CBD: What is it? How does it work? and What to look for.
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Let’s talk CBD! When I cut out pharmaceuticals I needed something to help control my symptoms naturally. One of the things I relied on and swear by is CBD. From that hangover feeling i’d wake up with, the aches, the inflammation, the rashes, the headaches, it all improved significantly with the use of a good quality CBD. I’m sure by now everyone has heard of it, it’s everywhere, it’s the new hit craze from chapstick, tinctures, pills, candies, mascara, moisturizers, beauty products, bath bombs, and cocktails, it is literally EVERYWHERE. Everyone is talking about it, but do we actually know what it is and how it works with our bodies? Do we actually know what to buy to receive the benefits?
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is the second most active ingredient within the cannabis plant next to THC. CBD is the main ingredient of the hemp plant, the cousin of the marijuana plant. There is two types of CBD. The first is CBD derived from the marijuana plant, which is only legal in some States, that contains over 0.5% THC. CBD derived from the marijuana plant can cause psychoactive effects to some degree depending on the ratio of THC to CBD in the product. Secondly, more commonly used and popularized is CBD derived from the hemp plant which contains less than 0.5% THC. Hemp contains no psychoactive effects and contains no “high” and is legal.
Our bodies have been equipped with our own little operation system specifically used for receiving cannabinoids. This is known as the endogenous cannabinoid system. Our neural cells are connected by synapses, which is how our cells communicate with one another. Our endocannabinoid system is comprised of two receptors CB1 and CB2 and both are activated when CBD enters our system. The CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and the central nervous system. CB1 receptors are responsible for things like appetite, concentration, and cognitive functions. CB2 receptors are found within the cells of our immune system. CB2 receptors control pain, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms. CBD does not bind directly to these receptors; rather, CBD helps block harmful compounds from binding to these receptors, or helps guide beneficial compounds to the receptors. For example, CBD will block or inhibit molecules that cause inflammation and pain from binding to receptors, but will guide and help dopamine (the feel good chemical) bind to our receptors. Thus, why it is so versatile for many different conditions, ailments, and health issues. From arthritis, a sprained ankle, stomach aches, migraines, anxiety, depression, chronic illnesses, ADHD/ADD, concussions, eczema, acne, epilepsy, inflammatory diseases, muscle recovery, insomnia, and more CBD can help inhibit negative effects and provide relief.
The Cons of CBD
Just like anything else on the market, once it becomes popular, production goes to shit and becomes confusing, untrustworthy, and more often than not a scam. Just like every other product on the market you have a variety of different brands and different price levels. Our mindset is often the cheaper the better in our society, the more we can get for our money the more we justify the purchase, and the more we continue to buy a product. Yes, it is the machine of our economy. It might work with some things but CBD is NOT one of them. With so little actual regulation around the product, companies began to utilize the need for a cheaper option. A lot of companies cut the cost by utilizing flavorings, syrups, and fillers in their products. They use mass filtering to obtain more CBD oil, creating more product at a a cheaper price. However, the more filtered a product the less medicinal benefits the product actually contains. Additionally, sugary syrups and artificial flavorings are more harmful than helpful. This defeats the very purpose and benefits of CBD. Being educated and knowing what to look for is imperative in actually obtaining the benefits CBD has to offer.
What to Look For
First determine what you are using it for and then the method in which you are wanting to use it. For severe conditions like epilepsy i would recommend speaking to your physician prior to use. After determining what you are using it for and your preferred method of use, look into the dosage that is right for you. i would start with a smaller dose and experiment with that first and work your way up from there. Do note that first time CBD users will not particularly achieve benefits until it has been fully integrated into their system, which is typically around one month of continual use. There are tinctures, capsules, vape pens, creams, and patches. Vape pens are naturally going to have a more immediate effect on the body. Patches and creams will have a topical effect and would be recommended primarily for injuries, arthritis, and other physical ailments localized to a particular area of the body. Capsules are a great option for those who would prefer a quick and easy method, however; ingesting a capsule takes longer for the body to break down and utilize. Lastly, and my preferred method, is a tincture. Tinctures work sublingually, or by being diffused into the blood stream through tissues under the tongue and are another rapid way to see effects throughout your whole body.
