New evidence is popping up everywhere about the benefits of giving your pet CBD products to treat a variety of conditions. Both studies done by experts and anecdotal evidence from other pet owners seem to suggest that these products really do work!
We know CBD oil can be effective, but many of us ask the questions: how and why? What makes CBD special? How does it affect the body? We will go over that and more to give you a new insight into how this mysterious chemical can make the lives of both humans and animals better!
What Is CBD?
The first thing to know when discussing how CBD works is what it is.
CBD stands for “cannabidiol.” Cannabidiol oil is an ingredient derived from hemp, which is part of the cannabis plant – also known as the marijuana plant.
What Does CBD Do?
Some of you may be concerned about the fact that CBD is a component of marijuana. However, it does not mean that it produces that “high” effect found in most marijuana products. Actually, that is the job of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol.) CBD for pets should not contain any THC whatsoever.
CBD instead is known for:
Easing the pain and discomfort of arthritis
Other potential benefits of CBD for your dog can be found here.
What Can’t CBD Do?
Science supports the fact that CBD products have the potential to treat a number of ailments, but there is currently little to no evidence that it can do any of the following:
Cure cancer. Cancer is caused by cells multiplying more rapidly than they should, causing tumors to grow and to impact the organs negatively. Some studies have suggested that CBD can induce apoptosis (the death of cancer cells), but they do not suggest at all that it can do so at a rate to completely eradicate the disease itself. While it may be able to treat cancer, it is not proven to cure it.
Heal chronic conditions. Yes, the evidence we have seen so far is pretty convincing that CBD can reduce inflammation in chronic diseases, but again, it is not a miracle cure. All this chemical has been shown to do effectively so far is treat pain and some swelling.
How Does CBD Affect the Brain and Body?
To produce these marvelous effects on the brain and the body, CBD attaches to our natural cannabinoid receptors. Humans and some animals have what is known as the endocannabinoid system. The main system is comprised of CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are mostly in the brain, though a few can be present in the rest of the body as well. They deal with:
CB2 receptors are what deal with the immune system and inflammatory responses. Instead of attaching to these receptors, though, CBD encourages the body to make more cannabinoids.
Studies on the Effects of CBD in Pets
Scientific researchers have recently been conducting trials and studies on the effects of CBD oil products in animals. Each explains what CBD treats and how.
● A study published in July of 2018 by several veterinary college researchers tested the effects of CBD on dogs with osteoarthritis. Half were given CB, and the others were given a placebo. After the treatment periods, these researchers observed that the dogs given the real product experienced less pain than the others. These dogs were also more active, and they experienced no side effects!
● In 2012, a large group of scientists and doctors studied rats and mice suffering from chronic inflammation. The results proved that some of these animals given CBD had significantly lower levels of inflammation afterward.
● A trial conducted by Dr. Stephanie McGrath showed evidence that 89% of dogs treated with CBD for epilepsy experienced seizures less often. Nine dogs were given real CBD, and seven others were given placebos. This sample size is admittedly small, but she believes that this is an encouraging sign that CBD can treat epilepsy.
Of course, there is a long way to go before we truly uncover what all CBD products for pets can and can’t do for our fur babies. However, it seems that more great news comes from medical professionals and animal scientists every day!
This article is originally published at FOMO Bones.
Like with medical marijuana, the wonderful world of CBD can be slightly overwhelming for a newbie and with the mainstream media going crazy for its health benefits, more and more companies are popping up selling a variety of different CBD products, such as CBD vape, the vape pen, capsules, CBD gummies, and other CBD edibles, CBD isolate, a CBD tincture or two, and even CBD dog treats. With so much information (and misinformation) flying around the Internet and through word of mouth, many of those who are curious about experiencing the benefits of nature’s miracle supplement are finding themselves confused about what to take and when.
So, in a bid to clarify things and debunk some myths about CBD, or cannabidiol oil, along with the potential effects and benefits of CBD, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to get started with buying CBD for the first time. Looking to buy CBD? Read on.
Not All CBD Oil Is Created Equal
The very first thing you need to understand in order to get started with making a CBD purchase is that not all oils will be effective and the effects of CBD will differ. The rise in popularity with regards to CBD products means that every day, new CBD companies are popping up left, right, and center and, unfortunately, many of them offer poor quality oils at extortionate prices. You should always look for the following criteria before making a decision about which brand to purchase.
