What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a phytocannabinoid (phyto means plant derived) that was discovered in 1940. CBD is 1 of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis.
CBD and THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, are the two most well known and studied cannabinoids. THC is the intoxicating compound in cannabis responsible for the “high” associated with smoking marijuana. Other common cannabinoids include CBG, CBN, CBC, and Delta8 THC.
Our bodies produce very similar compounds called endocannabinoids (endo means internal within our body). Endocannabinoids help regulate various processes like pain, immunity, stressed mood, and memory. Two of the most well known endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG.
All these different cannabinoids interact with an intricate signaling system in humans called the Endocannabinoid System, or the ECS. The primary role of the ECS is to keep your various bodily systems in a state of homeostasis, or, balance.
CBD Uses and Emerging Research
In the US, the FDA has approved CBD for the treatment of rare forms of medication resistant epilepsy in children. In Europe, a drug with both CBD and THC is approved for the treatment of spasticity related to Multiple Sclerosis.
There are a number of clinical research studies involving CBD and anxiety, cognition, pain, movement disorders, epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis. Unfortunately, most of the evidence we have is anecdotal and lacks data proving effectiveness.
Current research, like this article from PubMed, suggests CBD can reduce inflammation by interacting with the ECS. This may apply to both acute (sudden onset) and chronic (persisting/constant) inflammation.
An example of acute inflammation would be the body’s reaction to a physical injury. There is some great info on this discussed in this PubMed article.
Chronic inflammation would be something seen in conditions like osteoarthritis. Although we don’t have enough evidence to confirm this in humans, this animal study found that CBD reduced inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis.
Research is definitely in early stages for various uses of cannabis, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The best thing you can do as a consumer is to educate yourself so you can make good choices about products that may help you. Then, try them. Be conscious of dosing and how your body reacts.
Does CBD work?
Despite the lack of FDA approved indications, CBD is a commonly used natural option and alternative medicine. There’s no doubt that CBD has some amazing health properties, but it certainly isn’t a cure-all.
Most patients that report positive responses are try CBD to see if it helps with anxiety, pain, or sleep issues, but there are a whole host of potential benefits. Again, there is no definitive evidence that CBD is effective for any of these issues, which leaves patients to figure this out on their own. Additionally, everyone responds a little different to CBD or other cannabis compounds.
If you are curious about CBD, it may be worth experimenting for yourself. If you are trying to implement CBD into your regimen, your best bet is to:
- Discuss this with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications. CBD is considered extremely safe, but can interact with some meds
- Find a reputable company that can help guide you on product selection, dosing, and expectations
- Educate yourself to available products on the market and try them to see your response
What Are the Best type of CBD Products?
There are countless CBD brands and products available to consumers on the open market. For someone new to cannabis or CBD, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is the best option for them.
First and foremost, finding a brand that has lab tested products is a must. If you are unsure, reputable companies can provide Certificates of Analysis, or COAs, on their products. These COAs confirm ingredients listed on the labels, that they are compliant, and that they are free of contaminants.
Next, you have to understand the differences between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate products. These are the three main categories that CBD falls into.
Full Spectrum products have all the elements of the cannabis plant including terpenes, flavonoids, and up to 0.3% THC. This small amount of THC is typically not enough to make you feel intoxicated and helps CBD work more effectively due to something called the Entourage Effect.
Broad spectrum products have all the elements of the cannabis plant including terpenes and flavonoids, but THC is removed in the lab. Lab results can confirm that there is non detectable amounts of THC. This is best for someone looking to avoid any THC while still benefiting from the entourage effect.
Isolate products only have CBD. No terpenes, no flavonoids, and no other compounds from the cannabis plant are present. This is the best approach for people that are subject to drug tests to ensure there is absolutely no THC present. These products may not work as well than full or broad spectrum, but are typically cheaper. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be effective for you, it is just one of the options available depending on your specific situation.
In addition, there are several types of delivery methods common to CBD products. Each has their own pros and cons. See below for the common types:
Tinctures are sublingual oils that come in a dropper bottle and are administered under the tongue. Great for whole body effects and easy to change dose as needed. We often suggest tinctures to people that are more experienced because they offer a lot of flexibility in dosing. All the products we carry have a measured dropper, which makes it easy to calculate the dose you take and increase or decrease dose as needed. Tinctures are slightly faster acting than edibles and capsules and will usually start taking effect within 30 – 45 minutes. They also may not last quite as long as edibles and capsules (usually 4-6 hours). Some people may opt out of using tinctures because they do not like the consistency or taste of the oil.
Edibles are commonly made as confections with CBD like gummies, chocolates, candies, or beverages. These products taste great and are easy to consume. Similar to capsules, these come in a fixed dose and are easy to take. Some people with dietary restrictions may not want to consume edibles because of high sugar content. Edibles and capsules act similarly in that they take an hour or more to start working, but typically will last 6-8 hours making them great for daily use and whole body prophylactic effects.
Capsules contain specific dosages making it easy for consumers to take. They are commonly mixed with other botanicals that can provide additional benefits. Capsules are a great option for people that don’t like the consistency of tinctures and are looking for a fixed dose with a wide range of other botanicals to support your health in multiple ways. Capsules and edibles act similarly in that they take an hour or more to start working, but typically will last 6-8 hours making them great for daily use and whole body prophylactic effects.
Topicals come in different types like lotions, salves, balms, and rubs you put on your skin. Best for applying directly to problem areas. Topicals are often a great place to start with cannabis products because you can use them without ingesting them. Some people are nervous about ingesting products with THC and topicals offer relief without any potential for changing how you feel. Topicals are fast acting and can start working within minutes, but typically will provide relief for a couple hours.
We see smokable products as being underrated and under utilized. This is because many people are concerned with inhaling smoke and it’s accompanying health risks. Vape products have come under additional scrutiny because of lung issues in consumers using black market, untested products. These types of products were known to be cut with things like vitamin E. However, the right smokable product from a reputable company reduces risk tremendously by not using adulterants, or “cuts” in their oil. Inhaling cannabis offers the highest rate of absorption in comparison to other routes of administration. Also, results are nearly instantaneous, but can be short lived ( 1-2 hours). Smoking hemp flower in a bowl, bong, or joint paper is common, but gives off a marijuana smell, which turns some people off. Vape products, however, are discrete, potent, and easily concealable. They also do not smell as strong. Best used for acute issues that need fast relief.
The bottom line is there is a lot to consider when choosing the right CBD products.
Looking for products to help you with issues in muscles, joints, or skin? Browse some products best suited for that HERE.
Looking for something to address high stress levels? Check out some of these options HERE.
Trying to find an option to support a good night’s rest? Here are some great alternatives worth thinking about HERE.
Need more information or looking for advice and guidance from trained professionals? Contact us or set up a free consultation.
With the right product, dose, and regimen, you can definitely find results in hemp and cannabis products. You will get the best results if you are an educated consumer and have a little patience to experiment with different options. As always, we’re here if you need us!