What is CBD?

by Laura Howarth August 16, 2022

What is CBD?

You’ve likely noticed these three letters cropping up everywhere. From coffee shops to cosmetics, it seems that everyone has climbed aboard the CBD train – but not everyone really knows where it’s going.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is enjoying a moment in the limelight. Some companies would have you believe that it is a miracle solution for every ailment, but can it really live up to this hype? While it might offer some benefits for overall wellness, there are limitations to what it can achieve.

In this guide, we’ll offer a no-nonsense approach to CBD that will help you to make an informed decision about whether it is right for you. By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what CBD is, what it can (and cannot do), and how to safely add it to your daily routine.

What is CBD: fast facts

  • CBD is also known as cannabidiol. It is a plant compound extracted from the cannabis plant.
  • People are often wary about anything derived from cannabis because of its potential to get you high, but CBD doesn’t work like this.
  • CBD is used to support the endocannabinoid system, which is found throughout the body and helps to maintain a state of homeostasis or balance.
  • There’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD and what it can do for the body, but early research is promising. There are already two medicines containing CBD available on the NHS.
  • The most popular way to take CBD for general health and wellbeing is with drops placed under the tongue. This is the easiest way to get the perfect serving size.

What does cannabidiol do?

The Endocannabinoid System - brain

CBD is a plant compound known as a cannabinoid. There are around 113 of these compounds in the cannabis plant – that we know of. These compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is found in all living things.

The ECS is made up of receptors and neurotransmitters and is essentially a messaging system for the body. It helps to maintain a state of homeostasis, which just means balance. To do this, it sends messages between different parts of the body to trigger essential processes.

We don’t yet fully understand how CBD interacts with the ECS or how it supports it, but there are a few theories that are gaining momentum. One theory is that CBD inhibits the release of an enzyme called FAAH. This enzyme breaks down anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid produced in the body.

When there is more anandamide available, the ECS can function more effectively. There is also a theory that CBD may help to support a faulty ECS, but more research is needed to understand how this might work.

Is CBD safe to consume?

Safe to consume lab

CBD is generally considered safe for healthy adults to take as a daily supplement. The Food Standards Agency recommends that healthy adults do not exceed more than 70mg of CBD per day. 

CBD is non-intoxicating, which means it won’t get you high or alter your perceptions. It is also not habit-forming or addictive, so you can stop taking it at any time without any concern. 

There are some people who should avoid CBD. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid CBD, as we don’t yet know if it is safe for infants or how it might affect a child’s development. 

There is also the risk that CBD could interact with certain medications. Always consult with your pharmacist or GP before adding CBD to your daily routine if you are unsure.

Are there any side effects?

Everyone has a different response to CBD depending on the serving size, experience with CBD, height, weight, metabolism, and individual body chemistry. There are some potential side effects of CBD to look out for. These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Increased fatigue

The good news is that these side effects are often mild and will pass quickly. If you do have any side effects, you can stop and then try CBD again once they have subsided. But some of our customers have reported that these stop after taking CBD for a few weeks.

How does CBD make you feel?

Married happy couple sunset

As mentioned above, everyone has a different reaction to CBD. The most important thing to remember is that CBD is non-intoxicating, so it isn’t going to make you feel high

This is the case for all legal CBD that contains low levels of THC. If you purchase CBD from a less reputable source, there is always the risk that it could contain high levels of THC or other contaminants. This is one reason you should only purchase CBD from a seller that can offer a certificate of analysis.

Assuming your CBD is from a reputable source and does not contain high levels of THC, then you might feel some differences when taking CBD. Some users report feeling a sense of calm, a boost of energy, or simply feeling more aware of their own bodies. 

CBD is a very mindful supplement, and it encourages you to check in with yourself to notice any subtle differences. Your choice of CBD will have a big impact on how quickly it works its way into your system, and this can influence how it makes you feel.

How to take CBD

All CBD products

There are many ways to try CBD for the first time. There are benefits and disadvantages to each, and it is also possible to combine supplements to create your perfect daily routine. 

The most popular method of consumption is CBD oil in the form of drops and sprays placed under the tongue. A large portion of the CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream through the small blood vessels under your tongue. 

CBD gummies and edibles are also growing in popularity as they’ll allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth while enjoying a single serving of CBD. You could also try CBD capsules, which look like a vitamin supplement. The absorption will be slower than with CBD oil since the CBD is absorbed during digestion. CBD tea is another popular way to wind down at the end of the day.

Vaping is also a popular way to enjoy CBD. But you can’t just add any CBD oil to your e-cigarette; it needs to be a specialist CBD vape liquid. This offers the highest bioavailability and will allow the CBD to get to work much faster.


CBD is a food supplement that can help to support your body to achieve a sense of overall wellness. Provided you get your CBD from a reputable source, it should be non-intoxicating, which means it won’t get you high or alter your mental state.

There are many ways to take CBD oil. From drops under the tongue to gummies and vapes, there’s no shortage of methods to explore.

While it is generally considered safe, there is the risk that you could take too much, which could lead to some mild side effects. The Food Standards Agency recommends adults do not exceed more than 70mg of CBD per day.

CBD oil is the most popular method for enjoying CBD supplements. This method allows you to adjust the serving size to meet your individual needs.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth


Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.

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