Full spectrum CBD not isolate
Organic-, GMO-, and pesticide-free
CO2 extraction method for purity
Transparency with regards to ingredients and concentrate
Third-party lab tested
The company is willing to provide a lab report on request
Legal amount of THC
Buying a full spectrum oil means that you will also be able to enjoy all of the benefits from the whole plant and not just the isolated cannabinoid compound.
Don’t Be a Penny Pincher
Absolutely everyone loves a bargain in life and, most often, if someone knows they can get away with cutting corners to save money to buy CBD oil in tincture form, they will! This is absolutely fine when it comes to superficial products, but not when it comes to a product that we ingest into our bodies. Trying to save money by buying CBD oil that is way cheaper than other brands is pretty much the same as setting fire to the total amount you will be paying. Producing a pure, full spectrum CBD oil that is extracted in the purest way is expensive, which is why many of the reputable CBD manufacturers charge a higher price for their products. If you purchase premium quality oil from a reputable vendor, you might pay a higher price, but you will also be safe in the knowledge that the positive benefits are in sight.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Each and every one of us has a completely unique endocannabinoid system and the efficacy of a particular dose of CBD depends on the following factors:
Severity of your condition
This means that two drops of CBD oil might work really well for some people, but won’t even touch the sides with others. As it stands, the dosage is one of the biggest hurdles that cause new CBD users to become frustrated or give up in favor of pharmaceuticals. Before purchasing CBD oil, consider how serious your symptoms are and how you usually respond to medication. If you usually need a higher dose to feel an effect, then you might need to gradually increase your dose of CBD to several drops each day, in which case buying a bigger sized bottle could end up saving you money in the long run.
Do Your Research
And, by that, we mean Google should become your best friend until you make a decision about which CBD oil to purchase. A simple search of “most reputable CBD companies in your area” should produce a list of rated and reviewed companies. And the great thing about the Internet is that you cannot hide from it. This means that a genuine company will have received reputable reviews and a company offering poor products will also be ousted. A good quality CBD brand will have received media praise as well as recommendations from users online.
If in Doubt, Ask!
2019 has seen a rise in small businesses, especially within the CBD industry. Many of the companies offering CBD oil online will happily take the time to clear up any questions you might have and the better websites will offer an in-depth FAQ section.
Check the THC Levels
One of the common myths about CBD oil is that it will get you high. This is categorically not true and here’s why:
The Cannabis or hemp plant is made up of hundreds of compounds, the two primary ones being CBD and THC. THC is the compound that gets you high and it is only found in incredibly limited quantities in full spectrum oil. Legally, there cannot be more than 0.3% THC in CBD oil and this tiny amount will not produce any psychoactive effects when combined with CBD. If you live in a state where marijuana has been legalized, then it is possible that some dispensaries will sell oils containing a higher amount of THC. If in doubt, always check before making a purchase and, in any case, this information should be prominent on the packing of the product you want to buy.
The power of word of mouth goes a long way, especially when it comes to “hot topics” like CBD. Thanks to the Internet and public forums, scam artists are quickly exposed. In turn, good products will receive praise from consumers, media outlets, and, of course, social media. Spending some time browsing the Internet for CBD oil recommendations makes navigating the confusion you might be experiencing much easier and on finding a brand you feel confident about, a quick Google search on their company name will reveal everything you need to know about their products.
The most comprehensive guide can be found at Leafly. The guide details the medicinal purposes, effects, negatives, taste, and even grow information on every strain you are bound to come across. It’s the ultimate guide.
My journey to find a high quality CBD oil began with a friend recommending that I try “CBD” to help with my recent anxiety driven insomnia. So, I hopped on Amazon and tried to search for this “miracle supplement” – CBD. I was immediately overwhelmed by the various formulations, dosage labeling, and fancy, elaborate, marketing terms. I could not effectively differentiate between the products, the brands, nor able to glean a fulsome understanding of the product. So, as happens quite often, I end up not making a purchase and moving on with my day. (Turns out the labeling on Amazon is intentionally misleading in order for sellers to bypass policy.)
Well, CBD is now everywhere on my browser thanks to Google and Amazon’s nifty advertising and I even begin to notice CBD throughout the week, from the local convenient store to my yoga studio. Every time I happen to come across a CBD product, it is of a different brand and labeled “the best.” Each product also targeted a different audience by touting a different benefit. Is it possible that there are hundreds of brands? YES!, indeed it is possible and there are in fact hundreds of brands; maybe even thousands!
