CBD 101

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

If you’re like most people, you had never heard of CBD a few years ago, but now you’re seeing it everywhere. The gas station. Sephora. Amazon. Your local bodega. Maybe you’re even using some products yourself. But where the heck did it come from? And why should you care?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and is a compound found in hemp and cannabis plants. CBD is one of many different chemicals of its type produced by hemp and cannabis. These compounds are called phytocannabinoids (“phyto”=plant + cannabinoid). Although it has been used for thousands of years by different cultures and civilizations, CBD was not formally discovered and studied until the 1940s. [Want to nerd out? Read more about CBD and its discovery in this article by the American Chemical Society.]

Today, the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested by scientists and doctors around the world, holding promise as a medicine for a number of different conditions ranging from epilepsy to arthritis, stress & anxiety, sleep disorders, pain, bacterial and viral infections, and more.

According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. … To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists.

Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes. Unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body. So – you will not get high on our CBD supply. We promise, and we’re sorry.

The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time.

How does CBD work and what is it used for?

All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is responsible for helping maintain homeostasis and balance within the body. The body naturally produces cannabinoids to help regulate functions like mood, pain, and sleep, but these can become diminished due to internal imbalances or external stressors. Supplementing the body’s natural cannabinoids with hemp-derived CBD helps bring the body back to balance and, in doing so, may optimize whole body wellness.

The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience – mood, energy level, intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, and hunger, and more.


2018 Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized production of hemp as an agricultural commodity, legalized the production of hemp-derived CBD. The Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana that had been set by the Control Substances Act (CSA), redefining hemp as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis).

Types of CBD

All types of CBD are made from the same plant, but actually making the CBD into a format you can consume (aka the distillation process) produces different variations.

There are three types of CBD:

  • Full Spectrum: Refers to an extract created from the entire plant - leaves, flowers, stem, and seeds - without any filtering of THC. The full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds remain intact, as well as potentially up to 0.3% THC.
  • Broad Spectrum: Contains an array of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but zero THC. To create Broad Spectrum CBD, the hemp plant must undergo additional processing to isolate and remove all THC while still preserving its therapeutic properties.
  • Isolate: Isolate is 100% cannabidiol with no minor cannabinoids or THC.

Quick Reference:

  • Full Spectrum: CBD, minor cannabinoids, trace amounts of THC
  • Broad Spectrum CBD: CBD, minor cannabinoids, no THC
  • CBD Isolate: 100% CBD, no minor cannabinoids, no THC

Bioavailability and CBD Delivery Methods

Bioavailability is the degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream - in this case, CBD. It’s important to understand the bioavailability of a substance because it helps you determine how much you need to take—and in what form—to ensure the proper dose actually ends up in your system. Otherwise, you may not feel the desired effects.

Inhalation: The most effective and proven delivery method for bioavailability is inhalation. Studies have shown that combustion, be it smoking or vaporizing cannabinoids, produces bioavailability levels from 2%-56% depending on the study and the smoker, with averages leaning towards the higher side. The high discrepancy in availability is attributed to the experience of the test subject — novice smokers vs. experienced smokers who inhale deeper and longer. Simply put, on the higher side of the scale, smokers get a high average bioavailability of cannabinoids around 40% (i.e., just under one half of what they ingest becomes available or quantifiable in their bloodstream).

  • Product examples: vape oils, vape pens, vaporizers
  • Effects felt within 10 minutes.

Sublingual: When administered sublingually (held beneath the tongue or in the cheek), CBD has a sublingual bioavailability as high as 35%. Sublingual CBD allows it to be absorbed by your sublingual gland, where it can enter the bloodstream and begin working its effects. While not quite as expedient as the inhalation method, sublingual administration of CBD still produces effects fairly quickly, within 20 minutes or so.

  • Product examples: oral strips, tinctures, sprays
  • Effects felt within 5 to 20 minutes.

Oral Delivery: Oral ingestion is popular because it’s a method people are already familiar with from eating food, drinking beverages, and swallowing daily vitamins. Oral bioavailability of CBD is between 10% to 20%.

