What is CBD?

Posted by Mallory Klein on January 12, 2021

We wanted to make a fully comprehensive guide to CBD by explaining exactly what it is, how it works, how to take it, and the different ways it may add to your daily lifestyle.

There’s no doubt that the word “CBD” has become part of our cultural vernacular. CBD is more widely available and used more by people from all types of backgrounds and from different generations in an effort to find better health in a holistic way.  As CBD continues to grow in popularity, medical researchers are discovering more about it than we ever thought possible, which has led to advanced formulations and manufacturing techniques that help us pinpoint our own personal wellness goals in a way that wasn’t possible just ten years ago.

However, there still remains a large number of people who don’t quite understand what CBD is, whether or not it’s safe, or if it’s even legal.

What is CBD and What Does it Stand for?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the leading compound in the industrial hemp plant – the female hemp plant, to be more specific. Within the female hemp plant’s flowering buds lie a rich array of compounds including a unique class known as cannabinoids, to which CBD belongs. Any given hemp plant can contain between 15 to 20 percent cannabidiol, meaning that there is more CBD than any other compound in the buds of the plant.

Since CBD is derived from plant material, it is completely natural. This is a big part of its appeal. It’s also important to note that cannabidiol will not get you high. Hemp and marijuana both belong to the cannabis genus, and marijuana remains federally illegal due to its high THC content. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound that causes mind-altering effects. 

There is 15 to 25 percent THC in marijuana, but only about 0.3 percent in the hemp plant.  This means that hemp is a non-psychoactive plant, even when taken in high doses. As a result, hemp is legal on the federal level thanks to the United States Farm Bill of 2018, which means that anyone who wishes to take CBD is protected by federal law to do so.  Each state has its own laws relating to hemp usage, so it’s always best to see what the state has to say before investing in hemp products to begin a routine. For instance, some states have banned edibles or inhalable delivery methods.

Finally, cannabidiol is nontoxic to the human body. In other words, a person will not overdose due to toxic levels in the system. This means that higher doses are considered generally safe, but you should always talk to your doctor before deciding how much CBD is right for you based on your body and medical needs.

How CBD Works in the Body

Why is cannabidiol so different from other types of natural products? 

The answer pertains to the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This is a bodily system discovered by researchers in the 1990s, and we now know that every mammal has one. The endocannabinoid system’s role is to maintain homeostasis throughout the body. It does this by sending cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors that are located throughout the various body systems. 

The endocannabinoid system is quite intelligent. It sends cannabinoids to specific receptors as needed while storing what is not needed for later use. We have cannabinoid receptors in our skin, muscles, joints, digestive tract, brain, thyroid, immune system, and elsewhere. Each cannabinoid receptor relates to a bodily process.

But these cannabinoid receptors can’t regulate the performance of these processes unless they have cannabinoids. Cannabidiol binds with these receptors to help regulate bodily tasks that play a role in how we feel. Many studies have been performed on CBD’s specific effects over the years, so let’s go over some of them now.

How CBD is Made

CBD itself isn’t “made,” as it naturally occurs in the hemp plant. But most of the products we use that contain cannabidiol require special techniques in order to make them easy for us to take.

Products made with a hemp extract such as vape oils, tinctures, gummies, and topicals, all require an extraction process that involves processing the plant material through a specific type of condition to separate the desired compounds from the raw plant. The most common and effective method is the Co2 extraction method, which forces pressurized Co2 through raw hemp, which allows an oil-based extract to collect in a chamber. This extract naturally contains the abundant levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds to exist in a concentrated and versatile form.

After the hemp extract has been created, further processing is usually performed to improve the quality and purity of the product. Various purification and winterization methods can be employed, and most companies also decarboxylate this extract.  Decarboxylation is a term that refers to heating the compounds to a specific temperature in order to activate them. Before these compounds have been heated, they are not capable of being fully effective in the human body.

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate

Up until now, we’ve been focusing solely on CBD when referencing the hemp plant. This is understandable since it’s the most popular compound in the plant material. However, it’s far from the only one that can be useful to you. The hemp plant offers a wide variety of cannabinoids in addition to cannabidiol, with each one playing a role in maintaining the function of the endocannabinoid system through its unique variety of properties.  Then, there are terpenes, which are plant compounds present in all plant life that offer additional properties which can be useful to the human body while producing the flavor and aroma of cannabis. Hemp is also naturally rich in essential nutrients like vitamins and fatty acids.

