These days, CBD is in dozens of products, and not just in the form of gummies, oils and lotions. CBD kombucha? That exists. CBD hair gel? Check. CBD-infused mascara? Yes. Hemp toothpaste? Yup. There’s even a line of CBD products for pets.
The CBD trend has been around for several years now. However, there’s still a lot of misinformation and confusion about cannabidiol. If you’re new to CBD, may this article serve as a useful crash course, and answer the question if this unregulated compound can contribute to optimal health or be avoided.
Will you feel high or stoned using CBD?
One of the biggest misconceptions about CBD is that it will get you high. CBD will not get you high. In fact, most people consider CBD to be non-psychoactive, unlike THC, the main compound in marijuana that does make users feel high.
However, Dr. Julie Holland, a psychologist who is a researcher of using psychoactive drugs to treat PTSD, anxiety and depression, does consider CBD to be psychoactive even though it won’t get you high.
In an episode of the National Public Radio show, Fresh Air, Dr. Holland says, “[CBD is] not intoxicating, but it is psychoactive in that it can help quite a bit with anxiety. It can help with insomnia. And it can help people sort of achieve, like, a calm focus.”
CBD can actually help counteract the psychoactive high of marijuana, which may contribute to anxiety in some users.
What is the difference between CBD and pot?
Marijuana is derived from the cannabis sativa plant. The cannabis sativa plant has over 400 chemical constituents, with dozens of cannabidiol compounds. CBD is the second most abundant compound in marijuana, behind THC.
So CBD comes from marijuana?
It can. In states with recreational or medicinal marijuana, pot dispensaries sell a wide variety of products with different THC and CBD ratios. But the CBD you’ll find added to over-the-counter products at the supermarket are derived from hemp.
Like marijuana, the hemp plant is a member of the cannabis sativa family. By law, CBD from help can contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, an amount that will not produce a high feeling.
Is CBD legal?
It depends where you live. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp for commercial purposes, most states allow the sale of hemp-derived CBD. However, some states only allow CBD for medicinal purposes, even if it comes from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD regulated?
The short answer is no. Like health supplements, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD—with one exception. FDA has approved Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.
Because CBD is a health fad and lots of people are trying to cash in on green gold, the fact that the compound is not regulated poses several problems: the amount of CBD listed can be incorrect; it may contain impurities such as heavy metals, pesticides and fungal toxins; it may be of subpar quality; it may be poorly absorbed by the body, and it may be combined with synthetic ingredients.
How do you know if you’re buying good quality CBD?
A reputable company will have a certificate of analysis (COA) for each batch (lot number) of CBD that’s produced. The certificate should come from a third party source with the contact info prominently displayed.
The report should have passing scores for microbials, mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents. In addition, the percentage of THC and CBD compounds should be listed as well as terpenes. (More on terpenes below.) The hemp, from which the CBD is extracted, should also be grown on a certified organic farm in the outdoors.
What is CBD supposed to help with?
Although more human clinical trials are needed, preliminary research shows that CBD has beneficial effects for pain and inflammation; anxiety and depression; stress relief, and sleep.
How does CBD work?
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). You can think of the ECS as your body’s homeostasis highway. Homeostasis is a perfect state of balance. To promote balance in your body, the ECS has receptor sites all over your body and relays signaling molecules that influence pretty much everything that goes on in your body, from hormone regulation to your immune function.
The ECS might just be the most important part of your body that you didn’t learn about in school. CBD helps your ECS to promote homeostasis, thereby reducing inflammation.
Is there any convincing research CBD works?
Other than for epilepsy, mainstream medicine says that research on CBD is lacking. However, as stated above, there is some promising evidence.
We now know that CBD, because of its interaction with the ECS, interacts with serotonin receptors, helping to activate more of the feel-good chemical.
There’s a study suggesting CBD is effective for easing social anxiety; shows promise with post-traumatic stress disorder; lowers cortisol levels, which is beneficial for stress management, as is its potential for lowering blood pressure.
There’s even a small study showing CBD can help ease anxiety in pets.
Again, more research is needed. But premium-quality CBD seems to have therapeutic effects.
What kind of CBD is best?
Premium CBD is best. But, buyer beware, not all CBD is created equal and many brands claim to have premium CBD when in fact, their CBD is about as therapeutic as Crisco.
That CBD chocolate in the supermarket checkout line? That cheap bottle of massage balm with CBD? Chances are high that if it’s cheap, it’s not good quality; like all things in life, you get what you pay for.
Besides the quality factor (see above), there are different types of CBD. The three main ones are: CBD isolate, Broad-Spectrum CBD and Full-Spectrum CBD.
If you’re afraid that the miniscule amount of THC will show up on a drug test at work, opt for a broad spectrum CBD, as it has zero THC. (Remember to verify the company’s CBD by examining the COA on its website). If you’re not worried about trace THC, then choose full spectrum.
Full spectrum CBD contains a few different types of CBD plus terpenes, which provide the CBD with not only its earthy, well, weed-like aroma, but also its therapeutic potential. Terpenes protect and repair plants for insects. And perhaps the way these compounds help the plant is the same way terpenes help us? Some terpenes (such as linalool and limonene) have shown anti inflammatory potential in research studies.
Full spectrum CBD provides the so-called entourage of CBD, which means the compounds in CBD work synergistically together; their therapeutic sum is greater than their parts.
Conclusion: Is CBD worth trying for optimal health?
That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. If you’re buying a product that contains several ingredients plus CBD, chances are it won’t work. But trying full spectrum CBD oil may be worth the small investment (expect to pay $50 or more for a very small bottle).
Like many natural supplements, CBD may take a little while to notice positive effects. If you take medications, however, consult with your physician about possible drug interactions. It’s best to take CBD hours before or after medication so the two will not interfere with each other.