The beginners guide to CBD
Let’s start from the beginning..
Here is a key of acronyms you will see throughout this article:
THC: tetrahydro cannabidiol
ECS: endocannabinoid system
Phytocannabinoid, aka: plant cannabinoid
Tincture, aka: dropper
Topical, aka: lotions
Cannabidiol which is known as CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, so firstly let’s learn exactly what hemp is. Hemp is commonly confused with “marijuana” or just as commonly assumed to be the same things, but there are some differences to point out.
Hemp and “marijuana” are both cannabis, much like how red apples and green apples are both apples. There are different varieties of cannabis plants, mainly the cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. Like any species of plants, cannabis contains lots and lots of compounds in its genetic make up. These compounds are referred to as phytocannabinoids, ‘Phyto’ meaning plant and ‘cannabinoid’ basically meaning a compound from the cannabis plant. The common cannabinoids you may have heard about are CBD, THC, and maybe you have even heard of CBG or CBN. There are hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant! For a cannabis plant to be deemed as hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. The level of THC in the plant is carefully controlled through seed genetics, these seeds are grown and monitored very closely for THC content. So although the plants may look similar, there is a difference in the genetic make up of each plant.
Don’t disregard marijuana plants for their high THC content, as THC has a world of medicinal applications, but for now let’s focus on hemp and CBD.
What is CBD?
From the key of acronyms at the beginning of this article we know that CBD is short for cannabidiol, a phyto cannabinoid from the hemp plant. In recent years CBD has been the most researched of all the cannabinoids, for its potential in the medicinal world. If you happen to be a chemist the CBD formula looks like this:
And did we mention that CBD is non-psychoactive? That means that not matter how much CBD you take, you will not become intoxicated or experience that “high” feeling.
OK, so how does CBD work?
Remember in the acronyms there was something called an endocannabinoid system or ECS for short? Well that’s how it works. But allow me to elaborate a little… We all have an ECS in our bodies, that is design to send signals through receptors within your body. These receptors can be broken down into CB1 and CB2 receptors, CB1 receptors being found in the brain and nervous system and CB2 receptors being found in the peripheral nervous system (especially immune cells). So basically, this system is throughout your whole body and organs and works to keep everything in order. If you know much about the human body you could liken it to how the Thyroid gland regulates the bodies hormones. Basically, the brain sends a signal to your thyroid gland to release certain hormones to keep you functioning at optimum level, and the ECS does a similar job in with endocannabinoids. As far as we know anyway, scientists are still researching to learn more about the ECS and how it works, but they believe it has an important role in maintaining homeostasis in the body, in other words keeping your body running properly.
The ECS has been linked to the following processes:
- Appetite and digestion
- Chronic pain
- Inflammation and immune system responses
- Learning and memory
- Cardiovascular system function
- Liver function
- Reproductive system function
Using CBD allows our bodies to optimise use of natural cannabinoids already produced by the body.
What can CBD do for me?
Until the FDA decide how they want to proceed with CBD no company can legally tell you that CBD will do anything for you. What we can say is that researchers have positive results relating to CBD when used for: Sleep, pain management, and other medical issues.
Many users report that CBD allows them to switch off, feel more relaxed, therefor having a better overall sleep.
CBD may help with pain and inflammation by activating CB2 receptors in the immune system, allowing focus directly to areas of pain.
Other medical issues
Other issues such as gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, and even mood/behaviour management issues have all shown some potential benefit when using CBD products.
Are you still with me? Good.
Moving on to choosing which CBD product to buy?
CBD legislation varies from country to country, and even from state to state so it may be worth doing come research about the CBD laws in your location. Regardless of laws some people still manage to buy or import CBD products, which brings to question the quality and content of that product. As with any industry, especially CBD it can be flooded with hundreds of companies claiming to have the best product on the market, but do they really or are they just trying to make a quick profit with cut corners and crappy substitutes? Well let’s look at some key factors when buying CBD products.
