If you’re like me and suffer from joint and muscle pain (or any other pain), you’ve likely heard about CBD and CBD Oil. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about or know enough to get you in trouble, you’re likely asking yourself, “What is CBD”?
I’m here to explain it all in an easy-to-understand way with a few scientific studies sprinkled in for good measure.
Are you ready?
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this blog post, and if you click through and decide to purchase, I will receive compensation from the company you purchased from at no extra cost to you. Furthermore, I only recommend products I feel are going to enhance your health and life.
What does CBD Stand For?
First before we get into specifics about what CBD is and what it does, the acronym CBD stands for Cannabidiol.
What is CBD?
What is CBD anyway?
Cannabis (commonly referred to as marijuana) and Hemp both come from the plant Cannabis Sativa (though marijuana also comes from another member of the Cannabis family, Cannabis Indica).
The cannabis plant has over 80 chemicals called cannabinoids – the two main types of cannabinoids are Cannabidiol (CBD) & Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD is a natural compound that is produced by the cannabis or hemp plant.
Even though hemp and marijuana plants are both the same Cannabis Sativa species, they have distinct phytochemical compositions.
Hemp is low in THC and high in CBD whereas Cannabis strains are grown to be high in THC and low in CBD.
CBD is a therapeutic cannabinoid, while THC is the cannabinoid that makes you “high”.
It’s important to point out that CBD is both non-psychoactive and non-addicting.
Is CBD Legal?
The cultivation of industrial hemp became legal due to President Obama signing the The Agricultural Act of 2014, where the federal government lifted any restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, including allowing colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on hemp in states where it is legal.
By the end of 2017, at least 34 U.S. states had industrial hemp programs.
The THC content in marijuana is usually between 10 and 15 percent; but hemp must have a THC content of 0.3 percent or less to be legal in the United States according to the bill passed in 2014.
However, CBD oil with more than 0.3 percent of THC dry weight is only protected in states within the United States that have legalized medical marijuana.
How the 2018 Farm Bill Changed the Legalization of Hemp
In December 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed and changed hemp from being classified as a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity.
The Department of Agriculture will oversee the hemp growing process in the United States rather than the Department of Justice.
With this new law passing, farmers who have crops of hemp that test over 0.3% in THC will no longer worry about being charged with a federal crime – they’ll simply have to lower the THC content to an amount under the legal limit.
This new 2018 law also makes it easier for farmers to get loans to grow hemp and allows them to purchase crop insurance in the event weather or some other disaster ruins their harvest.
One of the CBD oils I use contains no THC.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil
When choosing a CBD oil product, it’s important to first understand the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil as you’ll see these two quite a bit in the market place.
The two are different and contain different properties.
First, hemp seed oil is made by squeezing only the seeds from hemp. Hemp seeds have little or no CBD or THC in them.
However, hemp seed oil contains a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, and because this matches the exact balance required by the human body, it makes hemp seed oil a very nutritious oil for consumption.
Hemp seed oil is mainly used for cooking and skin care, but can be used for wood varnish, among other things. You’ll also see hemp seed oil as a carrier oil in CBD products (more on that a bit later).
CBD oil, on the other hand, is produced by the stalks and flowers of either the cannabis or hemp plants and contains certain levels of CBD and/or THC depending on which plant (Cannabis vs. Hemp) the CBD is derived from.
While Hemp Seed Oil is mainly used for nutritional purposes, CBD oil is used for therapeutic purposes. I’ll expand more on that in just a moment.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD interacts with a neurotransmitter system inside our bodies known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system has very important functions to maintain homeostasis.
The editor’s note from this CBD publication explains the ECS best (even better than I could):
The endogenous cannabinoid system—named for the plant that led to its discovery—is one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. With its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.
CBD interacts with two main receptors inside the Endocannabinoid System – CB-1 and CB-2.
CB-1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, while CB-2 receptors are mainly found in peripheral organs, bones, liver, skin, and immune cells.
Generally speaking, phytocannabinoids like CBD can help to restore a more balanced “tone” within the ECS.
How CBD Works in the Endocannabinoid System
In a more broad sense, CBD may positively affect various processes that control brain signaling, via neurotransmitter function, ion channel and membrane dynamics, and inflammatory responses.
The ECS has vast influence over areas of the brain involved in sensations such as pain perception, movement, immune support, mood/emotion, memory/cognition, digestion, and sleep. This is likely the reason the ECS influences the brain’s health conditions.
Evidence suggests that the active compound found in CBD (cannabidiol), boosts the circulation of natural molecules that trigger the activation of the ECS, producing therapeutic effects.
The triggered molecules are called endocannabinoids, and they are the human equivalent version of the chemicals found in the cannabis plant.
Sounds like the cannabis plant was made for the human body, right?
In addition, research also indicates that the molecules also interact with other receptors, such as the serotonin system (antidepressant drugs target this system) and the capsaicin receptors which play an important role in the body’s inflammatory response.
As you can see, CBD engages the Endocannabinoid System in various ways and offers many health benefits.
Main Types of CBD Oil
Now that we understand how CBD interacts with the human body, let’s talk about the two main types of CBD Oil so you know the difference.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Full spectrum CBD Oil is when the CBD Oil is in its closest form to the original plant, meaning it contains all or most of the phytochemicals and terpenes from the plant.
Terpenes are the essential oils of plants and flowers that give them their aroma and flavor.
