CBD: Frequently Asked Questions

What is CBD?

CBD and THC are the two active compounds found in cannabis plants (marijuana and hemp). To simplify it, CBD has many potential medical applications, specifically in “relaxation” related effects: calming, anxiety support, muscle relaxation. It has been studied to help in pain management and epilepsy with promise. THC is more fun since it has more of the psychoactive effects, causing the “high.” THC also is known to stimulate appetite.

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana are cousins. One could say they have a ‘strained’ relationship. Hemp has more CBD than THC. Marijuana has more THC than CBD. Marijuana is more illegal than hemp, but all of it is in this weird legal place because of federal law, state law, and all of that fun.  

What’s the difference between hemp oil and CBD?

Here’s one of my awesome analogies:

A hemp plant is like an orange. Hemp oil is like orange juice. CBD is like Vitamin C.

CBD is a single active constituent of a hemp plant. Hemp oil is the, well, oil squeezed from or extracted from the hemp plant. You leave all of the fibrous plant stuff and squeeze out all the nutritional/beneficial compounds.

And this is where you have to be careful. When your CBD product says “40mg”, we have to ensure it is 40mg of CBD and not hemp oil. Hemp oil contains CBD, and it will be a small part of the total hemp oil.

Are there different “strains” of CBD?

The strain of cannabis plants dictates, among other things, how much THC and how much CBD are present. Different strains will have different amounts of THC to CBD.

When it comes to CBD supplements, those variables are removed. CBD is taken out of the plants or strains and concentrated. They are 100% CBD with no legal amount of THC, so the strains are irrelevant when discussing CBD. So, no, there aren’t any cool named CBD strains like “Purple Kush.”

Why is CBD so popular?

Grandmas, potheads, business people, soccer moms all love CBD. There are lots of variables of why it is so popular, but it has to do with promising research, a change in the cannabis legal landscape, a booming marijuana industry, and more awareness and acceptance.

 Dr. Neal Smoller is your personal authority on all things CBD – give him a call to learn more!

Can CBD be used in children?

Research around CBD in children for specific illnesses such as epilepsy looks promising. It’s important to speak with a pediatrician before starting on CBD in children.

Can CBD be used in animals?

Veterinarians are recommending it in dogs and cats for anxiety-related conditions and in some cases for pain management. Don’t start using CBD in your animal without talking to your vet or an expert in veterinary medicine. Dogs and cats are very different from humans (of course) and handle medicines, and more importantly, inactive ingredients, differently.

What dose should I use?

Great question. “Who the heck knows” is actually a good response.

There aren’t really established dosing guidelines yet. In humans, we recommend starting low and increasing every few days until it gives you the result you are looking for OR it just isn’t doing anything for you. Starting doses for humans can be anywhere between 5-20mg. For cats and dogs, doses of 1-5 mg for every 10 pounds are common recommendations by veterinarians. Always start low and go slow.

How fast does it work?

CBD dissolved under the tongue can work in as fast as 30 minutes to an hour. Orally absorbed CBD would work a bit slower, taking 1-1.5 hours. Vaporized CBD (inhaled/smoked) would work sooner – 10-30 minutes.

The other side to the “how fast does it work” question is “how long till I get the benefit?” The effect doesn’t really accumulate like some medicines, so we would want to escalate the dose as tolerated as soon as possible. What I mean is, if 10mg isn’t doing anything for you, taking 10mg for 2 weeks won’t do anything either. Try to increase every 3-7 days slowly – as you tolerate.

What kind of side effects or problems can happen from CBD use?

Because of the lack of research, we are only familiar with anecdotes from generations of cannabis consumption and small bits of data we have. The biggest side effect of CBD is sedation and muscle relaxation, so it should not be consumed before doing important things like driving or using a meat slicer 🙂

We don’t know of long-term problems as of yet, but based on historical knowledge, it seems there aren’t many risks if consumed moderately.

How does CBD come? What dosage form is the best?

CBD can come in vaporized forms (in legal states), liquids that are dissolved under the tongue, oral dosage forms like capsules, tablets, or gummies even, or in topical preparations which are usually ointments.

Our preference: Liquids > vaporized >>> oral >> topical.

We think the best bet is under the tongue oils. Oral capsules, tablets, or chewables like gummies will require higher amounts to get the same effect in most people, plus they end up costing more per mg of CBD.

Topical CBD could work in theory, but it is expensive and many topical CBD products aren’t really formulated to “push” the CBD into the blood. Until we know more about how CBD is absorbed through the skin, it’s best to use oral instead. Remember, our skins are all different, so effects will be more different person to person than using an oral product. Technically an oral oil COULD be used topically – just put the dose on the area and massage in – if you wanted a local effect.

How do I learn more?

We speak about quality in our CBD rant. We give lots of good tips in our recent video on buying CBD. We have a downloadable tool to help you do the math around CBD. If you read up here, you’ll be a CBD expert in no time! 

Just trying to keep it real…

Neal Smoller, PharmD
Owner, Pharmacist, Big Mouth

Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist

About Neal Smoller

Dr. Neal Smoller, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist: and owner of Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in the most famous small town in America—Woodstock, NY. He’s also the host of the popular wellness podcast, The Big Mouth Pharmacist.”


The Vital 5

Nutrients you shouldn’t live without
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