CBD Information Guide
CBD is becoming a popular supplement in the natural medicine community. You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits that CBD can offer. Or maybe you’re wondering how it’s related to THC? We’re here to answer all your questions!
What is CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the many compounds that occur naturally in the Cannabis sativa or hemp plant. While they come from the same plant, hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same product and offer different benefits. Similarly, CBD has a lot in common with essential oils — such as the benefits of the terpenes found in both — but they also are not quite the same.
Production of CBD is either natural or synthetic. In the natural method, producers extract cannabidiol directly from the cannabis plant. Scientists can also produce CBD in a lab.
There are three different ways to extract CBD oil: CO2, ethanol, and olive oil extraction. There are pros and cons to each method, so it’s important to research which type suits your needs best.
When CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant, it contains a number of other terpenes and phytochemicals. CBD oil in this state is known as full-spectrum CBD. In contrast, a CBD isolate has been made free of the additional phytochemicals and terpenes found in full spectrum. Choosing between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate is a personal preference based on which is best for your lifestyle or daily routine.
Many legal entities consider synthetically-produced CBD a regulated substance. So, the CBD you can buy legally is all naturally sourced.
CBD made with the industrial hemp plant contains little to no THC (another cannabidiol known for its mind-altering effects).
It can be hard to know what to expect when you start using CBD. Those who are familiar with the effects of THC may wonder how CBD will make them feel. The clearest difference between CBD and THC is that THC provides users with a high, and CBD does not. CBD on its own causes no intoxicating effects and is often used for medicinal purposes.
What is CBD Used For?
Research continues to show that CBD can be beneficial in the treatment of many conditions from general athletic soreness and fatigue to serious disease. In addition, the potential side effects of CBD are mild. The following list is not exhaustive, but it contains quite a few of the conditions shown to be alleviated with the help of CBD.
Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine, was shown to suppress the severity of rheumatoid arthritis “significantly.”
Since CBD helps control inflammation, research shows that it has potential as a treatment for asthma.
Not only have cannabinoids been shown to help treat the side effects of cancer (such as nausea, pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue), but it also has been shown to help treat the disease itself.
• Digestive Issues
Research shows that CBD could be a new therapeutic strategy in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.
Cannabis gives “significant” benefits to patients with Crohn’s disease.
CBD treatment was shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes in mice “significantly.” The untreated mice had an incidence of 86%, and the CBD-treated mice had only 30%.
As CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, it may be an effective treatment for symptoms of endometriosis. This condition is characterized by severe pelvic cramps that can occur at any point during the menstrual cycle, accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue and bloating.
Since this condition involves the excess growth of endometrial tissue in the area of the pelvis, surrounding structures are affected and can lead to the formation of cysts, excessive bleeding, and painful sex. CBD topicals in particular may be helpful to target areas of pain that may include the lower back and the abdomen as well as the pelvis.
CBD can help balance energy levels by helping speed up a sluggish metabolism, improving quality of sleep, and balancing levels of serotonin and dopamine.
• Epilepsy and Seizures
A number of studies show that CBD has benefits for people with epilepsy who haven’t responded well to traditional epilepsy and seizure treatment.
A fibromyalgia sufferer was able to manage her pain and help cut back on her opioid pain medication use by adding CBD to her regimen.
Research shows that cannabinoids like CBD can lower intraocular pressure, helping to alleviate glaucoma-related symptoms
• Heart Disease
Preclinical data support a positive role for CBD as a treatment for heart-related diseases.
• Kidney Disease
While these studies are in the experimental stages, they suggest that CBD could have beneficial effects on the kidneys.
• Liver Disease
Studies show that cannabidiol helps restore liver function.
In this study of 48 people, about 40% found that they experienced fewer migraines when using CBD.
• Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Results from studies using CBD-based drug Sativex as an additional therapy have been “promising” in treating Multiple Sclerosis.
CBD interacts with serotonin receptors to help reduce nausea caused by many different factors.
• Osteoporosis/Bone Health
Data shows that CBD helps fractures heal quickly by assisting with collagen enzymes.
Using CBD for natural pain relief can be a promising alternative or addition to a traditional pharmaceutical regimen.
• Parkinson’s Disease
Findings show that CBD may positively affect the quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
CBD can be used to successfully manage many different symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and digestive issues.
While this isn’t necessarily a condition, the calming effects of CBD may be beneficial for getting in “the mood,” especially for those who suffer from anxiety regarding their physique or performance. CBD can also be used as a possible pain-reliever for those who suffer from conditions mentioned prior, such as endometriosis, or other structural abnormalities that can make sex less enjoyable.
• Skin Conditions
This study shows that low concentrations of CBD were “very effective in inhibiting lipid synthesis” without harming the skin cells when treating acne. Damage to cells is extremely likely when using vitamin A derivatives, which are common in treating acne.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have a potential role in treating psoriasis, according to this study.
