The Beginner’s Guide To Using Cannabidiol (CBD)
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an anti-inflammatory compound derived from hemp plants. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it won’t get you “high”.
While it isn’t currently FDA approved, many people report using CBD to improve their quality of life. A 2019 Quartz survey conducted by the Harris Poll revealed 50% of Americans polled used CBD for stress/anxiety relief. Many of those who were surveyed also reported using CBD for pain relief—specifically for muscle, joint and chronic pain.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is one of the main compounds found in Cannabis Sativa plants.
Hang on there! You said CBD was “non-intoxicating” but it’s from cannabis plants?? What gives?
What’s The Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp?
Cannabis Sativa is the scientific name for all cannabis plants. There are actually several kinds of cannabis plants, but for our purposes we’ll stick with the basics.
Some cannabis plants are called hemp plants. Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is federally legal thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp plants are rich in CBD but generally contain no or extremely low levels of THC. As such hemp plants must not contain more than 0.3% of THC by law.
Other cannabis plants contain high levels of both CBD and THC, and as such do not fall into the category of hemp plants. Accessing these types of cannabis plants depends on your local state’s laws regarding cannabis.
CBD’s Therapeutic Properties
CBD is an extremely versatile compound. A few of its known health benefits include:
- Aids with sleep
Metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity)
Bacterial infections such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
Gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease
Skin conditions like acne
How Does CBD Work?
Before we can fully understand how CBD affects us we have to understand the systems our body has in place to metabolize it. Which brings us to…
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Our body relies on a complex system of chemical messengers to help it maintain balance. These chemical messengers and their receptors form a network known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is responsible for governing many different systems to maintain balance. These include the digestive tract (digestion/appetite), processes relating to sleep, mood, memory, pain and inflammation.
Chemical messengers produced by our bodies that interact with the ECS are called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids “dock” at receptor sites to interact with them. The binding affinity, or how well a chemical binds to a receptor, is a good indicator of how well a certain chemical will activate the ECS.
Two prominent receptor sites within the ECS are the CB1 and CB2 sites. CB1 receptors are found throughout the brain and nervous system while CB2 sites are primarily located in the immune system and digestive tract.
What does this have to do with CBD?
Everything, dear readers.
How CBD Interacts With The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The reason why cannabis feels so wonderful in our bodies is because of the ECS.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid produced by hemp/cannabis plants. What makes it remarkable is the fact that phytocannabinoids can interact with our ECS in a very similar way to our own endocannabinoids.
When we consume CBD it binds to CB receptor sites within the ECS. This binding triggers a wave of effects that can be very therapeutic.
Getting To Know CBD: Full Spectrum Vs Isolate
CBD can be broken down into two different types: full/broad spectrum and isolate.
Full/broad spectrum means the product you’re buying contains the full spectrum—i.e. all of the plant’s various compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. The compounds work together to enhance each other, a phenomenon titled “The Entourage Effect.” You can learn more about that here.
As such full spectrum products may contain trace amounts of THC (<0.3%). Some patients prefer using full spectrum products as research shows full spectrum products are more effective than isolates. This is likely due to the Entourage Effect via the added THC and other cannabinoids.
You may also see ‘broad spectrum’. This is the same as full spectrum but lacks any THC.
An isolate, like its name implies, is pure CBD extracted using advanced chemistry techniques. It contains no additional compounds and is 100% THC-free. Some of our customers also find that using the isolate is preferable to full spectrum oils as a full spectrum oil can make them feel “sleepy”. This sleepy feeling is likely due to a reaction to the small amount of THC in the full spectrum oils.
Another added bonus of CBD isolates is that they’re 100% THC-free, meaning you don’t ever have to worry about testing positive for a drug screening.
Different CBD Applications = Different Effects
Another thing to keep in mind is CBD is available in a variety of different applications.
One of the most common CBD products are CBD oils. We here at RopaNa are proud to say we’ve put a lot of time and effort in to perfect our CBD oils. All of the CBD we produce is made using local, fair-trade and organic ingredients. We also make sure every product is third party lab tested so you know exactly what you’re consuming.
Our Entourage CBD oils are full spectrum products. We also have isolate CBD oil options available via our Nectar line. These oils are directly absorbed via capillaries under the tongue and are great for patients with any gastrointestinal issues.
Other forms of CBD include topicals. A topical is any lotion, cream or balm that’s been infused with CBD oil. Topicals provide local pain relief and can help with a variety of conditions from eczema to muscle aches and beyond. Many customers love using our CBD Salve for these reasons.
Other forms of CBD include:
CBD vaporizers/vape pens
CBD edibles (i.e. brownies, cookies, gummies)
CBD transdermal applications (i.e. a CBD patch worn on skin)
CBD isolate powder
What To Know About Delivery Methods
Each kind of CBD product has its own pros and cons.
CBD oils are one of the most commonly used types of CBD. Many patients prefer this type of CBD as it is absorbed sublingually. This prevents additional breakdown of CBD by the digestive tract. We find the typical onset time for CBD oils is around 20-30 minutes, with an average duration of 4-6 hours.
Topicals are more fast acting, generally providing relief within a few minutes, but last for less time than tinctures.
Some people prefer CBD edibles as they’re discreet and portable. CBD edibles, however, are subject to that breakdown by the GI tract we mentioned earlier. They can also take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect.
Is CBD Right For Me?
Studies show doses of up to 1,500 mg of CBD are safe and well-tolerated in humans.
CBD, however, can have some drug interactions, which is always why it’s best to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. One of the most common drug interactions is using CBD along with blood thinners like Warfarin.
Where Can I Get CBD?
You can purchase hemp-derived CBD products at our online store. You’ll find full spectrum and isolate CBD oils (tinctures) available as well as CBD isolates, topicals and edibles.
Many other retailers also offer hemp-derived CBD products online. Some even have delivery options.
A common place to find CBD is your local dispensary, aka a store that specializes in selling cannabis. Access to dispensaries depends on your state’s local cannabis laws. A good place to find nearby dispensaries is Leafly.com.
How Can I Learn More About CBD?
We publish CBD content on our blog as often as we can to help better inform and educate you.
You can also sign up for our newsletter to be the first to get updates about new CBD blog posts, product sales and special exclusives.
One of the most common struggles people experience with CBD is figuring out their “just right” dose. This is because CBD is so new there is little documentation regarding standard dosing.
We advise patients to start low and gradually increase their dosages until they achieve a desired effect. This process is called drug titration.
In our experience we find 10 mg of CBD is a good starting dose. Take CBD via your preferred method and wait up to 2 hours before noticing how it affects you. We recommend people taking CBD medicinally take CBD 2-3 times a day as needed.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal handy while titrating so you can more clearly understand how each dosage affects you. We’ve also heard reports that CBD can take up to two weeks to “kick in”, which is why we recommend patients maintain one dose for at least two weeks before increasing the amount.
You can then increase the amount by 5-10 mg at a time until you achieve desired effect. Desired effect is achieved when you feel relief from CBD without drowsiness. Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects from CBD, and can indicate you’ve taken a little too much.
We’re here for you. Drop us a line at email@example.com anytime and we’ll be happy to assist in any way we can.
Love and blessings,
Andrew and Rachael