Diving into the world of CBD can be a daunting task. You’re likely to run into a ton of unfamiliar terms, from cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system to terpenes and the Entourage Effect. And that’s not to mention the wide range of products, including CBD gummies, edibles, topicals, vapes and more. It’s easy to get lost. With that in mind, we created this handy guide to assist you in navigating the ins and outs of CBD — and to help you find the right products for your needs.
So, let’s get started with the basics.
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for “cannabidiol.” It’s a non-psychoactive compound produced by the hemp plant. The hemp plant has over 100 different cannabinoids, and cannabidiol is one of the non-psychoactive ones people have come to know and love.
CBD and THC are two of the most prevalent cannabinoids, which we’ll refer to as major cannabinoids, but there are also minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and CBGA. There are quite a few cannabinoids to keep track of, especially since they each provide a unique effect for the consumer.
The cannabinoids in hemp work to support the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a cell-signaling system your body uses to regulate and perform essential bodily functions, including sleep, motor coordination, immune response, learning and memory, mood balance, pain tolerance, and more.
When you take CBD, it binds to receptors in this system. So, our bodies were designed to interface with cannabinoids from the very beginning — we even produce them naturally!
The ECS was only recently discovered, in 1992, so we still have much to learn about the incredible capabilities of this system — and the potential of CBD and other cannabinoids.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the hemp plant. When these crops reach full maturity, they’re ready to harvest. During this stage, the plants are processed into oil with one of a number of extraction processes. At CBDfx, we use a CO2 extraction process, which is cleaner and more efficient than other methods, and produces a safer, more pure oil extract. We extract the cannabinoid content from the flowers, leaves, and stems of the hemp plant to produce the highest-quality CBD oil.
Our CBD products go through an additional extraction process that pulls all of the trace amounts of THC and a couple of other compounds from the oil. This produces a THC-free oil that is non-intoxicating and legal for sale in the U.K.
There’s also something called CBD isolate. This is 99% pure CBD oil, with no additional ingredients. Some prefer this option when shopping for their CBD products.
Let’s get into one of the biggest questions surrounding CBD — legality.
Is CBD Legal?
In short, yes, but some stipulations depend on your geographical location. For example, in the U.K., hemp is legal as long as it does not contain THC. So, when you're shopping, you’ll notice a wide range of hemp products that are THC-free.
As a beginner, you’re probably wondering how CBD works its magic.
Let’s touch on that next.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
Remember when we mentioned a range of different cannabinoids present in CBD oil? Well, this plays a significant role in your overall CBD experience with a process called the Entourage Effect.
The chemical composition of hemp enables a synergistic relationship between the different compounds present in the oil, particularly cannabinoids, which provides a deeper level of effects. Instead of merely working parallel to each other, the cannabinoids actually bolster and enhance each other, creating a much deeper CBD experience.
Aside from these compounds, terpenes bring their own particular skill set to the party. Some people only credit terpenes for taste and smell, but they all have other specific benefits, which vary from sleep to focus and much more. In fact, the cannabis plant contains over 200 different terpene profiles, which contribute to the overall effects of CBD and the other cannabinoids present in the oil.
How Much CBD Should You Take?
One of the most interesting things about CBD is that it affects us all in different ways. This occurs because we have various personal factors that influence our CBD experience. For example, your height, weight, genetics, metabolism, and experience with CBD all play a critical role in how CBD affects you.
Also, keep in mind that different CBD products will have a range of bioavailability rates. CBD tincture oils have the highest rate of bioavailability, since the CBD content absorbs under the tongue, entering the bloodstream through the capillaries.
CBD edibles are on the lower end when it comes to bioavailability, since the cannabinoids have to travel through the digestive tract, losing some of their potency along the way. However, one of the upsides of edibles is that they last a little longer once they take effect.
This is the main reason why you have to start slow and work your way up in concentration. This way, you know the exact amount that works for you: your sweet spot. Just make sure you keep track of your serving amount!
How to Buy the Best CBD
So, you’re pumped about this whole CBD thing now. You know what it is and you’re prepared to see a wide range of products, but you still need to know how to shop for it. Unfortunately, you can run across poor quality in any niche these days — fake CBD in some cases.
How do you avoid this?
Keep these tips handy when you’re shopping:
- Always look for companies going out of their way to produce high-quality hemp products. Most of the time, you can find tons of helpful information on the “About Us” page or in the company’s blog. A reputable company should be transparent about their growing and production processes, as well as quality control.
- Look for products with third-party lab testing, with results readily available to you. Most reputable companies will have this information on the product page, but sometimes you’ll find it in its own section of the website (all the products in one place).
- Lastly, look to see what the people have to say! Product reviews are an integral part of our shopping experience these days — a whopping 90% of consumers check the product reviews before purchasing!
- To avoid fake CBD, check the product label and make sure you see “cannabidiol” and not “hemp seed oil.” While they may seem the same, they’re drastically different. Hemp seed oil comes from the seed only and has nourishing properties used in various beauty products. On the other hand, hemp oil (CBD oil) comes from the hemp plant leaves, flowers, and stalks. And, of course, when in doubt, check the lab report to check the exact amount of cannabinoids!
Moving Forward With CBD
Getting the answers to some of these tough questions is a great starting point when you’re beginning your journey with CBD — knowledge is power in any situation and CBD is no different.
When you know how to spot quality (or lack thereof), you’re better equipped to find a product that will work for you.
Do your research, try a few products and see what works best for your needs. Oh, and bookmark this page, you may need to refresh your memory when you’re shopping!
Ready to start your CBD journey? Check out our wide selection of CBD Gummies!