Cannabidiol: why it can help you achieve a happier life
By Viridian Heights Updated: 02 August 2020
A Brief Introduction to CBD
By this point just about everyone has heard the term cannabidiol or CBD, but many still don’t know exactly what it is. Even though CBD was removed from the federal controlled substance list in December 2018, there still exists a stigma for everything cannabis which limits the spread of awareness and understanding about CBD. None of us four owners of VH are doctors or scientists. we did extensive research from reputable sources prior to deciding to open a CBD supply chain and we’d like to catch you up on what we’ve come to know.
Hemp or Marijuana?
Let’s start by making this clear: hemp is not synonymous with marijuana, but both are a type of cannabis. The distinction between hemp and marijuana in the US comes down to a simple legal definition (from the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA): “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
The key takeaway from this definition is cannabis and all derivatives with THC not exceeding 0.3% of dry weight. Despite this clear definition, everything else involving hemp derived CBD seems to fall into a legal grey area. ***Be aware that there is marijuana derived CBD, but that falls under marijuana laws and is not the same as hemp derived CBD*** We do our best to stay current on the laws and regulations across the country. We encourage you to do the same so you know the answers that apply to you.
The US seems to be behind the curve on testing and developing this plant and it’s compounds. Fortunately there are plenty of people in the international realm that have paved the way for hemp in the US. While the World Health Organization (WHO) says ‘this is what we know about hemp and CBD and these are the benefits and there are no risks,’ the FDA simply says ‘we don’t know yet.’ Both of these documents are long, but we encourage you to read them so your knowledge comes straight from the source and you’ll know where to go for unanswered questions.
Why You Should Care About CBD
Now you know what hemp is (and isn’t) from a legal stand point, let’s talk about why you care about CBD. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that CBD is a miracle drug that cures everything from sore knees to cancer. While there are many articles about the potential and verified effects of CBD, the FDA has made it clear that no one in the US can call CBD a supplement nor can they make any health claims about it. And since the CBD compound was only first isolated in 1940, it’s unlikely that anyone can identify significant long term effects, for better or for worse.
All that said, there is certainly enough evidence to support the benefits that CBD is purported to have for both humans and animals. The mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) has receptors specifically designed to receive and process endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced within the body) and exocannabinoids (cannabinoids found outside of the body, like in cannabis). The ECS is responsible for some vital life functions and each cannabinoid affects the body differently.
Currently the two most common and understood exocannabinoid compounds are THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the dominant active compound in marijuana that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, but usually also induces an intoxicating or psychoactive effect; this is what gets someone “high”. CBD, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory properties comparable to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), along with some other great properties. When processed together (or with any of the other 100+ cannabinoids) there is a sort of synergy known as the “entourage effect“. Each cannabinoid has a unique compound and a unique effect on the body, but cannabinoids in conjunction with one another can be more powerful or effective.
Types of Extracted CBD
The hemp plant goes through four growth phases: germination, vegetation (vegging), flower/seed formation (flowering), and senescence. For the sake of developing hemp for consumption, the most important phase is flowering. As female plants mature, they produce flowers (buds) to be pollinated. These flowers contain high levels of cannabinoids, flavinoids, and terpenes. Although the leaves and stems (biomass) also contain small amounts of these compounds, their levels are relatively low and are not the target for growth or harvesting. So, harvesters clip the buds off and put them through a variety of extraction processes (we’ll cover the details in another article).
After processing the hemp plant, we’re left with a couple different results that each have their own significance. The key terms to know and understand are: distillate, isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. Distillate is the first form of extraction and concentration from the hemp flower/biomass and contains all of the cannabinoids, flavinoids, and terpenes produced by that specific plant. Further processing the distillate can result in isolate which is a crystalline powder/solid form that is, as the name implies, an isolated cannabinoid. For our sake, this would be CBD isolate and is nothing but CBD.
CBD by itself can be effective with certain ailments. But CBD paired with other cannabinoids is more effective through the entourage effect. A cannabinoid by itself is an isolate; a combination of cannabinoids without any THC is broad spectrum; and a combination of cannabinoids including THC is full spectrum. We believe that these hemp extract concentrates provide the most benefit to users when the product contains a myriad of cannabinoids including THC (in trace amounts), so all of our products (currently) are full-spectrum.
