By Tiffany Devitt.
I live and breathe CBD and have for about a decade. So, I’m as excited as anyone that it’s reclaiming its rightful place in the pharmacopeia of American herbal remedies. But let’s admit it: We, as an industry, may have gotten carried away.
Today consumers can buy CBD-infused mascara, CBD-infused sports apparel, CBD-infused underwear, and CBD-lined dishware. I kid you not.
Most of these fringe products are shear silliness. If CBD is leaching out of your water bottle, in all likelihood other things – undesirable things – are too. And CBD is, regrettably, unlikely to improve the thickness of your lashes. (If it did, I’d be slathering it on.)
But CBD is a miracle of sorts. While much of the scientific data is either preclinical or from other countries, this relatively recently discovered phytocannabinoid is showing great promise as a remedy for an astonishingly wide variety of common afflictions, including stress and inflammation (a major source of pain). And it appears to have few side effects.
However, not all CBD is created equally so let’s break it down.
- Healthy, Happy Plants: CBD is extracted from a plant. Where and how those plants are grown matters. We, as consumers, typically have little visibility into the farming conditions or regulatory oversight of hemp. So, look for manufacturers whose products are tested by an independent lab and who make their lab tests (also known as Certificates of Analysis or COAs) available on their website. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live in California or Colorado, visit a licensed dispensary. In these established markets, there are stringent regulations and sophisticated testing infrastructures in place to assess product safety and quality, so they offer some of the cleanest cannabis and CBD products on the market.
- Quality CBD Oil: You might have noticed CBD brands touting themselves as “full-spectrum” or “pure isolate” and you may have wondered what these terms mean. Full spectrum means that the oil closely mimics the plant and includes hundreds of potentially beneficial agents like terpenes. Terpenes, by the way, are a class of compounds that give plants their distinctive aroma and flavor. They have been widely used in folk medicine for centuries. Think about how you feel when you breathe in the calming smell of a bundle of lavender, or the invigorating smell of a pine forest. It’s the plant’s terpenes you’re experiencing. Isolate, on the other hand, is just CBD and nothing else. Think of it like this: Full Spectrum CBD is like getting your vitamin D from the sun; isolate CBD is like getting it from a pill. You’ll get vitamin D from both. But the sun, like full spectrum CBD, offers a holistic richness not found in its overly processed counterpart.
- Quality Ingredients: CBD is no different than any other remedy. The best way to ensure that you’re getting a high quality product is to read the label. Does it include artificial flavors? Artificial colors? Dozens of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce? Stay away from those products and opt for ones made with natural ingredients. Coconut oil is a great carrier agent for CBD oil as it seems to improve absorption.
- What About Dose? This is a tricky one as there aren’t a lot of good studies on dosing, due to the Federal stranglehold on cannabis and CBD research. What we can say is that the typical CBD use seems to use between 10mg and 20mg per dose, which is about a dropper full of a tincture or 1-2 gummies. Most CBD experts will recommend you start with a low dose and increase slowly, carefully monitoring how you feel along the way. By the way, be sure to let your doctor know you’re taking CBD, especially if you’re taking prescription medications.
- Now let’s talk about THC. Like CBD, THC is a cannabinoid. But unlike CBD, THC makes people high. Unfortunately, because of this psychoactivity, THC has gotten a bad rap. Many people are under the misimpression that CBD is the “good” cannabinoid and THC is the “bad” cannabinoid. That’s not the case. THC has healing properties of its own. At Care By Design, we don’t think THC should be demonized simply because it can make one high.
- Hemp Versus Cannabis: CBD products can be made from hemp or cannabis. So, what’s the difference? Not a lot, really. Hemp and cannabis are actually the same plant species. The differences is primarily a legal one: Hemp plants have less than 0.3% THC; cannabis plant typically have more. If you’re taking CBD from cannabis, you’ll want to consider how sensitive you are to THC’s psychoactive effect. You know those ratios you see on CBD-rich cannabis products? Such as an 18:1 or a 1:1? The ratio represents the amount of CBD relative to the amount of THC. So, an 18-to-1 ratio has 18 times as much CBD as THC whereas a 1:1 is equal parts CBD and THC. If you haven’t tried cannabis before, or if it’s been a while, start with a high ratio (no pun intended!) like a 18:1 or even a 40:1. You are unlikely to feel any mood-altering effects from these products at normal doses. But, again, if you’re worried about that start with a small dose.
- Consider Why You’re Using CBD: Do you need fast-acting relief or long-lasting relief? Are you taking it in the daytime or nighttime? For fast-acting relief, you probably want to take a tincture, meaning CBD drops. And you’ll want to take the drops sublingually, which simply means placing them under your tongue and letting them absorb through the “oral mucosa” (the thin tissue under the tongue) rather than swallowing. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an all-day effect, you might try a capsule or gummy because when CBD is ingested, it takes longer for the body to absorb and metabolize it.
The long and the short of it is this: CBD is no different than any other product. It takes a bit of effort to be a smart consumer but it’s worth it.
Tiffany Devitt is Chief of Government & Consumer Affairs for CannaCraft, a California cannabis company responsible for making Care By Design (CBD.org), AbsoluteXtracts, and several other popular brands. She is a Board member of the National Cannabis Roundtable and the California Cannabis Industry Association, playing a valuable and vital role in shaping and executing the company’s legislative strategies in Sacramento and DC.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
Photo: Javier Hasse.
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