Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil
Perhaps no three letters have taken the health and wellness world by storm more than CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound unique to hemp. Research indicates that CBD exhibits potent anti-inflammatory, sedative, and antioxidant properties. As more analysis becomes available, CBD is starting to pop up in everything from supplements to skin care to pet treats.
While the rise of CBD may seem like an overnight sensation, it's been a long journey for the hemp plant. Many lumped hemp with its cousin, marijuana. Although both are members of the cannabis family, each plant has an individual reaction with the system.
Marijuana is predominantly female plants that contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound triggers a psychoactive experience within the body. Whereas, hemp is mainly male plants. They provide minimal concentrations of THC, to the point that hemp has no psychoactive side effects. When it comes to our CBD products, we go the extra mile by removing all THC from our formula...but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
CBD oil is what kickstarted the medical cannabis movement. As more states opted to allow this form of therapy for patients, the use of hemp products became less stigmatized. By the end of 2018, Congress signed a new Farm Bill into law. Now, CBD products are legal throughout the nation and many brands are eager to implement this beneficial compound into their formulas.
Now that you have a solid foundation on hemp, here is a complete guide to CBD oil.
A Look at the History of CBD
Let's take a journey back in time. Long before drones delivered Cards Against Humanity to your doorstep, GMOs were used to grow food, and cotton was the fabric of our lives, hemp was a big deal.
The first recorded history of cannabis can date back to 2000 B.C. A Hindu religious text known as The Vedas indicated that hemp incited feelings of "delight." One story in particular speaks of the fondness Hindu god, Lord Shiva, had for the plant.
After a fight with his family, Shiva sought tranquility in an open field. Burning up under the hot sun, the god took a nap under the shade of a plant. When Shiva woke up, he was intrigued by his source of shade. So, he decided to taste it. Almost immediately, Shiva noted that his disposition had improved. From that day forward, the god included cannabis in his menu plan.
As the human race evolved, our ancestors started to head west. They brought many resources with them. These resources included both cannabis and the ability to write.
By 70 A.D., cannabis references appeared in a multitude of sacred texts. You can see depictions of cannabis in the ancient Persian literature, Zendavesta. Cannabis references also pop up in Pharmacopeia. The author of this ancient medical text was a physician of the Roman Emperor, Nero.
These texts noted that hemp made people feel relaxed and improved the overall health of those who consumed it. Our ancestors would seep the plants in tonics, mix them in ointments, and eat the leaves for sustenance. These practices would continue as our ancestor moved west.
Hemp Heads West
As the song goes, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two." When more settlers made their way over, they brought cannabis seeds along with them. British and French colonies cultivated hemp in early colonies. In fact, this plant was a form of tender in many of these early settlements.
During this period, medical practitioners used hemp therapeutically. However, many noted the durability of the plant as well. In turn, products such as textile, rope, and bags were all made from hemp.
With growing reliance on the plant, cannabis plantations popped up from coast-to-coast. Hemp plantations were staples in areas that are now modern-day:
- New York
- South Carolina
By 1850, the United States Pharmacopeia legally recognized cannabis as a medicinal drug. In that day-and-age, cannabis was an active ingredient in many over-the-counter products. Hemp was a booming business and would continue to flourish as the 1900s rolled on. Then, everything came to a screeching halt in 1913.
The Prohibition on Hemp
There's no denying that the advent of fire was a game-changer for the human race. However, it also changed the game negatively for hemp. When our ancestors first encountered hemp, they realized the sedative-like effects that come from the plant. However, when they heated the cannabis plant, they realized something else...sometimes the smoke can cause a psychoactive effect.
What many didn't know then, we know now. Some cannabis plants have higher levels of cannabinoids than other. When you light marijuana, it has a chemical reaction. This outside pressure causes the plant to secrete THC, causing psychoactive effects.
When you light hemp, there isn't enough THC to create a psychoactive effect. We know this due to advances in technology and scientific breakthroughs. These facts weren't available in the early 1900s. Therefore, many assumed all forms of cannabis could potentially cause a psychoactive episode.
In the early 1900s, prohibition of alcohol was in full swing. The government was not fond of citizens entering an altered state. With alcohol banned, they turned their attention to cannabis.
In 1910, the Mexican Revolution was going strong. Mexicans headed north to seek refuge. Many of these migrants settled in California. Subsequently, these migrants tended to use cannabis recreationally.
During this time, cannabis was recognized as a medicine, not as a product used to create an altered state. Already upset by the number of Mexican settlers, California decided to prohibit the sales of cannabis products in 1913. It was during this transition in law that cannabis was dubbed "marihuana." As you can tell by the "H," the name was given to associate the plant with Mexicans.
Slowly, more states jumped on the cannabis prohibition bandwagon. In 1936, anti-cannabis propaganda hit an all-time high with the release of Reefer Madness. Following the movie hitting the theatres, the Motion Pictures Association of America outlawed the depiction of narcotics in film. Therefore, the lasting image of cannabis in the mind of many was a drug that caused people to lose their minds.
The seeming death toll in the cannabis movement came at the end of the 1930s. Harry J. Anslinger was named the head of a new government department. His first act in charge of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was the Marihuana Tax Act 1937.
The Legalization of CBD
The future for hemp continued to look bleak during the baby boomer era. With Richard Nixon's War on Drugs platform, followed by the "Just say no to drugs" campaign of the Reagans, hemp seemed doomed. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel of prohibition peaked its head in 1996.
Ironically enough, the same state that first prohibited cannabis was the first to allow for medical use of the plant. Cannabis products became legal in the Golden State for those who were suffering from life-threatening conditions.
Sixteen years would go by before another state would recognize the benefits of medical cannabis. Massachusetts became the second state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. While a breakthrough, it wasn't until 2011 when the tide shifted in favor of CBD.
