up on a drug test. Side effects can include feeling a bit high if you’re very sensitive to THC.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Description: Contains CBD and other parts of the cannabis plant but no THC.

Benefits: Offers some of the benefits of full-spectrum CBD without the risk of THC.

Risks/Side Effects: Similar to CBD isolate, with mild side effects like sleepiness and dry mouth.

CBD Oil/Tinctures

Description: Liquid CBD that you can take by putting a few drops under your tongue or adding to food and drinks.

Benefits: Absorbs quickly and you can easily adjust the dose.

Risks/Side Effects: Might cause stomach issues, changes in appetite, or interact with other medications.

CBD Edibles

Description: Foods and drinks infused with CBD, like gummies, chocolates, and sodas.

Benefits: Tasty and easy to take, with effects that last longer because they’re digested slowly.

Risks/Side Effects: Effects take longer to start, and it’s easier to accidentally take too much. Can cause stomach discomfort.

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CBD Topicals

Description: Creams, lotions, and balms that you apply directly to your skin.

Benefits: Good for targeting specific areas of pain or skin issues without affecting the rest of your body.

Risks/Side Effects: Might cause skin irritation or allergies in some people.

CBD Capsules and Pills

Description: Pre-measured CBD doses in pill or capsule form.

Benefits: Easy to take and you always get the same amount of CBD.

Risks/Side Effects: Slower to absorb compared to oils, and might cause digestive problems.

Benefits of CBD

  • Pain Relief: Can help with chronic pain by reducing inflammation and affecting pain signals.
  • Anxiety and Depression: Some studies suggest CBD can help reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Helps reduce inflammation, which is useful for conditions like arthritis.
  • Neuroprotective Properties: Might help with neurological disorders like epilepsy.
  • Heart Health: Can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
  • Skin Health: Topical CBD can help with acne and other skin conditions.

Risks and Side Effects of CBD

  • Dry Mouth: One of the most common side effects.
  • Diarrhea: Some people experience digestive issues, especially with high doses.
  • Reduced Appetite: CBD can sometimes make people feel less hungry.
  • Drowsiness and Fatigue: Especially if taken in large amounts.
  • Interactions with Other Medications: CBD can change how some medicines work in your body.
  • Potential for Drug Tests: Full-spectrum CBD products might contain trace amounts of THC that could show up on a drug test.


CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant that many people use for its potential health benefits, such as pain relief and reducing anxiety. It comes in different forms, each with its own benefits and risks. While CBD is generally safe, it’s important to choose the right type for your needs and be aware of possible side effects. Always talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

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