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The Ultimate Guide to Cannabidiol
Guide to Cannabidiol: These days, you’ve probably come across CBD somewhere, whether online or in a local shop, it’s become a nationwide phenomenon. With all the different brands and products out there, learning about CBD can seem daunting. If you’re considering giving CBD a try, but don’t know where to start, then this guide is for you.
To fully understand this guide and information related to CBD, it is important to familiarize yourself with a few key terms.
Hemp – hemp, as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, is any Cannabis L. Sativa plant grown to be federally compliant with less than 0.3% THC content. Hemp is often grown for it’s high CBD content and strong fibers that can be used for textiles.
Decarboxylation – a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group from a molecule. Decarboxylation often refers to the process of heating hemp and hemp extracts to transform acidic versions of cannabinoids into their active forms. For example, hemp plants naturally contain large amounts of Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), which when heated up turn into Cannabidiol (CBD).
Bioavailability – refers to the actual percentage of a substance that the body can absorb into the bloodstream. Taking a 100mg supplement with a bioavailability of 50% would mean that the body would only absorb 50mg of the supplement.
Entourage Effect – a concept that all of the compounds in the hemp plant work together to promote their strengths and create a different physiological and psychological effect than a single compound alone.
Full Spectrum – a product that contains not only CBD but all other cannabinoids and terpenes at their naturally occurring quantity.
Broad Spectrum – contains mostly CBD, but also contains the other cannabinoids at a much lower quantity. Any residual THC is often completely removed from these products.
Isolate – the form of CBD where all other cannabinoids have been removed.
COA – COA’s, or Certificates of Analysis, are third-party tests that provide information on the products safety, potency, and quality.
Endocannabinoid – Cannabinoids naturally occurring in the human body
Phytocannabinoid – Cannabinoids naturally occurring in cannabis
Now that you’re familiar with these terms, you should be able to more fully understand the lingo surrounding CBD, and the rest of this guide.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids present in hemp. It is only one of over a hundred unique compounds that are found in hemp. However, unlike it’s arguably more famous cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not have any psychoactive effects and will not get you “high”.
Wait, so CBD products won’t get me high?
No, CBD is non-psychoactive. As long as the CBD product has been extracted from federally compliant hemp, it should contain less than 0.3% THC and will not produce any “high” or euphoric effects.
It is crucial for your safety and wellbeing to only buy CBD from brands that provide third-party COAs of their products. This helps make sure you are not buying a product that contains contaminants, heavy metals, or mislabelled potency.
What are people using CBD for?
People are using CBD to help them alleviate their anxiety, sleep-related issues, and chronic pain. Last year the FDA approved Epidiolex (a medication whose primary active ingredient is CBD) to treat seizures associated with two forms of epilepsy.
How Does CBD Work?
Across all of our bodies, we have cannabinoid receptors which, together, comprise the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a variety of physiological and psychological processes such as pain, mood, and memory.
The most often referred to cannabinoid receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptor is located across the brain and nervous system and is also found in several major organs. This is that most naturally occurring cannabinoids bond to, such as THC when it creates the “high” feeling.
However, CBD does not directly interact with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. Instead, it modifies the receptors ability to bind to other cannabinoids. By doing this, it is thought the CBD leads the body to interact with more of it’s naturally occurring cannabinoids.
Often, you’ll hear about people having highly individualized reactions to cannabinoids. For example, CBD may make some people sleepy, whereas it may energize others. This is because everybody has different levels of naturally occurring endocannabinoids, and some people’s endocannabinoid systems may have different sensitivities to CBD.
Is CBD Legal?
The answer is… not clearcut.
According to Congress’s 2018 Farm Bill, purchasing hemp-derived CBD products is federally legal. This means that the source of the CBD is incredibly important to its legality. As long as the CBD product is extracted from hemp, not marijuana, it is federally legal.
However, it is often a misconception that this means CBD is legal in all 50 states. The Farm Bill defers the legality of hemp and hemp-derived products to the states, who can decide CBD’s legal status. For example, recently Massachusetts banned the sale of all CBD-infused food products, meaning any edibles/drinks had to be stripped from store shelves. However, this law did not affect the legality of other CBD products like oils and vapes.