CBD Consumption Routes
Cannabis is most commonly consumed in a few different ways. Marijuana is most often smoked and occasionally ingested. As laws around marijuana have changed, its popularity increased leading to new and innovative ways to consume the plant for various purposes. Everything that is true of the consumption of marijuana is also true of hemp. The consumer should be paying attention to three main things when considering which route to consume cannabis: onset (time from consumption to effects), bio-availability (percentage that’s used by the body), and potential health risks.
Smoking or vaping cannabis is highly effective because the compounds of the plant are able to enter the bloodstream through the capillaries in the lungs for a more immediate onset and high bio-availability. The downside is the potential health impact as inhaling smoke can introduce unwanted products that can inflame the lungs and reduce the uptake of oxygen, among other issues. Although vaping removes the combustion part of the process, inhaling anything including vapors still has the potential to cause irritation and other issues within the respiratory system (safety of vaping is still up for debate…and there’s more than one way to vape).
Ingestion is the process of consumption through the mouth, like eating or drinking. Since cannabinoids are lipophilic (bind to and dissolve in fats), the options for drinking them are currently rather limited. Cannabis in food, also known as edibles, is a popular route for consumption because it is generally made to taste good, often masking the taste of the plant which some consumers truly do not like. The downside to edibles is that the onset is relatively longer since your body has to process the food before the compounds can reach the bloodstream, and the bio-availability is low because of what’s lost in that lengthy process. Additionally, the FDA hasn’t approved interstate sale of food that has THC and/or CBD added to it, so the legal side of that is dicey.
Another common route for administration of CBD is topically, or applied directly to a part of the body. You know, it rubs the lotion on its skin, and so on. Topical products are easy to apply and run no risk of tasting bad. But onset is slower and bio-availability is lower than other methods. With that said, there’s certainly benefits to topical products and we have face serums and beard oils that might interest you.
The last, and most important, administration route that I’m going to cover is sublingual, or under the tongue. Sublingual is our preferred method: soak it under the tongue, quick onset, high bio-availability, and it’s easy to use. The only downsides are mostly circumstantial, the most important being taste. There are so many different varieties of tinctures and we know that EVOO might not be the best flavor for all of our customers (see some other options), but the benefits of EVOO as a carrier oil make the most sense to us and it’s especially effective when absorbed under the tongue.
Concentration and Dosing
Folks often get hung up on the concentrations and dosages. While we understand how it can be confusing, it’s really quite simple to figure out. All of our packaging clearly states the total amount of CBD and the total volume in each product. Let’s walk through an example…and we’ll stick with easy math by choosing our 1000mg tincture.
On the front of the label you’ll find “1000mg 100% Full Spectrum CBD in Olive Oil; 30ml/1oz” and then a flavor if applicable. The bottom third of the front of our label tells you everything you need to know before buying and using our product. 1000mg of CBD in 30ml of oil means that every millilitre of oil contains approx. 33.33mg of CBD (1000 / 30 = 33.33). On the side of our label you’ll see that one full dropper from the dropper top is 1ml oil, so one full dropper is approx. 33.33mg of CBD and there are approx. 30 full dropper’s worth of oil in the tincture.
Easy right? It’s important to understand the concentration of any products that you purchase so you can more accurately determine your ideal dose of CBD. If you’ve tried CBD in the past but don’t know exactly how much actual CBD you were ingesting, then it’s hard to determine how much you should take each time. We try to make it as easy as possible for you to figure out the least amount of CBD needed to be effective.
Everyone responds to CBD differently and there aren’t really any risks to taking any amount of CBD. We recommend overshooting then doing a sort of ‘reverse titration’ to get down to the smallest dose that still gives you the most benefit (best bang for buck). On our 1000mg products we recommend taking one full dropper as needed to best recognize results. Then you can start taking less and less until you no longer see the same benefits and go back up to the last effective dose. You may find that 10mg or 60mg is what you need. Make this product your own. CBD is also known to have a ‘reverse tolerance‘ effect meaning that your body may need less CBD over time to achieve the same results. So be aware that your ideal dose could change.
Now You’re a CBD Expert!
Congratulations on becoming an expert in CBD. If you’ve made it all the way through this article then we hope you at least found it helpful. From a consumer standpoint, this crash course on hemp and CBD should help you feel comfortable enough to move forward with buying and trying some products. But we encourage you to read and learn as much as you can from as many sources as you can, not just us.
We use our products every day and so do many of our friends and family members. We’ve tried CBD from other companies and truly believe that we have the best CBD products for the best price. Now that you’re an expert in CBD (hopefully a lifelong student), what are you waiting for?