CBD Oil and Epilepsy - The Breakthrough the World Watched
The world finally opened its eyes as a whole to the possibilities of CBD in 2012. After Colorado legalized medical cannabis in 2011, one famous CBD oil user forever changed the stigma surrounding hemp.
A six-year-old girl named Charlotte Figi suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. When her symptoms were at its worst, Charlotte was suffering from 300 seizures a week.
Understandably so, Charlotte's parents were devastated having to watch their child living with such pain. They tried everything from barbiturates that hurt Charlotte's stomach to a ketogenic diet that was damaging her young bones. Finally, they decided to uproot their family to Colorado and give CBD a try.
A video of the family administering CBD oil to their child during an epileptic episode went viral. Moments after distributing CBD oil to Charlotte, her seizure stopped. Many who were still influenced by the War on Drugs era became upset. The uproar of the misinformed caused more news sources to follow the story. Consequently, these same sources started to explain the differences between hemp and marijuana on a mainstream level.
Viewers learned that CBD oil isn't derived from marijuana and can't get you high. It's a therapeutic compound that has many benefits. Over the next few years, medical cannabis initiatives became commonplace on electoral ballots. Today, medical cannabis is legal in over half the nation.
By the end of 2018, two events transpired that made the future of CBD look more promising than ever. The Senate updated the Farm Bill, legalizing hemp and CBD products in all 50 states. Secondly, the Food and Drug Administration approved their first CBD medication. Known as Epidiolex, this prescription is available for severe cases of epilepsy such as Charlotte's.
With CBD products readily available and its medicinal properties now officially recognized, the future for CBD is bright. This continued progress will force more regulation on CBD products and create a need for more CBD research.
What is CBD Oil?
The science behind CBD oil is quite similar to that of aromatherapy. CBD is a natural essential oil that comes from hemp flowers. Extracting CBD oil follows many of the same principles that essential oil companies use to make their products.
Whenever you apply physical pressure onto an object, it changes the genetic composition of the item. For instance, if you freeze water, the molecules will slow down and create ice. Once you heat the ice, the electrons get excited and melt back into water. This same type of scenario explains the medicinal benefits of hemp.
There are tiny hairs on hemp. These are known as trichomes. To extract CBD oil, you must apply pressure (which we'll get to later) onto the plant. In doing so, the trichomes will burst open, releasing volatile compounds into the atmosphere. Those volatile compounds are known as terpenes.
Terpenes are a blanket term for a variety of chemical compounds that give every plant its distinct scent. Over time, plants developed terpenes as a means to repel mold and bacteria from killing the species. Meanwhile, their scents also turned off animals from eating them.
In the same respect, plants developed their specific aromas to attract insects and butterflies. Plants rely on pollinators to help spread their seed — this how they survive. Luckily for humans, we also reap the benefits of this evolutionary process.
Terpenes differ from plant to plant. For instance, terpenes such as linalool and limonene are what give orange essential oil it's citrusy notes. However, these terpenes are also responsible for orange essential oil's mood and immune-boosting capabilities.
Seeing as hemp plants have a different scent than orange peels, that means they have a different set of terpenes. While they do have some of the same phytochemicals as other essential oils, their unique terpenes are cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are the secret behind the therapeutic properties of CBD oil.
CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil
For those new to CBD products, it might be a bit confusing. There are so many products out there; you may be unsure where to begin. Let us start by explaining the difference between the two everyday products you will see in the health and wellness markets.
You may notice that some products tout the words "hemp seed oil" on the label. While others may say "CBD oil." While both are beneficial, they are not equal in benefits.
Before dissecting the differences between CBD oil and hemp, let's celebrate those differences. Both have their positives. So, if you happen to get the wrong one accidentally, don't sweat it. Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are both excellent additions to your daily routine.
Let's start with hemp seed oil. This supplement is powerful sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to these brain-boosting nutrients, hemp seed oil is also a complete protein. With all 21 amino acids present, this makes hemp seed oil an ideal supplement for anyone who follows a plant-based diet.
While beneficial, hemp seed oil is not as nutrient dense as CBD oil. The major difference? Hemp seeds don't produce cannabinoids.
These therapeutic molecules grow on the leaf of the hemp plant. Therefore, every formula of CBD oil is extracted from the flower. However, some CBD oil companies may use the whole plant to enhance the benefits further. We are one of those companies. Let’s discuss the benefits of using the entire plant, and how the extraction process can create a wide variety of CBD products.
CBD Oil and the Entourage Effect
Every fiber of a plant plays an integral role from seed to cultivation. That is why some CBD companies use the leaf, stem, and seeds of the hemp plant during their extraction process.
To pick up the slack where others leave off, that means some parts of a plant need to have benefits that other parts don't. Kind of like the old Captain Planet show. When the powers of phytochemicals combine, it makes for a more nutrient-dense product.
Studies on CBD have found that phytochemicals within its genetic makeup have an entourage effect on one another. That means the benefits of CBD are amplified in the presence of other cannabinoids.
Between the leaves and stems, hemp is known to have at least 113 phytocannabinoids. Through the entourage effect, those phytocannabinoids also increase the bioavailability and absorption of the amino acids present in hemp seeds.
Differences in CBD Oil
What's so unique about the CBD oil extraction process is that it's the gift that keeps on giving. Every step of the way, a different type of CBD product can be created. These products will all have differing potencies, benefits, and interactions with the system.
As we discussed, the highest quality of CBD oil on the market is one that uses the whole plant. You may see many terms that indicate that stems, flowers, and seeds were used during the process.
Look on labels for the following terms:
- Phytocannabinoid Rich Hemp
- PCR Hemp
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil
- Whole Plant Extract
Any combination of these words is good indication that you are getting the most benefits out of your CBD supplementation.
