Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the development of therapies and other consumer products derived from cannabis and its components, most notably cannabidiol (CBD) due to it’s medicinal benefits without the psychoactive properties such as from THC.
In 2018, President Trump signed and passed the 2018 farm bill, allowing the legalization and production of hemp based CBD oils under certain conditions. The result has been an insane boom in the CBD market industry and thousands of CBD products introduced on the market. These range from oils, edibles, topicals and even vape compatible products.
Unfortunately, not all CBD oils are created equal and almost all of the products on the market are not FDA regulated or approved. Many are trying to cash in on this health craze and many oils on the market have been found to contain little to no actual CBD. In addition, about 1 in 5 CBD products contained the intoxicating cannabinoid THC when not labelled for it. Some products were even found to have a dangerous, synthetic cannabinoid, known as 4-CCB! It’s suspected in 52 cases of adverse reactions, including altered mental status, seizures, shaking, confusion, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations.
So, the biggest question for consumers with this boom in unregulated CBD products is “what is the best cbd oil?” and whether they are 1. effective and 2. safe. In this article, I aim to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding CBD and provide you with some trustworthy and reliable CBD recommendations, helping you to make a more informed decision on whether CBD is right for you and where to start with it!
Do you have any experience with CBD? Any recommendations? Any questions? Please leave a comment and I will respond ASAP!
WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD)?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and its precursor compound CBDa are dominant cannabinoid compounds found in hemp and cannabis (a hemp plant known as marijuana or cannabis sativa). Unlike tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), which is another cannabinoid compound, CBD is believed not to be psychoactive and therefore should not affect perception or behavior. This has made it very popular in the health and medical community since the pyshoactive properties of THC are what is so controversial with the cannabis plant.
CLINICALLY PROVEN BENEFITS/USES OF CANNABIDIOL (CBD)
Much of the research with CBD has focused on the reduction of certain types of seizures. In fact, one of the approved drugs via the FDA is a drug called Epidiolex, which contains a purified form of the drug substance CBD for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older. Another drug was approved to treat weight loss due to aids.
Preliminary evidence suggests CBD may also modestly reduce anxiety, certain measures of dystonia and glaucoma.
While the evidence is insufficient – some studies and many user claims also suggest that CBD may aid in sleep disorders such as insomnia and help with pain and inflammation.
Some studies suggest that CBD may be an effective treatment for diabetes, substance abuse, mental disorders and certain types of cancers as well. However, more research in humans is needed.
HOW DOES CANNABIDIOL (CBD) WORK IN THE BODY?
The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. At its most basic, the endocannabinoid system is a huge network of cannabinoid receptors which are spread through out the body. The human endocannabinoid system releases cannabinoids that interact with receptors found in virtually all of the tissues in our bodies to ensure homeostasis (balance). Phtyo-cannabinoids (i.e. CBD oil) help boost this already naturally occuring system in your body or help aid those of us who are lacking in our own natural cannabanoids.
With this endocannabinoid system in place, it seems that we are biologically designed to make use of the cannabis and hemp plant, doesn’t it!?
IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD) LEGAL?
In December of 2018, the House and Senate passed – and President Trump signed – the new 2018 Farm Act.
The Act removes hemp – officially defined as cannabis plants containing less than .3% THC – from the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list from a Congressional standpoint.
A few days after the Farm Bill went into law, the FDA issued a statement stating any hemp-based CBD product that is marketed as having therapeutic benefits or as a dietary supplement is illegal to sell unless the FDA has reviewed and approved it.
Did you know? The FDA has only approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products. These products are only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.
While still considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance by the DEA, CBD is considered the same as any other agricultural commodity from a federal viewpoint, making it legal to grow and purchase in the United States.
It also provides farmers who cultivate hemp the water rights and other grants, marketing, research and insurance that would be expected of other growers of other crops.
While hemp-derived CBD sourced from marijuana plants still remains subject to individual state laws, when sourced from hemp products, CBD can be purchased and consumed in all 50 states as long as it is grown in accordance with the Act. This means that CBD’s legal status on a federal level is quite clear, however, on a state level there’s some variation. (check out this site to see what the laws are in your state!)
Despite the fact that CBD cannot be legally sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, many CBD products are available. Although it does not appear that individuals have been prosecuted for purchasing these products for personal use, the U.S. FDA has issued many warning letters to companies selling these products claiming to contain CBD and/or promising such products as treatments. Further actions against these companies have not be reported.
Did you know? CBD is a controlled substance in Canada
For more info – check out FDA regulations of Cannabis and Cannabis derived products
WILL I FAIL A DRUG TEST IF I TAKE CANNABIDIOL (CBD)?
