What Is CBD — And What Can It Do For Me?
CBD is a natural chemical compound from the cannabis plant…and it’s popping up everywhere, from pet products and pain relief gels, to infused drinks and cookies. Short for cannabidiol, CBD’s popularity has taken off for good reason. CBD has a great potential for health benefits including the possible blocking of pain signals.
It’s an important thing to address. What follows is a primer designed to answer the most essential questions on your mind:
● What is CBD?
● Will CBD get me high?
● Is CBD legal?
● How do I determine CBD’s quality?
● How can I find quality CBD products?
What is CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring substance produced by plants in the cannabis plant family. There are two major types of cannabis; you’ve probably heard of the first type, called marijuana. Marijuana is usually lush and resinous, and it produces THC-rich flowering buds that people smoke for psychotropic upliftment.
The second type of cannabis has been overlooked for decades, though it’s at least as important as marijuana. This type is called hemp. Hemp is cultivated primarily for its oil, fiber, and/or seeds. Hemp is federally legal to grow in the US so long as it contains less than .3% THC.
Both marijuana and hemp contain CBD, which regardless of its plant source remains consistent on a molecular level. That said, most CBD on the market today contain more than just the compound CBD. CBD oil products derived from hemp, for example, will usually also be rich in hemp’s trace compounds and healthy fats.
Will CBD Get Me High?
In a word — no!
On its own, CBD has no psychotropic effects. THC (not CBD) is responsible for the intoxicating ‘high’ associated with cannabis. That said, CBD can instill in its users a more gentle type of upliftment. Many people report feeling more hopeful, relaxed, and energized with consistent CBD use.
Also keep in mind that a CBD oil’s THC and CBD levels depend on how its hemp source was extracted. There are three different types of hemp extracts:
FULL SPECTRUM CBD
This type of extract contains a truly full range of hemp’s most active ingredients, including THC (.3% or less), terpenes, other cannabinoids, flavonoids, chalcones, and more.
BROAD SPECTRUM CBD
Contains zero THC but retains hemp’s other terpenes, cannabinoids, oils, etc.
Is the purest form of CBD and contains only the CBD molecule itself. It’s to hemp what vitamin C is to oranges — its single most active ingredient, isolated and distilled down.
Which type of hemp extract is best? This topic has been the subject of much debate, and even among experts it can be tough to find a consensus. Some studies state that CBD isolate is purest and most potent, while others state that the trace ingredients found in broad spectrum and full spectrum products are critical for CBD to work.
There are practical elements to consider, too. CBD isolate is a great choice for those in states where cannabis is illegal, those who undergo drug testing for work, or those with children under the age of 18.
Is CBD legal where I live?
Almost definitely — in fact, CBD isolate products are legal worldwide! Only hemp products that may contain trace THC are of any concern. And in America the future looks bright: 2018’s Federal Farm Bill made hemp-derived CBD entirely legal.
How do I determine CBD’s quality?
This is the biggest challenge consumers face when looking for the right CBD product.
Why? Largely because hemp is a bio-remediating plant — meaning it naturally pulls pollutants like heavy metals out of its soil and into itself. Hemp grown in substandard environments will be great for those environments…but ingesting it wouldn’t be good for you.
For this reason, opting for CBD from areas that uphold strict agricultural standards is key. While many companies source their CBD from China because of its low price, that’s definitely not a good choice. Regulatory standards there are far less stringent than America’s. Buyer beware.
How can I find premium CBD?
It’s easy to find premium CBD… if you hold products to some standards of your own! If a CBD product meets the following standards, you’re good to go:
Lab tested: most reputable CBD product manufacturers will include a Certificate of Analysis for the CBD they use and it could vary from product to product. Look for it on the product manufacturer’s website (sometimes called a COA)
Accurately labeled: some brands sell hempseed oil under the guise that it contains CBD. This is a common bait and switch sales tactic — don’t fall for it. The truth is that hempseed oil contains virtually no CBD.
As far as where to actually purchase your CBD, that also takes some careful navigation. Companies on Amazon can’t advertise for CBD, nor can paid CBD ads be placed on social media. The consumer’s best choice is to buy CBD directly from a brand’s website — after getting educated first.
As a scientist, it is my job to spend a significant amount of time researching compounds, as a consumer, you generally do not have that same liberty. If you think CBD is something that can benefit your well-being, I encourage you to use the tips provided in this article to bring your knowledge up to speed. The right products can make a huge difference.
The research, legalities and usage of CBD continues to evolve every day. I encourage you to subscribe to our monthly newsletter for the latest research and advancements.
For those that have specific questions, feel free to drop me a line directly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chief Research Officer and CEO of CBD Research Laboratories, Andrew Bryden founded Newport Cosmeceuticals in 1996. His twenty-five plus years as a research scientist has always been focused on his moral approach to help those that are in need. Andrew continues to push the envelope of medical advancement and only develops products that deliver lasting results.