CBD products are everywhere from vitamin shops, retail chains, and even gas stations. These outlets offer a wide variety of products like lotions, gummies, and vape oil.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of 85 different cannabinoids that are known to exist in the cannabis plant, and it is the second-most prominent cannabinoid in marijuana after THC, though by far the most prominent in hemp.
What are the benefits of CBD?
The benefits of CBD oil are numerous, and include relief from anxiety, aid in digestion, pain relief, reduced risk of artery blockage, suppressed appetite, reduced blood sugar levels, reduced nicotine cravings and many more. Because CBD oil does not include the psychoactive properties associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not cause a high, which makes it significantly safer for different consumer types.
What types of CBD products exist?
The CBD oil industry is rapidly evolving, which means there are constantly new and innovative types of CBD oil-based products hitting the market. In general, however, one could divide CBD oil products into the following categories:
- Pure oil: This is the most potent form of CBD oil. Pure oils often have more than 100mg of CBD per serving. The oil is taken directly from the hemp plant’s stalk and packaged for sale.
- Capsules: Many people take multivitamins or fish oil capsules as part of their daily routine. Now there are CBD oil capsules as well, which allow you to put CBD into your everyday routine.
- Topical ointments: CBD oil is now commonly used in salves and balms that you rub onto your skin, which absorbs the oil to deliver it to your body.
- Liquids: Liquid CBD oil products are often diluted into alcohol or other type of natural oil base. They are available in a number of different flavors and often come in spray bottles or consumed through vaporizers.
Decide why you want to use CBD and in what form.
Little is known about which forms of CBD—pill, topical, or drop, for example—might be appropriate. Still, experts do have some advice. For very quick relief of, say, muscle cramps or anxiety, inhaling CBD may be most effective, via either a vape pen (think e-cigarette) or cigarette-style. For effects within a few minutes, oil drops under the tongue may be useful. Topical lotions, rubbed onto the skin, vary from person to person—some may feel it right away, others not for several hours. On the other hand, CBD in food products is likely to take longer—30 minutes or more—to be absorbed into your system.
Where did the CBD come from?
Many CBD products sold online and in retail stores come from hemp, not marijuana. And the source of that hemp can be important. Most hemp used in CBD products sold in the U.S. comes from Colorado or Oregon (which have long histories with cannabis) or Kentucky (which passed a law to support hemp growers in 2013) or is imported from overseas.
Products made with hemp grown overseas can be even more problematic, because they are not subject to any state or federal testing.
How was the CBD extracted?
CBD product labels sometimes say that they were produced with “CO2 extraction.” That can mean that the CBD and other ingredients were removed from the plant using high-pressure carbon dioxide gas, not chemical solvents. Depending on the type of CO2 extraction used, the technique might be able to extract not just CBD but other cannabinoids in the plant.
Some CBD products also describe themselves as including or coming from “hemp oil.” In some cases, manufacturers use that term to mean CBD oil, which is oil rich in CBD made mainly from the leaves, resin, or flowering tops of hemp plants. But “hemp oil” more often, and more properly, refers to oil made from the seeds of the plant, and contains only very small amounts of CBD. That oil is often included in hemp-based soaps, cosmetics, and similar products.
Ask for test results.
Always also ask to see a product’s COA, or certificate of analysis. That document shows how a product performed on tests checking for CBD and THC levels, and the presence of contaminants.
What is the right dose?
Look for products that show how much CBD (or cannabidiol, its full name) you get not just in the whole bottle but in each dose. Dosages, which are expressed in milligrams, or mgs, vary considerably depending on the form of the product. It is always safe to start with a low dose and then titrate to your body’s subjective response.
The FDA and CBD
The FDA has determined that CBD cannot be added to foods or sold as a supplement. The FDA decision does not regulate or limit the other types of products that can be infused or enhanced with CBD. This often leads to products with little to no CBD within the actual product, at best resulting in a placebo effect for the uneducated buyer.
Now that you know that not all CBD products are created equal, go out and explore your buying options!