CBD oil is a natural essential oil which is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is used by people all over the world.
/CBD oil contains a variety of active compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
Depending on the formulation of a product, it may contain other active and beneficial ingredients as well such as hemp seed oil which contains omega fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds.
About the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is one of a genus of plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two main species of cannabis that are cultivated for human consumption, namely Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis sativa.
Sativa plants are taller and produce more fiber and are therefore the species from which hemp cultivation arose. Indica plants are shorter and bushier and less suitable for farming for either industrial purposes or for production of food, but well-suited for producing medical marijuana.
The Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
Marijuana is high in the psychoactive compound THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that causes a high.
Marijuana is rightly considered to be a “drug.” It is cultivated mainly for medicinal and “recreational” purposes. Both Indica and sativa strains, as well as hybrids of the two, are used to produce marijuana.
The United States federal government considers marijuana to be a Class I controlled substance. However, many U.S. states have instituted legislation to regulate its cultivation and allow its use as medicine. Some states have also legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Hemp is not marijuana. Although hemp does contain some cannabinoids, it has negligible amounts of THC. In fact, in order to be legally cultivated, industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. Industrial hemp is grown for food and fibers. It contains relatively small concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes and is not the most desirable source of CBD oil. There
What, Exactly, Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is just one of several different molecules called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not an acronym. Cannabidiol has been shortened to CBD simply because it’s customary for cannabinoids to have a three-letter designation, such as THC for tetrahydrocannabinol, CBG for cannabigerol, CBN for cannabinol and so forth. THC is the more famous member of the cannabinoids family. It’s the one that causes a high, and it’s mostly found in marijuana. We’ll take a quick look at some other common cannabinoids later on.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants. They account for most of the health benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids mimic compounds which we call endocannabinoids that are produced naturally by all mammals.
Phytocannabinoids — Cannabinoids produced by plants
Endocannabinoids — Cannabinoids produced by the human body
Other cannabinoids found in PCR hemp include cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Cannabichromene (CBC) is the third most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. Like CBD, cannabichromene is non-psychoactive. Cannabigerol (CBG) is produced early in the hemp’s growth cycle. Both CBC and CBG are believed to have properties like those of CBD.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do?
Endocannabinoids, those produced naturally by our bodies, are signaling molecules. They are technically called neurotransmitters. Hormones are a more familiar type of neurotransmitter.
A vast array of neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in response to various states of health and environmental factors. They interact with receptors found on the surface of cells throughout our bodies. Their job is to instruct a cell to adjust its activities. This can include changing how cells react to other neurotransmitters.
In order to illustrate how neurotransmitters work, let’s use an analogy.
The brain doesn’t connect with every cell in your body, just like traffic officers can’t connect directly with every car on the road to be able to instruct individual drivers how to behave in every traffic situation. In order to manage traffic, we implement traffic signals. These include street signs, traffic lights, the lines on the road and so on. Traffic signals inform drivers where they can and cannot travel, when they should stop and when they should go, how fast they can move and so on.
Some of these signals can sense what’s going on in the environment, such as when a car pulls up to a traffic light. The sensor triggers a controller, causing the light to change, thereby changing the behavior of the drivers approaching that intersection.
In the same way, your body’s nervous system connects to a wide variety of sensors to keep track of every system in your body. The signals from these sensors are decoded by the brain and the nervous system. If it is determined that a system has gone out of balance, the nervous system produces neurotransmitters, which travel through the bloodstream and interact with receptors on cells, instructing them to adjust their behavior.
The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Now that we understand how neurotransmitters work to adjust our cellular activity,
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two components. First are the endocannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Second is the endocannabinoids themselves that interact with those receptors.
The endocannabinoid system is vast and far-reaching. It regulates a wide array of bodily functions, from appetite regulation to sleep patterns, moods, metabolism, immune response, the lifespan of cells and much more.
List of common cannabinoids
THCa and CBDa
Although cannabinoids are mainly known for the role they play in the human endocannabinoid system, they also function in other ways.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds produced by the cannabis plant as well as most other plants. Terpenes readily evaporate at room temperature, and our noses are highly sensitive to them.
In nature, terpenes act as both a repellent for pests and as attractants for pollinators and seed spreaders. In cannabis, terpenes are produced in highest concentrations in the plant’s female flowers.
Although terpene molecules are all very similar, each has its own unique scent and flavor. Various combinations of terpenes are responsible for the distinct aromas of cannabis strains.
Some common terpenes include linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, citronellol and camphene.
More importantly, terpenes also act on cannabinoid receptors and are known to modify the effects of cannabinoids.
