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Quiz question: Is CBD oil safe to consume?
In between all the flashy ads for CBD products, it’s easy to forget some of the most fundamental, important questions.
It’s time to go back to the basics: what is CBD oil, and is it safe to take? Is it something that you should consider adding to your wellness routine?
You’re not alone in asking these questions. And you need to know the answers before you make decisions about what CBD products to buy.
So let’s dive into our favorite subject: welcome to Cannabidiol 101. It’s time to answer some of the most common questions about CBD oil.
Cannabidiol is widely known by its acronym CBD. CBD oil is known for its therapeutic benefits for a wide range of health and wellness issues. The compound principally interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates things like mood, pain, and sleep (more on that below).
CBD oil comes from grinding up the flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks of hemp plants and processing the pulp to extract the oil. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, which means that it is not associated with feelings of intoxication.
We get it, this is a confusing subject. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly asked questions around CBD.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. Hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants. They look similar to plants and are grown in similar conditions.
Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabidiol (CBD), as well as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychoactive compound that creates the feelings many associate with marijuana, the characteristic “high”.
The main difference between these two plants is that hemp plants have low concentrations of THC and high concentrations of CBD, while many marijuana plants have high concentrations of THC and low concentrations of CBD. Statistically, hemp plants contain no more than 0.3% THC, while cannabis plants may contain upwards of 30% THC.
CBD oil for commercial products is almost entirely derived from hemp. Part of the reason is because hemp tends to have a higher concentration of CBD. There are some marijuana varieties that have high levels of CBD, but they may not have a favorable mix of cannabinoid and terpene compounds.
The other reason hemp-derived CBD oil is common in the industry is because of its legal status.
Hemp is an ancient crop that has been used for hundreds of years. Hemp was used to make things like clothing, rope, and paper. It provides a strong and durable natural fiber, and it was once commonly grown on most farms in the United States.
However, hemp was lumped with marijuana in various regulatory laws in the twentieth century, such as the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Laws like these classified both marijuana and hemp as illegal substances, restricting the production of hemp.
However, the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized the agricultural production of hemp, and hemp-derived products. CBD oil derived from hemp, with less than 0.3% THC, is legal in all 50 states. With this legalization, there has been a massive growth of CBD oil products for sale in the United States.
We know it’s counterintuitive, but stay with us here: the highest-quality CBD oil doesn’t contain just cannabidiol.
The hemp plant naturally produces over 100 different types of cannabinoids or compounds. Cannabidiol is the most famous cannabinoid (and with good reason). However, each compound has different unique effects.
When CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants using a natural method like carbon dioxide extraction (more below), you’re left with CBD, of course, but also other terpenes and cannabinoids.
Terpenes are the molecules that give fragrance to plants. In CBD oil, this may range from earthy to grassy to citrus. Terpenes do more than just give CBD oil its smell, however. They play a key role in how your body interacts with CBD.
“Full-spectrum” CBD oil contains this full range of cannabinoids and terpenes. When all of these natural compounds are able to work together, it creates the much-desired entourage effect and optimal effectiveness in your body.
Of course, there are other options beyond full-spectrum on the market. Broad-spectrum oil removes the trace amounts of THC from CBD oil. CBD isolate is up to 99% pure CBD, without cannabinoids or terpenes.
Both are good options, depending on your needs. However, full-spectrum CBD oils remain the most popular option, because you can take advantage of the interactions between compounds for the maximum benefit.
That all sounds good, but what does CBD actually do to your body when you take it?
The terpenes and cannabinoids in CBD work with our endocannabinoid system, our body’s signaling network. The system oversees balance in some of our most important functions, regulating things like sleep, pain, mood, and more. Your body naturally produces some cannabinoids, but the exact levels can vary from person to person.
If you take CBD products, the cannabinoids in the oil interact with your endocannabinoid system—specifically, receptors related to the central nervous system (CB1) and the peripheral nervous system (CB2).
Adding CBD to your wellness routine helps restore balance to this system, resulting in the therapeutic relief many people look for. And because of the nearly undetectable levels of THC in hemp-derived CBD, these benefits come without feelings of intoxication or a high.
For people with lower levels of naturally-occurring cannabinoids, allowing the CBD to build up in your body can encourage the cumulative effect, raising the efficacy of the CBD.
Of course, you want to make sure you are sourcing from a good company. But how can you tell?
First, start by choosing a company that sources organic hemp from American farmers. You want to be able to trust the sourcing of a company so that you aren’t ingesting CBD that was grown with non-organic chemical inputs, pesticides, or heavy metals.
Next, you also want to examine how the CBD oil is extracted. The best method in the industry is CO2 extraction, which uses pressurized carbon dioxide to separate out the CBD oil.
CO2 extraction method preserves the CBD compounds, other cannabinoids, and nutrients (and doesn’t leave any dangerous solvents behind). Other companies may use different extraction methods that are cheaper but result in a lower-quality product.
The final indicator of a quality CBD oil is to review the company’s third-party lab results. You should be able to trace the CBD oil of any product you buy. The lab verification will show you the oil’s potency and contents, so you know exactly what is in the product you’re purchasing.
While you’re at it, check out the company’s customer reviews. You want to know what other customers just like you are experiencing with the CBD oil. And if you can’t find hundreds of good reviews of a product or a brand? It may indicate it’s time to look somewhere else for safe CBD oil.
Ok, we know, that was a lot of information. But now, you know what to look for to ensure you are adding safe and effective CBD oil into your routine.
Congrats: you’ve passed Cannabidiol 101 with flying colors. Next step: put what you’ve learned into practice!
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