So, like any other diligent would-be customer trying to self-medicate, I found myself scouring through dozens of articles, reviews, and forums trying to differentiate between the brands. Attempting to use price points as a benchmark of quality led me down a rabbit hole that called for a deeper investigation! And here we are!
The below is the culmination of days of combing through websites and social media pages to identify and understand the most popular, user recommended brands in the U.S., speaking with customer service representatives at these companies, and speaking with local CBD experts Dan Watkins, Founder of SolCell, a NJ based international cannabis cultivation and processing company and Thomas Murphy, co-founder of Wholly Health, a start-up CBD company located in my hometown, Jersey City, NJ
Summary for those that want to get to the point:
The top 5 brands that offered exceptional quality at a great price were:
NuLeaf Naturals scored a top score and my top big-name recommendation due to having complete oversight from “seed to sale” of its “whole-plant extracts” sourced from licensed farms in Colorado. Nuleaf has one of the best CBD oils and is backed with 10,000+ positive user reviews and a comprehensive FAQ. This is the overall brand that I would recommend and personally use. Learn about Nuleaf here or shop here.
Jersey City’s Wholly Health offers a high-quality product at a bargain price. Wholly Health is one of many resellers who work with farms to create their own brands. Meeting with the founder and knowing that he designed this product for himself first and foremost and tests it independently (in addition to the quality tests at the farm and a newly granted approval by the U.S. Hemp Authority) makes me a believer. I also use this product daily. Using the link provided gives free shipping as a thank you for supporting local!
Charolette’s Web has a very positive reputation, thousands of reviews from loyal followers, a beautiful website, and a very extensive product offering, including topicals if you desire to use CBD to alleviate pain. CW has full control of the product from “seed to shelf.” CW IPO’d in 2018, making the company accountable to authorities and shareholders.
Endoca also has a very positive reputation, thousands of reviews, a beautiful website, and a very extensive product offering, however, is our only top brand to not grow their product in the U.S. The product is grown with high quality standards in Denmark and is an option for someone that seeks an alternative. Customer service responds to every review left on the website and there are thousands of them! Learn more here or shop here.
Please read our CBD basics blog post if you are unfamiliar with CBD.
This guide was put together to guide me and you in finding a quality CBD oil but can also serve as a general guide in finding other CBD products, such as softgells.
qualities should you look for in choosing the right CBD?
There are three key boxes to check in determining whether a CBD product is of high quality:
The quality of the hemp and CBD extraction method;
The quality of the company; and
Verification from third parties (labs and customers).
Like any other product for consumption, it is
important to understand the source of the plant. Hemp grown in the U.S., with
organic farming practices and without the use of pesticide is going to be the
best option here.
Organic, pesticide free farming, is critical for hemp as the plant has properties that allow it to absorb contaminants from the soil while it grows. On a more practical level, anytime you choose to consume something in a concentrated form, quality is of highest precedence. Hemp is grown all around the world and soil quality, as well as, testing, varies greatly. Thus, U.S. organic grown is strongly preferred.
How the CBD is extracted is very important. Extracting oil from plants is not a new game in town (think extra virgin olive oil), and thus, a process known as CO2 extraction stands out as the best. CO2 extraction is used in a multitude of extraction processes, such as with coffee. The best CBD will be extracted using a chemical-free CO2 extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull the desired phytochemical (CBD) from a plant. This method is one of the most expensive, but also the safest plant extraction method in the world.
Finally, you are going to want to look for a “full spectrum” designation. Research has shown that there is an entourage, or synergistic, effect when all the components of the plant are consumed together. CBD is one of many cannabinoids and a “full spectrum” over the counter CBD oil will have traces of all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids.
Dan Watkins, Founder of SolCell shared that “CBD Isolate is probably the most concentrated source of CBD coming in at 99%+ pure CBD but loses lots of the other cannabinoids in the process of creating the isolate; subsequently losing the “full spectrum” designation. CBD Isolate is also difficult to dissolve without smoking it or making edibles.” Thus, finding a product made from a whole plant is ideal.
Personally, I did not put a lot of emphasis on taste, as I view this very much as a medicine. As long as the taste is not repugnant, it is satisfactory to me. Several of the big brands carry a natural flavor and other flavors, such as mint or orange. The natural flavor of the CBD oils tends to have a “nutty” or “earthy” taste.