You want to look for something preferably with terpenes still intact. Terpenes help determine how cannabinoids like CBD effect our bodies. They can amplify the effects by binding to cannabinoid receptors in our body. Look for something preferably full spectrum compared to an isolate. A CBD isolate is the CBD isolated from all other cannabinoids in the plant and may limit the full benefits from being received. Full spectrum products include all cannabinoids including trace amounts of THC, CBD, CBC, CBN, THCU, and CBE. THC, even in small trace amounts, aids in easing nausea, pain, helps in nervous system stemmed pain, controls anxiety, stimulates new cell growth, and more. CBC eases pain, stops the growth of fungus, lowers inflammation, stimulates bone repair and growth, encourages new cell growth, inhibits the growth of bacteria, and helps in healthy blood flow. THCU helps with regulation of appetite, obesity, and Type II Diabetes. CBN helps with sleep regulation, fights free radicals, controls pain, reduces muscles spasms, aids in seizure control, decreases inflammation. CBG helps prevent bacterial growth, enables cell renewal and growth, enables bone healing and growth. So you can see that the benefits of CBD alone are great but ideally we want to utilize all of the compounds of the plant together to reap the highest level of benefits. CBD isolate is however going to be more readily available via online and in store outlets due to it’s separated form from THC, which is more regulated.
In relation to tinctures you want to look for something in a organic sustainable oil such as MCT oil, NOT ALCOHOL. You want to look at the ingredients and make sure there is nothing but the carrier oil used to extract the CBD and the cannabinoid compounds if using full spectrum. Avoid all tinctures and products that contain syrups, flavorings, and anything that does not stem from a natural earth based resource. You want to also look at the color of the product. If it is completely clear with no tint, it probably has been mass filtered. Isolates tend to be lighter in color but still retain somewhat of a golden tint to them when produced properly. Full spectrum and raw products are going to be darker colored and have somewhat of a brownish golden tint. When it comes to topical products i would look for something that is holistic in nature utilizing herbs and earth made ingredients.
Products I Love and Trust
I have tried just about over 30 different types of CBD products, particularly tinctures and have found a few that i really stand by overall for their quality, versatility, and price.
I’m a die hard fan of the CBD Distillery. First off, it smells like the real deal, it looks like the real deal, and they are onto of speedy shipping. It is full spectrum, the color of the product is amazing, and their tinctures contain only the cannabinoids and MCT oil. They are really responsive and the product quality is through the roof. The prices are amazing and they have tons of sales throughout the year. They have many options and dosages. However, my downfall with them is that not all banks recognize the transaction so you might have problems getting the purchase authorized through your bank.
The second brand that I love, know, and trust is Select CBD. I have had no problems with purchasing from them and my bank has allowed transactions without any issues. They are an amazing company with multiple options for use. I particularly love their products because they are so versatile. They combine the benefits of CBD with the power of herbal remedies making it an easy way to utilize both. I love their extract as they contain essential oils, can be used topically, in a bath, can be used in beverages, and pretty much are multipurpose. They are the best version on an isolate that I have found and the product still contains color which indicates it is higher in the CBD compound than many companies. I have used them topically for physical injuries and pains, for internal benefits, and for helping me along my healing journey. They also have great bundles that let you try out and utilize the benefits of two different products. I will often buy a bundle and use the tincture morning and night and carry the vape pen on me for immediate benefits during my day. They are also really affordable for the quality compared to other brands. Their pet tinctures also SAVE me and my dog when thunder storms hit. My dog, even at 76 pounds, is deathly afraid of thunder and fireworks. Opposed to other brands, she actually voluntarily will lick up Select’s salmon tincture. This is my one stop shop for EVERYTHING CBD. They also usually have a sale or promotion going on such as right now you can use code SAVE20 for 20% off your order.
Another brand I love is Nuleaf Naturals. Their products are all organic, full spectrum, the color is on point, and their delivery is super speedy. They are strictly tinctures, for now at least. They are more affordable than some brands and are very accessible. I also really appreciate the thought of how they educate site visitors and customers on the use of CBD, the components of it, and provide a brief overview of what it is, how it works, and their products. I also love that they have an option for a larger tincture because lets be honest i go through the smaller ones like crazy.
In terms of topical products, I love Golden Witch Apothecary’s Water Snake Balm. It is handmade in California utilizing home grown herbs that help eliminate any pain and tension in the body in a flash. The balm is super convenient to carry with you in your gym bag or purse. It relaxes tight muscles, relieves pain from injuries, cuts, bruises, headaches, arthritis, osteoporosis, and burns, and overall is just an amazing product to have on hand. I’ve tried a lot of topical patches and creams and this is my favorite by far because it utilizes CBD with the benefits of pain relief and relaxing herbs such as arnica and peppermint for that extra relief. It is the only topical product that i feel like had a lasting effect compared to most that only work within the first few minutes of applying. It is a master at destroying any physical inflammation.
All in all knowing what to look for and picking the RIGHT products is the difference in hurting and healing. Choose wisely!