With that said, if you are in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, check the source of your CBD oil. Marijuana does have some CBD. Therefore, companies may extract CBD, with a high concentration of THC in the mix. As a result, you may experience psychoactive side effects using these products.
CBD oil extracted from hemp contains at less than 0.3% THC. That percentage is the government mandate. Anything over that limit becomes a schedule 1 controlled substance. To avoid all of this confusion, we eliminate THC from our final product. However, we will get into that crucial part of the process a bit later.
CBD Oil Products
There are many steps to the extraction process that will create many CBD oil products. The first round of the extraction process produces a product known as raw CBD oil. Just as the name sounds, raw CBD oil is unfiltered and unrefined.
Raw CBD oil comes with a load of benefits, but it's not the tastiest or the prettiest. Since it hasn't been filtered or distilled, there are still components of the plant such as wax and chlorophyll in the formula.
These ingredients give the product a strong flavor and a murky appearance. While there are benefits to these ingredients, many CBD companies don't believe the positives outweigh the negatives. They don't find the marginal benefits of raw CBD oil are worth the risk of alienating people from trying their product.
A crucial part of the extraction process for many companies is stripping excess plant material from the formula. Once refined, the final products are known as CBD distillate or CBD Concentrate.
The Truth About CBD Isolate
Some companies will go an extra step by isolating CBD from the rest of the phytochemicals. They then sell the compound individually. While CBD isolate is useful, it's just CBD. Therefore, you lose out on the entourage effect.
In some instances, CBD isolate is used to infuse cannabinoids into other products. If the active ingredients say "CBD isolate," or just "CBD" on its own, that means there is only one type of cannabinoid present in the formula. For maximum benefits, make sure "full spectrum" is listed somewhere on the label.
Use precaution while looking at the label. Keep an eye out for misleading words. You need to be suspicious of the phrase "broad spectrum." Broad spectrum is not the same as full spectrum.
Products under the broad spectrum label do not maintain the integrity of the terpenes like concentrates. Usually, CBD isolate is combined with terpenes from plants that are cheaper than hemp. In turn, these plants have less therapeutic benefits.
In some instances, companies will even mix CBD with synthetic oils. These sorts of practices will unmistakably hinder the potency of the final product. Synthetic compounds are still chemicals. Naturally, they will have chemical reactions with CBD. As we mentioned earlier, these reactions alter the genetic makeup of cannabis molecules. In turn, these artificial ingredients may hurt the potency of the product.
That is why you want to make sure you are purchasing a phytocannabinoid rich hemp oil. You will receive the entourage effect that comes with using cannabis-based products. Plus, full spectrum CBD oil ensures you aren't buying an inferior isolate that's watered down with inorganic additives.
While we don't isolate CBD from our formula, there is one phytocannabinoid we do remove. That is THC. Let's talk about the extraction process and how we eliminate THC from the final product.
How to Remove THC from CBD Oil
The first step to eliminating THC starts with hemp cultivation. We work closely with local farmers. That way we know we are getting organic hemp, bred to yield high levels of CBD.
Once the farmers harvest the raw hemp, the plant matter is moved into a temperature-controlled climate until the CBD oil is ready to be processed.
The most popular way to extract CBD is through CO2 extraction. CO2 extraction is the safest for human consumption, creates the highest quality oil, and allows you to create different CBD products.
There are three ways to perform a C02 extraction. They are:
For optimal results, most CBD companies implement the supercritical method. Here, carbon dioxide is kept at subfreezing temperatures. The hemp is placed in a climate-controlled and sterile atmosphere. Slowly, the sub frozen CO2 is leaked into the room.
Think of when your hand touches dry ice. It can cause severe damage to your body. That's because the temperature is far too abrasive for your skin.
As the pressurized CO2 enters the controlled room, it rips open the trichomes. This harsh action slowly releases cannabinoids to the atmosphere. As we mentioned earlier with our water and ice example, cold temperatures slow down molecules. Therefore, when cannabinoids enter the atmosphere, it's at a languid pace.
After the trichomes burst, the room temperature slowly gets raised from -69° F. As this happens, the carbon dioxide will start to liquify. At warmer temps, CBD molecules will become excited and begin dissipating toward the ceiling. As they rise, phytocannabinoids will inevitably bind to the semi-liquified carbon molecules in the once-pressurized CO2.
At this point of the junction, the temperature in the room continues to rise slowly. Increased temps will continue until the CO2 reaches a subcritical state. That's when the once-solid CO2 goes from liquid-form to a gaseous state. At this point, the CO2 is ushered out of the room through a condenser. Then the gas gets pressurized once again so it may be used in future extractions.
Meanwhile, the rest of the phytocannabinoids are collected. They are filtered and distilled to remove any of the excess plant material (such as chlorophyll and wax) that may diminish the quality of the oil.
While we're removing these unwanted ingredients, we also pinpoint any traces of THC in the formula. We isolate this psychoactive element and extract this cannabinoid from the final product. Therefore, our full spectrum oil will still have the therapeutic benefits of every other phytocannabinoid without experiencing any psychoactive side effects.
Does CBD Oil Show Up on a Drug Test?
CBD is derived from cannabis, so this is a fair question. You can breathe a sigh of relief. No standard drug test ever tested for CBD. Even if they did, there's no need to worry. Following the Farm Bill amendment in 2018, CBD is legal in all 50 states.
Marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. A majority of the country doesn't allow the use of this plant recreationally either. That is why companies are allowed to test for THC.
If you use a CBD product derived from hemp, you will still pass your drug test. The levels of THC in your system should be negligible.
If you purchase your CBD oil in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you might have some cause for concern. These products may contain enough THC in the formula that may spark a positive reading on your drug test. It is imperative that you read how the company went about sourcing their product. Make sure that the CBD oil extraction came from hemp instead of marijuana.
