Everyone knows about THC, AKA the fun chemical found in cannabis. Since 2018, another compound in cannabis gained popularity.
That compound is cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s commonly called.
CBD gives you all the health benefits of cannabis without the distracting head high. It works so well, the FDA approved a CBD treatment for epilepsy in 2018.
People across the country often turn to CBD for help. It is used to ease nerve pain, arthritis, and mood disorders.
But with so many products available, how does one know which CBD product is the best? To learn the truth about CBD and which products to trust, follow this guide.
The Different Types of CBD
The majority of CBD products available come from industrial hemp. This cannabis variety naturally runs high in CBD and low in THC. CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC to be sold in all 50 states.
In states with recreational marijuana laws, there are CBD products with more THC.
For those who want only CBD, read the label carefully before buying. THC can cause anxiety in sensitive people in high quantities.
What is Full-Spectrum and Isolate CBD?
One reason why buying CBD products is so daunting is all the new terms. You want to make sure you’re buying a good product. To do that, you need to know the new cannabis lingo.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids found in cannabis. The 113 compounds work together in what’s called the entourage effect.
This means that CBD is most effective when paired with other cannabinoids. While it does work well on its own, many users prefer full-spectrum CBD. These products contain less than 0.3% THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD is processed in a similar way to full-spectrum CBD. The main difference is that broad-spectrum products have no THC.
CBD isolate is CBD without any other cannabinoids. This pure CBD is ideal for those who want to avoid ingesting any THC. The downside is, isolate doesn’t work as well due to the lack of entourage effect.
Extracts, Oils, and Powders
When you’re shopping for CBD products, you need to know what, exactly, you’re buying. Some sellers intentionally use misleading terms that make buyers think they’re getting a CBD product.
- Hemp Extract – Made by crushing hemp seeds to extract the oil and contains no cannabinoids
- CBD Oil – Undergoes a CO2 extraction process using the entire hemp plant and contains all the beneficial compounds found in hemp
- Powdered CBD – CBD isolate crystals are ground into a fine white powder
Other Helpful Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids work best as a group but they can help certain conditions on their own.
Cannabinoids and how they might help:
- CBC (Cannabichromene) – Reduces swelling, helps develop brain cells, may inhibit cancer growth, eases migraines
- CBG (Cannabigerol) – Reduces high eye pressure, eases inflammatory bowel disease, may inhibit colon cancer growth, appetite stimulant
- CBN (Cannabinol) – Antibacterial agent, may delay the onset of ALS, eases arthritis, appetite stimulant
Research is underway to see how cannabis’ many compounds ease certain ailments.
The good news is we know these compounds are safe. They have very few side effects. If you know where to buy CBN isolate or any other cannabinoid isolate, try it yourself.
What is bioavailability? It is the percentage of how much substance made it into your bloodstream after ingestion. It also measures how long it takes for the compound to affect your body.
How does that apply to CBD and other cannabinoid isolates? Understanding bioavailability could save you a lot of money.
It’s the difference between paying $1 per milligram of CBD and $0.28 per milligram. You end up spending almost 4 times as much for some CBD products.
Certain CBD products lose bioavailability because they go through the digestive system. Unfortunately, those are also the most popular products on the market.
Here’s a helpful guide that shows the bioavailability for common CBD products:
- CBD Vape Pen – Has a bioavailability of 34% to 56%, depending on the purity of the product. It takes only 10 minutes to feel the effects of vaping.
- CBD Tincture – Has a bioavailability of 13% to 35% when held under the tongue to absorb. It takes around 20 minutes to take effect.
- CBD Edibles – Has a bioavailability of 6% to 20%. It can take up to 120 minutes to feel the effect of edibles.
- CBD Lotion/Balm – Don’t absorb into the bloodstream. Bioavailability is so low, it hasn’t been properly quantified. Local pain relief happens in around 5 minutes.
