You can’t miss the CBD signs and stores that have all popped up since the beginning of the year. What is CBD (which stands for “cannabidiol”) and why is it now the hottest thing?
First, let me say I am a big believer in CBD products and use them myself. I have many clients who are thrilled with the results they get from CBD products for anxiety, sleep, pain and more.
Benefits of CBD
Research continues regarding the many possible benefits of CBD including:
- Anxiety – works as a neuroprotective antioxidant to reduce stress
- Sleep – helps with insomnia by interacting with serotonin receptors to promote relaxation and increase sleep duration
- Pain – can relieve chronic pain, muscle stiffness, headaches
- Inflammation and Arthritis
- Health Optimization
All CBD is Not Created Equal
Before you jump on the bandwagon, it’s important to take the time to educate yourself because products, quality and pricing can vary wildly. This is especially true because hundreds of companies have literally launched overnight to take advantage of the CBD boom.
My goal in this article is to provide information to help you make educated decisions for yourself.
I’ll also share the products that I personally use and trust.
What is CBD?
At the end of 2018, the law was clarified to make a critical distinction between hemp and marijuana.
CBD oil comes from industrial hemp plants, CBD extract contains cannabidiol (and sometime other components such as terpenes, amino acids and essential oils) – but no THC.
Hemp and marijuana are NOT one and the same. They are like cousins that come from the same genus of plant but the are different in a critical way. Both plants contain cannabidiol (CBD) but only marijuana additionally contains THC – the psychoactive chemical component that “gets you high.”
Key Questions to Ask About CBD Products
- Can I see independent lab test results to ensure quality and concentration of CBD? Reputable companies use third party labs to test their products and publish lab results for your review. You want to ensure that the testing shows full dosage of CBD as claimed, and ensure that no other undesirable chemicals are found in testing.
- How long has the manufacturer been in business producing CBD products?
- Are organic hemp plants used for CBD products?
- Where is the industrialized hemp grown? Growing standards in other countries are not as high as those set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so knowing where the hemp was grown can matter. Plants grown in the U.S. are subject to high quality controls, including limiting exposure to pesticides.
- What extraction method is used to extract cannabidiol from hemp plants? There are many different methods to extract cannabinoids from plants. CO2 extraction is generally seen as having the highest quality control levels. Other methods can involve using solvents ranging from organic olive oil to ethanol and petroleum.
- Where is the industrialized hemp processed (extracted)? Sometimes hemp grown in one country is shipped to another country for processing/extraction.
- Is the CBD product an “isolate” or “broad-spectrum?” Hemp plants produce other chemical compounds that can work together with CBD to provide synergistic benefits. This is often referred to as the “broad spectrum” or “entourage effect.” Does the product include these potentially useful compounds?
- How much CBD are you getting per dose and what is the size of the dose?
Dosage and Types of CBD Products
Many CBD products will have a number on the front of the bottle, often ranging from 300 mg to 5000 mg. This number is not the amount of CBD oil you get in a dosage. It is the total amount of CBD in the bottle. A high-quality CBD product will list the amount of active cannabidiol you receive per dose.
Typical amount of CBD per dose is between 10-50 mg or even higher. It really varies by person.
CBD comes in many forms and as long as you know how many milligrams of CBD you are getting per dose, then the form is a matter of preference. Flavors (watch for chemical additives) are often added because pure hemp products don’t taste very good.
Common CBD products include:
- Oil tinctures, administered by dropper or sprayer
- Capsules – dry or liquid
- Chewable Gummies – look for those with only a few grams of sugar
- Creams and lotions for topical pain relief
Lowest Therapeutic Dosage
Quality CBD products are expensive. So, your goal is to find the minimum therapeutic dose that gives you the results you want. This can be challenging however. Reputable manufacturers or resellers can help you with dosing recommendations.
CBD Products I Use
I have used 2 quality brands of CBD products:
- CbdMD – I love the gummies, capsules, and sleep formula. You can buy it online but the best place I’ve found to buy it is locally at Gracie’s Essential Oils in Brookfield. Tim, the manager, will take the time to educate you and help find the right product and dosage for you. He’s taken classes on the subject and is very knowledgeable.
Gracie’s Essential Oils
3305 N. 124th St (inside Infinity Healing Center)
Brookfield, WI 53005
- Charlotte’s Web. They’ve been around a long time and have a quality, albeit pricey, product. I’ve used the oil and capsules. You can find them online or at Fresh Thyme.