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CBD Guide

CBD: A Complete Explanation

CBD has been receiving a lot of attention lately. It’s hard to miss because it’s being talked about everywhere and it’s showing up in many products on the market these days. A lot of people have questions about CBD products and it’s use. In today’s article, we will take you deep into the world of CBD and will provide detailed, accurate information about it.

Here’s a breakdown of what we will be explaining in the following sections:

Section 1 –  A Brief History of CBD, from Early Discovery to Modern Use

Section 2 – Overview on How CBD is Made

Section 3 – How CBD Affects the Human Body

Section 4 – Ongoing Research into the Benefits of CBD

Section 5 – The Many Products Available

Section 6 – How to Identify a Good Company

Taking the time to read each section will ensure that you walk away with a very good understanding of exactly what CBD is. You’ll learn how it works and why it has become so popular in society today. But if you’re not ready to dig into all the details right now, feel free to skip ahead to section 5. There you can find the information you need to make a well-informed purchase.

Section 1 – A Brief History of CBD, From Early Discovery to Modern Use

Early Discovery

The use of cannabis (from which CBD is derived) has been shown to reach back to ancient civilization. However, it is only within more recent years that we have identified and named cannabidiol (CBD) as one of its main active compounds. We are just now beginning to scientifically establish it as a health supplement, but humans have been using cannabis instinctively for centuries.

The ancient Chinese were the first to discover the properties of cannabis since the plant is native to the region of Central Asia. There is direct evidence of the use of cannabis around 2700 B.C., but there is written record of it that can be traced back to ancient China as early as 6000 B.C.

Cannabis The Pen Ts’ao Ching, a famous historical text of ancient Chinese herbal medicine reports that the emperor Shen-Nung was prescribed cannabis in teas and topical ointments.  Hua Tuo was a renowned Chinese physician in the second century B.C. It is recorded in his writings that he regularly administered it to his patients.

The Spread of Hemp

As time passed, word of the plant’s medicinal value spread to other parts of the world.  Beginning around 77 A.D., cannabis extract was commonly used by the Romans in  treatment of ailments and relieving discomfort. In India, the plant was revered as a gift of the gods. The historic Athara Veda, a holy Sanskrit tome of useful knowledge, describes in detail the use of cannabis seeds and flowers in various forms. It was commonly added to balms and tinctures.

Cannabis has even been discovered in ancient Greek and Egyptian burial tombs.

The use of cannabis continued it’s spread and was cultivated in Europe by the sixteenth century.  Hemp was considered so important that it was required by King Henry VIII to be grown as a crop by all farmers. 

During this time the use of hemp extract was documented by prominent physicians at the time.The innovative Li Shizhen, of China, and Garcia de Orta, of Portugal, both documented the positive results of cannabis consumption that they observed.

In the New World

The cultivation of hemp was underway in North America by the 1600s. Its value was recognized by the early American colonists and hemp became a mandated crop there as well. Hemp seeds were seen as valuable enough to be used as currency to trade for goods and services in colonies like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Early American medical texts, such as the popular “Anatomy of Melancholy,” by the scholar Dr. Robert Burton, cited cannabis as a mood supporting treatment.  A pharmacopeia is an official medical publication listing the effects of drugs and directions for their use. By the 18th century, cannabis was documented in two of these highly esteemed publications – “The New England Dispensatory” and “Edinburgh New Dispensatory.”

In the American Southwest, a surgeon by the name of W.B. O’Shaughnessy began to merit the advantages of hemp.  His experiments were conducted to determine its effect on rheumatism, cholera, tetanus, and hydrophobia. O’Shaughnessy, a professor at the Medical College of Calcutta, experimented on humans and animals. By this point in time cannabis was regarded as useful for a variety of ailments.

The Rise of CBD in Modern Times

The development of medicines such as opioids at the start of the 20th century led to a decline in the use of cannabis-based remedies.  It was still included in combination with other pharmaceuticals in cough syrups, sleep aids, and other medicines.

In the 1920s, some authorities around the world began to restrict the use of cannabis due to its abuse by some users. Its reputation as a drug became somewhat tarnished and cannabis began to experience a backlash.  The cultivation of cannabis was declared illegal in the U.S. by the mid-1930s. The Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970, which completely banned the use of both hemp and marijuana.

Research continued on the plant though, and in the 1960s studies revealed more about the role cannabis can play in the human endocannabinoid system. This is discussed more fully below.  Much more was being discovered about the health properties of the plant. Throughout the 1970s cannabis was still used for medical treatment despite being outlawed.

Years passed and over time attitudes toward cannabis began to shift again. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, though it was still under a federal ban. Since then several other states have legalized its use for medical purposes, and some even allow recreational use.

Now that cannabis has obtained positive recognition around the world and in the U.S. in the form of CBD, there is more research on it being conducted than ever before. Positive media coverage by health experts such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta has led to a shift in attitude. It seems the way has been cleared for CBD, and it is becoming widely accepted by the masses.