Generally, and particularly when it comes to supplements such as CBD, you want to buy from an established company (at least 2 years) or from a source that you can individually validate; for example, a local company. Jersey City’s Wholly Health is a prominent local CBD brand. Customer Service was willing to speak to me during my research from all the big brands and the owners of Wholly Health did the same. Additionally, established companies tend to stand behind the product, offer product guarantees, and accept returns under normal circumstances.
Thomas Murphy, of Wholly Health, explained that he went through an 8-month process to find the right CBD product before deciding to sell to others. A long-time sufferer of anxiety, he reached a point where it became overwhelming and received the CBD recommendation from a doctor friend. CBD helped to significantly reduce his anxiety and he used himself as a guinea pig through the 8-month process of creating a high-quality CBD oil, sourced directly from a farm in Colorado. Once he had a product that worked for him at an affordable price point, and one that he could stand behind, Thomas teamed up with his brother and best friend to start Wholly Health. Wholly Health works with a farm based in Colorado, that grows organic Industrial Hemp and extracts the product via CO2. What really attracted Thomas to this specific farm is that they owned the entire “seed to bottle” process. His choice was validated when the source was validated by the U.S. Hemp Authority. Even with these qualifications and the independent test results provided by the farm, Thomas independently tests the product at a second lab. Wholly Health is what is known as a “reseller” of white labeled CBD product. The market will be saturated with these in the upcoming years as businesses want to offer their own (think water that says Hilton on it or CVS multivitamins). Once that happens, insights into the quality of the product may decline and thus knowing where you are buying from is paramount.
Dan Watkins, of SolCell, has helped to broker large isolate deals between farms and various companies over the last two years. He shared that “there really isn’t enough hemp in the U.S. to fulfill current demand or meet future growth predictions. As of the end of 2017, the U.S. was importing more than 50% of hemp foods and CBD from China, Canada, and South America with no regulation or standard for quality. Doctors cannot do much with a substance that is unregulated and has fluctuating or low content quality.” This statement really speaks to the need to validate both the product and the company.
Reputable companies have their product tested
by independent labs. These labs validate the cannabinoid profiling,
test for pesticides, perform a microbiological (mycotoxins) screening, a
terpene analysis and test for residual solvent.
There are only four states that require
cannabis stores to pass state-mandated
lab tests to assure purity and potency. Those
four states are Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
One can argue whether the quality of the product source or company selling the product even matters if the third-party test results show no foreign chemicals and an overall quality product. My counter argument is that is you are only testing a sample and I, as would many, would prefer an all-around quality product, backed by a quality company, in addition to the independent test results. A recent investigation by the I-team at NBC New York found that products did not contain the advertised CBD quantities and that they tested for pesticides and heavy metals.
Additionally, most reputable companies will have
several customer reviews on various websites or social media pages.
Summary of Qualities to Look for in a CBD Oil
So, after all the online research and discussions, I was in search for a full spectrum, third party validated, CO2 extracted CBD oil originating from a U.S. grown (specifically Colorado, Oregon, Washington, or Alaska), organic, pesticide free Industrial Hemp plant that is sold by a reputable company. Now that is a mouthful!
Dan helped to validate the criteria set and guided me in landing on a good oil for personal use.
Strength and Dosage
Before we get into the analysis of the different CBD
Oils, it is important to understand bottle
size and dosage. The standard bottle size is 30ml and is typically
consistent regardless of the oil concentration level. One full dropper, which
is included in the tincture, is typically 1ml.
The CBD oil labeling informs the consumer of the total
CBD concentration in the 30ml. bottle. Standard concentration levels are 250mg,
500mg, 750mg, and 1000mg, but do vary depending on the company or brand and are
also available in stronger concentrations.
These mg quantities represent the total concentration
of CBD in the oil and thus one full 1ml dropper of the 1000mg bottle has a
higher dose than one full 1ml dropper of a the 250mg bottle. One full dropper,
or 1ml, of a 30 ml bottle (1/30) will yield 3.33% of the total bottle oil. So, if
you have a concentration of 1000mg, this will be a dose of 33.33mg (3.33% x
1,000mg). Similarly, if you have a concentration of 250mg, the same 1ml dropper
will yield a dose of 8.33mg (3.33% * 250mg).