The “protective role of the endocannabinoid system” when in contact with a skin allergy shows potential for CBD to treat contact dermatitis — allergic reactions on the skin. There is always a chance that skin care products or topicals can cause this condition; however, there is little chance that CBD skin care products will cause any other negative reactions and have many other potential benefits.
CBD is an effective and well-tolerated therapy for chronic pruritus, or excessive itching.
This study shows that cannabinoids such as CBD may “directly impact” the progression of Alzheimers.
While these studies are in the early stages, preclinical findings support the clinical development of drugs to treat eating disorders by modulating the endocannabinoid system.
There have been reports that cannabis and CBD are a more effective treatment for behavioral problems associated with autism than conventional treatments.
Preclinical data suggests that “elevated endocannabinoid signaling” such as is produced with CBD can produce antidepressant effects as well as conventional treatments.
Studies show that CBD helps inhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Through a mid-stage drug trial, an experimental cannabis-based drug has been found superior to a placebo when treating schizophrenia.
How Does CBD Work?
How is CBD Absorbed?
Cannabinoids must attach to a fatty acid binding protein to pass through the membranes of our cells. Once its inside the cell, CBD starts to be broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase, a metabolic enzyme. From there, the CBD can start interacting with the receptors and compounds in our bodies!
The Endocannabinoid System
As we already mentioned above, CBD is one of over 60 compounds called cannabinoids.
The human body already produces come cannabinoids on its own — these are called endocannabinoids. Since these compounds are naturally produced in the body, the body also has a system in place for dealing with the signals it receives from cannabinoids. This system is called the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS regulates many bodily functions, such as sleep, pain, mood, appetite, and responses from the immune system.
The receptors in the ECS are divided into two categories: CBD1 and CBD2.
CBD1 receptors are typically found in the nervous system, and a small proportion of them may be found in the kidneys, lungs, or liver. These receptors are the ones known to interact with the neurotransmitters and affect sensations like appetite, concentration, and more.
CBD2 receptors, on the other hand, are a huge part of the immune system. These receptors have a hand in modulating the pain sensation along with other immune responses.
According to this study, CBD does not bind to the ECS itself — it actually activates or inhibits other compounds and receptors. The same study claims that this is why CBD doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects.
How Does it Affect the Body?
So, what does CBD actually do once it’s absorbed and interacting with the body? Here are a few of the ways that studies show CBD can affect your body.
- This study shows that, at high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxy tryptamine) serotonin receptor. This receptor is a factor in a large range of conditions and symptoms, such as nausea, pain, sleep, addition, appetite, and anxiety.
- This study shows how CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors. TRPV1 is known for mediating temperature, inflammation, and pain.
- By stimulating the adenosine receptor, CBD promotes dopamine – which affects processes like motor control, motivation, reward, and cognition – and glutamate – which affects learning and memory – production, as shown in this study.
- By activating peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), CBD can also work as an anti-cancer treatment, according to this study.
- CBD interacts with the GABA-A receptor to enhance its ability to bind with GABA. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in our nervous system, and CBD allows the GABA-A receptor to amplify the natural calming effect of GABA, which is helpful in treating anxiety.
How Can I Use CBD?
There are quite a few options for using CBD — you can even cook with it! All these options can make choosing a CBD product a little overwhelming. We’ve broken down some of the most common ways to use CBD below so you can make an educated decision on which method works best for your lifestyle and preferences. And, so long as you follow airline regulations, you can take most of them with you when you travel!
Understanding CBD Oil
Quite a few different kinds of products fall under the category of “edibles.” The most popular is CBD gummies — much like the popular gummy vitamins! Energy chews, gum, protein powder, and infused water all fall under the category of edible.
If you want to enjoy a tasty snack while you get your CBD, an edible option might be perfect for you. As with any supplement, it’s important that you take your CBD edibles safely — make sure you follow edible safe practices!
CBD capsules are a no-fuss solution to your daily CBD. Some capsules are even dissolvable if swallowing pills isn’t an option for you. Just grab one along with the rest of your daily vitamins and a sip of water, and you’re good to go.
Capsules are great if you’re sensitive to tastes or textures or you’re looking for the easiest way to take CBD.
Oils & Tinctures
CBD oil is one of the most versatile options for CBD. Typically, tinctures are dropped under the tongue — which helps it absorb more quickly — and then swallowed. They come in a wide variety of flavors from cinnamon to fruits or even unflavored if you’re going for an all-natural experience.
You also have the option of blending your CBD oil with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or jojoba and then applying the oil mixture directly to your skin.
If you’d like different options for your CBD application or are interested in the additional benefits often included in the carrier oils, oils and tinctures are a great choice for you.