Research on the effects of CBD on the human body have increased substantially, and it is now available to most Americans. Modern technology includes methods of refining CBD to increase its potency and bioavailability. CBD can be distilled down to an isolate, or even made water-soluble, called a nanoemulsion.

There is a growing demand for CBD products. It’s expected that sales will exceed $1 billion in 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

CBD products are not intended for use or sale to consumers below the age of 18. They need to be used according to the directions available on the label. It is not recommended for pregnant or lactating mothers. Always talk to a physician if you use prescription medication or have an acute condition.  It is wise to seek a doctor’s advice before using any new supplement. The statements here have not been assessed by the FDA. CBD products named here are not meant to diagnose, or cure any disease.

This CBD explanation will inform you and enable you to make educated decisions about the use of CBD oil, but it is not intended to provide medical advice. Seeking the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning use is always prudent.

Let’s get into more detail.

Section 2 – Overview on How CBD is Made

In this section, we’ll start with the basics.  We’ll cover exactly what it is, where it comes from, and how it’s made. Then we’ll talk about how it affects the body.

What is CBD? 

CBD is an abbreviation of cannabidiol. CBD is based on a plant compound that can be found in the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It has been used by people all over the world for centuries.  It is now manufactured and available in an array of preparations. We will discuss these further below.

How is it made?  

CBD is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant and from there, the possibilities are wide open. Some products contain only the CBD compound itself.  These are known as isolates. Others contain a variety of other cannabinoids and terpenes (we’ll get to that). CBD is the most active plant compound found in cannabis, but certainly not the only one.  When combined with others, it is anticipated to emphasize the effects. Some products also contain other beneficial ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega fatty acids.

How is it related to marijuana?  

The cannabis plant, from the genus Cannabaceae, is one of two main species of cannabis that are cultivated for human consumption.

Cannabis sativa, the taller, more fibrous of the two, is cultivated for hemp. This is where most of the CBD comes from.  Cannabis indica, the shorter and bushier cousin, is well suited for the production of medical marijuana.

What’s the difference?

Marijuana contains a high level of THC (aka delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). This is a psychoactive compound that produces a high when used.  It is rightly considered to be a narcotic.  It can be used as a pharmaceutical treatment for medical conditions. Marijuana is cultivated for medicinal and “recreational” use and can be produced from both Indica and Sativa strains and other hybrids.

The legalization of marijuana has begun to take place on a state-by-state level in the U.S.  However, marijuana is still considered to be a Class 1 controlled substance by the federal government. It’s cultivation is now legal in many states for medical use, and in some cases for recreational use.

Hemp and marijuana are related, but there are important differences between the two. Both are members of the Cannabis family. The two plants have significant differences in their chemical makeup and general use.  Most importantly, CBD is non-psychoactive, while THC, the main compound found in marijuana, will cause a high. Hemp, by definition, contains only .3% THC.

Industrial hemp has been grown for centuries because it produces a particularly strong and useful fiber. It is excellent for textiles and even building materials. Industrial hemp is not the most desirable source of CBD due to its low cannabinoid and terpene content.

A new strain of hemp, known as PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) has been developed that contains as much as ten times the CBD content as generic industrial hemp, and miniscule amounts of THC.  The best CBD products are made from PCR hemp.

Types of CBD Oil

Let’s compare some of the types of CBD oil products that are available today. Be aware that because CBD is an emerging industry, the terminology is evolving.

CBD From Hemp vs. Marijuana

Let’s clear up this confusion right now.  Cannabidiol is CBD oil, extracted from hemp.  Cannabis oil, on the other hand, is made from marijuana. CBD can be produced from industrial hemp (less ideal) or the newer PCR hemp, (ideally suited). It contains only extremely low levels of THC (remember, only .3%) and will not cause a high.

Any extract made from marijuana, such as cannabis oil, is still considered a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, due to its high concentration of THC (up to 30%). The purpose of the remainder of this article is mainly to discuss CBD oil produced from PCR hemp.

Let’s take a look at the many types of products available.

CBD Concentrate vs. Raw CBD Oil

Raw hemp extract refers to the essential oils of the hemp plant as they are first extracted before any processing has occurred. It is usually filtered and distilled to remove any unwanted compounds present in the raw extract. These are things like waxes, chlorophyll, and other plant oils that are naturally occurring in the hemp plant. Once raw hemp extract has been refined it is known as CBD concentrate or CBD distillate.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

We mentioned another compound above, called terpenes. These organic compounds are found in many types of plants. They are thought to be a protective agent for the plant. They sometimes have a strong odor, which is part of the protective mechanism.  A full-spectrum CBD oil leaves the presence of other phytocannabinoids and terpenes in the oil intact. They are not removed because they are thought to provide a greater advantage when their balance is maintained. A full spectrum product, therefore, will still have a small amount of THC which is naturally present in the raw extract.

