Cannabis sativa is a plant that has two well-known strains: marijuana and hemp plants. The marijuana plant has a high amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a substance that has psychoactive properties and gets you high. In contrast, the hemp plant has less THC, but more CBD (cannabidiol), a substance that is similar to THC but has no psychoactive effects.
CBD belongs to the same group of compounds as THC, but it doesn’t get you high or alter your state of mind. It is the second most prevalent ingredient in the hemp plant and is currently under research for a wide range of potential health benefits.
Because of legal restrictions surrounding Cannabis sativa, scientists have only recently begun conducting detailed testing of its active components. We are still waiting for conclusive scientific evidence on the exact effectiveness of CBD; however, the potential that this substance holds is incredible.
In this ultimate guide to CBD, we will discuss everything you need to know about the compound. Find out what its possible benefits are, about the different types of CBD oil that exist on the market, and what CBD product would best work for you. Strap in to learn everything about CBD!
Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest cultivated plants in existence. It originated in Central Asia and on the Indian subcontinent, where it was used by ancient civilizations (China, Japan, and Korea, mostly), for making clothes, shoes, ropes, and what would later become paper.
No one knows exactly when the psychoactive effects of cannabis were discovered, but the famous ancient Greek philosopher Herodotus recorded its usage in ritual and for pleasure. Around 480 BC, he noted how Scythians would inhale hemp-seed smoke to induce a trance-like state.
The earliest restrictions on cannabis were already put in place in the 14th century in Arabia. Since then, the limitations of cannabis use only increased throughout the world. Napoleon also banned his soldiers from using cannabis after they came across it in Egypt and Syria.
The history of CBD itself started in 1940, when this substance was first discovered. Its chemical structure was defined in 1963, and it is only now that we are learning more about all of its effects and potential benefits.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved CBD for the treatment of two types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy in children. As we mentioned before, research is still catching up with CBD, and any other beneficial properties have yet to be confirmed by science.
However, thanks to a large number of personal accounts from people who use CBD to improve their health condition, we know how prevalent CBD has become. It’s important to emphasize that CBD works differently from person to person. Not everyone will experience the same effects or enjoy the same benefits from taking CBD. If you’re unsure of how you will react to CBD oil products (especially if you are already taking prescribed medication), consult with your doctor about whether or not CBD could be helpful for you.
If you’ve done research on Cannabis sativa and phytocannabinoids in general, you might have also come across an ingredient called cannabigerol (CBG). Similarly to CBD, CBG doesn’t get you high or have any psychoactive properties. In fact, it can even combat the psychoactive effects of THC.
The main difference between CBD and CBG is in their mechanism of action. While CBD has low affinity for cannabinoid receptors in the body, CBG directly interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. We’re still waiting on science to determine the full extent of these different ways of action in the human body.
CBG is produced from cannabigerolic acid in cannabis through a process called decarboxylation. It is a minor cannabinoid because there is usually less than 1% of it in cannabis plant material. This is one of the reasons why CBG is often referred to as the “Rolls-Royce of cannabinoids.” Because there is so little of it, it is difficult and relatively expensive to produce.
Not only that, but the amount of CBG decreases as the cannabis plant grows. The longer the plant matures, the more CBG is converted into other cannabinoids. The production equipment necessary for isolating CBG is also more complicated and more costly than for CBD and THC.
However, none of this stopped us from including a CBG oil in our product line. Because it is a broad-spectrum oil (see below for more explanation on that), together with other cannabinoids and terpenes, this product enhances the effect of every ingredient through an entourage effect.
CBD is formulated as an oil. You often see it labeled as ‘hemp oil,’ ‘hemp,’ or ‘hemp extract’ on products.
It’s important to mark the distinction between CBD oil and hemp seed oil. The former is a concentrated form of CBD isolated for its potentially beneficial effects, while the latter is cooking oil. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD, THC, or any other cannabinoid. Instead, it is rich in vitamins, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids that will have a good impact on your health, but without the substances that are the focus of this article.
There are three primary forms of CBD oil used in CBD products:
● Full-spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains more than one cannabinoid. It is not only CBD, but also CBG, CBC, CBN, and trace amounts of THC. Aside from the cannabinoids, this type of CBD oil also comes with other ingredients, such as terpenoids, flavonoids, different vitamins, fatty acids, and fiber.
The amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD is less than 0.3%. This isn’t enough to cause psychoactive effects. However, due to the entourage effect, you may feel subtle psychoactivity depending on how much was taken.
