CBD is the new hot product in the weed industry. Personally, when I heard about it for the first time, I didn’t pay it much mind. I heard “it doesn’t get you high” and that was it for me. Now at the ripe old age of 23, the years have begun to take a toll on me – my body isn’t what it used to be back in the “good ol’ days.” I’m just playing but, in all seriousness, as my lifestyle has become more “adult,” being as active as I once was is increasingly more difficult. As a result, when I play a game of basketball or go on a run, I feel soreness and pains that I just didn’t notice when I was younger. I find that when I smoke after work or a workout that my joints and muscles feel significantly better. But, as much as I would love it, I can’t be stoned all the time so I figured, “screw it let’s try CBD.”
In passing and through social media I had learned a little bit about CBD and what it does. At first it was the same basic information that people typically know about it – it is one of two main cannabinoids that the cannabis plant produces, and that it is a non psychoactive compound. I read the testimonies of people with arthritis, and other forms of chronic pain, saying that CBD has worked better than anything else they’ve tried before. I heard how it might be the answer to the opioid epidemic as a new age pain killer. However, with some deeper readings of the sacred texts (a.k.a. Google), I discovered that there is a lot more to CBD than I originally thought. Below is some important information that you need to consider before self-dosing CBD.
Hemp v. Cannabis
Before we dive into this, let’s clarify the differences between hemp and cannabis. To the naked eye, they are the exact same thing. In order to distinguish the difference, a chemical analysis is needed to determine the THC content. Hemp contains over 70 different cannabinoids, one of which is, of course, CBD, but when it comes to THC, most hemp plants contain less than 1 percent. Cannabis, on the other hand, in many cases, contains a similar amount of CBD, as well as much higher levels of THC, typically between 10 and 18 percent.
Effects of Hemp CBD v. Cannabis CBD
Let’s look at the effects first: there are benefits to both forms of CBD depending on the person taking it. For those who are new to cannabis and do not know how THC affects their body, hemp derived CBD may be the better option due to it having almost zero THC content. On its own, CBD has been found to provide beneficial medicinal effects for pain, epilepsy, anxiety, etc. without including the psychoactive effects of THC. For those looking for potentially more potent CBD dosage, cannabis derived CBD would probably be the better option for them. Cannabis derived CBD contains significantly more THC than hemp derived CBD, and as a result adds a slight “high” to the CBD experience. However, the high is not the only change, when combined with THC the effects of CBD can become heightened (more on that later).
Production of Hemp CBD v. Cannabis CBD
Under Agricultural Improvement Act passed late in 2018, hemp production is now federally legal, which is why you may have begun to see CBD gummies and oils popping up in drug stores, gas stations, and even on Amazon. Since the bill passed, hemp producers have seized the opportunity to begin producing mass quantities of hemp like we haven’t seen since the 1800’s. However, since the law is so new, there have not been regulations or standards of practice established, meaning the FDA does not regulate hemp production. As the production in hemp has skyrocketed without regulation, there is a growing number of producers who cut corners. As a result, some hemp derived CBD products have been found to contain pesticides, and in some cases, lead!
On the other hand, Cannabis-derived products in each state are under strict regulations, meaning CBD derived from cannabis is tested and regulated to make sure proper practices were utilized. These CBD products you can buy worry-free of having any harmful chemicals or pesticides. However, to get cannabis derived CBD, you must have access to medical cannabis or live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal. I am not saying all hemp derived CBD can be harmful, but if you cannot get cannabis CBD, I would recommend doing research on Hemp CBD brands before making your purchase.
Full Spectrum and CBD Isolate
Whether or not you decide to go the hemp or cannabis route, there is one last thing you should absolutely know about CBD before making your purchase. CBD is categorized based on the amount of active cannabinoids in the product, these categories include full spectrum and CBD isolate. Full spectrum CBD products include all compounds found to grow in the plant; including terpenes, oils and cannabinoids. All of this affects tons of aspects of the product, including its appearance, smell, flavor and most of all its results. It has been found that when CBD is able to work simultaneously with other cannabinoids, including THC, and other terpenes, that the results of CBD can be altered by the presence of these other compounds. Many tests have found that THC can magnify the effects of CBD, while the CBD simultaneously works to minimize the psychoactive effect of the THC, creating a non-intoxicating, but effective pain regiment. This however can be unpredictable and requires more research to consistently perfect. On the opposite side of the spectrum is CBD isolate, which is exactly what it sounds like, strictly CBD, no other cannabinoids, plant oils, or terpenes. CBD isolate is a much more controlled substance, with more predictable results. It has consistently been found to provide, pain, inflammation and anxiety relief, and is a great option for medical patients or patients who have minimal experience with cannabis. However, it leaves opportunities for more relief on the table by not utilizing the entourage effect.
The bottom line is that taking CBD is not that simple, there is a lot that goes into finding a suitable product or treatment. Unfortunately, options may be limited depending on geography. If hemp CBD is the only option, do the research to ensure it is grown responsibly. If you can get your hands on cannabis-based CBD, although it is more expensive, I would recommend this option just because it has gone through more stringent testing before hitting the shelves. Beyond that, the rest of the decision has to be based on personal experience and the intended effects. Full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate have different effects and each have different benefits in certain situations. I hope everyone who read this can make a more informed CBD purchase the next time you’re looking for it.