Currently, the CBD market is mostly unregulated and few methods are being used to monitor CBD companies. In response to an inflow of questions and curiosity about CBD, the FDA announced that they are expediting their work on answering questions about CBD, and expect to report on their work by the fall.
Hemp Vs. Marijuana
Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana is paramount to staying safe and legal in the confusing world of CBD.
While hemp and marijuana both come from the Cannabis L. Sativa, legally, they are entirely different. Marijuana is generally grown for its high THC content and is recreationally illegal in most states. Whereas hemp is considered federally legal when grown to the specifications of the 2018 Farm Bill.
However, it is important to understand that law enforcement has very little way to tell marijuana and hemp flower apart. Standard police marijuana detectors scan for phytocannabinoids, and hemp will light them up like a Christmas tree. So it is important to recognize that there are risks associated with openly using CBD products in public, and you should always use discretion.
Will CBD Make Me Fail A Drug Test?
If you search this question on Google, you’ll be welcomed by a world of obscure answers pointing in both directions.
The most common type of drug test is a urine drug screening. In this process, a sample is collected and sent to a doctor or technician to be analyzed. In these tests, they are specifically looking for THC and often no other cannabinoids.
So, products that use CBD isolate are unlikely to make you fail a drug test. These products should contain extremely minute to absolutely no other cannabinoids, including THC. Broad-spectrum products should also be relatively safe to use in the event of a drug screening, as they should also contain virtually no THC.
Full-spectrum products, however, like oils and whole flower, pose a slightly more significant risk. These products naturally contain trace amounts of THC and could be picked up by a drug test.
It is important to understand that there is no guarantee you will pass a drug test when using any CBD products. Before using CBD you should consider your risk tolerance and be mindful that the CBD industry is widely unregulated, and unscrupulous products could contain more THC than labeled.Guide to Cannabidiol
How Should I Take CBD?
Not every consumption method is the right fit for each individual, and each method has its pros and cons.
Pills, Capsules, and Edibles
Oral consumption of CBD is great for people who don’t like the taste of CBD oils or vaporizing. A wide variety of products are available from gel capsules, pills, flavored gummies, and even drinks. Often, these products utilize CBD isolate, and are a good choice for those concerned about drug tests (you should always check what form of CBD is contained before making a decision).
However, because the CBD must pass through the digestive system before it can enter the bloodstream, it takes a while to work and offers one of the lowest bioavailabilities of CBD. Oral consumption is estimated to have a bioavailability between 4% and 20%, or for every 100mg of CBD taken orally, 4mg to 20mg will be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Beneath our tongues is a large vein known as the sublingual gland. When medicines/oils like melatonin, or in this case CBD, are administered under the tongue, they get absorbed directly into the bloodstream. CBD products taken sublingually range from oils, tinctures, lozenges, and even sprays, and are probably the most commonly taken form of CBD.
This method provides begins working itself into the bloodstream much quicker and is reported to have a bioavailability between 12% and 35%, which is much better than oral consumption.
Vaporized consumption is a great way to get the most out of CBD. Products in this category range from e-liquid to vaporizing hemp flower in a dry herb vaporizer. Vaporizing CBD hemp flower is one of the best ways to take CBD because of its efficiency and utilization of the whole plant and its compounds. Guide to Cannabidiol
Besides straight up intravenously injecting yourself with CBD (don’t), vaporized consumption offers one of the highest bioavailabilities of any other consumption method at an estimated 34% to 56%. Because of the large surface area of the lungs, the CBD is absorbed much faster than any other method, and with much greater efficiency.
How to Choose Safe Products
Guide to Cannabidiol: As stated earlier, the CBD market is largely unregulated and there is an ocean of CBD products available to choose from, and not all are necessarily safe.
Here are some good guidelines to follow when choosing a CBD product: Guide to Cannabidiol
- Ensure the product provides third-party, up-to-date, and accurate COAs (Certificates of Analysis)
- Ensure it was grown domestically, as hemp grown overseas may not be as stringently tested
- Ensure the product provides an ingredients list, and how much CBD it contains
- Avoid products that make extravagant health claims (this is illegal)
- Check to see if the company has an online presence. If the company doesn’t have any online presence, it’s probably wise to avoid it.
As with buying product, exercise due diligence before purchasing and ensure you comply with your local laws. Guide to Cannabidiol