The entourage effect happens when there is more than one cannabinoid in a product. When consumed together, cannabinoids mutually enhance each other’s effects. Even though trace amounts of THC aren’t enough to get you high, the entourage effect may cause you to feel as though you are if you use a full-spectrum CBD oil product. If you’re worried about this and would like to avoid THC altogether, you should look into the next two types of CBD.
● Broad-spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is similar to the full-spectrum, only it doesn’t include any THC. You still get the cannabinoids and terpenes; and enjoy the full entourage effect, but without the possibility of getting high.
● CBD isolate
The third type of CBD oil is the CBD isolate. This is the purest form of CBD – a CBD isolate product contains purely CBD and no other substances. When you’re using CBD isolated from other cannabinoids, you don’t get the entourage effect, and the concentration of CBD in the product can be relatively high.
All three CBD oils we outlined above can come in different types of products. Which product will be the best for you to consume CBD depends on what you’re comfortable with (eating, drinking, holding under the tongue, rubbing into the skin, or smoking/vaping) and how fast you want to feel the effects of CBD. You should also consider how long you want those effects to last.
Here are the most common categories of CBD products:
● CBD edibles
Edibles are foods and drinks that you ingest orally. These can be CBD gummies, CBD capsules, foods and beverages infused with CBD (such as CBD coffee, CBD honey, etc.), and others. You can even add CBD oil to your favorite recipe if you wish to use it this way.
When you consume a CBD edible, it takes time for the substance to reach your stomach and even more time to get from your stomach to the bloodstream. The onset of CBD effects, when taken by mouth, is from 1 – 4 hours. At the same time, CBD edibles offer longer-lasting effects.
● Sublingual CBD
For a faster onset time – between 15 minutes and an hour – you should try applying the CBD oil under your tongue. The sublingual application gives better control over the product, and it doesn’t require much preparation. Most sublingual CBD products are packaged as sprays or as CBD tinctures – liquids in bottles with special dropper tools.
Hold the oil there for about a minute before you swallow. CBD will get absorbed through the mucous membrane under your tongue, which is a much faster process than CBD ingestion.
● CBD topicals
Topical formulations are those that you apply on your skin. These can be CBD creams, balms, and even transdermal patches.
Topical CBD has a slower onset than sublingual CBD products because it takes longer for the skin to absorb the active compounds than the mucous membrane. Before you apply your topical CBD, perform a patch test first. Dab a bit of it on your skin, on the inside of your forearm, and leave it for 48 hours. If there is no reaction (no irritation, swelling, or redness), then you should be good to use the product.
● Inhalation CBD
Lastly, if you don’t mind smoking or vaping, this is the fastest way to feel the CBD effects. When inhaled, CBD goes from the lungs directly into the bloodstream – we’re talking about an onset of a few minutes.
If you wish to smoke CBD, you can use a water pipe and a CBD oil concentrate. An alternative is to roll a joint with a cannabis flower that is high in CBD. However, such a flower would also contain a significant amount of THC, thus risking getting you high. If you don’t want to get high, then the water pipe or CBD vaping would be better.
To vape CBD, you will need a vape pen and a CBD vape oil cartridge. These are pretty straightforward to handle, and the CBD’s effects (and onset times) are the same as with smoking. Vaping is easier on the throat than smoking, which is an added benefit of intaking CBD this way.
If you’ve decided to start using CBD, you need to consult a medical professional about it, especially if you have an underlying chronic disease and are undergoing conventional therapy. Then, you should consider whether you want a full-spectrum CBD oil, a broad-spectrum, or a CBD isolate. After that, it’s a matter of choosing what type of product will be the most convenient and most beneficial for your particular case.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when deciding on a CBD product:
● Third-Party Testing
CBD is not FDA-approved for anything other than the treatment of the two forms of epilepsy we mentioned. For this reason, the products you’re looking at must be tested in a third-party lab. Testing of this kind will confirm that the CBD product you purchased actually contains what it says it does on its label. Don’t invest in options that weren’t tested in a third-party laboratory.
● Brand Claims
Finally, be wary of brands that claim CBD is 100% safe and a miraculous treatment for a host of diseases. It is not. It has some benefits that have not yet been confirmed by science (but that patients all over the world are very vocal about), but it doesn’t treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Brands that claim CBD is something it’s not are all too eager to take your money, so avoid them at all costs.
At the end of the day, if your health condition and current treatment permit, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give CBD a go. Choosing your first CBD product shouldn’t be too hard: pick a CBD oil type, a means of intake that is most suitable for you and your way of life, and consult a physician on the product’s recommended usage. If you find that a particular product doesn’t work for you, you can always either switch the oil type or the product itself.Take a look at our CBD products. They meet all the requirements we talked about in this post. Help yourself to what sounds good to you, and start enjoying this exciting new world of CBD!