CBD in Canada: Answers to your most frequently asked questionsLeafly Canada StaffDecember 20, 2019
Got questions about CBD? You’ve come to the right place!
As a molecule, CBD is the same no matter where you go, but regulations and industry practices vary widely between countries—and sometimes between provinces and states, too. If you live in Canada, and want to quickly understand how CBD works here, this list is for you.
(Looking for information about CBD in the States? We’ve got you—find everything you need here.)
If you’re seeking a deeper understanding of CBD—including how it works on the brain and body, its relationship with THC, and how it affects specific symptoms, we invite you to check out our comprehensive guide to CBD in Canada.
CBD in Canada: FAQs
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoid molecules produced by cannabis, second only to THC in abundance. These plant-derived cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant in Greek), are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are part of our endocannabinoid system.
While THC is the principal psychoactive component of cannabis and has certain medical uses, CBD stands out because it is both non-intoxicating and displays a broad range of potential medical applications including helping with anxiety, inflammation, pain, and seizures.
Are there any studies on CBD?
Yes—and there are more and more every day. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest CBD findings and more.
Is CBD legal?
In Canada, CBD is regulated under the Cannabis Act, and legal for adult recreational use, as well as medical use when authorized by a physician (or in some provinces, a registered nurse).
Is CBD addictive?
No, CBD is not believed to be addictive.
Is CBD safe?
According to the World Health Organization, CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” However, it may interact with some common medications, such as benzodiazepines, statins, tricyclic antidepressants, and more. Speak with your doctor to determine if CBD is safe for you.
What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD and THC are cannabinoids, naturally-occurring chemical compounds found in cannabis. Both compounds have medical, wellness, and recreational applications, but only THC is intoxicating.
Is CBD psychoactive?
Yes, by definition any substance that alters brain function is psychoactive. Generally when people say that CBD is non-psychoactive, what they really mean is that it is not intoxicating.
What happens when CBD and THC are combined?
The experience of products containing CBD and THC depends on a number of factors, including individual biology and cannabis tolerance, as well as the potency and ratio of CBD to THC in a particular product, and the method of consumption. But in general, researchers believe that CBD and THC act synergistically; CBD may enhance some of THC’s effects and suppress others.
Can you get high from CBD?
No, on its own CBD does not produce the traditional high associated with THC. However, it can alter the effects of other ingredients found in cannabis, such as THC—either amplifying or dampening a high depending on dose.
Products containing CBD can include other ingredients that may induce feelings of intoxication, though CBD is unlikely to be the direct cause of a high.
Are there side effects from taking CBD?
Some common formulations, such as CBD oils, may cause digestive upset. CBD can also interact with some medications, such as benzodiazepines, statins, tricyclic antidepressants, and others. Speak with a doctor to learn more.
How much CBD should I take?
Individuals have highly variable responses to CBD and other cannabinoids, and your doctor or a cannabis-aware physician is the best person to guide you to the right dose. In general, most will advise patients to start low and go slow.
A physician’s perspective on optimal cannabis dosingDr. Dustin Sulak
Dosage is the key factor in achieving the most benefits and least adverse effects of cannabis. A basic understanding of the key characteristics of cannabis dosing can empower you to make the most of this incredibly versatile, safe, and effective herb. Learn more
How do I know if the CBD I’m buying is safe?
Look for the excise stamp. According to the Government of Canada, it can be found “on all cannabis products that have been legally produced and are available for purchase.”
What’s the best way to take CBD?
This depends on why you’re taking it, and how you want to feel. Talk to a doctor if you’re seeking to treat a specific condition or symptom. Generally oils, capsules, and edibles have slower onset and longer duration of effects, while inhaling vapour or smoke will have faster onset and shorter duration of effects.
Where can I buy CBD?
You can find CBD products at any legal cannabis retailer, although products and availability vary between provinces, and between individual stores.
How long do CBD’s effects last?
There’s no set answer for this, as it depends on personal biology and tolerance, as well as dose, product potency, mode of consumption, and other factors. Generally, the effects of inhaled CBD (via smoking or vapourizing) will not last as long as the effects of ingested CBD (via oils, capsules, or edibles).
Is CBD safe for my kid?
This is a question for your doctor. CBD is a regulated cannabinoid under the Cannabis Act, and currently it is illegal to give it to a child unless it has been authorized by a physician, or in some provinces, a registered nurse.
Is CBD safe for my pet?
The jury’s still out on CBD and pets—although preliminary research is promising, little is known about dosing, and according to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, there are currently no approved CBD-based drugs for pets in Canada. Learn more about the current state of knowledge on CBD and pets, particularly as it pertains to the US here, and here.
What’s the difference between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD?
The CBD molecule is the same regardless of origin, although hemp-derived products may differ from cannabis-derived products in other ways. Learn more about the different types of CBD products on the Canadian market. If you’re travelling to the States and planning to consume CBD there, this article will help you. Just remember, crossing the border with CBD products—no matter if they’re hemp or cannabis derived—could land you in legal trouble.
Which strains are highest in CBD?
These are the Canadian strains with the highest CBD content.
Do indica strains have more CBD?
What’s an indica strain, anyway? As our scientific understanding of cannabis grows, so too does our terminology, and today’s researchers don’t believe the terms indica or sativa can accurately describe a strain’s genetic history or its effects. The best way to determine a particular product’s CBD content is to look at its label, as all legal cannabis products are required to list CBD content there.
Will CBD make me hungry?
Does CBD oil expire?
Yes, your CBD oil expires when the oil it was made with does. Check the label for more details.
Does CBD help anxiety?
It may. More controlled clinical studies are needed, but numerous preclinical and case studies have found CBD to be safe and effective in easing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more about CBD and anxiety here and here.
Does CBD help pain?
CBD is neuroprotective and has shown good results treating neuropathic pain, or neuropathy, as well as inflammation, which can lead to pain, but much more research is required to assess CBD’s role as a general analgesic. Learn more about CBD, inflammation, and neuropathic pain here and here.
Is CBD covered by insurance?
A limited number of Canadian health insurance plans cover CBD that has been authorized by a physician or registered nurse. Ask your insurance company directly.
Can I cross the border with CBD?
No, crossing international borders with CBD is illegal. It’s a bad idea and can get you arrested.
Does all cannabis contain CBD?
No, not all strains contain significant amounts of CBD. Check the label.
Can I use CBD recreationally?
Sure, why not?
Does CBD interact with other medications?
Yes, it can interact with some common medications, such as benzodiazepines, statins, tricyclic antidepressants, and more. Speak with your doctor to determine if CBD is safe for you.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
It’s unlikely that you would be screened for CBD, but you can still fail a drug test by only using CBD products. That’s because drug tests screen for THC, and many CBD products have trace levels of THC.
How much does CBD cost?
Prices vary between products and retailers. Find your nearest retailer.
Can CBD help with addiction and opioid withdrawal?
It may. Studies are limited, but it has been shown to reduce cravings and anxiety in patients recovering from heroin addiction, and to mitigate reward-seeking behaviour.
What’s the difference between CBD isolate and whole plant, full spectrum, or broad spectrum CBD?
Good question! Find your answers here.
Is there CBD in hemp oil or hemp seeds?
Hemp seeds and hemp oil may contain trace amounts of CBD, but not enough to be clinically significant. Learn more about different types of CBD extractions here.
What is CBD tincture?
CBD tincture is an alcohol-based CBD extraction, typically taken in drops under the tongue.
-With files from Bailey Rahn and Devon Scoble.