I don't know where to start. HELP!
Don't worry, we got you! This article will give you all the basic information you need to get started on your CBD journey.
What is the difference between Cannabis, Hemp and CBD?
Cannabis (also called marijuana) is a broad term used to describe Cannabis sativa plant and products that are made from it. Products derived from this plant have been used as plant medicine for hundreds of years. Hemp is a form of cannabis that has a relatively low amount of THC (the chemical that can make you feel high) and a higher amount of CBD (CBD does not cause intoxication). The differences between cannabis/ marijuana and hemp are similar to thinking about different types of roses. There are yellow roses and red roses, but both are roses.
What are CBD & THC?
The most fascinating thing about cannabis (and hemp) is that it contains chemicals called cannabinoids. The cannabinoids made in the plant (called phytocannabinoids) are nearly identical to the chemicals in our bodies called endocannabinoids. CBD and THC are the two most well-known cannabinoids in cannabis, but there are over 100 identified so far!
Cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, interact with a vast network of receptors throughout our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in regulating many important functions such as mood, memory, pain perception, inflammation, and appetite. Some cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system by mimicking the body’s endocannabinoids yet others cause their effects by more complex mechanisms. The ECS is a relatively new discovery, so scientists are still working to understand all of its complexities. Cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, have different effects on the body.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
Let's take a closer look at the most common cannabinoids: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, bind to cannabinoid receptors and other receptors throughout the brain and body, impacting health and wellness.
CBD and THC interact with slightly different receptors. CBD does not have intoxicating properties (it won't get you high). THC interacts with different receptors in our brain and CAN cause a person to feel high.
To watch a quick YouTube video explaining THC and CBD, check out the “2-minute Neuroscience: THC” video by Neuroscientifically Challenged at https://youtu.be/ISUXrjBXHsE
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect describes what happens when cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) work together. In the case of cannabinoids, 1+1 doesn't always equal 2. Many researchers, doctors, and patients report that using products that contain several cannabinoids provides better results.
What are terpenes?
Simply, terpenes are the scents made by the plant. All plants have terpenes, including lemons, pine trees, and lavender. These scents play an important role in the plant world- they help attract pollinators and ward off predators. Just like walking into grandma's house and smelling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies can trigger emotions and feelings, the scents made by plants can trigger emotions for us too.
There are many different terpenes in cannabis/hemp and each offers its own set of effects. For example, the terpene limonene is known for its citrusy smell and can help people feel more perky and energetic. The most common terpenes in cannabis/hemp are myrcene (smells like musky cloves), limonene (smells citrusy), pinene (smells like pine needles), and linalool (smells floral).
When you consider which products you want to buy, consider your health and wellness goals and the feelings and effects you want to have. Do you want to relax and sleep or become energetic and creative? The combination of cannabinoids and terpenes cause unique effects for each one of us. Some CBD products have terpenes and others do not. You can find out which terpenes are in the products by evaluating the Certificate of Analysis (more about this below).
What is the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate products?
When a product is full-spectrum, it means that it contains CBD as well as THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. Broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes, but they typically do not contain measurable THC. This is important because some people prefer products that do not contain THC.
CBD isolate products only contain CBD, with all other cannabinoids and terpenes removed. Since CBD isolate only contains CBD, it doesn't provide the entourage effect. Some researchers hypothesize that isolates may not be as effective. However, these can products are a popular choice for those who want to avoid THC.
Edibles, Pills, Softgels, Tinctures, and Powders- How do I choose?
CBD products come in many different forms, including oral solutions (for example oils and tinctures), edibles, topicals, vapes, pills, and more. It is important to do your research to find a product that type that aligns with the results you are looking to achieve.
CBD oil drops (tinctures) are placed in the mouth for fast absorption
CBD pills, tabs, and capsules are easy to take with you on the go
Topicals are CBD infused creams, lotions, and balms that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief
CBD edibles provide an easy and delicious way to consume CBD
CBD powders can be conveniently added to beverages
There are pluses and minuses to each of these delivery methods. If you have questions about your specific medical needs, please talk with your doctor or a CBD expert.
Is it safe?
Although many people report using CBD to help conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep-related issues, it is important to note that the products in malls and online retailers have not been deemed to be "safe and effective" by the FDA and as such, should be used with caution. CBD can interact with other medications and supplements that a person takes. It is always best to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new CBD product or supplement.
What should I look for when purchasing CBD?
When you are ready to purchase CBD, it is important to know what to look for on the product label. Here are some key items to consider:
- CBD products made from hemp are legally required to contain less than 0.3% THC
- CBD products should be clearly labeled with the CBD content in milligrams (mg)
- CBD products vary widely in quality. To understand quality, it is important to look for a Certificate of Analysis
- CBD products come in many forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies, topicals (lotions and salves), and more. You can even find CBD in some pet products.
What to look for on a Certificate of Analysis:
Manufacturers that are dedicated to quality go the extra mile by having all their products third-party lab tested. On the product's website, the lab report (called a Certificate of Analysis) should be easily accessible and contain a URL link to the laboratory. This verifies the authenticity of the report. Each Certificate of Analysis should include the following:
- Product lot number
- CBD content
- THC content
- Pesticide residue testing
- Microbial testing (for bacteria and mold)
- Residual solvent testing (to ensure no harmful chemicals are present)
If a product does not have a Certificate of Analysis, it is best to avoid purchasing it.
How does Ashford Wellness evaluate quality?
At Ashford Wellness, we believe quality is king. We have spent countless hours scouring the internet to find brands that stand behind their quality by doing in-depth third-party testing. To ensure all the products on the Ashford Wellness site meet the same incredibly high standard, we independently test all the products using arguably the most rigorous testing criteria in the United States.
We purchase the product from the manufacturer (just like consumers) and send it to a certified laboratory for a very detailed, in-depth quality assessment. Our testing requirements are so strict that we estimate that 80% of the hemp-derived CBD products on the market will not pass our quality assessments. To find out more about our in-depth analysis, check out the Ashford Wellness website and policy.
At Ashford Wellness, it is our goal to help you make informed, personalized decisions regarding the use of hemp-derived products, including CBD. Please stay tuned as we continue to bring you up-to-date information!
Disclaimer: This information is meant for general educational purposes only and is not for meant to be used as medical advice. Always consult a physician before using any hemp-derived (CBD) products.