When you consume CBD orally, it must pass through your digestive system first before it ever reaches your bloodstream. This process is not a quick one — taking up to 2 hours for some people — and during it, some of the CBD gets lost to the liver and digestive tract. As a result, you’ll have to wait longer for the CBD to provide relief, and the relief it does provide may not be as substantial since so much was lost during the journey.

  • Product examples: edibles, concentrates, capsules, gummies
  • Effects felt within 30 to 120 minutes.

Transdermal / Topical: CBD can also be applied topically on the skin. With this method, CBD engages primarily with the endocannabinoid receptors located in your peripheral nervous system, so it’s best for providing targeted pain relief in a particular area, such as arthritic joints or sore muscles.

However, because the CBD only interacts with local receptors in your skin, it won’t enter the bloodstream. As a result, topical administration will be ineffective for relieving conditions which require the CBD to bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, such as anxiety, epilepsy, or PTSD.

Topical administration requires the user to be aware of the correct method of application in order to experience the maximum benefits. While you do have pores in your skin, generally the skin is not very porous. It’s built to be a barrier that protects our internal organs from the outside world, after all. In order to bypass this protection, you need to apply CBD topicals liberally and vigorously into the targeted area to ensure the CBD actually gets absorbed.

The bioavailability of topical CBD hasn’t been quantified, although it’s expected to be low, especially compared to the other methods. However, innovative solutions like transdermal patches and suppositories enable the CBD to cross through the skin and enter the bloodstream.

  • Product examples: salves, creams, lotions, serum, balms, transdermal patches, suppositories
  • Effects felt within minutes.

Dosing

This is one of the most common questions we get, but it can also be the most difficult. We always suggest starting low and graduating higher.  It’s important to know that it takes a couple of usages to understand the benefits of CBD. Figuring out how much you should take is more of an art than a science.

While any CBD product you purchase will come with its own dose guidelines, experiences can vary. The ideal CBD dose for you usually depends primarily on your body weight, but it can also be influenced by other factors, such as your personal body chemistry, your age, and any other health conditions you have.

Unfortunately, because it is not yet regulated by the FDA, no official dosing guidelines for CBD exist. However, for a general rule of thumb, consider using between 1mg (lower dose) and 6mg (higher dose) of CBD for every 10lbs of your body weight.

Glossary

Terms you may find when learning about CBD

HEMP
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Hemp is a plant that is part of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant species. To be legally classified as hemp in the US, the plant must have very low levels of THC (less than .3%). The fibers can be used to make clothing, and the seeds and seed oil is nutritionally dense. Additionally, hemp is a sustainable building material and removes chemicals and heavy metals from soil, making it an incredibly eco-friendly plant.

HEMP SEED OIL
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A nutritionally dense oil extracted from hemp seeds that is high in vitamin E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid and oleic acids but does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids.

CANNABIS
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Cannabis Sativa L. is the name of the plant species to which both marijuana and hemp belong. Many people are now defaulting to calling marijuana “cannabis” but in fact cannabis is a broad term for the whole plant species.

MARIJUANA
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Referring to a cannabinoid spectrum containing a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other cannabis compounds in relation to what is commonly found in hemp. More information can be found in our spectrum section under full spectrum.

CANNABINOID
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A naturally occurring, plant based compound found in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are the two most prevalent cannabinoids, but there are at least 113 known cannabinoids.

ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
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The Endocannabinoid System is one of many bodily systems that helps to maintain homeostasis in the body. Its receptors are widespread and found in the skin, immune cells, heart, brain, and digestive system, and it impacts body processes ranging from pain to mood to immunity. CBD supports the Endocannabinoid System and in doing so facilitates a state of whole body balance and optimal wellness.

NON-INTOXICATING
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Refers to substances that do not cause uninhibited behavior, and do not inhibit normal brain functioning, cognition, and physical control of the body. CBD is non-intoxicating and generally considered safe for its health and wellness benefits.