To avoid any of these mistakes, we remove any traces of THC from our formula. You still get a wide variety of beneficial phytocannabinoids without the worries of failing a drug test.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
What makes CBD so attractive to the health and wellness sector is that it doesn't come with the long list of side effects that many over-the-counter and prescription medications do.
For the most part, there aren't any adverse side effects of CBD. However, each experience is unique to the person. Just like hemp has their own organic chemical compounds, so do we. Based on our genetic makeup, we all have different reactions when organic compounds enter our system. That's why some of us get horrible acid reflux on Taco Tuesdays while others can go to chow-town. CBD oil is no different.
The best way to determine how your body will react is to start with small servings. Observe how your body feels as the effects take hold. If you don't experience any benefits and don't have a negative reaction, slowly increase how you much ingest. Continue this feeling out process until you find the desired effect.
The most common side effect reported by CBD users is that the product sometimes makes them tired. That is because CBD has a sedative-like effect on the system. This particular benefit makes CBD a popular choice for those who suffer from anxiety or have trouble focusing throughout the workday.
If you notice you are too tired during the day, pull back on your CBD usage during periods where energy and attention are required. Also, drowsiness may be a sign that you are taking too much. Cut back on your serving size if you are experiencing these sort of symptoms.
Before you start supplementing with CBD, it is a wise decision to consult your physician. They should be aware of any drastic lifestyle changes. That way you can be sure the CBD doesn't counteract any medications you are currently on.
Lastly, CBD does have stronger side effects for pets. Their CBD receptors (which we are covering next) are more sensitive than ours. Therefore, start with tiny servings and observe your pet. Any sign of lethargy, stop immediately. If you have any concerns, please consult a vet.
How CBD Interacts with the System
The human body is such an intricate system. We are equipped with an innumerable amount of receptors, cells, nerves, tissues, and organs that work seamlessly to keep us going. This complex highway allows for different areas of the body to communicate with one another. Science calls it the endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids refers to cannabinoids that our body creates on its own. These are molecules our body produces to promote homeostasis throughout the system.
Human-derived cannabinoids regulate many vital functions such as:
- Body Temperature
- Hormone Production
- Pain Perception
- Growth and Rejuvenation of Cells
- Inflammatory Responses
- Weight Distribution
- Sexual Desire
Just as our body creates vitamins and minerals, we still need supplements to pick up some of our slack. Our diets and stress levels aren't conducive to creating additional endocannabinoids. That is why supplementing with full spectrum CBD oil is so beneficial.
When you consume hemp-based CBD, phytocannabinoids mirror the effects endocannabinoids have on the system. Therefore, you have additional molecules in your bloodstream fighting to promote homeostasis.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
As humans, we like to know when there's an intruder in the house. Therefore, we set up alarm systems. When an invader is on your property, the alarm will sound. By triggering the signal, you will get a heads up about the situation so you can act accordingly.
Our body is lined with numerous tiny alarm systems known as cannabinoid receptors. There are two primary cannabinoid receptors.
As we've mentioned, the purpose of CBD is to bring homeostasis to the system. CB receptors are also designed to bring some balance. They are both G protein-coupled receptors. While both CB receptors complement one another, they have entirely different interactions with cannabis.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the following areas:
- Central Nervous System
The genetic makeup of CB1 receptors makes them especially compatible with THC. When THC enters the bloodstream, it will bind onto the CB1 receptor. As a result, it triggers the psychoactive side effects synonymous with marijuana usage.
Those who have a medical cannabis card can get specialized products that target the CB1 receptor. Targeted CB1 treatments are especially helpful for those who are using medical cannabis to combat:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Bouts of Nausea
- Mood Swings
While THC works in unison with CB1 receptors, it has little to no impact on CB2 receptors. The differences between THC and CBD's relationship with the endocannabinoid system don't end here.
The genetic structure of CBD doesn't allow it to bind on any receptors. Instead, it stimulates the neural tissues at the end of CB1 and CB2. While CBD influences CB1 receptors, it's interaction with CB2 receptors prove to be more beneficial.
CB2 receptors are commonly found in the following areas of the body:
- GI Tract
- Immune Cells
Being concentrated in such particular areas, CBD can help provide relief in episodes involving:
- Appetite Suppression
- Bouts of Nausea
- Digestive Disorders
- Inflammatory Responses
- Immune System
- Nutrition Absorption
- Pain Perception
Now that you understand the unique interaction between CBD and receptors, let's take a look at how receptors influence the body as a whole.
Receptors and the Journey Toward Homeostasis
Many of the conditions that prompt people to seek solace from CBD all boil down to one root cause...inflammation. Inflammation is behind the achy knees of osteoarthritis patients, it's the ugly head behind many mental health disorders, and is the culprit that causes our skin to flake.
As we mentioned, our body is lined with cannabinoid receptors. They live on top of endothelial cells. These pivotal structures play lookout for the system.
When there are foreign substances in the body (like inflammation), our receptors pick up on the invaders. In turn, they let out a signal to the rest of the system that there's an intruder on board.
The way this happens is that cannabinoid receptors have tiny neural tissues around their perimeter. These tissues act as gauges, surveying the surrounding environment.
Whenever an inflammation pops up, it creates an acidic environment within its proximity. As the acidic vapors oxidize, its harsh aromatic chemicals stimulate the neural tissues. Immediately, the neural tissues send neurons across an axion.
These neurons contain messages that will be distributed across the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system interprets these messages. From there, they relay the SOS signals to the brain.
As the brain receives the message, its goal is to draw your attention to the problem. That is when we experience the symptoms associated with the inflammation.
