With CBD only becoming legal in 2018, there are still plenty of people who are just beginning to understand its all-natural potential. After all, CBD has a bit of a learning curve since there are so many different extracts, products, and effects to learn about.
So if you're just discovering CBD, or maybe want a refresher, we’ve put together a CBD beginners guide—one that we wish we had a few years ago, as we began to use CBD ourselves.
CBD 101: What is Cannabidiol?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound produced by hemp cannabis plants. Through research, we know hemp cannabis plants produce over 400 varying compounds, including more than 60 that are cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC.
Other compounds within the cannabis plant include terpenes, flavonoids, and natural phytonutrients, which is important to know when shopping for varying CBD product types (more detail about that later).
After hemp plants are grown to maturity, they’re harvested and processed for extraction. This allows manufacturers to extract the oil from the plant biomass and capture the unique profiles of plant compounds. The raw extract can then be packaged as is or combined with other materials for various applications and products.
How CBD Works
When you apply CBD topically or consume it orally, the cannabinoid interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a lesser-known physiological system that wasn’t even discovered until the late 1980s, when cannabis research was picking up steam.
Through that research, the medical community discovered that the ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or the medical term for optimal health. To do so, the ECS operates a network of receptors that work as messengers and send signals to and from other physiological systems to achieve and maintain that balance of feeling "well".
So, when consuming CBD and other cannabinoids, they bind to, influence, or interact with these receptors to make their unique effects go into “effect." The late discovery of the ECS and its vast reach explain how CBD can be beneficial for such a wide range of physical and mental ailments, as well as why we’re just learning more about CBD’s therapeutic potential.
Source: "What is the Endocannabinoid System," CBD Pillow
The Most Popular CBD Product Types
Shopping for CBD products is almost as complex as learning about its inner mechanisms. But once you know certain terminology, the differing product types make a whole lot more sense. Remember when we mentioned capturing the unique profiles of hemp plant compounds? That’s where this comes back into play.
The three most popular CBD product types today are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Here’s a breakdown of all three:
- Full-spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD products contain the entire natural profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids etc. This is said to produce a proven “entourage effect” that describes the synergistic relationship between the compounds. In layman's terms, that means their effects are amplified when taken together, versus individually. The most important thing to note, and what differentiates full- and broad-spectrum is the presence of THC. Full-spectrum can contain up to .3% THC, legally, which delivers a plethora of additional benefits without the psychoactive buzz.
- Broad-spectrum: With broad-spectrum CBD products, you’ll still experience some of the entourage effect, just without the presence of any THC.
- Isolate: CBD isolate contains, CBD and CBD only, which means you won’t benefit from the entourage of effect.
Aside from that, you'll find products that are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate, such as edibles, tinctures, oils, roll-ons, and lotions. Each of these types of products has different times for when the effects start and how long they last, which is especially important for beginners to know.
- Edibles: Edibles are anything you eat that’s infused with CBD. The most popular kinds are gummies, chocolates, or even capsules that work in the same way. When you consume edibles, it will take at least 45 - 90 minutes for the effects to kick in. That’s because the hemp compounds are processed through the digestive system and take time to metabolize. This is also the reason why edible effects tend to last anywhere from 3-6 hours after starting.
- Oil: CBD drops or oil, are a versatile way of consuming CBD. They can be swallowed and consumed orally, in which they will work similarly to an edible since it's digested and metabolized. Or, it can be taken sublingually where you hold the liquid under the tongue to allow the compounds to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, through the sublingual artery. In that case, you can expect effects to start immediately, or up to 20 minutes, with a duration of 2-3 hours on average.
- Topicals: Topicals are creams, or oils that are made for applying to the skin. The skin contains a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors, so when CBD is applied it can access the ECS through those receptors. It’s ideal for targeting specific areas of pain or inflammation, associated with injury or conditions like arthritis. In general, it’ll take anywhere from 15-20 minutes for effects to be felt, and should last up to six hours.
How to Dose & Consume CBD
Learning about how CBD interacts with our body’s unique physiological systems, it should come as no surprise that it affects everyone individually. When effects depend on factors like metabolism, weight, and tolerance, they can vary greatly from person to person. So, that means finding your ideal dose will take some personal experimentation.
Another thing to know is that it will take time for your body to adjust to the new cannabinoids you’re now consuming. In fact, it’s recommended to consume the same consistent dose for at least two weeks before increasing it, to give your body’s receptors time to acclimate to the presence of CBD.
With that said, it’s best practice to go "low and slow" with doses, and most consumers start around with 20 to 30 mg per day. Another way to decipher your starting dose is to estimate 1-2 mg per every ten pounds of your body weight and increase 5 mg weekly until you find your "sweet spot’" of effects.
Seems complicated? It doesn’t have to be. To help with the journey of finding your optimal CBD dose, journaling helps. This is a common practice amongst beginner users, to track and record, how much CBD you consumed, how it made you feel, so you can iterate and find what works best.
How CBD Brands Differ
Last but not least, and to finish off this complete CBD user guide, let’s talk about differences from brand to brand because not all can be treated equally. While we applaud the 2018 Farm Bill for legalizing hemp, it lacked in creating industry parameters for consistency, quality, and consumer safety.
That means, consumers should do their research in selecting a brand to consume. Make sure the brand is open about its cultivation and extraction practices (since you'll be eating the crops!) and provides third-party lab reports verifying the contents. In the CBD industry, it can also help to prioritize craft, small-batch producers over big-size brands for their close attention to quality.
CBD Beginner’s Guide - The Final Word
We hope that this beginners’ guide to CBD helps you understand and navigate the world of CBD better.
At Peaceful Lane, we understand what it's like to be at a crossroads, wanting to feel your best but not knowing how. So, when we discovered the power of CBD to help with our own achy joints, sleepless nights and stressful days, our family knew we had to go big or go home when it came to spreading the word.
Take advantage of our farm-to-counter collection of high-quality CBD products, intentionally crafted to help people build mental and physical resilience. We’re committed to helping people live long, active, and peaceful lives no matter what bumps in the road they face.
This information does not constitute medical advice and it should not be relied upon as such. Consult with your doctor before modifying your regular medical regime.