Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a naturally occurring compound produced by the cannabis plant. It is believed to have healing properties and general health benefits. Because of the connection to the cannabis plant, CBD has been shrouded in much confusion and misinformation. CBD derived from hemp is composed of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds but it does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana knowing for producing feelings of euphoria, or a high sensation. Throughout the past decade, CBD has rapidly grown in popularity and is heading toward mainstream acceptance.

THC and CBD are two major compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis sativa plant. Both substances interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body and brain—known as the endocannabinoid system—but produce different results.  Marijuana contains THC, a psychoactive compound that produces the experience of being high. CBD derived from hemp has, at most, trace amounts (0.3 percent, as per the federally imposed legal limit) of THC. 

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, many experts believe that consumers can legally buy these products if they’re made from low- or zero-THC hemp. But that could change if state lawmakers act to ban them.

According to a recent 2017 NCBI study update, CBD “[has] a favorable safety profile in humans”. That said, the possible risk lies in how the hemp is grown and whether fertilizers or pesticides are used, which could potentially jeopardize your health. There is, currently, no government agency that regulates CBD sales, therefore it is up to you as a consumer to do the research. As with any naturally occurring or synthetic compound, have a discussion with your doctor before implementing CBD into your wellness routine. 

According to ConsumerLab.com, “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 (20 mg per kg of body weight, i.e., hundreds of milligrams) may cause decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, somnolence, and abnormal results on liver-function tests (Devinsky, New Eng J Med 2017; Thiele, Lancet 2018). CBD should be used with caution with sedative and sleep-inducing medications, as it may enhance their effects”. Consumers should consult with their doctor before taking any form of CBD.

The short answer is no, CBD will  intoxicate you as it lacks or has trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less). However, some people may experience a feeling of relaxation.

Drug tests do not test for CBD. Although the chances are unlikely, full-spectrum CBD, which contains small amounts of THC, when taken in large doses may cause a false positive. If you are taking high doses of full-spectrum CBD oil and are concerned that you might trigger a false positive, consult your doctor about switching to a zero-THC product or eliminating use altogether. 

CBD is gaining traction in the world of health and wellness with a growing body of anecdotal research pointing to CBD as a natural alternative for a variety of ailments, such as the following:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Acne

The research is still in its infant stages, but CBD users also report supposed benefits related to schizophrenia and other mental health disorders, substance abuse treatment, anti-tumor effects and diabetes management.

Choosing the right CBD product depends on your reason for taking it. For example, for someone looking for quick relief from pain or anxiety, an inhaled method may be more effective than a capsule, as the onset times are much different.

Depending on where you live and whether marijuana is legal in your state, you will need to consider the amount of THC in the product. This should be clearly identified on the label. The legal threshold for THC in CBD products is 0.3 percent. Finding a product with a higher percentage would only be available in states that have legalized marijuana.

It’s also import to know where the hemp is grown. The majority of U.S.-grown hemp comes from Colorado, Oregon and Kentucky. Some companies source their hemp from overseas. No matter where the product is sourced from, ask to see the product’s certificate of analysis. This document identifies how the product performed when tested for CBD and THC levels along with the presence of any contaminants.

It is also important to understand the terminology on the packaging. For example, the product may list the main ingredient as hemp oil.  Hemp oil refers to oil that comes from the seeds of the plant versus the flower. Hemp oil contains only trace amounts of CBD.

There is insufficient research to determine the precise serving of CBD, and therefore requires a degree of trial and error. Some guidelines to follow when you determining the right serving size are as follows:

  • Do your research to find high-quality CBD.
  • Once you make that purchase, stick with the same product while you are self-evaluating the results.
  • Begin with a small serving and increase slowly. Many experts recommend beginning with 1 mg of CBD for every 20 pounds of weight
  • If you are considering taking CBD for a medical condition, first speak with your doctor who is familiar with your medical background and any medications you’re taking. This will ensure that CBD won’t interact negatively with any of your current medication. 
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