When inflammation gets into a joint, you might experience pain in your knuckle. If inflammation is destroying serotonin in your gut, it may trigger a depressive response. In moments where inflammation has destroyed tissue under our skin barrier, we may experience bouts of acne or psoriasis.
All of this discomfort is your CB receptors hard at work. They're partnering with your brain to motivate you to get to the root of the problem. CB receptors are telling you to clean out these inflammations!
Types of Cannabinoids
The molecular science behind cannabinoids breaks hundreds of unique molecules into two primary groups that we have already discussed. They are:
- Endocannabinoids (Cannabinoids Made By Our System)
- Phytocannabinoids (Cannabinoids Created by Cannabis)
Cell membranes throughout our system secrete endocannabinoids when the body deems it necessary. These are moments where a cog in the system is no longer in homeostasis. When the receptors share this intel, the body calls for backup in the form of an endocannabinoid.
The body creates two endocannabinoids that are known to play a significant role in how we feel emotionally and physically.
These endocannabinoids are:
- Anandamide (Essential Omega-6 Fatty Acid, Precursor to Blissful Neurotransmitters Binds to CB1 Receptor)
- 2-AG (Byproducts of Omega-6 Fatty Acids, Interacts with CB2 Receptors)
For the body to use these endocannabinoids effectively, it needs a catalyst to help break the molecules down. Since not every chemical will have the same reaction, only specific enzymes can aid the body in metabolizing endocannabinoids.
Two crucial enzymes in this process include:
- Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase - FAAH (Catalyst in Breaking Down Anandamide)
- Met5-enkephalin-Arg6-Gly7-Leu8 - MAGL (Catalyst in Breaking Down 2-AG Absorption)
As we've come to realize, the cannabinoids made by humans and plants differ. However, both sides of the spectrum still have positive interactions with cannabinoids receptors.
Off the bat, we already know the deal with CBD and THC. THC is known in scientific circles as Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the primary molecule in marijuana that gives the euphoric experience to those who consume it.
In addition to THC, other psychoactive molecules are present in marijuana (and some hemp). The next most well-known is Delta(8) THC. This cannabinoid is a step down concerning psychoactive abilities. However, Delta(8) THC is also known to exhibit neuroprotective characteristics. This ability is much like Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv), which fosters the least psychoactive side effects.
THC in its raw form is known as THCa. Before applying pressure to THCa, the compound has no side effects. When it combusts, that's when THCa's molecular makeup resembles that of THC.
This process is much like the precursor to CBD, CBDa. CBDa is the raw form of CBD. Upon pressure, CBDa will carry the benefits associated with CBD.
While CBD and THC are the two most common phytocannabinoids, Cannabichromene (CBC) comes in at number three. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid proves to be versatile. It exhibits anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Besides those benefits, CBC has shown promise in improving overall mood.
Other phytocannabinoids that mirror many of the benefits of CBD include Cannabidivarin (CBDv), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN). Research with the latter two is encouraging for those seeking alternative approaches to antibiotic and pain reliever treatments.
Now that you know some of the key players. Let’s explore how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
The endocannabinoid system doesn't do things by the book. It takes the path least traveled. At the same time, it also shows us just how smart this unique system truly is.
Science explains the endocannabinoid system as one that works backward. Let’s compare it to the immune system. In the immune system, neurons are responsible for neurotransmitters that boost the presence of immune cells in our bloodstream. Neurons carrying out this process is essential when we’re under the weather.
Neurons are little pawns that act as messengers between cells and receptors. When they get the lay of the land (such an antibody in the system), it's a neuron’s charge that dictates which neurotransmitter gets transmitted into the bloodstream.
As presynaptic cells secrete a particular neurotransmitter, the message will travel between small gaps within the system. These mini rest stops are known as synapses.
Following the neurotransmitter’s journey across the bridge of synapses, they'll bind onto neurons on the other end. This chemical reaction starts the game of telephone that causes our brain to conjure up symptoms. In turn, we become cognizant on a conscious level that there's an invader in our body and we need to take care of it. These indicators will come in the form of sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing.
Now that you understand the science on how typical systems work; let’s break the info down so it’s more digestible. If you're sick, the neurons will spark a reaction that causes your body to create the neurotransmitter, histamine. Histamine helps boost the immune system. Thus, it triggers the need to blow toxins out the nose, cough them out the mouth, or flush them out the other end.
Got it? Now, let’s put you into a tailspin. The endocannabinoid system does all of this...in reverse.
This unique system receives the end message first. So, instead of histamine being made, an endocannabinoid is created. Endocannabinoids are secreted from fat tissue within neurons that are waiting to greet neurotransmitters making their way through the synapse bridge.
Chemical reactions between the neurotransmitter and neuron make a new chemical. This chemical is shot back across the synapses, and into the system. Here, these endocannabinoids will stimulate cannabinoids receptors. Effectively, this action changes the whole conversation throughout the body.
When you supplement with CBD, you go about this process much like the immune system scenario. CBD gets straight to the receptors, changing the conversation. This will cause the body to create different neurotransmitters than it did when the receptors were stressed.
As you can see, phytocannabinoids mirror endocannabinoids. By consuming phytocannabinoids, you are doing the endocannabinoid system in reverse...which is how most systems work. So, all is normal again! Complex as it is, hemp is brilliant. It has our bodies covered from the inside and out.
Benefits of CBD
All right, we've covered the endocannabinoid system and its unique interaction with cannabinoids. Now, let's discuss the most important cannabinoid of all...CBD. When CBD stimulates cannabinoid receptors, it leads to a litany of benefits. Here are many ways CBD interacts with the body.
CBD and Mental Health
Mental health is a growing concern among the human race. With the stigma surrounding mental disorders slowly lifting, the rise of mental health awareness coincides with that of medical cannabis.
