Nowadays, it seems like everybody (and their dogs) take CBD oil!
There are lots of misconceptions out there about CBD products, and although it’s extremely popular, people know very little about it.
We wanted to provide an ultimate guide to CBD, so you can truly weed out fact from fiction.
In this article we discuss what CBD actually is, whether or not it’s legal, the potential health benefits of CBD, how to take it, and a few downsides of the CBD market.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active compounds found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants. Marijuana and hemp are two varieties of the same plant species, called cannabis sativa.
Unlike the other main compound found in cannabis, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-intoxicating. What does this mean? Well, on its own, CBD will not make you feel high!
The use of CBD has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Some research shows that CBD benefits mood disturbances, pain, brain disorders (like epilepsy), addiction, nausea, and more.
Is CBD Legal?
The laws around CBD legalization are pretty hazy. Let’s try to clear it up!
As we mentioned above, both hemp and marijuana can produce high amounts of the CBD compound. Hemp was previously considered an illegal substance until the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp and hemp-derived products that contain no more than 0.3% THC.
Some people believe that the Farm Bill legalized all CBD, but this isn’t true. CBD derived from hemp, containing no more than 0.3% THC, is now federally legal. CBD derived from the marijuana plant is NOT legal (federally).
Marijuana is still federally illegal, although many states have now legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. If you live in a state where marijuana is completely legalized (Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Washington D.C., Maine, or Massachusetts), then marijuana-derived CBD oil would also be considered legal.
Disclaimer: We like to think that we’re pretty awesome, but we aren’t lawyers or experts in the law. We suggest checking your own state laws regarding CBD legalization.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD has calming and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. While the research on CBD oil is still emerging, the studies so far show some pretty promising results.
One of the most well-researched benefits for CBD is its ability to reduce anxiety and improve other mood disorders.
CBD has a calming effect on the body. The current evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders (1). It may also work as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and panic disorder. While there are a few animal studies showing the benefit of CBD for depression, it has yet to be tested in humans (2-4).
Studies for these mood conditions have used CBD doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg per day.
CBD products are becoming widely known for providing pain relief.
Opioids, medications for treating severe pain, are associated with unpleasant side effects, like loss of appetite, nausea, and constipation. Moreover, issues related to tolerance and opioid dependence are concerning (5).
However, much of the research around pain and cannabis include using the whole plant (with the psychoactive THC included). Some studies show that marijuana, or a 1:1 mixture of THC and CBD, are most effective for reducing pain (6, 7).
While research may be minimal at this point, it doesn’t discount the many testimonials people share about finding pain relief from using CBD products. CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits, so its use in reducing pain from inflammatory disorders (like arthritis) is legit (8).
Thanks to its calming and stress-relieving effects, CBD may also help you sleep better.
In fact, one study showed that CBD improved sleep quality, decreased sleep disturbances, and helped people fall asleep faster (9).
Interestingly enough, CBD oil may also help with the treatment of acne due to its oil reducing and anti-inflammatory benefits. CBD significantly reduces sebum (oil) production in human cells (10). The build-up of sebum in your pores is often to blame for those pesky pimples!
The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are well-known, and we suspect we’ll be hearing much more about the benefits of using CBD in other inflammatory conditions like colitis (inflammation of the colon), rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), and more (11).
How to Take CBD
The CBD market is on fire! So naturally, there are many different products to choose from. Here’s a review of the most popular ways to use CBD.
CBD Oils & Tinctures
These oils are infused with CBD and usually placed under the tongue with a dropper. Sublingual CBD oil products are potent and usually take about 15-30 minutes to start working.
Creams & Lotions
Many people use CBD infused lotions, creams, and rollers to alleviate pain and inflammation. Your skin absorbs the CBD compound and you will generally feel some relief in about 30-60 minutes.
Capsules & Pills
The CBD compound is also available in capsule form as a way to take it orally. Some CBD experts report that ingested CBD products have a longer duration of effect than other forms.
Move over pumpkin spice, CBD lattes are all the rage. You can drop CBD oil into edible products like lattes, gummies, chocolates, and more.
CBD oil from a vape has become very popular. Vaping is inhaling a vapor created by an e-cigarette, which has a small cartridge filled with CBD oil. The onset of vaping CBD is quick, about 1-3 minutes.
Full-Spectrum Vs. Isolate CBD Products
You may have seen different CBD products on the market labeled as either “full-spectrum CBD” or “CBD isolate.”
Full-spectrum means that the CBD product includes the CBD compound plus other beneficial properties found naturally in the plant such as phytochemicals and essential oils (called terpenes). However, these full-spectrum options may contain very small amounts of THC.
On the other hand, CBD isolate is an oil that is 100% pure CBD. If you want a product that is guaranteed to have absolutely no THC, then isolate CBD products are your best option. We use Soul CBD. Use code: Chalene for a discount!
Dosing of CBD products is highly variable and individualized. One large research study found that CBD was well tolerated across a wide dose range and up to 1500 mg per day (orally) with no negative side effects (12).
However, while uncommon, one study did find that the potential side effects of CBD may include drug interactions, diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting (13).
As with many things, we suggest to start low and go slow. There is no “one size fits all” for CBD dosing. A safe starting point may range from 5 to 15 milligrams of CBD per day, building up. Some experts urge that, “more is not better.” You want to find the “minimum effective dose,” which means starting low and increasing until you start feeling better.
Just like with food, quality matters. It’s best to find a CBD company that grows its hemp organically in the United States.
Are There Any Downsides of CBD?
CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits for the body. It may help with mood disorders, like anxiety or PTSD, provide pain relief, and improve insomnia. Many people use CBD oil for various other health conditions, however, more research is needed.
But, are there any downsides to using CBD?
Well, the main problem with the CBD market is that it is highly unregulated. CBD products may not even contain the CBD compound that is claimed on the label. In fact, one 2017 study of 84 CBD products found that over 70% of them were mislabeled (14). But, more importantly, some of them may contain THC, the compound that makes you high. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to various CBD oil companies after finding that some of their products contained illegal amounts of THC (15).
If purchasing CBD, make sure to buy from a reputable company that sources their CBD from hemp plants grown organically in the United States. It is a major benefit if the company also conducts third-party testing on its CBD products. This means an outside company tests their products for safety and quality.
Interested in learning more? Chalene recorded a podcast with the co-founder of My Soul CBD. Give it a listen to hear more about CBD benefits and sourcing!