This is very easy to figure out once you have a general understanding of the bottle. Just remember the formula: “Dropper Size” in ml divided by “Bottle Size” in ml times the “Concentration” in mg.
Assessment of Various CBD Oils
To accurately analyze all the CBD brands that I have come across through my various online searches and discussions with Dan Watkins, I developed a scoring system based on 7 criteria. Meeting the target criteria achieves a full point, while partially meeting the target achieves a half point. Here were the criteria:
To make the results easier to view, I
color coded the scoring with green indicating a full point, yellow indicating a
partial point, and orange indicating no points.
The maximum score that a product can
receive is a 7.0. I considered any product with a 6.5 or better an acceptable
product to analyze pricing and other supplemental materials to determine my
The below pricing analysis is of products that achieved a score of 6.5 or higher. It is important to note that these prices are full retail prices. Several of the companies do run promotions from time to time. Also, some of the mgs have been rounded for easier presentation.
The following table illustrates the number of milligrams per dollar spent (a.k.a. bang for your buck!):
After all the analysis, I narrowed it
down to two brands, which I chose to use, personally.
NuLeaf Naturalsscored a top score and my top big-name recommendation due to having complete oversight from “seed to sale” of its “whole-plant extracts” sourced from licensed farms in Colorado. Although the price point is not as favorable as other brands, the impressive 10,000 positive reviews available, experienced customer service representatives, and comprehensive FAQ provides a customer experience unlike the others. Nuleaf chose to use Hemp Seed oil as a carrier which includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. Nuleaf also offers an oil for pets. Learn about Nuleaf here or shop here.
Wholly Healthoffered the best price point for a quality oil, which makes sense given the brand is new and looking to establish itself. I enjoyed meeting founder Thomas Murphy and knowing that he created this product for himself, a life-long anxiety sufferer, is very reassuring. Prices at this level probably won’t last long! Wholly Health chose to use MCT coconut oil and sources product from a U.S. Hemp certified farm in CO. If interested in buying the Wholly Health CBD oil, shop at the included link, which pre-populates the coupon code for free shipping.
My current daily regiment consists of taking 1ml of Wholly Health 1000mg CBD in the mid-morning and 1ml of NuLeaf Naturals 725mg CBD in the evening, after dinner.
Other great brands that would be
recommended based on this analysis and consideration of price points are:
CBDPure offers a 90 day guarantee and softgels, as well as, the oil. CBDPure uses Hemp oil in their CBD mixture. They have a no-frills website, although do provide extensive FAQs and details of their quality standards. CBDPure might be the best choice if you are hesitant about trying CBD and want the comfort of the guarantee. They also have a site dedicated to pets!
Charolette’s Web has an incredibly positive reputation with thousands of loyalists, thousands of reviews to accompany an extensive product offering, and an overall beautiful website. Their CBD extract is combined with a Coconut MCT oil and comes in several flavors. CW IPO’d in 2018, making the company accountable to authorities and shareholders. Charlotte’s Web also received a U.S. Hemp Authority seal.
Endoca, who grows their product with high quality standards in Denmark, offers a full product line, including edibles. Their website shows a dedication to details and there are thousands of reviews. Their manufacturing process is ISO certified. This would be a great choice for someone looking to purchase a product sourced from a country outside the U.S. that has a reputation for high ethical standards. Customer service responds to every review left on the website and there are thousands. Learn more here or shop here!
There is no way I could have reviewed every brand. If I missed one that you think should have been included, please comment below.
I did not include the following two
Hempworx – too difficult to make a purchase and the website was very vague. It seems like an elaborate MLM that requires affiliates to make purchases.
Bluebird Botanicals – website is not user friendly, products are not marketed consistently with the rest of the industry, and I could not gather clear information on where the hemp is sourced.
Both of these brands were on the list of the first 13 companies to receive a U.S. Hemp Authority Approval for best brands. The awardees of these seals have demonstrated their commitment to assuring that consumers have access to safe and accurately labeled hemp-derived products, including fiber, seed and extracts, such as cannabidiol (CBD). The U.S. Hemp Authority is an industry group and not associated with the FDA. These are the first 13 to receive this particular award. This is not the only award and others, such as Endoca, have received ISO certification for good manufacturing process.