The umbrella covering mental health consists of many categories. CBD and the endocannabinoid system may influence symptoms and/or conditions such as:
- Mood Swings
- Binge Eating
- Lack of Focus
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anorexia Nervosa
On paper, many of those preceding symptoms and conditions may not have anything to do with one another. However, the symptoms associated with anything from anorexia to insomnia to depression stems from the same place.
Our limbic system is home to three governing areas of the brain. They are:
- Amygdala (Our Perception to Situations)
- Hippocampus (Memory of an Emotional Response)
- Hypothalamus (Produces Hormones)
The limbic system works in unison to create emotional balance throughout the body. Conveniently, there is a close connection between the limbic system and the central nervous system (CNS). As we mentioned earlier, CB receptors are present in the CNS. Therefore, CBD can directly influence your emotional response.
One of the hormones that wreak havoc in our body is cortisol. Cortisol is known as our stress hormone and is responsible for our fight-or-flight behavior. So, if our gut tells us to get into fisticuffs in a dire situation, or if it screams "Run for the hills," that's cortisol at play.
Cortisol is essential because it causes our body to assess situations we perceive as stressful in an urgent manner. When you create cortisol in the wake of a work presentation, your mind goes over many instances.
First, the hippocampus recalls how it went last time. At the end of the day, you know you'll live through the presentation. Everything will be okay. So, the cortisol burns off.
With cortisol gone, the body secretes another hormone known as adrenaline to help power you through the presentation. When you reach your conclusion, the cortisol is gone. You did a great job, and your body rewards you with dopamine. That is how a typical system works.
Now, say you keep bombing presentations. You know this presentation isn't going to go well. Your body says "forget it" to the adrenaline and dopamine. Instead, it just pushes out cortisol, making the situation worse.
We all live fast-paced lives. Work is just a sliver of the stress. Death of a loved one, a divorce, a sick child, or expensive bills can cause cortisol production to boom. The problem with this situation is that there will be no room for other hormones. This never-ending cycle is how stress becomes chronic.
So many studies point to cortisol as a culprit behind many mental health disorders. It floods the system, not allowing room for beneficial neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Cortisol overproduction is why many people diagnosed with mental health disorders get prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). It's to bring balance back to a system overrun by our stress hormone.
Studies with CBD show that cannabinoids can help fight cortisol production. That's because cannabinoids look to promote homeostasis. When CBD enters the bloodstream, it calms the system. In turn, your brain stops receiving distressed signals. Naturally, you will naturally produce less cortisol.
CBD and Sleep
Cue “Hello darkness, my old friend.” Cortisol rears its ugly head again here. Just like cortisol, melatonin is a hormone. Anyone who has bought sleep supplements knows that melatonin is the hormone responsible for catching a snooze.
In a well-oiled system, our body runs autonomously. We can thank our circadian rhythm for this. Circadian rhythm is regulated by light.
Light enters our eyes all day. When this happens, the light penetrates our pineal gland. As darkness falls, less light enters our eyes. This shift takes the charge off of our pineal gland. Consequently, the pineal gland will secrete melatonin into the system. If we have a healthy sleep cycle, you will notice you get sleepy two hours before your regular bedtime.
Those same people will also wake up about 20 minutes before the alarm goes off. As the sun comes up outside, the room will get lighter. Shifting from darkness to light retriggers the pineal gland. It will start to pull back on the amount of melatonin in our system, and we wake up feeling rejuvenated.
When cortisol is plaguing the system, it interrupts the whole process. With CBD counteracting the adverse effects of cortisol, it creates more room in the body for beneficial hormones like melatonin. That is why studies suggest CBD may be useful for those looking to regulate their sleep patterns.
CBD and Skincare
While CBD is still a burgeoning market, it’s developing a strong niche in the world of cosmetics. That is because CBD does more than just promote homeostasis inside the body. It brings balance to the outside of our system as well.
The skin is the largest organ in our body. It's also the last line of defense between the outside world and our microbiome. Therefore, this organ has many layers to penetrate through before reaching a strong line of receptors. As studies have confirmed, this complex organ has its own endocannabinoid system.
All skin conditions boil down to the same cause that each condition we touched upon today does. That is inflammation. Symptoms of inflammations under the skin (or in the system) result in many skin and beauty conditions including:
- Hair Loss
- Blotchy Skin
- Red Skin
- Varicose Veins
If you have a dry patch or are feeling sensitivities in a particular area of the body, it means something is going under the skin. Within that vicinity, a receptor is being set off by the abrasive vapors caused by these inflammations.
CBD works in many ways to combat this whole process. For one, CBD stimulates the receptor that's making the brain draw your attention to the itchy appendage.
That is just a temporary fix. In many ways, that's also how many over-the-counter anti-itch medications work. However, CBD takes it to the next level.
Inflammations burrow in areas where oxygenated red blood cells can't reach. A good way for them to do this successfully is to create a fort under dead tissue and cells littering the epidermis. Once an inflammation gets under there, it decays, sparking symptoms associated with the conditions above.
You may have noticed that many cosmetic companies sing the praises of antioxidants. These essential molecules help rejuvenate cells that are causing the radiance of our skin to diminish. However, they also assist in cleaning the dead cells out of the system. This clean sweep makes antioxidants crucial in preventing the growth of inflammations and free radicals.
Studies on CBD show that the cannabinoid prevents, "hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants in a chemical (Fenton reaction) system and neuronal cultures." Necessarily, this phytocannabinoid is comparable to the wellness market powerhouses--Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Yet, CBD works three-fold. Not only does it change the receptors’ perception of the inflammation and help clean out the dead tissue, but it also fights inflammations.
Numerous studies tout the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. In particular, CBD inhibits the growth of the two most opportunistic inflammatory biomarkers, Gene-Related Protein (CGRP) and OX 42.
