CBD oils flanked by an orange, lemon, and lime


What Is CBD Oil? Our Complete Guide

Chances are you’ve heard about CBD, and one of the most popular ways that people consume it: CBD oil. 

In a recent survey, 55% of CBD users responded that CBD oil was one of their main dosing methods, second only behind CBD-infused edibles and candy. Nearly 100 million Americans have tried CBD so it’s safe to say that CBD oil isn’t going anywhere.

Why Take CBD Oil? 

There are plenty of reasons you may want to include CBD oil into your daily regimen. You may have heard that it helps with sleep quality, joint pain, stress, and even pet health. 

While CBD research is still relatively new, one thing we know is that CBD interacts positively with your body’s endocannabinoid system, responsible for regulating your: 

  • Sleep 
  • Mood 
  • Appetite 
  • Central Nervous System Development 
  • And more…

How Does CBD Oil Make You Feel? 

The effects you’ll feel from CBD oil will depend on the context in which you take it, your goal, and how much CBD oil you consume. 

Physically, CBD oil can make you feel:

  • Sleepy or more awake (this will be very product dependent) 
  • Relaxed 
  • Less stiff

Mentally, CBD oil can make you feel:

  • Less socially anxious 
  • Focused
  • More grounded 

CBD Oil Is Safe

A big question you should ask of any new supplement. Is CBD oil safe? 

The Mayo Clinic recognizes CBD as “well-tolerated” with some possible side effects. 

You can also give CBD to your pet. While some veterinarians are still slow to recommend CBD to their clients, many agree that as long as CBD oil doesn’t contain too much THC and you follow the dosing instructions, you can give your cat or your dog CBD oil with no problem. 

CBD Oil Is Easy To Use

CBD oil is by far one of the easiest ways to include CBD into your daily supplement regimen. All you need to use your CBD oil is the bottle that it comes in. The rubber bulb top and the graduated dropper you’ll need to dose yourself come included. 

Once you’re finished, cleanup and storage are a breeze. Close your bottle and store it in a dark, cool place. 

CBD Oil Is Versatile 

CBD oil can be a versatile product, too. Because CBD oil comes in a variety of flavors and is fat soluble, you can add CBD oil to just about any food or drink that you wish.

You want to add a bit of mint CBD oil to your mint chocolate chip ice cream. By all means. 

How about a dropper full of citrus-flavored CBD oil for your post-workout smoothie? Chances are you won’t even know it’s there and you’ll still reap the benefits of daily CBD use. 

CBD Oil Isn’t Addictive

Is CBD oil addictive or habit-forming? No. Unlike THC— another cannabinoid well known for giving marijuana its psychoactive effects— CBD is nonintoxicating and current research suggests that CBD is not addictive. 

According to the World Health Organization, CBD “does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm,” in humans.

What Is CBD Oil?

How Is CBD Oil Made?

CBD is a simple product that usually consists of two ingredients: CBD extract blended and homogenized in a carrier oil. The quality of your CBD oil can depend on how your CBD was extracted and the quality of the carrier oil. 

CBD Oil Ethanol Extraction

Extracting CBD from hemp flowers with a cold ethanol bath is the most popular method in the CBD industry as of this writing. It’s safe, requires relatively little specialized equipment, and is time-tested. 

During ethanol extractions, hemp flowers are submerged in high-proof grain alcohol. The ethanol acts as a solvent and pulls the CBD from the hemp flower. Once the spent hemp flowers are pulled from the ethanol, the ethanol is evaporated off, leaving you with CBD extract. 

CBD Oil Carbon Dioxide Extraction

Carbon dioxide extraction involves using liquid carbon dioxide at very high pressure to strip CBD and other cannabinoids from the hemp flower. Because of the steep upfront costs for specialized equipment, CBD oil made with CO2-extracted CBD will be more expensive than CBD oils made with ethanol-extracted CBD. 

A jar of amber-colored CBD distillate
A jar of CBD distillate in a Mason Jar.

Combing CBD With A Carrier Oil 

After extraction, one is left with concentrated CBD extract. In an unrefined form, this concentrate is very reminiscent of molasses— dark brown and viscous. The industry term for this concentrate is “crude.” We can refine crude further into distillate. 

Because CBD is fat soluble, we can take either our crude extract or our distillate extract and combine them with a carrier oil— the fat that we can evenly blend our CBD in. 

Common carrier oils include Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and raw coconut oil. At Sunset Lake CBD, we use MCT oil because of its long shelf life, tastelessness, and absorption rate. 

It should be noted that CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not the same things nor are they substitutes. For more on the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil, click here

How Are Crude And Distillate CBD Oil Different? 

CBD oils made with crude and CBD oils made with distillate won’t differ much where it matters like potency and effect. The biggest difference you’ll find between these two CBD oils will be in their taste. 