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Similar to full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD oil also retains the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in raw PCR hemp extract. However, the THC is either partially or fully removed.  This form is ideal for anyone who prefers little to no THC in their CBD products.

CBD Isolate

When CBD is fully separated from all other phytocannabinoids and terpenes, it is known as isolate. This pure form of CBD does not contain any of the other beneficial compounds that are naturally occurring in the hemp plant.  It is a colorless, odorless crystal that can be consumed directly or added to foods and beverages. This is the product of choice for anyone who wants to consume CBD but absolutely will not tolerate the risk of even the tiniest trace of THC.

CBD-Infused Oil

If a product is labeled as “CBD-infused,” you’ll need to look a little deeper to find out exactly what it contains. It could mean that either full or broad-spectrum CBD oil has been added to it.  A properly labeled product identifies the form of CBD it contains. The keywords to note in your CBD products are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.  “CBD-rich hemp” oil or extract will usually fall under the full spectrum category.  If it lists “CBD-isolate” as an ingredient, then that’s exactly what you’ll get in that product. The various forms of CBD can produce different effects, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re planning to buy.

CBD Oil Products

Let’s get familiar with a list of the types of CBD oil products you might come across, and what each one contains.

  • Hemp Seed Oil – This is not actually a CBD product.  Cannabidiol is found in the flowers, leaves, and stems of the hemp plant but not the seeds.  Hemp seed oil is often used as a carrier, infused with actual CBD.
  • Raw industrial hemp extract – An unrefined, low-quality source of CBD.
  • Raw PCR hemp extract – A high-quality source of CBD which may be either full or broad spectrum.  It still contains the many other beneficial compounds that are naturally occurring in hemp.
  • CBD concentrate or distillate – A highly refined extract in which unwanted compounds have been removed.
  • CBD Isolate – A pure form of CBD that contains none of the other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • PCR/Phytocannabinoid Rich – Rich in CBDs.  It can refer to a full/broad-spectrum oil or an oil infused with CBD concentrate.  It also refers to the type of hemp that has been developed to be extra high in CBD for product manufacturing.
  • Full-Spectrum oil – Contains a full range of cannabinoids and other plant compounds which are thought to have a beneficial effect when included together.  It still contains a negligible amount of THC (nowhere near enough to cause intoxication.)
  • Broad Spectrum – Contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes, but has been slightly more processed.  THC has been filtered out.
  • CBD-Infused – A product that has been infused with CBD.  Check the label to see where it falls along the spectrum.

Now that you’re familiar with the terminology, let’s clear up some more questions that first time CBD users might have

Beginner’s Frequently Asked Questions

Sifting through information regarding CBD on the internet can make you feel like you’re lost at sea. There is a lot of material out there, but much of it can be confusing, or even misleading. It doesn’t help that the media often use the terms hemp and marijuana interchangeably. To the uninformed, this raises even more questions. Let’s shed light on the answers to some of the basic questions beginners might have.

Will CBD Oil Get Me High?

No, it shouldn’t. Remember, properly produced CBD oil is derived from hemp, which does not have a high enough concentration of THC to cause a high.

CBD and THC work differently in the human body. THC primarily affects receptors in the brain, while CBD does not trigger these same receptors. Even though some products, such as full-spectrum CBD oils, may contain trace amounts of THC it is nowhere near enough to get high.

All bodies are different. Always be careful not to exceed the recommended amount on the label.  Be aware that the overconsumption of an extremely large amount of CBD may cause drowsiness.

Does CBD Cause Any Side Effects?

The use of herbal extracts and natural supplements has always been a very individual experience. Pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to provide specific effects on specific systems of the body. With Mother Nature, it isn’t as specific or exact. The many effects of organic substances vary widely from one person to another.

When discussing side effects, we need to first determine what the desired effect is that you are looking for.  What may be the desired effect in one user could be an undesired effect in another.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a sleep aid.  Many people choose to use CBD products for this and find its effects desirable. However, if feeling sleepy all day is not your goal (as it usually isn’t!), then you might consider it an unacceptable side effect. So, take into consideration what your needs are to help you identify whether the effects of CBD are desirable or not.

This begs the question…

Will It Make Me Sleepy or Drowsy?

The short answer is that it can, at a certain dosage.  Again, this may or may not be what you’re looking for. CBD has an element that is called biphasic properties (discussed more in section 3).  This interesting phenomenon means that a substance can have altering effects depending on the amount.  A lower amount of CBD is usually not to cause drowsiness, whereas a higher amount it becomes more likely.

A great instance of a substance is alcohol having biphasic properties .It is known to provide a stimulating effect below a specific blood level, making the user feel more social and super active. However, larger amounts can have a negative effects including depression, and going overboard can result in unconsciousness.

As with alcohol, staying within the general guidelines for its intended use will usually ensure that you are satisfied with the effects.

Is CBD Safe for Pets?