There are three types of hemp extract that can be found in any CBD product, and each of them contains a specific portion of the plant’s chemical composition. 

  • CBD Isolate: Pure isolate of cannabidiol that does not contain any other compounds in the hemp plant. It’s great for those who have found that pure cannabidiol is what works best for them and desire a uniquely high concentration of this compound without any other hemp compounds present.
  • Broad Spectrum Hemp: A type of extract that contains every compound in hemp except for THC. It does possess every other cannabinoid, terpene, flavonoid, and nutrient found in the hemp plant.
  • Full-Spectrum Hemp: Has the complete variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and nutrients that exist in the hemp plant. This includes a naturally occurring amount of THC. Remember that the THC level in hemp is too low to be psychoactive, and also that it’s legal. To expand on that point, full-spectrum products have the distinction of being conducive to the entourage effect. This is a term used to describe the synergistic relationship between the individual compounds. When they are all taken at once, “as nature intended,” the person may experience more effectiveness due to synergy in action.

It should be noted that not one of the three types of extracts is objectively “better” than the others. While many experts believe that full-spectrum is ideal due to promoting the entourage effect, each one serves a purpose and is more than capable of giving you positive results with cannabidiol.

Other Compounds in the Hemp Plant

Now that you understand that many CBD products contain additional hemp compounds, let’s break down what these compounds can do to enhance the effects of taking hemp.

Non-CBD Cannabinoids

Just because cannabidiol is the dominant compound in hemp doesn’t mean that it’s the only one that has any value when used therapeutically. There are over one hundred distinctive cannabinoids in the hemp species, and each one interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a specific way to promote certain types of regulatory effects.

Terpenes

Terpenes are plant compounds that exist in all plant life. If you use essential oils, what you’re benefiting from is the terpenes in them, as terpenes offer unique effects to the body.  Terpenes also seem to support the ability for cannabinoids to absorb into the body through synergy. Moreover, terpenes determine the flavor and aroma of hemp.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids also offer flavor and aroma notes to the hemp plant, and like terpenes, seem to boost the efficacy of cannabinoids through synergy.

Nutrients

Many people are surprised to learn that the hemp plant also offers high nutritional content. More specifically, hemp is rich in omega fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins.

Different Types of CBD Products

Now, let’s break down the most common types of CBD products. Each one pertains to a specific delivery method, which is a term used to describe how the hemp is delivered into the body.

CBD Gummies

CBD gummies offer the user the ability to give themselves to a tasty treat whenever they want their daily dose of CBD.  Our Gummies come in a variety of flavors in one jar. They can take up to two hours to peak in the body, but can offer effects for several hours and tend to have a more subtle presence in terms of effects.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is commonly used as a tincture, which means that it absorbs into the sublingual tissue by being held under the tongue for about one minute. Tinctures also come in various flavors and strengths, with the primary formula consisting of hemp extract mixed  into some type of carrier oil like MCT oil. Tinctures tend to take effect within 15 to 45 minutes and stay active for 3 to 4 hours in the system.

CBD Cream

CBD cream is a type of topical formula, meaning that rather than providing internal cannabinoid administration, it works directly with the area of application. Cannabinoid receptors in the skin, muscles, nerves, and joints can bond with cannabinoids that are applied to the skin through transdermal absorption. CBD cream is highly moisturizing on top of offering various properties to the area beneath the skin, which makes it potentially useful for pain. CBD cream, like all topicals, can activate within minutes of application and last for up to six hours.

CBD Salve

CBD salve is another topical that works just like a CBD cream. The difference is that a salve is a different type of formula, is wax-based, and melts into the skin on contact.

CBD Vape Pens

CBD vape pens are quickly becoming a popular choice, as they are convenient, easy to use and fast-acting. Any cannabidiol-based product that is inhaled into the lungs gives you the strongest and fastest effects due to the nature of the lung tissue’s absorbency.  Vape pens in particular are popular because they come pre-charged and pre-filled with CBD extract, require no maintenance, and are super portable and easy to operate.

CBD Dog Treats

If you’ve been looking for CBD for dogs, then CBD dog treats are a great way to go.  These products are made specially for canines, and contain flavoring ingredients known to appeal to their senses. CBD dog treats are formulated to have an appropriate potency level for dogs’ body weight. You can administer these treats to your pup daily, as dogs have an endocannabinoid system that performs the same tasks as our own.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules offer a very user-friendly means for taking hemp each day. Each capsule contains the same amount of cannabidiol, and it absorbs into the system very easily while promoting long-lasting effects.