There are new CBD delivery methods on the way to the market. One company created skin patches that allow CBD to absorb quickly through the skin. Another company offers CBD suppositories with 13% bioavailability.
The Truth About CBD Products
The truth is, no two CBD products are created equal.
CBD products are considered a supplement by the FDA. There are no real regulations when it comes to supplements. That makes buying trust-worthy CBD products difficult.
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate, each company is responsible for maintaining quality assurance. They do this through third-party testing.
Lab tests for CBD include:
- The percentage of CBD
- The percentage of THC
- The percentage of other cannabinoids
- The amount of pesticide found in the product
- The amount of fungus in the product
- The number of bacteria in the product
- The amount of each terpene in the product
- The number of residual solvents from processing left in the product
For basic CBD products, you want to see a high percentage of CBD and low THC. Read the entire lab report to make sure there are no impurities in the CBD. No one wants to ingest harmful fungus or bacteria.
Types of CBD Products
If you name it, someone has probably made a CBD-laced version of it. Sorting through all the various CBD products is overwhelming.
When you’re shopping, keep in mind the bioavailability of the products. This way you’re not spending $100 on a tub of balm that won’t do what you need.
Smoking CBD Flowers
Some people don’t want to consume processed cannabis. Luckily for them, many retailers now offer whole CBD flower.
Smoking CBD flower is just like smoking marijuana. You break up the dried flower and roll it into a joint or pack it in a pipe. Certain vape pens are designed to use dried flower.
Cannabis strains like Charlotte’s Web and Harle-Tsu are CBD smokers’ favorites. Both come with low THC levels and around 20% CBD.
Vape pens are an ideal delivery system for CBD. Inhaling the CBD introduces it to the bloodstream faster than other methods.
Most vape pens on the market come with pre-filled cartridges. This ensures there is no leaking from refillable cartridges and no wasted product. Pre-filled cartridges have around 200 to 350 doses.
CBD vape juice is sold by itself to refill your vape pen. Be careful and make sure there are no additives like vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol.
Certain vape pens also work with CBD wax. The wax is more concentrated than CBD vape juices.
CBD Tincture and Oil
CBD tincture is cannabis dissolved in alcohol and mixed with something to make it taste good. Tinctures don’t contain as much CBD as the oil but they do taste better.
CBD oil is the pure cannabinoids left after extraction. It is mixed with a carrier oil, like coconut or hemp. The downside is, CBD oil is pretty bitter.
The best way to consume CBD tincture or oil is by putting it under your tongue. Hold the liquid in place for 30 to 60 seconds. The CBD absorbs into the vein under your tongue and works quicker than edibles.
By far the most popular way to consume CBD is to put it in something sweet.
Common CBD edibles on the market include:
- Hard Candy
The problem with edibles is you’re not getting the amount of CBD you paid for. With only 10% bioavailability, it takes more edibles to do the same as one vape hit.
CBD Pills and Capsules
Some people find it is easier to add another pill to their medication routine. This ensures they’re taking their CBD regularly.
CBD pills come in various forms, including:
- Powder capsules
- Solid tablets
- Gel capsules
The best part about CBD pills is they come pre-measured. There’s no drippy oil to deal with every day. Plus, you skip the bitter taste of eating straight CBD oil.
The downside to CBD pills is they must be ingested. It can take around an hour or two to feel their full effect.
Be Safe on Your CBD Journey
Now that you know the truth about CBD, it’ll be easier to choose the right products.
Remember to see if the CBD is full or broad-spectrum. Check the lab reports for every item before buying them. Don’t forget to take bioavailability into consideration when choosing your CBD products.
Branch out and try other cannabinoid isolates. They might help in ways that CBD isolate doesn’t.
Before you sign onto the CBD life, check with your doctor. Certain medications may metabolize differently when paired with CBD. It’s best to be safe when adding any supplement to your daily routine.
Want more information on the benefits of CBD? Check out our blog!