Cannabidiol (CBD): A Beginner's Guide
We truly are living in a new golden age of Cannabis. More and more states across the nation are beginning to legalize Cannabis for medicinal and recreational use and government initiatives like the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 have allowed hemp-derived products like CBD to flourish. The Cannabis industry has matured beyond the chase to breed the highest THC strain and increasingly, new cannabinoids are being discovered that are bringing this wonderful plant to a wider variety of people.
What does this mean for the average consumer? Whether you’re a Cannabis connoisseur or not, chances are you’ve begun to see CBD, or cannabidiol, pop up in ads and articles throughout your daily life. As with any fad, there is a lot of hype but not a lot of real information provided by the media; there are a lot of misconceptions and false claims. Luckily, our team at Dicronix is here to set the record straight.
What is CBD and where does it come from?
CBD is the second most-abundant cannabinoid found in Cannabis; however, until recently, it has received significantly less attention amongst researchers and Cannabis aficionados than its psychoactive cousin THC. Thanks to new research from governments and private companies around the world, CBD has been thrust into the public spotlight for its non-psychoactive medicinal benefits.
With this increased attention has come increased research and development in the areas of breeding, extraction, and absorption. Farms across the nation are producing CBD-rich hemp at an increasingly fast pace; labs employ scientists, botanists, and other researchers to better understand how our bodies react to CBD and how we can produce it in more efficient ways; private companies are spending more and more on productizing these new discoveries in clever and creative ways. From organic CBD-rich hemp flower to 99.99% CBD isolate, from face creams and lotions to soaps and honey, CBD is available to consumers in more ways than ever.
Is it legal?
Although Cannabis may not be legal in all 50 states, CBD is available legally across the nation thanks to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Prior to this act, CBD was legal in most states, even many of those where Cannabis is not yet legal.
What does CBD do? Does it get you high?
Like THC, CBD interacts with our body’s natural endocannabinoid system; however, CBD provides clinically-proven medicinal benefits without the psychoactive high of THC. Whereas THC binds directly to cannabinoid receptors in our body, CBD indirectly acts on these receptors, thereby increasing the production of endocannabinoids (natural cannabinoids created by our body).
What does that all mean?
There’s no need to complicate what can be best explained anecdotally. When taken orally, smoked, or vaporized, many people describe a subtle wave of relaxation and tranquility that sweeps over their body; when applied topically to the skin, many report an almost immediate reduction of swelling and pain. The effects aren’t always remarkably noticeable, but that’s why so many people have been drawn to CBD!
What’s the difference between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD?
When most people think of Cannabis, they immediately associate the high caused by THC, when, in reality, there are over 85 different cannabinoids that work together to give the plant its medicinal effect. The entourage effect, as it’s known commonly, has been widely documented scientifically and anecdotally. While THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids have unique medicinal properties on their own, when combined with the other chemicals that occur naturally in the Cannabis plant (like terpenes), the result is a noticeably stronger effect. It’s no surprise that when pharmaceutical companies first tried to commercialize THC in the form of Marinol, many patients preferred the continued use of the whole plant.
When it comes to CBD products, you’ll notice that not all are created equally: some are made from CBD isolate and others from full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD products are made using minimally refined hemp oil that contains not only CBD, but also other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant. While the entourage effect means full-spectrum CBD products will provide wider health benefits, CBD isolate remains one of the most popular forms of CBD on the market. For those that dislike the taste of full-spectrum hemp oil or who prefer to ingest their CBD orally, CBD isolate provides a simple and reliable dosing option. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference, with many users preferring the ultra-high, often 99.99% purity of CBD isolate and others preferring the additional effects of full-spectrum products.
What are the best ways to take CBD?
As we’ve mentioned above, there are a wide array of CBD products available on the market, but they all fall under four main categories of delivery: inhaled, topical, sublingual, ingested.
Inhalation is the most efficient method of CBD delivery, allowing a higher percentage to enter your bloodstream than other methods as it enters your lungs and is diffused directly into your blood, bypassing your liver. Inhaled CBD products are not recommended for children or those with respiratory issues.
The most common forms of inhaled CBD products are vaporized e-liquid, CBD-rich hemp flower, and dabbable CBD extracts.
Topical applications of CBD have become one of the fastest growing product areas in recent years. These types of products work directly on the uppermost layer of cells, so no CBD enters the bloodstream via this method. Created for everything from pain relief to skin health, companies have begun to incorporate CBD into lotions, salves, soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, creams, and more!
Sublingual delivery of CBD provides both immediate benefits and long-lasting relief for most patients. Pure CBD oil or specially made tinctures can be administered under the tongue, allowing the mucous membranes in your mouth to absorb the CBD directly into your bloodstream. The best way to take CBD sublingually is to hold it under your tongue for at least a minute before swallowing any remaining product. This allows some CBD to be absorbed immediately while some will pass into your digestive system to be processed over time.
Ingestible CBD products are by far the easiest to provide to a child or a curious newcomer. CBD edibles, as they are often called, come in a variety of forms such as capsules, candies, beverages, and pretty much any food you can think of. One of the best parts about CBD is that it can be mixed seamlessly into almost any culinary creation to add additional medicinal benefits to your meal.
How do you properly dose CBD?
Although an increasing number of scientists are beginning to research CBD and its benefits, doctors cannot legally prescribe CBD, only recommend it as there is no currently accepted recommended daily allowance (RDA) for all people. It’s important to understand that this should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional before beginning a new medication or if you have questions about pharmacological interactions.
With that being said, we find that the COR Serving Standard is an effective dose of CBD for most users: 25mg of CBD taken twice per day. It is also recommended to try increasing the dosage every 3-4 weeks by 25mg until you feel relief from your symptoms.