True!  High-quality CBD is typically safe for pets if used according to the correct dosages. The amount will depend on your pet’s size and weight. The amount given to a small dog or cat will vary greatly compared to that given to a horse, for example. Whether your pet is more sedentary or highly active also weighs in. We always recommend that you consult with a veterinarian having a knowledge of CBD use in pets in order to determine the right amount.  You’ll find CBD in many forms that are designed for use in pets and animals.

Section 3 – How CBD Affects the Human Body

 

What is CBD, Exactly?

CBD is an abbreviation of cannabidiol. It is one of the main active compounds present in the cannabis plant. CBD isn’t an acronym, but a 3-letter designation, which is the norm for cannabinoids. THC is probably the most recognized cannabinoid. It’s well known to produce a high. There are many other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but CBD and THC are the two most important.

What is a cannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are beneficial organic compounds found in cannabis plants. Technically they are designated as phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant), but often shortened to just cannabinoids.  Humans and other mammals also naturally produce a very similar compound, which we refer to as endocannabinoids.

  • Phytocannabinoids – cannabinoids present in cannabis plants
  • Endocannabinoids – A substance cannabinoids found or produced within the body by all mammals

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the other different cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.  PCR hemp includes these as well for their symbiotic properties. CBC (cannabichromene) is the third common and is completely non-psychoactive.

 CBG (cannabigerol), another one, is found early in hemp’s growth cycle. The multiple cannabinoids which exist in cannabis are thought to have the most beneficial impact when they are included together in CBD products. This is known as the “entourage effect”.

The Endocannabinoid System

Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters produced in the brain to signal changes in the body.  You can think of them as “messenger molecules.” Hormones, another more common type of neurotransmitter, work in much the same way.

The nervous system produces a continual stream of neurotransmitters to keep the body in a state of balance. This vast field of neurotransmitters help the body to respond to various environmental and some internal factors. They mainly interact with cell receptors, which receive the signal and adjust accordingly. Cell receptors are produced on the surface of cells throughout the body.

Here’s an analogy to describe how it all works.  

Our brains cannot directly in touch with every single cell in our bodies, just as a traffic officer cannot directly instruct the driver of every single vehicle on the road how to handle all possible traffic situations. That’s the reason traffic signals exist. Traffic lights, signals, lines on the road, all help to manage traffic without direct communication. Traffic signals let drivers know how to respond and react to different situations. They give information on where they are allowed or not allowed to drive, when they must stop or move, as well as when and how fast they are permitted to drive or move.

A traffic light has a sensor to detect what’s happening in the surroundings, for instance  when a vehicle pulls up to a traffic light. It can signal the traffic lights to change, which tells the driver that they can move forward.

Similarly, our brains use neurotransmitters and cell receptors to send and receive signals within the body. These signals control the behavior of bodily systems and their responses. The brain is aware of what is going on in the body at all times. If it senses a need for an action, a change, or a rebalancing, it sends signals in the form of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters travel along pathways throughout the body and communicate with cell receptors, signaling the need to change or adapt.

Everything in the human body is interconnected. Our endocannabinoid system interacts with millions of cells throughout the body and regulates many biological functions. Sleep patterns, mood, metabolism, immune response, pain, and cell turnover can all be affected by the ECS. It is far-reaching and complex.

Understanding how neurotransmitters function is key to understanding the ECS, which has two primary functions. The primary is the presence of receptors on the upper layer of cells throughout the human body which respond to endocannabinoids. The second is the chemical interaction which takes place between the endocannabinoids themselves and those receptors.

Let’s look at another example of this.

Anandamide is a famous endocannabinoid. It’s also known as the “bliss molecule.”  Its purpose is to produce and uptake of serotonin.  Anandamide is mainly the reason for an elevation in mood that we feel after completing a task or overcoming an obstacle.  Have you ever had a runner’s high after a race?  That’s the work of your anandamide and serotonin, and your ECS is making it all happen.

List of Well-Known Cannabinoids

Listed below of the most famous cannabinoids and their basic functions. All cannabinoids are given a three-letter designation.

  • CBD (Cannabidiol) – The primary non-psychotropic cannabinoid.  It works to achieve a state of balance within the body, known as homeostasis.  It is non-psychotropic.
  • TCH (Delta (9) –tetrahydrocannabinol) – The first psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
  • CBD (Cannabichromene) – A non-psychotropic cannabinoid is meant to support mood as well as muscle and body joints’ function.
  • CBN (Cannabigerol) – A non-psychotropic believed to support sleep as well as joint and muscle function.
  • THCv (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) – Is psychotropic, but less than THC.
  • CBDv (Cannabidivarin) – Just like CBD
  • Delta (8) THC – Much same to Delta (9) THC, but less psycho-tropic.  May support relaxation.
  • THCa and CBDa – Compounds produced in raw cannabis that are all non-psychotropic.

Terpenes- What Are They?

