CBD: The Basics

These days, it feels like everywhere you look you’re likely to see something about CBD. It seems like they just throw those letters in front of anything from food to smoking products, even furniture. It might have you wondering “ what the heck is this CBD stuff and why is everyone so obsessed with it? 

Health care providers surveyed received mentions or questions about CBD from their patients in the past month. Entrepreneurs are getting in on the trend as well with thousands of new CBD brands popping up since the passing of the 2018 Farm bill that removed hemp derived products from schedule 1 status. 

With the fast pace of the industry it’s easy to get loss in the weeds (no pun intended). So, here’s a little breakdown of CBD to help you get started on your journey into the world of CBD.

What is cbd?

CBD is Short for cannabidiol. It was one of over 100 naturally occurring compounds, called cannabinoids, found in cannabis. These cannabinoids interact with the body in a variety of ways and have different potential effects. CBD is the second most prominent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant after the more well known THC. 

Does it get you high?

The primary difference between THC and CBD (and the other cannabinoids) is that CBD is non-intoxicating. So, no, it does not get you high. Not all CBD products have THC in them, and the ones that do can only have .03% THC. So, the chances of feeling any kind of intoxicating effects are little to none. We will explain which products have THC and  which don’t later.

If it doesn’t get you high, then what does CBD do?

Cannabis has a long history of being used for its therapeutic potential dating as far back as 2800BC. In recent years this potential has been rediscovered and while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the potential benefits of cannabis (including CBD specifically), it still points out that more research is needed. So far, there’s only one FDA-approved prescription CBD drug for the treatment of epilepsy. That being said, there is a small amount of research suggesting CBD to have potential benefits for:

  • Pain
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Cancer related issues
  • Acne
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Addiction
  • And more

What kind of CBD products are there?

Despite lack of research some people still swear by the benefits of CBD and its popularity continues to rapidly grow along with the different products you can get. In order to be legal, they have to be made from hemp rather than cannabis. These two are technically the same plant, the distinction between to two is more the legal definition, defining Hemp as a cannabis plant with less than .03% THC.

CBD products can be broken down into three categories: 

  1. Full-spectrum CBD- contains small amounts of all parts of the cannabis plant. That means it can have trace amounts of THC. Federally legal full-spectrum products must have less than 0.3%THC. In states where cannabis is fully legal, you may also be able to find full-spectrum products with higher levels
    1. Pro: Potential benefits of the entourage effect. This is a theory that says when multiple components of cannabis work together, you reap more benefits than when taking each individually. 
    2. Con: Since full-spectrum products contain THC,With large enough doses, you may feel high. You also may run a higher risk of testing positive on a drug test.
  2. Broad-spectrum CBD- Does not contain THC. It does contain other components of the cannabis plant, though, so it won’t be 100-percent CBD alone. Consider it the middle child of the three CBD choices.
    1. Pro: since these products have the other cannabinoids as well, you will still get some of the entourage effect. 
    2. Con: Some studies have shown CBD to work better with a THC. So you may be missing out on some of that benefit since broad spectrum has none. 
  3. CBD isolate: Your pure CBD product, isolate contains no other compounds found in cannabis, except for the CBD itself.
    1. Pro: no THC- so if you’re very anti THC or really worried about failing a drug test but still want to try cbd, then this is the one for you.
    2. Con: no THC or any other cannabinoids so you will not have any of the entourage effect. 

Within these three categories you can find products to be used topically, such as salves, lotions, soaps, creams, and bath bombs. You will also find ingestible products that can be eaten, inhaled, or taken sublingually such as vapes, edibles, cigarettes, pills, tinctures. 

Is CBD legal?

 Among other things, the 2018 Farm Bill made it so cannabis plants and derivatives that contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis are no longer controlled substances under federal law and explicitly preserved FDA’s authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, which gave authority to the FDA to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. 

This means that there are some laws you should check with the FDA about if you plan on selling or marketing CBD products. But, if you’re a consumer, you don’t have to worry about being busted for possession.

Is CBD Safe?

There have been no reports of lethal overdose with either of the cannabinoids and, outside of concerns over abuse, major complications are very limited.19 Current research indicates that cannabis has a low overall risk with short-term use, but more research is needed to clarify possible long-term risks and harms.

Because of the Lack of research on CBD, there is still a lot that we do now know about the effects and side effects of the cannabinoid. For example, most of the studies that have been done so far had a small sample group and/or the study did not last very long. This has created concerns about the effects of taking CBD for a sustained, long period of time. There are also not enough answers regarding how CBD affects other drugs you may be taking  or how CBD affects the developing minds. There have also been some studies that have suggested that CBD may cause liver damage or possibly even damage male fertility (at least in rats). But just as in the studies that show benefits, the studies that show potential side effects are few and far between and often seen as insufficient to come to a strong conclusion. 

While the FDA warns that there may be some side effects that you might notice. The common side effects that you may notice, if you have any at all, are dry-mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness and irritability. Given the huge rise in purchases of CBD products, the lack of research and minor known side effects don’t seem to be discouraging many people from trying CBD for themselves.  But although you may be comfortable with CBD, you still have to be careful with the brands themselves.

How to find good cbd products?

With all of the options out there, it can be hard to find the product that’s right for you. To make it even more difficult, the lack of regulation and research in the field in addition to the fact that it is fairly young is justifiably a cause for concern for many people. In fact, studies have shown that up to 70% of products they tested either over or under represented the amount of cbd contained in them. For this reason, it is very important to do a little digging on any CBD product you are considering purchasing. 

The first thing you should do is check out the manufacturer’s website. The site should be professional looking and it should be pretty easy to find the ingredients in their products. Since there are tons of ways to easily make professional sites, obviously a professional looking site does not necessarily mean the products are legit, but if the site looks cheap and thrown together, that could be a red flag. Most importantly, the website should offer a Certificate of analysis (COA) from a third party lab. 

What is a COA?

A COA is a verified document that provides details about the testing lab, the brand and the specific product. It should provide information such as which cannabinoids are present and how much of each as well as confirm that the product is free from harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, mold and bacteria . COAs may also include terpenes, which are the aromatic ingredients that contribute to the product’s scent, flavor and therapeutic profile.  

Key information in the COA

  1. Report Date- to be sure that the results are recent and relevant. 
  2. The name of the third-party laboratory- This should be listed prominently so that you can verify the lab’s existence and credentials. 
  3. Name of the product’s brand-  make sure it matches the name on the packaging, unless the company contracted another manufacturer to make the product. If that’s the case, you may need to dig a little deeper to confirm that the COA is directly connected to the product in question. 
  4. The batch number and description in the COA match what you see on the item you’re purchasing.  

USDA and State guidelines require that all products be tested. If there is no COA available do not consume or buy the product.

Products you might want to try.

**The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.








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