CBD oils made with crude CBD concentrate will taste more earthy and like hemp than CBD oils made with distillate. Distillate-based CBD oils are usually combined with flavors because distillate CBD oils don’t have much flavor themselves and will allow the flavoring to shine through. 

Does CBD Oil Expire? 

CBD oil does expire. If stored properly, your CBD oil should keep its potency for at least a year. Aside from the CBD potency, it is possible for the carrier oil to go rancid. 

If you’re wondering whether or not your CBD oil is expired, there are a few tell-tale signs to look for. Most of the time, it’s safe to trust your nose. As many say around the hemp industry— the nose knows. If your CBD oil, smells or tastes a bit ‘off,’ it’s probably time to get a new bottle.

How Do You Use CBD Oil? 

Applying Your CBD Oil 

Generally, most CBD oil will come in a Boston round tincture bottle with a rubber bulb connected to a graduated glass dropper that looks like this: 

CBD oil with no label so that you may clearly see the graduated glass dropper inside

While the glass dropper is submerged in the CBD oil, compress the rubber bulb and let go so that oil fills the inside of the glass dropper. If you know your preferred dosage, this is where the graduated lines on the dropper come in handy. Manipulate the rubber bulb on top to adjust the CBD oil to the appropriate fill line. 

Dosing Your CBD Oil 

Finding your ideal CBD oil dose is going to depend on a lot of factors that are unique to you. As with any supplement, your ideal CBD oil dosage is going to depend on your:

  • Desired outcome 
  • Current CBD usage 
  • Body type 
  • Metabolism 
  • And more… 

Once you know your dose, you should be able to use the concentration of your CBD oil and the dropper within to accurately dose yourself consistently every time. 

If you’re new to CBD, we would recommend starting with a 25mg dose. Stick with this dose for a week and let your body acclimate. Once you know how you react to 25mg, then adjust as needed. If you don’t think your CBD oil is helping you in the way you want, increase your dose. 

If you think 25mg is too much and leaves you drowsy or feeling off, lower your dose and reassess. 

Apply Your CBD Sublingually 

There are a few different ways to take CBD oil. The fastest way to get the CBD in your oil into your bloodstream is via a method called sublingual ingestion. This method involves placing your CBD oil under your tongue and letting it rest there for at least 20 seconds. The CBD will enter your bloodstream via the thinner membrane under your tongue.

Sublingual is faster than just swallowing your CBD oil because when you apply the CBD under your tongue, it doesn’t have to enter your digestive system before being absorbed into your bloodstream. 

Add CBD Oil To Your Favorite Foods

When it comes to adding a dose of CBD oil to your meals, the world is your oyster. You should know that if you plan on adding CBD oil to food or drink, it will take longer to feel the effects of the CBD as it first has to traverse your digestive system before it enters your bloodstream.

You Can Make Your Own CBD Oil, Too!

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself-er, you should know that it’s possible to make your own CBD oil at home too.

Making your own CBD oil at home is definitely more of an involved process than buying a bottle online, but you can do so much more with your own DIY oil including, 

  • Choosing your own carrier oil— this is especially important for folks with certain dietary restrictions. 
  • Fine-tuning your desired dosage. If you want to make a super potent CBD oil for yourself, or maybe a low-dose alternative for your pet, you can when you make CBD oil at home. 

Baking CBD edibles. If your goal is to make CBD edibles, you’ll want to make your own oil at home first. Most edibles will call for either vegetable oil or butter, two fats that you’re unlikely to find pre-infused with CBD.

Will CBD Oil Help With…

There is limited research on CBD oil dosages and medical applications, so as of yet, medical professionals have yet to confirm dosage guidelines or if CBD has any applications beyond managing seizures. 

If you decide to use CBD oil, you should know that there is no universally recognized dose and no FDA-approved uses beyond treating some very specific types of epilepsy. 


Not getting enough sleep can impact just about every facet of life. Millions of Americans struggling with their sleep know this all too well. In a survey conducted by the Journal of Cannabis Research, 42.5% of respondents said that they use or had used CBD to “improve sleep quality” or treat self-perceived insomnia. 

So can CBD oil help with sleep? Although CBD oil can help users get ready for bed, it’s still unclear whether or not CBD is linked to better sleep. CBD oil, especially those containing the sleep-aid melatonin, may help you relax and ease into sleep, but they are not a cure-all for sleep issues. If you plan on using CBD oil for sleep, understand that it should be part of a robust sleep routine and shouldn’t be relied on solely for a good night’s rest. 


While CBD oil isn’t an FDA-approved treatment for anxiety or anxiety-related symptoms, a 2015 review of nearly 50 independent studies suggested that CBD could help alleviate generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

So can CBD oil help with your anxiety? Many CBD users online seem to think so, but the science is still out and won’t likely be reviewed by the FDA for some time. 


Yes, there is some evidence that CBD oil can help with epilepsy and help users manage seizures. 

So far, the FDA has only approved the use of a CBD-derived prescription medication called Epidiolex for severe cases of epilepsy— Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. 


