CBD is a hot topic in the wellness world right now.
But if you’re new to CBD, it can be tough to know where to start.
In this beginners guide to CBD, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this powerful compound.
From what CBD is and how it works, to the different types of CBD products available and how to choose the right one for you.
So read on for all you need to get started with CBD!
Table Of Content:
- What is CBD?
- How does CBD work and where does it come from?
- Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs Isolate
- Is CBD Legal (US)?
- Ways to take CBD
- The health benefits of CBD
- What Does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Say About CBD?
What is CBD?
Cannabinol (a.k.a. CBD) is a major cannabinoid found in cannabis that is the second most abundant after THC. CBD products have exploded in popularity in the recent decade as a remedy for multiple discomforts, medical conditions, and relaxation purposes.
CBD is popularly used for pain management, anxiety/ stress reduction, neurological disorders which cause seizures, and blood pressure management. This list of potential uses is non-exhaustive.
What is a cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds in cannabis responsible for the unique therapeutic and medical benefits of cannabis and hemp.
How does CBD work and where does it come from?
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it does not cause impairment or make a person high. It is known for various physical and mental health benefits.
Both hemp and cannabis plants are abundant in terpenes, the natural compounds known for the plant’s unique aromas. Terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD have synergistic effects.
The human body’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for pairing with cannabinoids such as CBD and THC to provide therapeutic and medical benefits. This system is composed of multiple receptors that bind with cannabinoids and communicate with your immune and nervous systems.
CBD is extracted commonly from hemp, the legal name for cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC.
CBD products have become a staple for many health and wellness enthusiasts. Many patients and consumers seeking relief from various discomforts or medical conditions have turned to CBD as an alternative for OTC or prescription medications.
Many treat hemp and CBD products as health supplements. In fact, CBD is increasingly popular in the world of athletics.
What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?
Hemp plants contain 0.3% THC or even less, while cannabis plants are defined as plants with over 0.3% THC.
The primary difference between hemp and cannabis plants is the content of THC. Think of hemp as a legal definition.
How can I tell if the products I’m using are safe?
A certificate of analysis, commonly known as a COA, is a lab report from a third-party laboratory.
Any reputable brand will have a COA available that measures the concentrations of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes in either flower or extracted CBD products.
These include products that have been processed such as tinctures, topicals, and edibles. Impurities such as heavy metals and pesticides are also tested for to ensure product purity.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs Isolate
There are three important terms to understand when making an informed choice on your CBD product purchase. These terms are full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate.
Full spectrum refers to the full-plant benefits of cannabis. Hemp and cannabis flower are always considered full spectrum however, this changes when the plant is processed.
Full spectrum products maintain the full profile of all beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes even after extraction.
CBD enthusiasts and cannabis/hemp professionals will almost always recommend full spectrum products as they maximize the synergistic effects of cannabis. In simplest terms, many would argue that full spectrum products have the greatest therapeutic and medical potential.
Broad spectrum refers to nearly full plant benefits, minus THC. A lab can remove THC from full spectrum extracts which may appeal to those avoiding CBD for personal or professional reasons.
Broad spectrum is often considered the closest in quality to full spectrum products.
CBD isolate is commonly referred to as pure CBD as the cannabinoid has been isolated from the other full spectrum properties of the plant matter it was extracted from.
CBD works synergistically with other cannabinoids, therefore isolates are best used in conjunction with other full spectrum products.
For example; somebody who habitually smokes flower during the day can benefit from a CBD isolate as it will interact with the other cannabinoids and terpenes that person is consuming.
Using isolates alone can still provide relief, yet few would agree they work as well as full or broad spectrum products.
Is CBD Legal (US)?
Yes! The CBD and hemp market today as we know it has come into place after CBD products began springing up on smoke shop, health store, and convenience store shelves.
Hemp was not legal to grow in the United States for many years as a result of broad cannabis prohibition which included hemp.
In the last decade, individual U.S. states rolled out their own rules on hemp cultivation. Many of the early mainstream and abundant CBD products were made with industrial hemp grown or processed overseas.
CBD has become a buzzword in recent years even before the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the commercial cultivation and processing of industrial hemp on a federal level. This bill provides federal guidelines and for the legal hemp industry.
Ways to take CBD
CBD may be consumed in a variety of ways. Smoking hemp flower would be considered the most straightforward to consume CBD. The modern CBD market is abundantly supplied with a variety of oral products, vape cartridges, and CBD oils commonly known as concentrates or extracts. Topical application of CBD with creams or lotions has also grown in popularity.