It is possible to fail a drug test for marijuana based on THC in a hemp oil, hemp seed, or hemp seed extract – the ingredient in many CBD supplements. Unusually large amount of hemp oil or hemp seed would normally be required to cause a positive drug test. However, with hemp extracts, there is roughly a 10% chance of failing a drug test with low to moderate doses of CBD, and this will be influenced by individual variation in how THC is absorbed and metabolized.
If drug testing is a concern,it’s in your best interest to search for a CBD oil that contains zero THC. Just remember, however, that 1 in 5 products have been found to contain THC even when not labelled for it.
THC VS. CBD – A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?
When researching CBD oil you will consistently see the benefit of not having the psychoactive properties of THC hailed. While for many this may be beneficial (i.e. due to drug testing – anxiety – or you just don’t like mind altering substances) – the fact remains that these two both come from the cannabis plant and were made to work together.
While you can certainly achieve benefits from CBD a lone, you may see better results (especially with pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis) finding a product that offers a CBD/THC ratio (many swear by a ratio of 1:1 but everyone is different).
Did you know? Larger doses of CBD can counter the psychoactive effects of THC leaving more of the medicinal and relaxing effects. It could be used to counter a “bad high” caused by the anxiety induced via THC in that sense and would work before or after THC. Typically, having more CBD to THC is best for those treating anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Note: The more CBD you take, the more THC it will take for you to get stoned/high.
Some people may want more of the calming effects of CBD with a little bit of THC, and some people might like the euphoric and mind altering effects of THC with a little CBD. Some may prefer no THC at all.
With CBD you have a lot of choices – you just have to figure out what you like!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CBD PRODUCT
1. Hemp extract vs. hemp oil. Look for products with hemp extract vs. just hemp oil listed as hemp oil is typically made from hemp seeds, which contain little CBD (typically less than 1 mg per serving). CBD is principally found in and extracted from the flowers, and to a lesser extent, the upper leaves of the hemp plant. A CBD oil product is typically an oil, such as from hemp seed or other sources, to which a CBD extract (from hemp flowers) has been added.
2. Lists it’s CBD content per serving vs. the whole bottle to have more accurate dosing; In addition, avoid products that just lists “cannabinoids”as it may contain CBD but you won’t know how much.
3. Has been approved via a third party tester like consumerlab.com to contain the labelled amount of CBD and passed heavy metal contaminant testing. (Note: All of my top picks, except vape bright, have been consumerlab approved. To see their quality assurance program and how products are tested, go here. In order to see the full report and other approved products, you will have to pay a membership fee). Note: Just because a product isn’t on the list does not mean it is not a quality product. Not all products have been tested.
4. Is being sold from a company that provides transparency about their company and products. I.e. an about section – a working customer service number – research or clinical studies etc.
5. Desired levels of THC. This is user preference so search for a product that either does or does not contain THC based on your needs/wants. Just remember – 1 in 5 products have been found to contain THC even when labelled not to.
DOSING – HOW MUCH SHOULD I TAKE?
It’s important to understand that everyone metabolizes things differently so dosing can vary. In general, follow the directions on your product and play with the dose to find what works best for you.
Clinically, however, the research with CBD has involved high doses – several hundred milligrams daily (far less than what is in most cbd products and way less than the recommended dosing on cbd products). Here is what has been shown to work in preliminary clinical studies.
-Anxiety: 300 mg to 600 mg
-Insomnia: 160 mg 30 minutes prior to bedtime to increase sleep time
-Reduction in seizures: 20 mg per kilogram of body weight
-Schizophrenia: 1000 mg daily
-For dogs with osteoarthritis: 2 mg per kilogram of body weight. twice daily
METHODS OF ADMINISTRATION OF CBD
Tip: Follow the instructions on your product for proper usage.
Oil: Oil is an overall well rounded choice and typically people’s first encounter with CBD. Oil is administered via an oral dropper. Drops are to be placed sublingually (underneath the tongue) for at least 30 seconds prior to swallowing for better results.
It is important to note that CBD is fat-soluble and taking it with or shortly after a meal dramatically increases it’s bio-availability. I also recommended looking for an oil product that is water soluble.
Taking CBD oil sublingually typically takes between 15 minutes to an hour to feel. You should feel the effects for about 4-6 hours.
Edible: Another well rounded as well as a convenient choice for most users – typically either gummy or soft gel formed that is ingested. Again, recommended with or shortly after a meal for better bio-availability.
Effects take the longest with this method (1 to 3 hours) but reportedly last the longest – anywhere from 6-9 hours!