The research on CBD oil and pain management thus far has been quite promising. Many people who suffer from chronic pain have been turning to CBD oil as an alternative to their current opioid medications. 

A 2018 review of studies conducted between 1975 and 2018 found that CBD was effective in pain management and didn’t cause any negative side effects. These types of pain included:

  • Cancer pains
  • Neuropathic pain 
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis 

Erectile Dysfunction

We get this question often! Currently, there is no evidence that CBD oil can help with erectile dysfunction. 

It may be that CBD oil can help with performance anxiety, but as to the root causes of erectile dysfunction like heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and others; CBD will not help.

CBD oil comes from hemp… which is cannabis. So is CBD oil even legal? Is CBD oil a drug? Is it legal to buy it in my state? 

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with these questions. We get them all the time and we get it; CBD oil is relatively new and the current state-level regulatory inconsistencies doesn’t help clear up any confusion. 

Hemp buds held by two gloved hands

The 2018 Farm Bill 

When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in December of said year, it kicked the door wide open on the brand new market for industrial hemp. It explicitly allowed for the transfer of hemp-derived products (read: CBD oil) to cross state lines for commercial purposes and removed restrictions on the sale, transport, and possession of hemp-derived products so long as they were produced in a lawful way. 

Two points:

  • What does hemp-derived mean specifically?
    • Hemp-derived products are products produced with hemp, which in the 2018 Farm Bill means cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. Any cannabis plants that contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC are considered “marijuana” plants. 
  • Can CBD oil be produced in an unlawful way? 
    • CBD oil can be produced in an unlawful way. A CBD product can technically be produced via marijuana plants. Alternatively, CBD oil can also be hemp-derived and still contain too much THC (> 0.3% delta-9) which would then make that specific CBD oil unlawful. 

Yes, But Is CBD Oil Legal In…?

If you’re unsure whether or not buying CBD oil in your state is legal, a quick google search should clear up any specifics. 

As far as Sunset Lake CBD is concerned, all CBD oil transactions that we process via our online store take place in Vermont, under Vermont’s jurisdiction. When we receive an order, we fulfill it with hemp-derived products deemed legal by Vermont rules, consign it to the customer via the post office, and ship it.

Can You Mail CBD Oil?

You can send CBD oil through the mail. According to the aforementioned 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived products can be shipped via the United States Postal Service. 

The ruling on this came down via a case called KAB vs. United States Postal Service. Judge James Gilbert declared that CBD oil and other products derived from hemp were allowed to be shipped via the USPS. 

Can You Fly With CBD Oil? 

You can fly with CBD oil, but the TSA guidelines for liquids still apply. Your CBD oil must not be larger than 3.4oz or 100mL. This isn’t too much of a concern though, as most CBD oils come in either 1- or 2-oz bottles.

Does CBD Oil Have Any Side Effects?

As is true with most supplements, taking too much CBD oil can have unwanted side effects. That said, CBD is all-natural and even the worst of its side effects are nothing too terrible. Taking too much CBD oil can cause:

  • Dry-mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

CBD Tolerance

Over time, you may build up a tolerance to your CBD oil, meaning your regular dose may just not cut it anymore. If that’s the case, you can do one of two things in order to get back to a comfortable level. 

  1. Increase your CBD oil dosage – In order to achieve consistent desired results, you may need to increase the number of milligrams of CBD you consume at a time. This may mean taking more CBD oil or switching to a more potent formula. 
  2. Take a tolerance break – If you can manage not using CBD for some time, taking a week’s break from your CBD oil may be just what you need to reset your body and allow your built-up tolerance to dissipate.

CBD Oil and… 

Drug Tests

Most CBD oils will show up on a drug test. If you’re subject to random drug screenings or will need to take one in order to get a job, be sure that your CBD oil is what’s called broad-spectrum or made from CBD isolate. 

Full-spectrum CBD oils, like the ones sold at Sunset Lake CBD, contain trace amounts of THC that will show up on drug tests


Will CBD oil interact with your medications? Ask your doctor or your pharmacist. CBD oil can interact with certain prescription drugs and slow down your liver’s ability to break down certain medications. 

A good rule of thumb is: if your medication has a grapefruit warning on it, it may interact poorly with your CBD oil. 

A Final Word On CBD Oil 

CBD oil was one of the first CBD-derived products and has continued to be one of the best-selling CBD products on the market and for good reason. 

CBD oils are easy to dose properly and consistently, they contain very few filler ingredients, and CBD oil is easy to add to just about anything. If you’re still on the fence about CBD oil, reach out to us here, and we’d be happy to help answer any questions you may still have and offer product suggestions for your specific situation.

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  1. Why Take CBD Oil?
  2. What Is CBD Oil?
  3. How Do You Use CBD Oil?
  4. Will CBD Oil Help With…
  5. Is CBD Oil Legal?
  6. Side Effects
  7. CBD Oil and…