Terpenes are mainly another compound produced by cannabis and some other plants. They are known as volatile hydrocarbon compounds.  They easily evaporate at a normal room temperature and their aroma is highly detectable.  Cannabis is the most terpene dense plant known to scientists.

Terpenes are found in a variety of cosmetic products and some food items and have been designated safe for human consumption by the FDA.  In plants, they work as both an attractor for beneficial pollinators, as well as a natural pest repellent.

Terpenes are also known to affect human bodies in powerful ways. Humans have utilized their benefits for thousands of years in the practice of aromatherapy. The scent of citrus, for example, can have a brightening effect on mood. It is produced by the pinene and terpenes limonene, which can be extracted from nature.

Some commonly used terpenes include myrcene, limonene, linalool, terpinolene, caryophyllene, camphene, and citronellol. These are the scientific names for many common scents you are probably familiar with, and all have been used traditionally to support well-being.

Terpenes also influence the endocannabinoid system. They act upon cell receptors and are famous to alter the effects of cannabinoids.

Terpenes are a valuable addition to the ECS. Together with the various endocannabinoids, they produce a range of therapeutic effects that are stronger when they are left intact. They work in concert with cannabinoids to benefit the system. This phenomenon is called an “entourage effect.”

More research needs to be conducted to understand exactly how much influence terpenes have in the complete effects of CBD oil, but clearly, these naturally occurring compounds exist together by design for good reason.

Some of the CBD oil items available consist solely of pure CBD, devoid of other compounds.  For the reasons discussed above, they are not as useful. The known entourage effect is found in products where many or most of the naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes remain together, such as full and broad-spectrum CBDs.

Section 4 – Ongoing Research into the Benefits of CBD

Within the past 50 years, CBD has arisen from near-obscurity to buzzword of the times. It is now being heavily researched, widely used and commonly talked about.

Some of the mysteries of cannabinoids are still unclear. Even after being the subject of various studies, little is famous about how cannabinoids deals with the ECS and influence the body. We know it has effects, that is sure. We know that many people have tried CBDs and experienced very positive results. But judging the exact mechanisms and how they work within the ECS may still take years of study.

Recently the use of CBD has become widely accepted as a supplement to support general wellness, and for now, we can rely on the currently available research as we await more proof down the road.

Let’s dive into what that researchers are looking to understand.

A Quick Legal History

The University of Mississippi was delegated the responsibility of growing marijuana for research purposes in 1968. This mandate was given by what was, at the time, a predecessor to the DEA.  During the same year, a report was published by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence of the UK government. The report stated that cannabis, in moderate doses, is not a harmful substance.  It also stated that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, as well as the opiate, barbiturate, and amphetamine classes of drugs.

Two years later, the U.S. Government designated marijuana as a Class 1 item with a high possibility for abuse and no medicinal value.  In 1972, a famous report was published by the UK Department of Health, Education, and Welfare recommending the decriminalization of marijuana. The recommendation was rejected by President Richard Nixon.

In 1976, a court fight ensued where a federal judge ruled in favor of the first legal medical cannabis patient.  It was ruled that Robert Randall, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, was using marijuana out of “medical necessity.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) began to issue cannabis to patients in need of medical marijuana under the newly stated “Investigational New Drug Applications (IND) rules”.  These rules ensured “compassionate use” rights of the drug as a treatment for health conditions as a direct result of the Robert Randall case. These lawsuits and reconfiguring of medical marijuana laws led to further research on the subject. Much of the medical research performed on cannabis has occurred in the years since 1978.

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in humans took place little by little. The primary cannabinoid receptor was detected in the rat’s brain in 1988.  1992 brought with it the first-ever discovery of an actual cannabinoid. This was attributed to the work of NIMH researchers Raphael Mechoulam, Dr. Lumir Hanus, and William Devane. A series of latest studies about the effects of cannabinoids followed their discovery.

The federal government has received considerable pressure to downgrade the status of cannabis substance to a Schedule 2 substance. The American Medical Student Association unanimously endorsed this action as early as 1993. Since then, many more attempts have been made. To date, the government has not relented on the matter. Cannabis remains a Schedule 1 at this time under the Controlled Substances Act.

Two Common Uses for CBD

This may be the part you’ve been waiting for!  Let’s talk about the actual effects CBD can have and why it has become widely used.

Mood – CBD can be used to help emotional well-being. Research has shown that CBD can have a stabilizing effect on our emotional health. It affects anandamide levels, as discussed earlier, which helps to activate the uptake of serotonin present in the brain. Anandamide and serotonin work together to help to improve mood.

A small amount of serotonin can sometimes be the culprit to a low mood, or depression.  Increased serotonin levels have been shown to improve depression and feelings of well-being.  The ECS, which strives to maintain a good balance in the mind and body, is enhanced by the use of CBDs.

Sleep – CBD is commonly used to restore good sleep cycles in those who suffer from insomnia.  Research indicates that CBD may help the ECS to normalize sleep cycles, helping you wake up rested and refreshed in the morning.