Many patients and consumers begin 10-25 mg of CBD which is generally considered average in strength. The recommendations below are suggestions on how many mg to start with and increase if and as needed.
As CBD is non-intoxicating, patients and consumers can be far more liberal with dosage than THC. For example, 25-50 mg of CBD would likely promote moderate effects, while the same dosage of THC is considered too high for most people. 50 or mg of CBD would be generally considered a higher dosage.
A CBD tincture is a liquid solution that contains a base oil, or carrier oil, such as MCT oil which has been infused with CBD extracts or “decarbed” (activated”) CBD-rich hemp or cannabis flower.
Tinctures typically come in a glass bottle with a dropper that allows for a more precise dosage. Drops of tincture are placed under the tongue and swallowed after 1-2 minutes. Sublingual (under the tongue) dosing is known to provide more rapid relief than edibles which take longer to digest.
Effects may last 2-6 hours or longer. A dosage of 10-25 mg is typically appropriate to start. You may increase if and as needed. It is common to want or need more CBD than 10-25 mg.
Topicals: Creams, Lotions
CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory effects pair well with achy joints and muscles. CBD-infused topicals have made their debut as an alternative to popular pain-relieving salves and creams. These topicals are known for providing localized pain relief.
Deep pain relief may also be achieved with transdermal topical formulas that penetrate deeply into the bloodstream.
CBD is known to have anti-oxidative effects that appeal to skincare savvy consumers. These effects pair well with the previously mentioned anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
Numerous facial creams, bath bombs, and hair care products are on the CBD bandwagon with formulas that appeal to those seeking anti-aging properties from cosmetics. Hemp seed oil is also commonly found in mainstream cosmetics these days. The list goes on.
Effects typically peak within a half hour and can last for several hours.
Oral Products: CBD Capsules, Softgels, and Pills
CBD capsules and pills are an excellent delivery method that provides longer-lasting relief than inhalation methods such as smoking or vaping. These oral products are also quite convenient to consume, minus the longer time for onset effects.
Oil-filled capsules and softgels are the most common form of CBD oral products. Cannabinoids such as CBD are fat soluble and work best when paired with fats such as lipids from coconut or MCT oil.
Effects may be felt within 45-90 minutes of ingestion and last 2-6 hours or more similar to tinctures. Oral products provide more effective relief to many than inhalation methods.
Many oral products will come in dosages of 10 mg-25 mg. Increase if and as needed.
CBD edibles are one of the most common delivery methods. These edibles will typically come as gummies, chocolates, or other sweets.
Each piece will contain several milligrams of CBD, typically 10-25 mg more. Many manufacturers include 10 mg or more per piece.
Serving size or dosage should be determined by how many milligrams are in each piece. A dosage of at least 10-25 mg should be enough to notice some effect. Increase if and as needed.
Like oral products and tinctures, onset effects can take up to 45-90 minutes. Effects may last 2-6 hours or longer, however, each person is different.
Vape Cartridges (a.ka. carts)
CBD vape cartridges are popular for patients and consumers seeking rapid relief. Full spectrum CBD carts are ideal for achieving full plant benefits.
Broad spectrum comes in second for effects as there is an absence of trace THC. Isolate based formulas provide the most concentrated CBD dosage, yet these formulas are best used in conjunction with full spectrum products.
Many cartridges have botanical terpenes reintroduced to the formula for added flavor and strain mimicking effects. However, hemp and cannabis-derived terpenes are always superior. Terpenes can be found in all plants, making them easy to access for hemp and cannabis processors.
Terpenes are generally not a major concern, however other additives are cause for concern. Always pick additive-free vapes! Nothing besides terpenes or other cannabinoids should be considered acceptable as an additive or enhancer.
Effects can be felt immediately and for up to 2 hours or so. You can take more puffs as needed.
Smoking is the most popular and well-known form of CBD or cannabis consumption. Smoking provides rapid onset effects. Many patients and consumers prefer smoking as vapes can contain various additives and the science of vaping is still new.
Considering the rapid relief smoking can provide, patients and consumers can best predict the effects and increase or decrease use as needed.
Many medical professionals will routinely advise against smoking however, we are not here to tell you what to do!
Effects may be felt nearly immediately, while effects can last up to 2 hours or so. You can use more if and as needed.