Topical: Best for muscle or joint pain and inflammation or skin ailments. Administered via a topical cream. Recommended to be applied topically in a thin layer onto affected areas X times a day. Rub in well. Make sure skin is clean and dry prior to application.
Effects of topical depend on your use. It could be a couple hours to several days depending what you are using it for.
Vape: Vaping is a good choice for those suffering from anxiety and stress. Many users report thwarting panic attacks with just two puffs! Administered via inhalation. Recommended to inhale product for 2-3 seconds for X amount of times a day.
Tip: Hold the inhale for at least 5 seconds (or more if able) before exhaling.
Effects are typically immediate but will last a shorter duration. A few hours is probably the most you’ll get out of vaping CBD so you will need to do it more often for longer lasting results.
SAFETY AND CONCERNS
Use Caution and always do your due diligence: Unlike drugs approved by FDA, products that have not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process have not been evaluated as to whether they work, what the proper dosage may be if they do work, how they could interact with other drugs, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.
Be aware that CBD can cause side effects and interact with certain medications and conditions, although these effects have typically been reported only with very high daily intake , i.e. hundreds of milligrams daily.
-High daily doses of CBD may cause decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, somnolence and abnormal results on liver-function tests.
-CBD at a dose of 300 mg has been shown to worsen symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
-CBD should be used with caution with sedative or sleep-inducing medications, as it may enhance their effects.
-CBD can increase blood serum levels of antiepilepltic drugs.
-CBD may increase blood thinning effects of warfarin.
-The American Academy of Pediatrics has not endorsed general cannabis or cannabinoid use for children because of concerns about brain development. However, studies have shown CBD helps children suffering from PTSD.
-While CBD oil is typically quite safe for cats and dogs, THC can be toxic. Take care that the product you use for your pets has little to no THC.
Always consult your physician, pediatrician, or veterinarian prior to starting any new supplement to ensure it is right for you, your child or pet. Be advised, however, depending on the laws in your state – they may not be legally able to discuss the topic and recommend anything.
As someone who has first hand experienced the benefits of marijuana and have used it for medical reasons (pain due to fibromyalgia and scoliosis as well as sleeping issues); I was ALL EARS when I heard about CBD oil products.
Like many who have jumped on the CBD bandwagon – I have certainly tried my fair share of products and have essentially wasted a lot of money on products with little results. This was either due to me not getting the proper dose or the product not being of quality.
My personal preference has so far been vaping when it comes to the CBD products. The immediate effect is what I am used to. I experience an instant relaxed and stress free state. I plan to take an oil with it to maximize long term effects and hopefully get better results with my chronic pain. My goal is to get off of my prescription medication for fibromyalgia. I will have to look for a product with THC as products without have not sufficed for me for my pain. However, everyone is different!
If you are interested in trying CBD – I have included a few recommended products below. Please feel free to return and let us know how your experience was if you decide to try any!
So, What is the best CBD oil? – it depends on user preference – but here are some great products to consider trying that are safe and effective.
Top DOG product recommendation:
*USA Grown Hemp
*Chicken-flavored oil or unflavored available
*Blended with MCT oil
*Contains 17 mg of naturally occurring CBD per ML
*Only CBD present – no other cannabinoids
Top OIL product recommendation:
*1500+ mg of cannabinoids per ounce (25 mg per serving)
*GMO, Sweetener and Glyphosate FREE
*Concentrated full-spectrum hemp extract
*Organic Virgin Hemp Seed Oil
* Non-detectable THC according to third-party HPLC analysis
Top EDIBLE product recommendation:
*15 mg of hemp-derived CBD per serving
*Extra-Virgin Olive Oil base
*Non-GMO and Gluten Free
Top TOPICAL product recommendation:
*USDA Organic Ingredients
*450 mg of pure CBD per jar
*Uses a full spectrum hemp extract
*Allergen warning: This product contains coconut and tree nut
*All Natural Ingredients: USDA Certified Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, USDA Certified Organic Shea Butter, USDA Certified Organic Cocoa Butter, USDA Certified Organic Beeswax, USDA Certified Organic Proprietary Hemp Extract, USDA Certified Organic Essential Oils.
Top VAPE product recommendation (best for those who don’t already have a vape pen as their cartridges are specific to their pen which is very inexpensive):
*Contains 200-250 mg of pure CBD oil per cartridge
*Ingredients include no PG or other carrier liquids
*Comes with it’s own vape pen in a convenient starter kit
Note: If you already have a vape pen and want to invest in just the liquid, I recommend bluebird botanical’s product.