We have recently started carrying CBD products, and we know you’ll have questions, so here’s a primer.
CBD refers to cannabinoids, which are the natural phytochemical found in the cannabis plant. There are over 113 different cannabinoids (CBD and THC have been researched the most), and they interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) in a variety of ways. The ECS is a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters located in the brain, peripheral nervous system, immune system, and central nervous system. It controls many biological functions like memory, pain perception, stress management, cognition, immune response, and mood regulation.
Each cannabinoid has a unique relationship with the ECS. For instance, THC can induce psychoactive effects (i.e., getting high), and is a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Cannabidiol (CBD) won’t make you high, and can provide stress/anxiety relief and alter our perception of pain. CBD can be mildly stimulating at lower doses, and have a sedative effect at higher doses. Other cannabinoids like Cannabigerol (CBG) can affect glaucoma and IBS symptoms, and cannabinol (CBN) may have sedative, antibacterial, neuroprotectant, appetite stimulation, and anti-inflammatory properties. The inclusion of all of the various types of cannabinoids creates the “cannabinoid spectrum.”
CBD products are all extracted from the cannabis plant using solvents. CBD oil derived from the hemp plant contains little to no THC (generally below 0.3%), and was approved on the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, making it legal.
What happens after the initial extraction of the cannabinoids determines whether the extract will be a CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum. Each terms refers to the degree to which the product was processed.
A CBD isolate is the purest form and is made by removing all other ingredients after it has been extracted from its natural environment. Because isolates are generally 99% pure (i.e., 1 gram of isolate powder carries about 990mg of CBD), they have the highest concentration of CBD per serving. However, because all of the other ingredients have been removed, there will be no “entourage effect” (which we’ll discuss in a bit). But you can benefit solely from the effects of pure cannabidiol, and these products tend to be a lower price.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol as well as all of the plant’s other compounds except for THC. Removing the THC after the initial extraction means that not only won’t you get high, it won’t show up in a drug test. But it will still produce the entourage effect.
Extracts that are full-spectrum contain all the phytochemicals naturally found in the plant. These include CBD, terpenes, cannabinoids, and essential oils – as well as a negligible (less than 0.3%) THC content. Because it does contain trace amounts of THC, it could produce a false positive on a drug test (particularly if you’re taking a high daily dose), so individuals who are likely to be drug tested should avoid taking this form. That being said, it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. Full-spectrum compounds will produce the entourage effect.
So let’s talk about the entourage effect. Simply put, each compound can amplify the therapeutic properties of the others while lessening their potential side effects. The components work together to enhance the plant’s benefits. When you take a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum extract, in addition to the Cannabidiol (CBD), you’ll also be getting compounds like Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabidiol acid (CBDA), Cannabidivarin (CBDV) and terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the unique aroma profits of various plants. The more than 200 terpenes found in cannabis bind to receptors in the body, providing an array of potential health benefits
Scientists have determined that full-spectrum CBD tends to be more effective than CBD isolate, and that it provides better effects at higher doses, while the effects of CBD isolates stays consistent even at increased intake levels.
So what is the best type for you? It takes some trial and error to figure out which type and brand is best for you. Each person has a unique body chemistry, weight, and lifestyle, and each of these factors can influence the way you react to different cannabinoid profiles. A product that may work well for someone you know may not work well for you. But generally speaking, most people will benefit from full-spectrum extracts the most, but if drug-testing is a concern, go with a broad-spectrum one. For users who were recommended to take very high doses of CBD, who may be sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids, or who prefer a flavorless and odorless product, a CBD isolate would be best.
CBD oil is available in tinctures, teas, honeys, caramels, capsules or gummies, or infused into skin care products, such as bath bombs, lotions, and salves. CBD oil skincare products can be absorbed into the skin and don’t need to be washed off.
Always start “low and slow” when trying a new product. Start with small doses spread several hours apart, and increase the dose and frequency until you achieve your desired results. How much you’ll need will vary depending on your body weight, metabolism, and body chemistry. Doses should be taken at least four to six hours apart, and you can take CBD oil at any time of day, but if you’re using it to improve sleep, take it before bed. The immediate effects of CBD usually take effect within 30 to 90 minutes, but long-term results may take several weeks to achieve.