If you’re interested in trying CBD oil, you probably have some important questions about where to start. You might even consider raising the question with your doctor. While it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor before you make a big change in your wellness routine, you won’t need a prescription from them to start using CBD oil. 

Does a Doctor Need To Prescribe CBD Oil?

No, you do not need a prescription to buy CBD oil. Depending on the state, many stores won’t sell CBD oil products to people under 18 or 21. CBD-infused products may be a different story; you can usually buy CBD-infused lip balm or skin care directly off the shelf in the beauty aisle. 

CBD oil isn’t a medical product, and it’s not intended to act as a medicine or an alternative to medicine. 

Is CBD a Medicine?

CBD is a naturally occurring part of hemp extract, and hemp is an annual herb. This makes CBD something called a nutraceutical, or an herb you use for special benefits. It’s similar to something like ashwagandha root, saw palmetto, or St. John’s wort. 

The term “nutraceutical” goes hand in hand with the term “superfood.” You ingest it, and your body uses it, but it has more beneficial components than just its vitamin, mineral, and nutrient profile. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil have nutritional benefits, but people use CBD-rich hemp extract primarily because they enjoy how it makes them feel. 

CBD in topical products works as an active botanical. You’ve probably seen advertisements for skincare products that contain things like rose water, licorice extract, or colloidal oatmeal. Therefore, you’re probably familiar with the idea of plants and flowers being used to fortify self-care products. CBD skin care falls under the same umbrella. 

Epidiolex Is the Only Prescription Form of CBD

If you’re still wondering why you thought you needed a prescription for CBD, Epidiolex is probably the reason. A few years back, the FDA approved Epidiolex as a drug for people with severe seizure disorders. Epidiolex is pharmacologically pure CBD. In layman’s terms, it’s CBD in medicine form. 

You only need a prescription for CBD if you’re using Epidiolex as a medicine under the guidance of a doctor. If you have a seizure disorder or you believe you may have a seizure disorder, you need to talk to your doctor before using CBD. 

The CBD you can buy at the health food store isn’t the same as prescription CBD. The two don’t serve the same purpose, and you can’t substitute one for the other. 

For now, store-bought CBD is just a nutraceutical supplement that the wellness community loves.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana isn’t a special plant. It’s really just a concept. Some people use cannabis for recreational purposes because they like how it makes them feel. Some people find that cannabis soothes feelings of discomfort or helps them get their appetite back.

Those people can speak to a doctor and get approval to join their state’s medical cannabis program. Their doctor will give them a general prescription for how much cannabis they can purchase and use in a month. They get a special identification card that allows them to purchase cannabis in whatever form they choose from a medical cannabis dispensary. 

Medical cannabis contains a full wealth of cannabinoids. It contains CBD, but it also contains a lot more. Medical cannabis is often high in THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive cannabinoid that can make you feel high. 

Medical cannabis patients use THC-rich cannabis because the effects of THC soothe feelings of physical discomfort. 

What Is the Difference Between CBD and Medical Marijuana?

The biggest difference between most CBD products and medical marijuana is the presence of THC. CBD comes from hemp plants, cannabis plants bred to produce 0.3 percent THC or less by dry weight. In contrast, conventional cannabis plants can produce up to 30 percent THC by weight. That’s a big difference. 

When you use hemp-derived CBD, you shouldn’t feel the effects of the very tiny amount of THC. It’s not substantial enough to make you feel high. That’s why the government legalized agricultural hemp and hemp products. They don’t perceive hemp as a drug because it doesn’t affect people the same way. 

Even though hemp-derived CBD doesn’t contain enough THC to cause psychoactive effects, some still aren’t comfortable using it. People who can’t use any products containing THC (like many professional athletes) also avoid CBD products that may contain detectable levels of THC.

Some hemp companies go the extra mile to remove the tiny amount of THC that naturally occurs in hemp extract. When hemp extract is whole, it’s called full-spectrum CBD. When the THC has been completely removed, it’s called broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate (pure CBD). 

How Do I Know What’s in My CBD Oil?

Most of us have become discerning consumers — we want to know what we’re putting into our bodies and where it came from. Companies will tell you how much CBD is in each batch and whether it’s full-spectrum or broad-spectrum.

With CBD, it isn’t enough to trust the label. The industry doesn’t have enough regulations to hold it accountable. In the past, so-called “CBD companies” have been busted for misrepresenting their products' CBD content and purity.

Reputable CBD manufacturers take extra steps to verify the information they put on the label. They send their hemp extract to a third-party lab that analyzes the extract to determine its cannabinoid content and purity. The lab will check for things like heavy metals and other contaminants to ensure that using the extract won’t put anyone at risk. 

Before buying a CBD product of any kind, you should always look at the lab report (certificate of analysis). Companies that test their products will post the lab report where their customers can see it. 

If the brand doesn’t mention lab testing or doesn’t show a certificate of analysis, treat that as a red flag. Go elsewhere for CBD you can trust. 

Is CBD the Same Thing As Hemp Oil?

The terms “CBD oil” and “hemp oil” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. CBD oil is technically hemp extract. It’s the oil extracted from a hemp plant, including the CBD that the plant naturally contains. It’s sometimes referred to as hemp extract.

Hemp oil is made from the hemp plant's seeds and contains healthy omega 3s, adding an earthy flavor to foods and acting as a wonderful moisturizer for your skin. 

It doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoids. Ingesting it won’t impart the same benefits as ingesting CBD oil. 

You should always carefully read the label before you buy something. Some packaging can be extremely misleading. Brands that want to cash in on the current CBD craze will often make hemp products appear very similar to CBD products. 

If the price is too good to be true, there probably isn’t any CBD in the product. If there is CBD in the product, it will state the amount in milligrams on the packaging. There should also be a lab report for the batch number on the brand’s website that will verify its CBD content. 

The Takeaway

Technically speaking, CBD is CBD in any form. It doesn’t matter if you use CBD oil, softgel capsules, or CBD edibles. They’re all subject to the same standards, and you don’t need a prescription for any of them (except, of course, Epidiolex). 

Pure Relief’s vegan-friendly CBD gummies contain 25 mg of CBD per piece. Our gummies are broad-spectrum, so they don’t contain any detectable levels of THC. Our lab test results will back that up. Chew a tasty CBD gummy every time you need a little relief.

Sources:

Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill - 07/25/2019 | FDA

Role of nutraceuticals in human health - PMC | National Institutes of Health

FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD) | FDA

August 24, 2022