These are only two examples of the many ways CBD is commonly used.

Section 5 – The many products available

Let’s talk about some of the most popular products available on the market today, and how quickly they take effect in the body.

CBD Oils and Tinctures

CBD Oil is probably the most widely used term when it comes to products. It refers to cannabidiol itself, the main ingredient we are looking for in our CBD products. When taken in oral form, it may be infused into another (carrier) oil. CBD may or may not contain other active ingredients, depending on whether it is full or broad-spectrum. It can also be refined into a pure CBD oil with no other ingredients. This is where you need to do your product research based on the guidelines in Section 2 titled “Types of CBD Oil.”

CBD oils can be swallowed or taken under the tongue. This is known as sublingual intake.  Sublingual intake allows the CBD to get absorbed directly into the bloodstream through saliva and bypasses the digestive system entirely.

A tincture is a liquid CBD extract that has been combined with vegetable glycerin, cinnamon and/or peppermint oils, and alcohol.  It can be used sublingually or swallowed, depending on the directions for use. Many people dislike the bitter taste of tinctures and prefer oils instead.

CBD Oil Capsules

CBD oil capsules are gelatin capsules that contain a single serving of CGD oil. They are taken orally. They are mostly absorbed within minutes in your stomach, bypassing the rest of your digestive system. They are convenient to carry when traveling, but their effects take longer to feel than some other methods of consumption. CBD capsules can also be punctured to use on the skin.

Nanoemulsion

Nanoemulsion is a technology that reduces the particle size of the active cannabinoids by 4 to 100 times. The extremely tiny size of the cannabinoid particles makes it highly bioavailable. If you use a CBD nanoemulsion, you will need far less to produce the same amounts as a regular CBD oil.

CBD Topicals

CBD-infused topicals include creams, salves, oils ointments, and balms that are used on the skin. They can be infused with any type of CBD available. Check the product labels for information on exactly what the product contains. Topicals are nice because of the soothing and beneficial additional ingredients.  Soothing and healing ingredients like vitamin E, collagen, moisturizers, aloe, can all be enhanced by the addition of CBDs.

Topicals take time to apply, can be a little messy, and may take longer to work. However, if you are already using moisturizers and other products like this in your daily wellness routine, a CBD infused product will be easy for you to incorporate.

Joint salves can be massaged into the skin around a particular area to provide relief for the underlying muscles and joints. CBD is a wonderful addition to massage oil. This is a great opportunity to enjoy its relaxing effects.

Inhalation Methods

CBD can also be administered by vaporizers and nebulizers. Vaporizers, commonly called vape pens, work by heating the oil preparation to the point where it evaporates and becomes a gas.  This is a popular method of inhaling CBD, and the vaporizers are easy to find. With a vape pen, it can be difficult to deliver an exact serving size. They have not been designed to vaporize an exact amount of CBD. The amount taken in depends on how the person uses the pen. For example, more CBD is taken in if the user draws in a big puff of air and holds it deeply in the lungs.  As you can see, the amount is simply not measurable at this point.

One downside of vaporizers is that some of their ingredients are potentially harmful when heated into a vapor. The petroleum-based chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG) is one such ingredient found in some vape oil solutions.

Nebulizers work by converting a solution containing CBD into a mist that can be inhaled. They are less common.  They do have the benefit, however, of being able to use a measured dose. As long as the user knows exactly how much CBD in the amount of solution, they know how much they’ve consumed when they finish the nebulizer treatment.

CBD inhalation is preferred by many due to its high bioavailability and very quick onset time.

Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to what percentage of a substance is absorbed systemically, and how quickly it is able to do so.  The bioavailability of different types of CBD products vary. That makes bioavailability an important factor when choosing a product.  Not all CBD products are created equal.

A 100% bioavailability would imply that 100% of the CBD in a product is made systemically available to you.  However, this is misleading because there is only one way to achieve 100% bioavailability is through intravenous administration (direct injection to the bloodstream).  We are NOT recommending this.

When taken as directed, the bioavailability of CBD in your products will always be below 100%, which is normal and to be expected. Each method of consumption results in some amount of the CBD becoming unavailable for various reasons. As the CBD is metabolized (broken down by the body), some is trapped by fatty tissues before it enters the bloodstream.

In this section, we’ll limit our discussion to the bioavailability of CBD itself. Remember that it can also apply to any given substance, such as other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Let’s take a look at the range of bioavailability among the most popular methods of CBD consumption.

CBD Tinctures

A tincture is a liquid substance that has been infused with CBD oil. The base liquid is usually an oil or alcohol base and acts as a carrier for the CBD. Tinctures are taken by mouth and the CBD is easily absorbed that way.

The bioavailability of CBD in tinctures is generally considered to range from 10 to 40%.  This is twice as high as the bioavailability of edibles.