It can sometimes be hard to tell if a brand legitimately knows what they are talking about or have simply copied and pasted information from others. One thing we can say to help when sifting through brands is that no brand can make health claims about their CBD product. If you see a brand stating that their product will cure your cancer, or fix your insomnia… run! As per the FDA (USA) or TGA (Australia) rulings NO ONE can make health claims about CBD. Instead you will see almost every brand siting studies or using sentences such as “CBD may assist with…”.
The decision to buy a CBD product can seem like an expensive one, so you’d hope to get your moneys worth. The best place to start when looking at CBD products is ‘how much CBD is in it?’.
Concentration refers to the amount of CBD within the entire bottle/container. Like how your morning cappuccino will contain approx. 94mg of caffeine in a standard size mug, but an espresso shot will also contain approx. 94mg of caffeine but in a small shot cup, therefore more concentrated. You still get the caffeine.
CBD is similar. When searching for a product you want to look at the total milligrams of CBD per bottle/container. For example, tinctures are generally 30ml in size, the concentration of CBD varies from approx. 250mg to 10,000mg of CBD within that 30ml bottle. Generally speaking, the higher the CBD content, the better, although this depends on your personal condition and dosage. A higher CBD content (regardless of the size of the bottle/container) means it is more concentrated and should last longer.
With a selection of products on the market customers are spoilt for choice on how they want to take or use CBD. Everything from oil tinctures, gummies, sprays, topicals, suppositories, and vapes. Try a few different methods to find what works best for you. The most common method is an oil tincture.
Though not of vital importance, taste may be an important factor to some. As mentioned above there are a variety of methods to take or use CBD, and within those methods are varying tastes. Some CBD oil tinctures may be flavoured with artificial or natural flavourings such as: mint, berry, chocolate etc, others may not. There are also differences in the carrier oil (what the CBD concentrate is mixed with) used in oil tinctures, commonly (though not limited to): hemp seed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. The taste of a product will also depend on the extraction method used to obtain the CBD. More on the extraction process later.
Full spectrum VS Broad Spectrum VS Isolate, What’s the difference?
One of the biggest confusions in the hemp world is about the differences between a full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate product. Its all just CBD isn’t it? Well, not quite. Earlier we talked about how the hemp plant contains many different compounds, each of these compounds can be isolated from the others through different processing.
The first process is to take the whole hemp plant that has been farmed from the ground to a processing facility. It then goes through a process called Co2 extraction, this basically means they turn it from plant matter into a waxy/oily substance. This extracted substance contains all the hempy goodness from the plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Once this waxy substance is converted to an oil, it is then added to a carrier oil such as coconut oil and there you have a full spectrum product.
If you were to take the waxy/oily substance from above and process it a little further to eliminate any traces of the THC still left, you would then create a broad spectrum product. A broad spectrum product still contains all of the trace amounts of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, but any THC is removed from the product completely.
The final product is known as a CBD isolate. This takes a bit more processing than the other products to remove all of the other cannabinoids, including THC, terpenes, and flavonoids, so that we are left with the 100% pure CBD compound only.
Whichever direction you chose in terms of a CBD product will be beneficial.
A whole plant extract
A whole plant extract,
With zero THC
Will CBD products cost me an arm and a leg?
Ideally CBD will be saving you an arm and a leg in the long run… less pain and better sleep equates higher productivity, right?
The market is flooded with CBD products. If you name it, somewhere someone will have added CBD to it. As with any industry that becomes flooded there will be brands selling low quality products for the high quality price.
CBD is the latest and greatest in terms of industry growth and health applications. If we look at the hemp plant as a whole then the uses stretch as far as your imagination, everything from textiles to houses. As we discover and research more of the cannabinoids found in hemp, the demand will grow. A healthier alternative to pharmaceuticals, with fewer noted side effects, a fast growing crop that can go from seed to harvest in as little as 102 days (approx.), potential for huge economic growth, it simply makes sense to move further forward into the hemp industry.
- Research the brand and products available
- Ask your doctor, medical professional, or hemp professional about any questions you have. Family and friends who have previously used CBD can help with frequently asked questions too.
- Look for certificates of analysis
We hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any further questions check out our other blog posts, or feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org