CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a chemical compound from the cannabis sativa plant that’s also known as hemp. CBD and THC are the two main cannabinoids who’s effects you feel when smoking cannabis. While THC is the psychoactive component that makes you feel “high”, CBD is on the opposite end and provides subtle, non-intrusive feelings on the body.
If we were to simplify it, we could say that CBD is THC’s cousin that won’t get you high in any way and might potentially alleviate pain, anxiety, and a number of other ailments. It became popular in recent years following federal legalization that allowed farmers in all US states to grow and process hemp.
Is CBD Legal?
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (popularly known as the 2018 Farm Bill) was signed into law in late December of 2018. This new “Farm Bill” legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level.
The bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, paving the way for the wholly legal cultivation, possession, sale and distribution of the hemp plant. This was the trigger that started a massive return to the hemp plant after more than 70 years of prohibition. As a result, domestic hemp farmers started cultivating and processing it again and were quick to bring some of the best CBD-based products to the market.
Although the Farm Bill made hemp legal in all US states, it did state that hemp cannot have more than 0.3% THC. And this is where a lot of confusion was created - the plant is entirely legal but in order for it to be used in commerce in any way it must have less than 0.3% THC content.
CBD vs THC
THC is why cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. Any cannabis/hemp plant that has more than 0.3% THC is content is basically illegal, while all of those below that threshold are completely legal. And this is all because THC has psychoactive properties, while CBD does not. The effects of CBD are more similar to those of a strong natural tea than those of “getting high”.
CBD is made out of hemp, not to be mistaken for the infamous ‘marijuana’ plant. Although the two plants look almost the same and both are considered cannabis, there are many key differences. For one, the above mentioned THC levels. The ‘marijuana’ plant strains have extremely high THC levels, while ‘hemp’ is grown basically devoid of psychoactive components.
You’ve probably heard of industrial hemp. The plant was used for centuries to make over 20 000 industrial products. Even the Bible was printed on hemp paper. Various textiles, clothing, shoes and sneakers, ropes and nautical cables, bioplastics and biofuel, housing insulation, food and beverages… all of that and more can be made with hemp, most of the time better than the ‘mainstream’ choice we have nowadays.
As you can tell, the hemp plant is one of nature’s most precious gifts to mankind. It’s extremely versatile and now is finally being explored to its fullest potential. The legalization of hemp in the USA has allowed virtually everyone to research, cultivate and develop products from hemp and everything is fully regulated for the benefit of all.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
People who take CBD regularly will tell you that you will feel most of your symptoms are relieved; no buzz, no high, no unexpected euphoria. Just relief.
While there are studies coming out on the amazing potential health benefits of CBD, we are quite far away from those becoming recognized by science and federal agencies. This is why we can’t make any claims and talk in absolutes, but you can consider experiences regular CBD users have and what it helps them with.
Many testimonials can be found where people have successfully relieved various issues like anxiety, pain, depression, acne, cancer-related symptoms, heart problems, neurological issues, diabetes etc.
Again, these should be taken with a grain of salt since each experience is individual and what you might experience can be quite different. One thing is in common to almost all of these experiences - there are basically zero negative side-effects. And in our book, that is a pretty big deal.
Now, we don’t claim that taking CBD isn’t risky - quite the contrary. Side-effects sometimes will include inconveniences like diarrhea or similar ‘cleansing’ effects. People that report a lot of side-effects are generally coming off heavier pharmaceuticals - at least that's what studies suggest.
CBD is non-addictive, you won’t develop any psychological dependency and it actually feeds your body’s endocannabinoid system to potentially offer relief of any ailments you may have.
What’s best is that you get a certified product every time you buy something that’s CBD infused. That’s because almost every product containing CBD is heavily regulated and comes with a 3rd party certificate of analysis.
What's the best way to take CBD?
That depends entirely on your goals, your symptoms, and why you would like to start taking CBD. You can take CBD in many forms, such as: oral concentrates, edibles, skincare (topically), hair care, vape flowers, dab concentrates, smoke it in a pre-roll, and the list goes on and on.
Tinctures and Droppers
This represents the most potent form of ingestion and is probably the most popular one. Tinctures are consumed under the tongue (sublingually). This gives you a very concentrated dose of CBD with very little bad aftertaste and zero combustion / inhalation of any kind.
It’s also one of the fastest working methods out there because that way the CBD compound can travel fast throughout your body and start doing its work almost immediately. These tinctures are super-potent and typically require just one or two drops under the tongue.
Oral sprays are a great alternative to tinctures if you find them unpleasant. Most CBD oral sprays don’t have any taste and will dissolve instantly. Similarly to tinctures, these sprays are fast acting and will go to work almost immediately.
CBD or hemp seed oil is not limited to just tinctures and sprays. You can also reap the benefits using products such as topical release patches, dissolvable pods, and many more.