Inhaled CBD

CBD can be vaporized (or atomized) and inhaled, which has the highest bioavailability of any method.  The lungs absorb the vapor immediately, just as they do oxygen when you breathe. The CBD bypasses the digestive system and can directly enter the bloodstream via the lungs.  The effects of inhalation are felt almost immediately.

Inhaled CBD is estimated to have a bioavailability range of 25 to 60%. It varies depending on what other ingredients are being vaporized, how deeply each puff is inhaled, and how long it is drawn into the lungs before being exhaled.

How Quickly Does CBD Take Effect?

By now, you may have figured out that the effects of CBD are highly individual to the user.  There are several factors at play that determine how quickly CBD will take effect. These factors are the quality of the product itself, the bioavailability based on the chosen method of consumption, and the unique person using it.  Age, health, weight, circulation, and metabolism can all affect the amount of time it takes.

An important and influential factor that varies from person to person has to do with the ECS itself.  Every human body possesses this system, but the number of endocannabinoids we produce, and the number of receptors we have varies.  If, for example, someone whose body produces fewer endocannabinoids uses CBD, they may feel more of an effect. Similarly, if an individual’s ECS contains more receptors, they may be more sensitive to the effects of CBD.  A person who has an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors may not.

The numerous other factors involved, such as product type and quality, amount and method consumed, etc., combined with the person’s genetics, make each user experience unique.

Generally speaking, you can think of the time it takes for the onset of CBD effects of CBD in this way:  Inhalation is the fastest and is basically instantaneous. Tinctures usually take up to about 20 minutes.  Edibles and capsules take the longest, ranging from 20 minutes to over an hour sometimes.

As usual, results may vary, but these can be considered general guidelines so that you have some idea of what to expect when using different methods and preparations of CBD.

Serving Suggestions

We have discussed the many reasons why CBD creates a diverse user experience.  These factors will all play into serving size as well. As you may expect, serving size is something that may need to be tweaked a little until you’ve found the right amount for you.  While some products list a suggested serving size, it is just a suggestion. It doesn’t take into account your exact age, sex, weight, and all other variables.

Your own particular desired effects are the most important determiner of serving size.  The way your own body responds will become the deciding factor. With some use, you’ll settle into the perfect amount to meet your needs, whether you are taking it in pursuit of a good night’s rest, for example, or just for general wellness.

Remember that type and quality of the product makes a difference, as well.  The entourage effect of high quality full or broad-spectrum CBD should lead to a more satisfying experience than a CBD isolate.  Be willing to experiment with the dosage a little once you’ve chosen a product, and over time you’ll determine what is ideal for you.

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to determine your ideal serving of CBD.

Step 1 – Choose one product and stick with it.

This will allow you to gauge the effects a little better.  By only using one product at a time until you’ve determined how it affects you, you will keep it simple. Switching back and forth between different products will make it too hard to tell what’s going on.

Step 2 – Start with lower serving size. 

Starting with a lower serving size is a good idea when you first begin using CBD.  You can always increase the dose if you don’t feel like you’re having enough of the desired effect.  A general guideline for starting is to use 1mg of CBD for every 20 pounds of bodyweight. With this proportion, a 140-pound person would start with 7mg.  A person weighing 180 pounds would start with 9mg.

Simply divide your body weight by 20 to determine the starting amount for yourself.

Step 3 – Start at bedtime.

People are generally curious if CBD is going to make them feel drowsy, so it’s best to start at night when you’re first starting.  If you notice that it causes drowsiness you can decide whether you want to use it in the daytime. Many people report a pleasant feeling of drowsiness that encourages a good night’s sleep, but many others also find that it can help them focus during the day.  You can also try adjusting your doses during the day and night to achieve the desired effects.

Is it Possible to Take Too Much?

Common sense should be used when taking any supplement.  CBD is non-toxic, therefore you would have to consume far more than recommended to experience any truly adverse effects.

A higher dose has the potential to make you feel more relaxed or drowsy than you wish to be for certain activities but does not pose a significant health risk.

Summary 

In summary, there are several considerations to take into account when using CBD.  The research is still inconclusive and the evidence pending. It is up to individual users to thoroughly think about how and why they want to use CBD and determine the dosages for themselves.

Here’s a recap of the main considerations:

Lifestyle – Certain products may fit into your lifestyle better than others.  Are you comfortable with vaping, or would you prefer tinctures or drops under the tongue?  Capsules are convenient when traveling as they cannot break or spill.

Use –This is simply the consideration of how you wish to use the product.  Do you need something topical, to support skin health, for example, or one of the many other CBD preparations?

Time – Consider how much time is needed for your choice of product to typically take effect.  Also, consider what time of day or night you should take it.

Bioavailability – Taking into account the bioavailability of the product you choose can help you determine what you’re willing to pay.  CBD is more expensive than other supplements like vitamins and minerals. You don’t want to waste money on a product with little bioavailability.

Serving Size – The accuracy of serving size can be harder to gauge when vaping versus the other forms.  The same goes for edibles.