CBD and Pain Relief
Pain relief is what kickstarted the medical cannabis movement. In 1996, HIV/AIDS was crippling the San Francisco community. Those who bought cannabis illegally sought assistance from the horrible symptoms that came with the terminal disease. When the California government saw first-hand how cannabis can help alleviate the pain of its citizens, they legalized the plant for medicinal purposes. The rest is history.
Pain is a perception. As we've discussed, the real issue at hand is inflammation. When an inflammation sets off a receptor, our brain wants us to fix the problem. Therefore, it secretes a protein into the system known as substance P.
Substance P is the reason we experience pains in our joints with arthritis, an ache in our stomach during bouts of food poisoning, or a throbbing wound following surgery.
When CBD enters the system, it stimulates the receptor that caused substance P to be secreted. In turn, your brain receives a brand new signal. This change in tune will naturally cause the perception of pain to subside.
While promising, masking pain is a temporary fix.Pain is a symptom of a bigger issue. For the pain to go away permanently, you need to treat the inflammation that's triggering it.
Unfortunately, some conditions are chronic and incurable. That is what makes CBD such a valid form of therapy for those living in pain. CBD makes it so that the person can live with their condition as comfortably as possible.
How to Use CBD Oil
You now have a firm grasp on how the endocannabinoid system works, the unique interactions cannabinoids have with our body, and the many benefits of CBD. Now it is time to learn how to use CBD oil.
CBD oil is such a versatile therapeutic agent that is used in a variety of ways. While the full spectrum of products on the market make it easier for you to supplement with CBD throughout the day, it might be a bit overwhelming for beginners. Here are the most effective ways to use CBD products.
Tinctures have been used for centuries by our ancestors. A tincture is a liquid infused with a therapeutic agent. Back in the day, ancestors used alcohol and herbs. In the CBD industry, quality tinctures are formulated with either food-grade ethanol or using a quality oil that is high in fat.
We formulate our tinctures using organic food-grade medium-chain triglycerides. You might know these tongue twisters better as MCTs. MCT oil is an ideal base for a tincture because it’s a quality source of fat.
Fat is essential for our body to absorb nutrients. It sort of acts as a shield around the phytocannabinoids, antioxidants, and amino acids in CBD oil. That way, these nutrients can make their way through the bloodstream and into the small intestine for the highest bioavailability.
While fats are helpful, you can have too much of a good thing. As anyone with weight concerns knows, fat can be a dirty word. To get the nutrients within CBD oil, we must burn off fat and release the goodies. Unfortunately, we consume more fat than we can burn off. This is why one-third of the population is considered overweight.
The quality of the fats you consume makes a monumental difference in how your body burns calories. We use plant-based polyunsaturated fats. They are easier for your body to break down, making the nutrients within these fats readily available for use.
Fat are stored within your adipose tissue. When your body needs energy, it will draw on the triglycerides from the tissue, releasing their nutrients into the system.
While there are health benefits of long-chain triglycerides, one-third of the population won’t be able to burn off the whole chain. Over time, this may lead to weight gain.
Due to their length, MCTs are more efficient for your body to break down. By burning off a chain completely, it is less likely to remain in your fat tissue. Therefore, you won’t gain weight.
To use a tincture, just draw some of the liquid up with a dropper. Place your serving under your tongue. Allow the mixture to sit in the little pool above your mandible for about 30 seconds and then swallow.
This method is the quickest way to get the benefits of CBD. As anyone who has partied too hard with a potato chip can attest, the layer of skin under your tongue is pretty thin. Therefore, it's effortless for the CBD to penetrate and get right into the bloodstream.
You should feel the benefits of a CBD tincture within 20 to 30 minutes. The capillaries under your tongue give the nutrients in CBD oil a head start. During this period, the effects of the CBD oil will be at its highest.
CBD tinctures may provide relief from four to six hours. These lingering results are in thanks to swallowing the CBD tincture. When you swallow the CBD tincture, phytocannabinoids will enter your digestive system. We'll discuss this a bit further with our next method of CBD supplementation.
Since the industrial revolution, pills have become the cornerstone of the wellness community. It's easy to pop a vitamin in the morning and go about your day. With CBD, the process is just as convenient.
Like any other supplement, CBD comes encased in a shell. This shell serves to protect as many cannabinoids as possible.
Everything we swallow must come in contact with our stomach acid. As the word acid suggests, anything that grazes this substance combusts.
As our stomach acid breaks down the outer shell of a CBD pill, the nutrients oxidize. Thanks to this process, phytocannabinoids are free to roam the bloodstream in search of receptors.
Taking a CBD softgel doesn't provide immediate relief like its CBD tincture counterpart. CBD relief is at the mercy of our digestive system. Depending on how full your stomach is, you may not feel effects anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours.
With that drawback comes a huge positive. Digesting CBD softgels makes for longer-lasting relief. As more of the shell breaks down, phytocannabinoids enter the system. Therefore, you don't get all your CBD in one shot. You are getting your cannabinoid fix as the supplement gets digested. Once again, this all depends on what else is in your digestive tract.
Speaking of the digestive tract, we pointed out earlier that our GI tract is home to cannabinoid receptors. With this knowledge, we wanted to make sure our CBD softgels can bypass the stomach acids and reach these critical members of the endocannabinoid system.
Our CBD softgels are formulated using microemulsion technology. CBD particles we encase in our vegan shells are as small as 20 nanometers. In comparison, typical CBD products use CBD molecules up to 5,000 nanometers.
By using smaller particles, it's easier for the CBD to get into tight junctions within the GI tract. Smaller particles means that CBD can reach more sections of the body in need of relief.
Plus, microemulsion technology naturally increases the bioavailability of the phytocannabinoids. If stomach acid comes in contact with a larger cluster of CBD, you lose more CBD. By decreasing the size of the particles, you simultaneously reduce your chances of wasting product.