Research shows that having terpenes present in CBD Oil produce an “entourage effect”, meaning that when both terpenes and CBD are working together in tandem, they have a greater effect.
We can take this “entourage effect” one step further. When THC is present and working together with CBD and terpenes and other phytochemicals, it provides an even greater benefit for different ailments, including cancer.
The second type is CBD isolate. CBD isolate is when the cannabinoid is extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant and is separated from all the other nutrients and phytochemicals that are naturally found in the plant.
Many CBD isolates are infused in a carrier such as hempseed oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or olive oil, just to name a few.
While a CBD isolate is extremely effective, many can miss out on the extra benefits of terpenes and other phytochemicals found in a broad or full-spectrum CBD Oil.
Most of the the CBD Oil tinctures I use do not contain any TCH or contain less than the legal limit. I’ve used both isolate and full spectrum CBD Oils and all of them, regardless of their ingredients, have helped manage my pain tremendously.
How to Use CBD Oil
There are many ways to use CBD oil and each have their own unique benefit and effectiveness. Here are a few of the main ways to use CBD Oil:
- Inhaling (i.e. vaping)
- Sublingual (under the tongue)
- Oral (edibles, capsules, etc)
- Topical (i.e. creams)
I personally administer my CBD oil tincture sublingual (under the tongue).
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?
I’ll preface this by saying a few things:
- Always consult with your health care professional; and
- Each person’s experience with CBD will be different.
Your CBD Oil Sweet Spot (Serving Size in Milligrams)
The best way to find your “sweet spot” is to start low and go slow. Your starting serving size will likely depend on various factors – the manufacturer’s strength of the CBD Oil, your weight, etc., so read the manufacturer’s label first.
The good news about CBD oil is that it’s non-psychoactive and non-addicting, so you don’t have to be concerned about these things when trying to figure out your serving size sweet spot.
For me, when I started my CBD Oil regimen, I used 5mg of CBD Oil my first day. By day 2, I was feeling pretty good and decided to up my serving size to 10mg a day.
I’m now up to about 16 or 17 mg a day and this seems to be my “sweet spot”.
If I’m having a particularly rough day with extra pain, rather than increase my initial serving size, I’ll take a second serving in the afternoon.
If you’re not seeing much difference in how you’re feeling by day five to seven, you may want to consider adding in an extra serving during your day or evening as CBD stays in your body for four to five hours.
Wait another five to seven days and really pay attention to how you’re feeling and increase your serving, as necessary, until you find your sweet spot.
The CBD oil I’m currently using has a nifty dropper with measurements, so it’s very easy to measure the exact serving and squeeze the dropper of oil under my tongue without making a mess.
Biphasic Effect and CBD
A biphasic effect is when low or high serving sizes can produce the opposite effect.
For instance, alcohol produces a biphasic effect. When a person has one beer, they might feel pretty happy and flirty. After that same person drinks a six pack of beer, he/she might be passed out in the back room.
CBD is a compound that also produces a biphasic effect. A lower serving size might help relieve pain, increase energy and brain function in a person, while a higher serving size might make that same person lethargic where a long nap might be required.
Finding your CBD oil sweet spot is important so you feel the effects you’re meant to feel at the optimal serving size.
CBD Oil Serving Size Diary
When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to keep a daily diary of dates, times, and servings, along with any and all differences you notice (reduction in pain, better sleep, less anxiety, etc).
Keeping complete and accurate records will provide historical data so you know how CBD is working or not working for you.
Make sure you record ALL THE FEELS – seeing subtle changes over time add up! Pay close attention to ALL the changes you’re seeing, even if they seem insignificant, so you get a very clear picture of CBD’s affect on you.
My sweet spot ended up being 16mg a day on a full spectrum CBD Oil, but I’ll continue to monitor its effectiveness and increase my serving size or add in an extra serving during my day, if necessary.
Remember, start low and go slow to find your optimal CBD Oil serving size.
CBD Oil Side Effects
Although CBD is generally safe and many don’t experience side effects, there have been cases in CBD studies where participants reported tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight as more of the common side effects.
CBD is also known to interact with different medications, so always make sure you consult with your health care professional prior to taking CBD.
My CBD Oil Recommendations
There are so many companies that offer great CBD Oils. There are also many companies that offer sub-par oils. I’ve been trying several brands and I’ll give you a few recommendations based on my personal experience.
CBD for Beginners
If you’re starting out for the first time and you’re not sure what to get here are a few options I recommend:
Full spectrum CBD Oil Tincture from Joy Organics – this is also a great and inexpensive option if you’re starting out with finding your sweet spot. They offer multiple strengths ranging from 250mg to 1500mg. Their CBD Oil contains no THC.
CBD for Experienced Users
If you’re a seasoned CBD oil user and looking for a different product to try, then here is an awesome brand I use and highly recommend:
Bend Scientific Hemp Oil Extract – this is absolutely one of my favorite CBD Oils. I use their Explore formula and it’s a 60ml bottle (most brands use 30ml bottles) and it contains 900mg of CBD per bottle. This particular brand tests high in CBD-A, which is particularly great for inflammation.
CBD Oil Review
As I mentioned earlier, I am taking CBD Oil and using it mainly for pain management (arthritis, joint and muscle pain). Over the course of the last year I’ve been trying different brands and seeing amazing results.
Check out my CBD Oil Reviews so you can find out which CBD brand is right for you.