What is CBD? Your Burning Questions Answered

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Zara Kenyon


Gregor Zorn

If you’ve ever asked, ‘what is CBD?’, you’ve come to the right place. At Cannaray, we’re not just committed to bringing you the most premium products; we’re pioneering better CBD education, too.

That’s why – with insight from Cannaray’s Chief Science Officer, Gregor Zorn – we’re answering your most pressing CBD questions, covering where it comes from, its many uses and whether you can pack it on your next city break.

Here's what you need to know...

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1. What Does CBD Stand For?

CBD is a shorter, easier way of saying ‘cannabidiol’, which likely brings you to your next question: ‘what is cannabidiol?’ Put simply, it’s a chemical compound produced by the hemp plant, and one of over 100 chemical plant compounds that can be found in hemp.

This natural substance is something of a secret weapon in the wellness world, with the ability to interact with your body’s built-in endocannabinoid system. This interaction with your body is how CBD is thought to promote homeostasis – the sense of internal balance that all of us strive for.

Cannabis seedlings for CBD

2. What's the Difference Between CBD and THC?

When people hear about a compound derived from hemp, some can mistakenly assume it’s going to make them feel ‘high’, but this is only true when THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is involved. THC is responsible for the psychoactive states associated with taking cannabis, but Cannaray’s CBD is entirely THC-free – meaning our products are all non-psychoactive.

Palm leaves in water

3. What Does Hemp Have to Do with CBD?

The words ‘hemp’ and ‘cannabis’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but hemp is actually just one type of Cannabis Sativa plant. Its leaves are abundant in CBD, so it’s a great natural source for the supplement. However, its seeds are not, meaning if you see ‘hemp oil’ or ‘hemp seed oil’ for sale, you shouldn't confuse it with CBD oil.

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4. Why is CBD Getting So Much Attention?

CBD is getting a lot of attention right now because unlike THC, it is not intoxicating,” explains Gregor. “It doesn't produce the high that is associated with THC, but studies to date show it has the potential to have similar therapeutic effects as THC. However, the ways that CBD and THC actually work in our body are very different.

5. Is CBD Legal?

The legality of CBD depends on the country you’re living in. However, in all locales Cannaray ships to – the UK, the US and most European countries – CBD is legal. That said, it’s always advisable to research the laws around Cannabis in your country (or any countries you’re visiting) before purchasing CBD products.

In Europe

EU regulations state that CBD is allowed, providing the products contain no more than 0.2% THC. However, it’s down to each country to decide how they interpret these guidelines, with some opting to make it legal, and others ruling against all Cannabis products. For example, the UK, France, Germany, and a host of others all say that CBD products can be sold, as long as they’re below the THC limit. However, some countries, such as Denmark and Iceland, have banned CBD, while Austria, Belgium, Finland and a number of other countries state you need a prescription first.

In the United States

According to federal law in America, CBD that’s grown from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC is legal. That means you are allowed to buy it in all 50 United States. 31 of those states also allow for the medical use of marijuana, while 11 have made recreational use of marijuana legal.

6. Will It Show Up On a Drug Test?

CBD will only show up on a drug test if THC is present. That’s why, if you’re taking a test, it’s safer not to use a full-spectrum CBD product. Such blends will only contain trace amounts of the compound – which are legally sound because the levels are so low – but it may be enough THC to trigger a positive drug test.

If you’re worried, opt for isolate CBD instead. This means the CBD has been extracted and isolated from the hemp plant to ensure that there is 0% THC in every batch. Cannaray CBD is the only CBD brand who is a member of ESSNA, the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance, as well as the official CBD partner for the PGA®, making our products safe and effective for use in professional sports, with no risk of THC showing up in a drug test.

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7. What Does Taking CBD Feel Like?

Now you know that CBD doesn’t cause you to feel ‘high’, what does it feel like? “Taking CBD doesn't change your consciousness,” explains Gregor. “You can still function fully and totally normally”

*"This is why CBD has been rising in popularity as a natural remedy for managing a variety of conditions, not only in the UK, but across the globe. At present there is little evidence to date of any unwanted side effects and no evidence of addictions. Therefore if taking CBD can help you as an individual — even though it's effects are still being studied — then you have very little to lose by giving it a try"

“Other pharmaceutical drugs often have the unwanted side effects of making you feel a little nonresponsive and zombie-like. CBD doesn't have these side effects, so it's really fascinating to hear what patients who are using CBD are reporting.”(1)

In fact, a recently published case series looking at the effect of cannabidiol on anxiety and sleep concluded that CBD appeared to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications in all but 3 patients out of the 72 participants. Controlled clinical studies are needed to validate the true effects of CBD and we look forward to the further research to come.

Holding CBD Capsule in Hand

8. What Can CBD Be Used For?

There are a host of reported use cases for CBD, with studies, surveys & news articles claiming it may help with everything from stress and anxiety to inflammation and sleep disorders.

Whilst large scale clinical studies are needed to verify these claims, one of the most commonly discussed uses is CBD’s impact on pain, and Gregor explains, “In preclinical studies, CBD has shown to have certain analgesic properties, meaning that it may be useful for pain relief, especially when there is pain due to inflammation.”

“Inflammation is a part of the reaction of the immune system that's extremely important in the healing process. That's why it's a good idea to have something to mitigate the inflammation. Studies have shown that CBD may have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties when used as an adjunct supplement to traditional pain medication, especially in cases where pain arises from some sort of inflammatory process.”

Woman touching face

9. What Else Can CBD Help With?

“CBD is also being studied for its potential to help with a lot of other less detrimental problems,” says Gregor. *“Some skin conditions can be very problematic and more than just a nuisance. There is preliminary evidence that CBD may also help with certain skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is present in the majority of skin conditions."

A 2014 study looked into the effects on CBD on human sebocytes - the cells in the skin that create sebum. It revealed that CBD has the potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne. Gregor explains,“Initial research has shown that CBD can prevent the over-stimulated production of sebum, which is one of the major causes of [blemishes].”

While the results of this initial study are promising, controlled human studies are still lacking, and further reseach is necessary to understand the true impact of CBD on a variety of skin conditions.

Girl eating Cannaray CBD Orange Flavoured Gummy

10. How Long Does CBD Stay in the System?

One of the many benefits of CBD is that its results are long-lasting, namely because it takes a while for the enzymes in your body to metabolise it. Typically, the compound stays in your system for three to five days after use, but this timespan can vary from one person to the next. There are a number of factors that affect how long it stays in your system, including the amount of food you eat, how much CBD you use, how often you use it and, of course, your genetic make-up.

11. What Should You Look For in CBD?

High-Quality Plant Extract:

When it comes to high-quality CBD, how the plant is extracted is a vital factor, and every brand approaches this process differently. Our CBD is triple lab tested for purity to ensure a quality and safe CBD product every time.


For the uninitiated, CBD bioavailability relates to how much of the product is absorbed into your bloodstream, and how effective it will be. It plays a huge role in every product we create, including the CBD Oral Drops, which are blended with coconut oil – a carrier oil that ups absorbency and tastes delicious.


Look to CBD essentials made with transparency at the forefront; brands that are proud of their extraction process and the way their products are sourced. You’re in the right place at Cannaray, as every capsule, oil or topical that arrives at your doorstep comes with a serial number, so you can track the full production process.

Know your CBDs from your THCs - Our Glossary should help with any tricky terminology

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