After completing this guide, I signed up to be an affiliate of the top scoring brands. If you found this article helpful and end up choosing a recommended brand, I will earn a commission. Proceeds will help keep this site and the instagram page running!
Jersey City Cannabis was born in December 2018 when I chose to use Instagram to create a cannabis community. The purpose of the page was to educate and inform Jersey City and the surrounding communities of the latest developments in legalization efforts and generally about the hundreds of Cannabis products being marketed on a daily basis. It has since grown to be an all encompassing page discussing cannabis news across the country, politics, investments, trends, product recommendations, and so on.
Eventually, when Cannabis is legalized for recreational use in New Jersey, I hope to use the page to highlight local businesses and the city’s offerings.
I knew right from the start that I wanted a logo that embodied the community’s objectives, Jersey City culture, and Cannabis in a unique way.
The idea for the logo came to me one morning as I was looking out my bedroom window at the Statue of Liberty. As a lifelong resident of Jersey City, you become accustomed to seeing the NYC skyline and the Statue and rarely think twice. This morning however, I had the page on my mind and the idea just sparked (pun intended?).
Lady Liberty represents liberty, freedom, opportunity, and knowledge; everything that Cannabis can bring to our city and country! From the chains of oppression, smashed, that lay at her feet to the torch that guides the way, the symbolism and parallels with the cannabis movement is undeniable.
To so many, legalization represents the opportunity to right the wrongs that has been done to minority communities. To others, legalization represents the freedom to choose what goes into one’s own body and exploration of natural remedies.
Finally, one of the main objectives of the this community page is to educate and inform. Research and education will be the torch that moves the cannabis industry forward and help create the new normal; a world where the presence of Cannabis and Hemp are part of every day society and free of negative stigma.
CBD is commonly available in oils, softgels, vapes, edibles, and creams. In this blog post, I’ll go through these common forms and provide a bit of background on how they are consumed and share with you what method I choose to use.
Please check out our CBD Basics blog post for background information on CBD.
Oils are sold in tinctures, which are glass bottles containing highly concentrated CBD, mixed with a carrier oil (such as Coconut MCT Oil or Hemp Seed Oil), and an accompanying dropper. Drops of the oil are placed under the tongue (referred to as sublingual) and then swallowed after 30 seconds. This method allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream quickly via the capillaries under the tongue and the benefits can generally be felt within 15 minutes in the head/brain. This makes it ideal to treat several ailments, such as anxiety.
It is important to understand that “CBD oil” is not necessarily the same as “Hemp Oil.” Hemp Oil can refer to Hemp Seed Oil, which has several beneficial nutrients, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants and is considerably less expensive than CBD oil. Don’t be duped into buying Hemp Oil at CBD oil prices!
Often, CBD extract is combined with the Hemp Seed Oil to produce a “CBD oil”. More recently, CBD extract is combined with MCT (medium-chained-triglycerides) oil, sourced from coconuts. Coconut MCT Oil is all the rage in the health and beauty industry because of the body’s ability to easily metabolize this fat and convert it to energy. MCT provides an almost immediate source of natural fuel instead of being stored in tissue as saturated fat.
Hemp Seed oil and Coconut MCT oil (known as “carrier oils”) are the two most common oils for creating the “CBD oil,” however some manufacturers choose to use other oils.
Softgels and edibles are also effective ways to enjoy the benefits of CBD. However, like any food, they must be broken down in the digestive system first and the effects begin to kick in about 30 minutes after consumption. The dosing on quality manufactured softgels is very precise given they are typically made with industrial machinery. CBD edibles on the other hand, such as gummies, can be either machine infused or hand sprinkled. If you choose the edibles route, research the product manufacturing process to ensure that machine infusion is being used. A recent i-team investigation into several edibles showed that CBD content was significantly lower than advertised because of imprecise manufacturing.
Vape oils are used with an e-cigarette vaporizer, or “vape pen.” The device heats up a small portion of concentrated CBD oil until it boils, allowing you to inhale the vapor. Inhaled CBD tends to enter the bloodstream fastest; in as little as 30 seconds.
Creams are available and used by applying directly on pain areas. These are used primarily to alleviate pain. CBD alleviates pain by reducing inflammation rather than the numbing feeling common to Icyhot and similar products. Creams are often used by athletes.
So, which do I use?
I personally decided to use an oil due to its relatively quick absorption, minimal ingredients, adjustable dosing using the dropper, and overall versatility. Oils are a staple in every brand’s product offering and are the most popular way to experience the benefits of CBD, plus they are filled with nutrients from the carrier oils.