CBD Vape Cartridges

CBD vape cartridges are an alternative to vape pens, and are disposable cartridges that are pre-filled with cannabidiol-infused e-juice which attaches to a standard vape pen device that is periodically charged.

CBD Vape Oil/E-Liquid/E-Juice

Bottled cannabidiol-infused vape juice allows the user/vaper more control over their experience. They can choose not only the flavor, but also the compatible device they want to vape with.

CBD Flower

CBD flower refers to the raw buds of the hemp plant, which can be smoked, vaporized, or used for cooking and baking purposes.  Flower is available in a variety of strains. It’s cannabidiol in its most natural and purest form.

CBD Concentrates

Concentrates are hemp products that are produced to be highly concentrated, either with the help of a solvent or through a more organic process that includes pressing together the resinous trichomes found on the buds, which are very high in hemp compounds. Typical concentrates include:

  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Sauce
  • Rosin

Each one has extremely high potency levels. Most often, they are either vaporized in a special dab pen device or smoked in a dab rig, which is similar to a pipe but designed to handle the unique needs of this type of product.

CBD Skin Care

CBD skin care is a fast-growing submarket, as cannabinoid receptors in the skin may regulate processes relating to skin health. On the current market, you can find CBD moisturizers, face masks, scrubs, serums, and more.

How Much CBD to Take

One question we get asked a lot is how much CBD oil to use, or how much cannabidiol to take. It’s important that potential hemp users ask these questions, because how much they take is very important when it comes to whether or not they can actually reach their goals. Many people who have written off CBD simply weren’t taking enough to feel its effects in action.

How much you should take largely depends on two factors: the milligram strength of the product and the delivery method. Each delivery method absorbs into the body at its own rate, so the strength that is ideal for a vaping product may not be the proper amount for, say, a tincture.

First, you should choose a milligram strength based on your specific goals and body weight. The more severe your symptoms, or the more you weigh, the higher the milligram strength should be. 

Then, you should take the recommended dosage amount according to the manufacturer, as printed on the label, for two weeks. After two weeks, you’ll get a feel for how cannabidiol works and also know whether or not you should adjust the amount that you are taking.

However, each delivery method does come with its own ideal number of milligrams per dose for beginners. 

  • One to three puffs of a CBD vape is a good starting point.
  • 1,000 mg tincture formula offers 33 mg per serving, which is standard. 
  • For gummies, it’s between 5 and 25 mg depending on your needs. 
  • With topicals, one doesn’t really need to count the number of milligrams, and instead should rather focus on covering the desired area with a thin and even layer of the formula.

What Should You Know Before Beginning a Hemp Routine or Regimen?

By now, you know about different delivery methods and CBD serving sizes. At this point, you’re probably eager to get started with a CBD routine. Before you do, follow these quick tips below.

Tip #1: Talk to Your Doctor

It’s wise to have a conversation with your doctor before you start taking CBD on a regular basis. He or she should always know what you’re incorporating into your daily wellness routine. Make sure that they are aware of any medications that you are on and your present symptoms, if you have any. Follow up by letting them know whether or not the routine you have established is helpful, and if you have developed any side effects, which are rare.

Tip #2: Consistency Matters

We said that CBD works cumulatively, meaning that the longer you take it, the more cannabinoids are stored up in the system to be used to their full potential. This is why we always stress that beginners aim to take the same amount of cannabidiol daily. This way, the body starts accumulating a strong supply of cannabinoids to be used by the endocannabinoid system as needed throughout the various body systems.

Tip #3: Quality is Important

CBD products can vary in terms of quality, with low-quality products being essentially ineffective. So, how do you know whether or not a particular product is up to your standards? There are two things you should look out for: 

  • Verified reviews left by users who have tried products from a particular company.  Obviously you can see ours!
  • Third-party lab reports that show that the company has their hemp extracts tested to ensure maximum purity and quality. A company should make these lab reports accessible to develop trust from consumers.  You can find ours in the footer of our website here.

Tip #4: Everyone is Different

Remember that everyone’s body is unique, and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to using cannabidiol. You should be open to experimenting, Don’t be afraid to try different products and strengths until you feel like you’re reaching your goals.

Tip #5: Doubling Up May Help

Finally, know that it’s okay to take more than one type of CBD product in a day if you feel that this may be helpful to you.

Final Quick Thoughts

Without a doubt, cannabidiol has a ton to offer anyone looking to boost their daily wellness routine.  If you’re ready to see what this hemp compound can do for you, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about incorporating it into your regimen.