CBD-curious? It’s everywhere, not just in cannabis dispensaries. You can buy CBD products in convenience stores, supermarkets and online. But what type of CBD is considered superior by cannabis experts?
Miracle Noodle founder, Jonathan Carp, M.D., hosted a fascinating webinar about the endocannabinoid system, in which he discussed ways to stimulate the body’s internal bliss molecule—without the need for using cannabis.
But what if you’re thinking about using cannabis to support your health? Specifically, CBD, the non-intoxicating molecule that has exploded in popularity, especially since 2018 when industrial hemp became legalized with passage of the Hemp Farm Act.
According to market research firm, Grandview, in 2020 the global CBD market was valued at nearly $3 billion. That’s a lot of hemp extract sold. But chances are, many people who purchase CBD don’t know how it works nor what product or type of CBD is best.
So if you’ve never tried cannabidiol (CBD) before, hopefully this article will give you a better idea of what the hype is all about. And like any health supplement, it’s really up to the consumer to do due diligence on the product.
You see, out of any health supplement on the market, your risk of throwing money down the drain is arguably highest with CBD. That’s because it’s fairly new and many unscrupulous wanna-get-rich players in the cannabis game use subpar-quality CBD. Add to the fact that sometimes, independent lab testing has revealed that some products with hemp extract actually contained no cannabidiol in the product whatsoever.
Before getting into the best products and types of CBD to use, let’s cover the basics…
What is CBD?
This section will be short. If you want a more in-depth read into the basics of CBD, read, “Should I Use CBD for Optimal Health?”
But here’s a summary:
CBD is the most abundant chemical compound in hemp. CBD oil is extracted from hemp, which is part of the cannabis family. Marijuana is also a cannabis cultivar, containing the intoxicating molecule, THC.
CBD is the second-most abundant compound in marijuana and counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. There are many studies that support CBD for ease of anxiety, pain and stress. But large-scale clinical trials are lacking at this point; much of CBD’s claims are anecdotal.
It is believed that CBD optimizes the performance of two receptors in the brain called CB1 and CB2. The former is more abundant and is mainly found in the brain, and as such, impacts cognitive performance and mood. CB2 receptors are found elsewhere in the body and regulates practically every function in the body, including immunity, inflammation and pain signaling.
The Endocannabinoid System
CB1 and CB2 are receptors of the body’s internal cannabinoid system, which is formally called the endocannabinoid system.
Now let’s revisit Dr. Carp’s video about stimulating the body’s bliss chemical, which is called anandamide. Certain foods, supplements and plant oils stimulate the activation of anandamide. With more frequent activation, anandamide helps to promote homeostasis (balance) in the body.
Then why take CBD, you may be wondering? The problem with anandamide is that its effects are very short lived. CBD is believed to help assist with homeostasis by preventing anandamide from breaking down by inhibiting the activity of a protein called nuclear factor KB (NF KB).
You can think of NF KB as, well, a nuclear bomb in the endocannabinoid receptor pathway. By taking CBD on a regular basis, the theory goes that your anandamide will give you better bang for your buck.
What Type Of CBD is Best?
But like all things in life, not all CBD products are equal. So which type of CBD is best for homeostasis? Before discussing the differences between gummies, capsules, oils and other CBD products, let’s take a look at the few different types of hemp extracts that you’ll see on the market…
Cannabis contains well over 100 isolated compounds. CBD is just one (but the most abundant) distinct cannabinoid. But there are quite a few others that can be extracted from hemp. CBD isolate contains just one compound: CBD.
This type contains other cannabinoids besides cannabidiol (CBD), including CBN, CBG and others.
Legal CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, which is now a legal agricultural commodity after being illegal for roughly a century. Full-spectrum contains CBD, the other cannabinoids in broad-spectrum, plus a tiny bit of THC. But the amount of THC is so small that it won’t get you high.
So which type of CBD is best? Many CBD experts believe that full-spectrum offers the most therapeutic potential because of what’s called the entourage effect. In addition to the cannabinoids, including THC, full-spectrum hemp extract contains terpenes, which are phytochemicals that give plants a pleasing aroma. It’s believed that all these phytochemicals work synergistically to enhance the action of each individual compound.
It’s possible you could experience positive results from broad-spectrum or even CBD isolate. But if you don’t have to worry about getting drug tested for work, as even the tiny amount of THC could be picked up by a sensitive lab, go with full-spectrum.
Best CBD products
As for choosing a CBD product, good luck. The choices are so overwhelming, it’s like strolling through a Costco with a blank check. But here’s some brief guidance…
When it comes to managing pain and inflammation, choose a topical product that contains in addition to hemp extract, proven pain mitigators such as capsaicin (the molecule from the capsacum family of peppers), menthol and essential oils. Just don’t expect that using a CBD topical (lotion, gel, roll-on, salve, balm, etc.) will cure your pain. It most likely will do no such thing. However, using it once or twice a day could help manage achy joints and muscles.
For easing stress and anxiety, pure full-spectrum CBD oil is best. To make sure you absorb it, squeeze drops of CBD oil under your tongue and let it sit there for a minute. A high-quality CBD oil should have very few ingredients. The purest of the pure should taste very earthy and smell similar to an unvaporized marijuana plant.
Some people won’t be able to tolerate CBD oil because it’s just too rich and, well, hempy-tasting. In this case, CBD capsules may be appropriate. But if you can stomach the taste of CBD oil, try it instead of gummies. This is mainly because gummies usually contain added sugars and artificial food coloring. However, many people swear by gummies for getting a good night’s sleep.
No matter which type of CBD product you choose, pick a reputable brand that proudly displays on its website independent third-party lab testing, ensuring each batch is safe from heavy metals, pesticides, fungus and other nasties.
Here’s to your homeostasis!