Check out our guide to finding a quality CBD oil, linked here!
CBD oil produced in the U.S. is typically produced from cannabis species known as CBD-rich hemp, or PCR hemp (phytocannabinoid rich hemp). This specie of Cannabis is nothing like Industrial Hemp and has been produced through the selective breeding of Marijuana to minimalize the presence of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychoactive “high” effect. The vast majority of “CBD” products originate from Industrial Hemp as they are not intended to be psychoactive.
The CBD-rich hemp looks like marijuana, smells like marijuana, and is grown using the same methods.
It is important to understand that “CBD oil” is not necessarily the same as Hemp Oil. Hemp Oil generally refers to Hemp Seed Oil, which has beneficial nutrients, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. CBD is extracted in a concentrated form from the CBD-Rich Hemp Plant and then combined with the Hemp Seed Oil to produce the “CBD oil”.
Hemp Seed oil and Coconut MCT oil (known as “carrier oils”) are the two most common oils for creating the “CBD oil,” however some manufacturers choose to use other oils.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, it is non “psychoactive” and therefore not classified as a drug, however how it is derived can be a legal concern even today. Thanks to the 2018 “Farm Bill,” CBD can be legally sold and consumed in every state in the U.S., however, must contain less than 0.3% of THC. Any plant or product with THC levels exceeding 0.3% is classified as Marijuana and is illegal without a prescription in most states.
Therefore, the majority of CBD on the market is extracted from CBD-Rich Hemp, as this specie of the Cannabis plant has been bred to produce higher levels of CBD and low levels of THC. This form of CBD will not cause you to fail a drug test or get you “high” and sellers are generally required to have lab tests validating that THC levels do not exceed 0.3%. In fact, some have proven that CBD can reduce the effects of the high caused by THC.
Has CBD been approved by the FDA?
CBD has not been approved as a food additive by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and falls under the dietary supplement category. However, the FDA has recognized CBD as a powerful counter measure to serious symptoms of ailments such as cancer (through approval of drugs Dronabinol and Nabilone) and in September 2018, the FDA actually approved a CBD formulate “drug,” produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, called Epidiolex to help young children with two rare forms of epilepsy.
Given that CBD is currently considered a dietary supplement, the FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe before they go to market. This is evidenced in NYC’s “crackdown” on select restaurants that were infusing CBD into their food products. Dan Watkins, founder of SolCell, a NJ based international cannabis cultivation and processing company, and my local go-to expert, shared that “this is very concerning as it can be perceived as businesses putting undisclosed amounts of CBD into products and using it as an excuse to inflate product margins. Regulations pertaining to consumer education through product labeling and appropriate dosing levels must come before places of business can start putting CBD into people’s food.”
What does CBD help with?
This can get quite dicey, so I’ll keep this answer simple. Based on my reading of forums and product reviews, (which number in the tens of thousands) anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain/inflammation alleviation stand out as ailments that people have had success treating with CBD. CBD products are touted for many more benefits, but, quite frankly, the research isn’t definitive, and the materials are typically written by marketers and activists, not doctors. Doctor’s have weighed in but only in a limited fashion pointing out all of the unknown factors that have yet to be verified through research, rather than publicly supporting Cannabis as medicine. Dan Watkins shared that a primacy concern of doctors is that they are unsure of how CBD will interact with other drugs that the patients are on. Dan recommends to speak with your physician before using CBD if you are currently on any medications.
One doctor worth mentioning is Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist, who is touted as the Godfather of Cannabis. He has probably contributed the most medical evidence that cannabinoids have a direct role in fighting cancer and managing diabetes and arthritis. Thousands of doctors and the FDA agree much of this data is formidable, but enforcement is very difficult and expensive, so without the Drug Enforcement Authority’s approval, the FDA cannot move to legalize it outright.
So for example, if I weigh 150 lbs, that is a range of 15mg to 90mg per day.
Using a 30ml bottle containing 1000mg of CBD, which yields 33.3mg of CBD per 1ml dropper, I would want to take anywhere from a ½ a dropper to 3 full droppers. The dose would depend on the severity of the ailment I am looking to address and how long I’ve been using CBD.
Recommended Further reading:
Nick Jikomes’ publications on Leafly, linked here.