Hemp-Derived CBD: What Exactly Is It?

Whether you are someone who strives to eat clean, lives naturally, seeks plant-based solutions or needs a long-term tool for a thorny health issue, you’ve likely heard about the potential of CBD. If you haven’t, you soon will. Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be everywhere – from grocery store shelves to your doctor’s waiting room. This product has surged in popularity in recent years, with everyone from health practitioners to major media outlets interested in its effectiveness for things like anxiety, sleep, and long-term pain management.

But just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon, as your mother used to say. We’re with mom – it’s wise to find out everything you can about CBD oil as you begin to explore its potential to benefit your life, and its applications for your health.


CBD is an oil extracted from a family of plants called cannabinoids. Hemp and marijuana are species of cannabis, both members of the Cannabis sativa family. Although hemp and Marijuana share some botanical similarities, they have a very different biological structure. Hemp has very low concentrations of THC (the compound in marijuana that causes a psychoactive “high”). Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC, while marijuana contains concentrations between 15% and 40%. CBD is not psychoactive, and can’t cause a high, but it has multiple other physical and mental benefits.

Hemp has been grown for hundreds of years primarily for industrial and practical purposes – while marijuana is grown for recreational and medicinal purposes. In 1940 Dr. Roger Adams and his team at the University of Illinois first identified CBD in hemp extract. But it wasn’t until 1963 that the structure of this natural compound began to be well understood.

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Researchers identified a little-known system in the body vital to overall physical health – the endocannabinoid system. Just as the immune system protects the body from outside threats, and the respiratory system process oxygen to feed cells, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is crucial to maintaining internal balance on a chemical level. The ECS regulates a wide range of systems – appetite, sleep, inflammation, stress levels, cognitive function, and more. It’s something of a control panel for the body, and its effects trickle down to other aspects of your daily life that you may take for granted – until they become out of balance.

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Phytocannabinoids are chemically similar to endocannabinoids but are produced by plants. When your system becomes out of balance, phytocannabinoids can be an option for relief. Hemp-derived CBD oil has been shown to positively regulate the endocannabinoid system, helping you to address issues such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, hypertension, and even cardiovascular health. Taking plant-derived CBD as a supplement has multiple benefits, including physical, psychological and neurological.