CBD has become something of a buzz-word lately. Some people say it’s snake oil, others say it’s a miracle cure. One thing we’re sure of, however, is that CBD is everywhere. It’s in gas stations, drug stores, pet stores, and probably your parents’ medicine cabinet. Of course, not all CBD is created equal, so we’ve created a guide to the world of CBD. Keep reading to learn more about how this simple, non-intoxicating cannabinoid works with your body’s natural healing systems.
What Is CBD?
To give you a basic breakdown, cannabidiol, or CBD, is what we refer to as a “cannabinoid.” There are seven known cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, including CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive “high” most often used to describe cannabis. Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with your “endocannabinoid system” (ECS), a fancy phrase for the system of receptors that helps your body regulate some of its most basic functions like our mood, sleep, appetite, and motor coordination.
When you ingest cannabinoids found in marijuana, they work together with your own natural endocannabinoids (signaling compounds) to re-balance your ECS. The “high” you feel when taking THC is simply a chain of biological reactions set off by these receptors.
CBD, however, is non-intoxicating (it does not get you high) as it works with a different set of receptors within the ECS. This system of receptors is believed to regulate inflammation and the immune system, and CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Who Can Benefit from CBD?
“Inflammation” is a very broad term that can include a wide variety of conditions. Some patients with the following medical diagnoses have found relief from CBD:
- Side effects from cancer treatment
- Chronic pain
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of CBD as a treatment for various medical conditions is the mildness and/or lack of any side effects. Everyone’s system responds to CBD differently, but most who do experience side effects report dizziness and mild gastrointestinal discomfort/nausea. That said, consult your doctor before taking CBD if you currently take any medications, as CBD can cause reactions when combined with prescription drugs.
What Should I Expect When Taking CBD?
Most CBD users don’t “feel” any different after taking it. After consuming large doses of CBD, you may find a general sensation of wellness and feel a little more relaxed, but it isn’t comparable to the high of THC.
In fact, it can take days or weeks of use to notice the benefits of CBD. This is because CBD is not a pain reliever, but an anti-inflammatory; CBD helps treat your underlying condition, not necessarily the pain and soreness it creates. Think of CBD less like a drug and more like a vitamin – taking the same dose consistently is crucial to the effectiveness of the product, and you shouldn’t expect results overnight.
Furthermore, everyone processes cannabinoids differently. There are dozens of factors that impact the way CBD metabolizes in the body — what kind of plant the CBD was extracted from, how it was extracted, the type of product it’s infused into, how the infusion is done, other compounds in the product, and other characteristics of the product all influence how your body responds.
It may take you several tries to find the right product for you, which often leads patients to abandon their CBD journey before they find it. CBD isn’t cheap, after all. Our advice? Start your journey with a trusted friend and try products together. Sometimes just talking about your experience can inspire you to try new things, and you can keep each other accountable for sticking to your regimen. We also recommend keeping a journal of the products you use and the progression of your symptoms to reference later.
How should I take CBD?
There are dozens of ways to ingest CBD, and it seems new ways pop up every day! You can find CBD in almost anything these days– drinks, hand sanitizer, fabric, even tampons. Keep in mind that the method of CBD ingestion should be logically tied to the condition you want to treat. For example, an edible CBD is likely more helpful with issues related to digestive health whereas a topical or patch may be a better choice for arthritis or back pain. You shouldn’t have any problems finding CBD products in edible, vape, pill, or topical forms.
CBD often works best when consumed at the minimal effective dose. We call this microdosing, and it’s a very popular way of using CBD. The effective dosage for your body could range from as little as a few milligrams to a gram or more.
As the saying goes: start low and go slow. Begin with a small dose, and don’t take too much at once — instead take multiple low doses throughout the day instead of all at once. Try to use the same dose and ratio for a few days. Observe the results and adjust accordingly!
What To Look For When Shopping For CBD
You’re now all set to find the CBD product you’ve been waiting for! You’ll want to make sure you’re buying CBD from a quality, reputable manufacturer. Make sure to look for products that are labelled properly, showing the quantity of CBD as well as the THC: CBD ratio per dose, a manufacturing date, and a batch number.
CBD is legal nationwide, but we recommend buying products from states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana, as products tend to be held to a much higher standard. If you live in a state that hasn’t yet legalized, search for CBD products grown with American-grown hemp, rather than foreign sources.
Be aware that all CBD products have at least a trace of THC in them, but hemp-derived CBD-only products are regulated so that the THC content is below 0.3%. Don’t be wary if you find a product that has a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio. THC and CBD actually work best when they’re together; CBD enhances the painkilling powers of THC, while lowering its psychoactive elements and addressing the underlying cause – inflammation.
Please note that the above article was not written by a doctor and this content should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor when adding supplements and cannabis into your health regimen.