CBD for Pets
Dogs are more than just a human's best friend. They're our best family. We love our furbabies and want the best treatment available for them.
Animals are mammals like us. Their system is set up similarly to ours. That is why many animals take identical prescription meds for the same conditions their human counterparts do. They just take smaller servings. This discrepancy in serving suggestions is no different with CBD.
Humans take higher servings of heart meds than animals because our livers can break down medications more efficiently. The same rings true for CBD.
To further exemplify this point, we know that the sense of smell and sight of animals is more sensitive than ours. So is their endocannabinoid system.
Knowing this, it is imperative you follow the serving suggestions on your CBD pet treats. Otherwise, you run the risk of overdosing your pet. If you notice any signs of lethargy or irrational behavior, stop giving them CBD treats. Contact your vet immediately.
While most cases of cannabinoid overdose can be treated at home, mild to severe cases may require IVs and fluids. In extreme cases, prolonging care for your pet may result in death. That is why it's essential you speak to your vet before treating your pet with CBD.
Vaping was once seen as a trend. Now, this mainstay is revolutionizing the way people seek therapy. Using a vape pen is a conspicuous way to administer CBD to your system on-the-go.
Consuming CBD with a vape pen works in many ways like a CBD tincture. Inhale from the pen for 30 seconds and hold. The cloud of cannabinoids in your mouth will secrete through the passageway under your tongue.
Inevitably, you will also swallow the vapor. Inhalation is how the majority of your phytocannabinoids will become absorbed. Phytocannabinoids drawn into your system will become filtered through the lungs.
CBD vape pens give instant relief like CBD tinctures but linger in the system a bit longer. That's because you inhale the chemicals into your lungs. This method is a more arduous process for the body than letting CBD pool under your tongue.
While the effects may last a bit longer than CBD tinctures, CBD vape pens don't provide as long-lasting relief as CBD softgels. The lungs can break down the nutrients quicker than the digestive system. Naturally, you will burn through the CBD at a faster pace.
The last key to the CBD products puzzle is CBD topicals. As we mentioned earlier, the skin has its own endocannabinoid system. With the skin's own set of cannabinoid receptors and CBD having antioxidative properties, CBD cosmetics is a match made in heaven.
Using a topical is ideal for someone who is suffering from a skin condition, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, or post-workout pain. Based on where you feel itchy, are experiencing pain, or have flaky skin, apply a CBD salve or CBD lotion.
Phytocannabinoids in the topical will penetrate the pores. From there, they will seek out the distressed receptors. Once CBD stimulates the neural tissue, the conscious reminders of your skin condition or pain will cease. From there, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of CBD will kick in to help rejuvenate cells and replenish your skin's natural glow.
How Much CBD Should I Use?
We are still navigating the land of CBD. There are no concrete recommendations of how much CBD you should use. The best is to start small and see how your body reacts.
Most servings of CBD are 10 mg. Start with half of that. Judge how your body handles this serving size and use that as your gauge for what your system can withstand.
For first-time users, begin your supplementation at bedtime. The most common side effect of too much CBD is drowsiness. In the case that the CBD serving is too much for your system, you can sleep off the effects without impacting your day-to-day life.
If you don't feel any effects, nor do you feel sluggish, then slowly up your intake. Continue until you find the sweet spot. You will know when you've reached your max because you will start to feel drowsy. When that happens, just cut back 5 mg.
How to Pick CBD Products
So much is yet to be figured out in the CBD industry. After all, CBD products weren't legal in all 50 states until 2018! Therefore, many companies don't adhere to the same standards. That's because there is no one to hold them accountable.
When you are picking a CBD brand, it is essential to do due diligence. Make sure you look into the history and credibility of the company.
For starters, you want to make sure the brand is certified organic. Growing hemp with the use of pesticides will dilute the potency of the overall product. Not to mention, pesticides are toxins and may cause harm to your body.
In such an unregulated field, you want to choose a brand with the most transparency. We test each batch of CBD products for purity. Every month, a third-party will verify the validity of our results. By implementing these checks and balances, it lets you know that the company is not hiding anything.
If you are uncertain about the active ingredients in a CBD product, a reputable company should be able to provide a batch report. That way you can see every active ingredient in the formula and make an informed decision.
When it comes to these concerns, we check all these boxes. Our company works closely with local farmers to formulate full spectrum CBD oil. We use the latest state-of-the-art technology to extract high-quality phytocannabinoids.
From there, our team of specialists filters and distill any excess plant material and THC from the formula. This formula is then tested for purity and logged into our database.
Finally, we use our microemulsion technology to create the smallest CBD particles on the market. This breakthrough allows us to formulate CBD products with the highest bioavailability in the CBD industry.
The Future of CBD
While it may seem like the future is already here, we've got a long way to go. The prohibition on cannabis started long before the scientific and technological breakthroughs the world has experienced since 1937.
By the time people realized that hemp doesn't have the same psychoactive effects as marijuana, using cannabis therapeutically seemed irrelevant. Pharmaceutical companies manufactured a remedy for almost every ailment under the sun.
However, these over-the-counter and prescription meds come with a litany of side effects. These are side effects that have never been exhibited in people using CBD. Thanks to the medical cannabis movement, the world is opening its eyes to the benefits of alternative forms of therapy.
With the new Farm Bill 2018, hemp is no longer regulated by the Department of Justice. It will now be under the eye of the Food and Drug Administration. This changing of the guard means CBD products will become more readily available. With more supply and more demand will come more research. We already know the benefits of CBD are quite extensive. However, the possibilities seem endless.
Now that you have a better understanding of CBD products and how they interact with your system, check out our line of high-quality full spectrum CBD oil products!