Much like consumable CBD oil, CBD vape juice comes in a wide variety of flavors (Lucky Charms and cinnamon toast, anyone?) CBD additives are also available, so you can simply add a serving of CBD to your favorite vape juice.
If you’re used to vaping or don’t mind inhaling your products any more than taking them orally, CBD vape juice may be a good choice for you.
Topical CBD comes in many different forms, including lotions, salves, creams, massage oils, transdermal patches, sprays, and even bath bombs — and more! These products usually have pleasant, calming scents and can be very therapeutic to apply in addition to the benefits from the CBD.
Topical CBD is wonderful for quick relief of localized, day-to-day aches and pains.
If you want to give your pet CBD, there are a variety of options as well! CBD can come in sprays and oils to be put on their food or directly into their mouths in tasty (to them!) flavors like bacon and tuna. Tasty CBD-infused treats are also available. Pets can also benefit from topical CBD balms for skin problems or gel that can be applied in the ear for quick absorption into their veins.
Serving Sizes & Information
There is no official recommended serving size for CBD. The information on this page is intended to serve as a good starting point only and should not be considered medical advice.
The optimal amount and frequency of servings of CBD can vary from person to person. In fact, the variables on finding a universally prescribed serving size of CBD are almost infinite — weight, diet, metabolism, genetics, environment, and more all affect the perfect serving for you. Even the time that you take CBD can affect how it makes you feel.
If you don’t immediately get the results you expect from CBD, don’t worry. Making some small adjustments might be all it takes to find the perfect CBD serving size for you. Start with the lowest possible serving. Some conditions benefit from small amounts, some benefit from larger ones, and some benefit the most from somewhere in the middle. Slowly working your way up is the best way to find the proper amount for you.
If you feel you can benefit from a higher serving size of CBD, research suggests increasing the amount every 3–4 weeks to fully process how your current serving size is affecting you.
We also recommend keeping notes on how your CBD serving size affects you — this practice will help you remember accurately which amount helped you feel your best.
If you’re unsure which method will work best for you, we recommend trying out a CBD starter kit. Don’t be afraid to test out different ways to use CBD — after all, the supplement that works best is the one you actually take! Whichever method you choose, remember that CBD is a supplement and will eventually expire. Make sure to read up on the best storage practices for CBD to make the most of it.
Is CBD Legal?
We are not lawyers and cannot offer you legal advice. Be sure to check into your state’s CBD-specific laws for further information about CBD legality.
While hemp is legal in all 50 states, there are some situations and factors where the legality of CBD can be hard to understand. It’s important to know where your CBD is coming from and the specific laws of your state before making CBD a part of your daily routine.
Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD
One of the aspects that makes governing CBD products a bit confusing is the difference between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD.
Hemp is an incredibly versatile resource for manufacturing, fabric making, and even fuel. In addition, it’s extremely sustainable and fast growing. It also happens to contain high amounts of CBD, too!
CBD derived from hemp has no psychoactive effects, which is why it is excluded from the US Controlled Substances Act and legal for industrial production. On the other land, marijuana-derived CBD is associated with THC — and the psychoactive effects caused by that compound — which means it is included in the US Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 substance and illegal. THC is also what shows up on a drug test — not CBD. However, be aware that consuming large amounts of CBD can cause the trace amounts of THC to trigger a false positive on a drug test.
While there are some states where all forms of marijuana, including marijuana-derived CBD, are legal, most do not permit CBD that is not hemp-derived.
Legality of Hemp-Derived CBD
According to the 2014 Farm Bill, legal “industrial hemp” refers to the plants and the products derived from them with less than 0.3% THC that are grown by a state-licensed farmer. The bill doesn’t mention CBD specifically.
In January of 2017, the DEA made a rule that states an “extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis” is illegal. Understandably, The Hemp Industry Administration was unhappy with this ruling, saying that the DEA was failing to acknowledge legal hemp (and its extracts) that were covered in the 2014 Farm Bill.
This appeal was rejected — but here’s why that doesn’t mean the end of CBD. Judges of the appeal acknowledged that the Farm Bill and DEA have different definitions of legal cannabis. In addition, the Farm Bill preempts this DEA rule.
What Does That Mean?
So, if your oils, edibles, topicals, and capsules are coming from products that meet the following criteria, you’re still in good shape:
- Contain less than 0.3% THC
- Grown by a state-licensed grower
Don’t be shy about asking your CBD provider to answer these questions! It’s important to know that you’re getting high-quality, legally-derived CBD.
The laws around hemp and cannabis are currently extremely difficult to navigate, but that could all change with the introduction of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. If it passes, the bill would put an end to picking apart which parts of the plant require regulation and offering a blanket legality for “Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant” so long as the THC concentration is “not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
If these laws all seem extremely complex and at least a little confusing, that’s because they are. Marijuana and hemp laws are in an interesting, ever-changing time right now, but we’re excited to see how they continue to progress in the next few years.