There are many more ways to use CBD concentrates. Products like topical patches, for instance, will release CBD directly into your skin almost like nicotine patches do. There are numerous solutions out there you can explore. When it comes to CBD, the world really is your oyster.
Ever since it became legal we can enjoy fantastic edible products enriched with CBD. Gummy bears, coffee, tea, protein bars, brownies, chocolate, lollipops… all of these and more exist to be enjoyed all the while reaping all the benefits of CBD ingestion.
All products are properly certified and formulated to the highest quality so you don’t have to worry about getting a questionable chocolate or gummy bear. The wonders of legalization!
CBD Dabs & Concentrates
Dabbing is probably the most potent and powerful type of cannabis consumption. It’s gotten really popular in the last 3 decades since more and more good concentrates started emerging. When various US states started to legalize cannabis, the concentrates market completely exploded.
These concentrates are also known as ‘dabs’. Thick, sticky, resin-like substance that’s made by extracting the best compounds using a solvent like butane or 99% alcohol. It didn’t take long for CBD dabs to rise in popularity. This powerful form of CBD (like it’s THC counterpart) also comes like wax, live resin, shatter, honeycomb, and other popular concentrate options.
Vaping CBD Cartridges and Flower
Vaping CBD from cartridges is one of the easiest and most common forms of ingestion.
If you think of vaping, you’ll think of nicotine juice, right? This works basically the same way. You get to use disposable pods or you can buy refillable liquids and fill your vaporizer’s tank with them. Vaping CBD liquids provides fantastic flavor and aromas, and there is no combustion involved in the whole process.
Another great option is to get your hands on some high quality CBD flower and vape it with your own dry herb vaporizer. Smoking or vaping hemp flowers gives you all the benefits of CBD in the most rapid-acting and potent delivery method possible.
You can smoke CBD flowers from pre-rolled cones. These come rolled as joints or even cigarettes (named hempettes) and can be purchased just as easily as cartridges or dry CBD herbs.
Since most CBD flowers focus on terpene preservation and fantastic aroma and flavor, you’ll be surprised with how great these taste and what joy they are to ingest in smoky form.
CBD Skin Care
Your skin is your 3rd kidney and the largest organ of your body. There are amazing CBD products that will help you take care of your skin. Soaps, creams, bath salts and bombs, balms, moisturizers, serums, roll-ons, topical oil drops… the list is extensive. Most of these CBD products combine different natural ingredients that will do wonders for your skin.
Different Types of CBD
Now that we’ve talked about various products made with or from CBD, it’s time to dive deeper and de-mystify the different types of CBD.
There are three main types of CBD - CBD isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum. The difference between CBD isolate and broad all full-spectrum CBD is related to the contents of each form.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. It does not contain any other compounds from the hemp plant. It’s a crystal form of CBD and it’s often ground up and sold as a powder, so if you hear somebody talk about CBD crystal, know that it’s just another term for CBD isolate.
Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD is different. You see, full-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabis plant extracts, including essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, such as CBG or miniscule amounts of THC.
Full-spectrum products can have up to 0.3% THC (the legal level) and are rich in other hemp plant compounds. Research suggests that CBD’s health benefits may be more prominent when multiple compounds from the cannabis plant are present. This is what researchers call the ‘entourage effect.’ Basically, the more cannabinoids and other compounds from the hemp plant are present, the stronger the final product.
When you hear about all the great potential health benefits of CBD, people usually refer to full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad-spectrum CBD products also contain a number of compounds found in the hemp plant. These are very similar to full-spectrum products although they’re not as rich in quantity. For instance, most broad-spectrum CBD products will contain just trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids, unlike full-spectrum that’s usually packed with those.
All CBD types have their benefits. CBD isolates are great for beginners and getting used to. Broad and full-spectrum products are fantastic thanks to their entourage effect and richness in terpenes and other compounds working together. You can’t really go wrong with any type.
Conclusion on CBD
Legal CBD is probably the best thing that ever happened to the cannabis industry as a whole. It brought something that was demonized for decades right into the mainstream eye and made hemp cool again.
Testimonials from people all over the world claiming the amazing benefits of CBD usage have reached literally everyone. It’s not unusual to see the greatest generation or baby boomers talk and shop CBD and recommend it to their friends and family.
A lot of doctors and veterinarians will happily recommend CBD usage to their patients. Like we said before, we are still quite far away from long term scientific studies confirming what experienced CBD users are saying now, but the future really does look bright. The landscape has drastically changed and people’s mindset has shifted from “marijuana = bad” to “it can definitely help”.
Getting something like CBD and experiencing its subtle, calming effects feels fantastic. Potentially alleviating ailments you’ve been living with for years might sound too good to be true, but it’s something really worth exploring.
As science progresses and domestic hemp cultivators innovate in their processes, we will start seeing more and more CBD products and solutions in the years to come. Quality will go up, prices will go down. What’s not to like?
Unlike many others, this hype train is totally worth jumping on. Book your CBD ticket if you haven’t already.