The health benefits of CBD
CBD is known for its potent anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), and neuroprotective properties. CBD has also been reported to have antipsychotic effects, antioxidant effects, and many more beneficial properties.
CBD is a popular remedy for pain management, anxiety/stress reduction, and blood pressure management. Many known CBD as a common remedy for those suffering from seizures.
Are there negative side effects of CBD?:
In general, no! CBD has healing properties and is widely known to alleviate chronic pain, anxiety, seizures caused by nervous system disorders, and even high blood pressure.
Sensitivities to CBD products are usually a result of inactive ingredients such as the base oils of tinctures or dairy products in chocolate for example.
Unless you are hypersensitive to cannabinoids besides THC, there is little to nothing to be concerned about.
What Does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Say About CBD?
There is currently an FDA-approved CBD-based medication called Epideliox ® which is limited to very few patients. This medication is not very common, and most patients & consumers rely on over-the-counter hemp derivatives or cannabis derivatives in legal or medical use markets.
What is CBD used for?
CBD is a popular remedy for pain management, anxiety/stress management, and seizure management for those with neurological conditions. CBD is also popular remedy for high blood pressure as well as numerous symptoms related to mental and physical health.
Many patients view CBD as a supplement or alternative to OTC and prescription drugs.
CBD is abundant in hemp and cannabis plants and is considered to be non-psychoactive, or non-intoxicating. Most CBD products are derived from hemp which is legal in the 50 US states, Canada, and many countries.
CBD is also gaining traction in the world of athletics for workout recovery as a non-intoxicating way to reduce muscle soreness or pain from sports injuries.
Will CBD cause me to be high or impaired?
No! CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. In simple English, this means non-intoxicating.
Despite providing powerful physical and mental relief, CBD is not similar in effect to THC. THC provides therapeutic relief as well, but with a high. CBD has no high.
It is also not similar to common intoxicants such as alcohol or illicit drugs.
Can animals and pets use CBD?
Yes! Numerous pet stores and vets these days carry CBD treats, drops, and more. It is important to use a pet-friendly formula from a reputable brand.
It is best to avoid using CBD products on animals that are intended for humans as the inactive ingredients may cause an upset stomach or worse.
CBD is excellent for arthritis, anxiety, and numerous medical conditions animals face. Dosage will likely be smaller than those of human products. Please use as directed by the manufacturer.
Potential CBD side effects and drug interactions?
CBD is not known to cause dangerous interactions with other drugs or medications. However, it is always best to address your concerns with a medical professional.
A high dose of CBD may induce heavy relaxation that may not be ideal for somebody trying to stay energized or awake.
How to distinguish safe CBD products?
Reputable brands will always have a COA, certificate of analysis, available which measures the levels of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes in addition to harmful impurities like heavy metals or pesticides.
Low CBD concentration or unclear information on the packaging is a major red flag. Many products with small amounts of hemp oils are branded as CBD products, yet have little to no CBD content as the hemp extract is diluted. If there is no measurement of CBD in mg, it is likely a poor quality product.
You can use the information in this article to help you make an informed decision on what products you choose. Also, be sure to read product reviews if available.
No lab report, no deal!
Will using CBD cause me to fail a drug test?
As CBD products are made with CBD extracts or flower that contains up to 0.3% THC, tiny amounts of THC may be metabolized.
In simplest terms, the metabolites which drug tests measure for THC may cause a positive result. So yes, it is possible.
There is a generally lower likelihood of a positive result than standard cannabis products, but it is not impossible. To be cautious, you can use a CBD product that is either broad spectrum or isolate based.
What is a standard dosage?
For oral products and edibles, the dosage will differ from smoking or vaping. On the lower end, 10-25 mg is considered an average or small dosage. A moderate dose is anywhere between 25-50 mg. 50 mg and up is considered a higher dosage.
For inhalation methods, take as many puffs as needed. Try with just 1 or a few and allow up to 15 minutes before puffing again.
For topicals, you should follow the directions of the manufacturer as concentrations and effectiveness vary greatly depending on the topical formula.
Keep in mind that CBD is non-intoxicating, so you can be liberal with the dosage without serious or uncomfortable side effects.
CBD is becoming more popular every day, and for good reason.
It can provide relief from a variety of conditions without the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana.
However, CBD can be confusing for beginners, which is why we’ve put together this guide to getting started with CBD.
We hope you find it helpful! Have you tried using CBD to treat a specific condition?
Let us know in the comments how it worked for you.