Section 6 – How to Identify a Good Company

We live in complicated times.  The CBD market is rapidly growing as we speak.  Unfortunately, at this early stage, there are no regulations put into place to ensure product content and quality.  There are certainly good, reputable brands that exist and create exceptional products. These companies are devoted to manufacturing the highest quality CBD.  However, there are other companies cutting corners for the sake of increasing their profits. They care a lot less about the final quality and more about the bottom line.  Their products are second-rate.

How are we to know the difference?

Finding a trustworthy company should be of utmost importance to you when purchasing a CBD product.  Consider all that you have learned about CBD from this article, and take the time to browse the company’s website and mission statement.  Use your best judgment. Look for a complete list of ingredients and information on how they are sourced.

Reputable companies have nothing to hide.  They willingly disclose information about their sources, methods, ingredients, and manufacturing process.  A good rule of thumb is to simply rule out any company that doesn’t do so.

Sourcing Hemp

We spoke earlier about the history of the production of hemp around the world and its eventual prohibition in the U.S.  Hemp farming has enjoyed a resurgence, and the U.S. can now boast some of the finest quality hemp products in the world.  Understand that there is a difference between industrial hemp and PCR hemp. Industrial hemp is grown primarily for its seeds and its fibers, as opposed to PCR hemp, which is specifically cultivated for its high content of cannabinoids and terpenes.

As we stated before, always look for PCR hemp as the source in your CBD products.  Hemp seed oil can be used as a carrier, but it should not be considered the active ingredient.  It contains very few of the beneficial compounds found in PCR hemp.

A word about CBD oil products imported from China and other Asian countries.  Quality standards are far lower in China. The CBD produced there is often made from industrial hemp, and are chemically extracted in ways that destroy the natural qualities of the extract.  They may even be contaminated or contain toxins from pesticides that are illegal in the United States. It is not recommended to order CBD products online from China. The cheaper price reflects a much cheaper quality.  Generally speaking, products from North America and Western Europe are of higher quality than those produced elsewhere.

Other Ingredients

The vast majority of CBD products contain some additional ingredients besides cannabinoids and terpenes.  Some may include vegetable oils, which can be used as a carrier, or essential oils, to enhance the aromatic effect of the product.

Questionable Ingredients

A substance known as polyethylene glycol is often added to CBD vape oils.  It is somewhat dangerous. This chemical is added to antifreeze because it lowers the freezing temperature of water.  It can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. Most products contain a very small amount of it and not enough to cause any problems.

Another chemical substance, known as propylene glycol, is considered harmless.  It too is sometimes added to antifreeze. It has been listed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as generally safe for consumption.  It is also approved for human inhalation by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Information on both of these substances can be found on Wikipedia and elsewhere on the web.

If you find a product that contains ingredients you are unfamiliar with or unsure of, find out why they are included.  Ask a sales representative or email the company. An internet search may also shed light on the questionable ingredient.

Another Word of Caution

Synthetic CBD has been receiving negative press lately, and for very good reason.  This man-made CBD product is manufactured in a lab, not derived from hemp. We do not recommend using it at all.

Lab Testing

Higher quality CBD companies often send their products out to be tested in laboratories.  The labs are able to measure the level of cannabinoids in the products, as well as to detect contaminants.

The amount of CBD can vary from one batch to another, even in the same product.  This occurs because each crop can produce a slightly different level of CBD. The potency of one batch may vary from that of another.

Potency from each batch is another piece of information that top manufacturers should provide.  This will show up in the lab reports for a specific batch.

Beware of any company that makes bold, bodacious promises that seem too good to be true.  The effects of CBD are often subtle, and it is not a miracle cure. Avoid companies that make exaggerated health claims.

Reviews can help to discern the good companies from the less desirable ones.  Remember though that some smaller companies are producing excellent, top-quality CBD products, but may not get as much traffic as the larger companies.  They may not have as many reviews, but that isn’t always a bad indication. Using all of the aforementioned suggestions will help you decide on a good company.

In Conclusion

If you read through this entire document, you are well-equipped and on your way to finding the CBD product that perfectly meets your needs. You now understand the basics of the history, use, and production of cannabis and its biological effects. You know how to research a company and its products.  You understand what to look for.

Determining what effects you are looking for from a CBD product can be challenging, but It might be improved sleep quality, a shift in mental alertness, or the management of pain or stress. Choose a product that seems to match your desired effects and fits in with your lifestyle. Stick to the lower range of the proper dosage guidelines in the beginning.  You can moderate the serving size from there. It’s also important to stick with the same product long enough to ensure that you can truly gauge its effectiveness.

As with any supplement, it is always wise to consult a medical professional, especially if you are on any medications.  Discussing your options with a qualified professional who is well-versed in the use of CBD for health maintenance is recommended.

Pay close attention to how you personally respond to any new product.  Your health and well-being can only improve if you listen to what your body is telling you.  We wish you the best as you endeavor to include CBD in your health and wellness journey.