The Entourage Effect
Although not as potent as cannabinoids in terms of their overall effects, terpenes are valuable components of cannabis.
The overall effect of the rich combination of cannabinoids and terpenes is known metaphorically as The Entourage Effect. In the case of cannabis, these cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce a range of effects which is thought to be greater than the sum of its individual components.
More research is needed to determine the exact role that terpenes play in the overall effects of CBD oil, but it seems clear that terpenes work in concert with cannabinoids to produce a richer effect than CBD alone.
In just over a half century, cannabinoids have gone from obscurity to one of the most researched families of compounds in the world.
The secrets of cannabinoids are vast, and they run deep. After many years of study, still very little is known about how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system as well as other complex organs and systems in our bodies such as the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the heart, liver, kidneys and the epidermis.
But one thing is certain — CBD does influence all of these complex systems which themselves are not fully understood. Determining the exact mechanisms that are producing CBD’s vast array of effects might take many more decades.
In the meantime, much research is underway, and many studies about CBD’s effects on the human body have already been published.
History of CBD Research
In 1968, the University of Mississippi was entrusted with growing marijuana for research by the predecessor agency to the DEA. That same year, a report written by the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence stated that “the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects… Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol…”
Only two years later, the United States declared marijuana a Class I substance with a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. Two years after that, in 1972, a report based on a comprehensive study by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare recommended that marijuana be removed from the scheduling system and decriminalized. Then-President Richard Nixon rejected the recommendations.
In a court battle in 1976, a federal judge ruled that a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the government was using marijuana out of “medical necessity,” making the plaintiff, Robert Randall, the first legal medical cannabis patient.
In 1978, as a direct result of the lawsuit, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) began supplying cannabis to several patients whose physicians applied for and received “compassionate use” rights under Investigational New Drug Applications (IND) rules. Most of the medical research done on cannabis has taken place in the 40 years since 1978.
The human endocannabinoid system was discovered by researcher Miles Herkenham, Senior Investigator at the National Institute of Mental Health in 1990. This resulted in a wave of new studies into the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids.
It wasn’t until 1992, 20 years after the discovery of THC, that the first endocannabinoids were discovered, proving that the human body produces its own cannabinoids. The first endocannabinoid identified was anandamide. Anandamide is responsible for such effects as “runner’s high.”
In 1993, as research results began to pour in, the American Medical Student Association unanimously endorsed a statement calling for the down-scheduling of cannabis to Schedule 2. Since that time and based on reams of data, there have been scores of attempts to pressure the federal government to relent on this matter. So far none have been successful.
Federally Recognized Medical Conditions
After multiphase clinical trials were completed, an FDA panel recently recommended approval of a CBD-based pharmaceutical called Epidiolex for treatment of intractable epilepsy.
Another concession by the federal government involves the Department of Veterans Affairs. In mid-June 2018, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to add an amendment to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) annual spending bill that would prohibit VA interference in the participation in legal cannabis programs by US veterans. The amendment prohibits the VA from denying any services to veterans who use medical cannabis.
The amendment reverses a VA directive that prevents VA physicians from helping veterans access medical cannabis. It also directs the VA to conduct research into the benefits of medical cannabis using whole plant cannabis and extracts. This would include CBD oil.
Discuss some of the factors involved in determining serving sizes. We’ll also look at the strengths and drawbacks of each method and discuss which methods are most often recommended for conditions.
Bioavailability of CBD
Not all methods of administering CBD are equal. Their effectiveness depends not only on the method of consumption and the ingredients in the product, but also the bioavailability of the CBD afforded by each method.
The bioavailability of any active compound is the percentage of a given serving that ends up in the bloodstream and is thus available for your body to use.
In the case of CBD oil, the active ingredients include both cannabinoids and terpenes. However, for the sake of discussion, we’ll talk only about the bioavailability of CBD itself.
A bioavailability of 100 percent would signify that 100 percent of the CBD in the product is available to your body. The only way to achieve 100 percent bioavailability is through intravenous administration — meaning injection directly into the bloodstream.
Every other method of consumption will result in some percentage of the CBD becoming unavailable to the body for various reasons, such as becoming trapped in fatty tissues or metabolized (broken down) before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream.
Each method of CBD oil consumption has a range of bioavailability. We’ll discuss these factors next and will also touch on them when discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
Bioavailability of CBD Tinctures
A tincture is a liquid — usually an oil or an alcohol base — which has been infused with CBD oil. Tinctures are taken sublingually, meaning under the tongue. When delivered via this method, the CBD in the tincture can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the veins and capillaries in the tissues in your mouth.
It is generally assumed that the bioavailability of CBD in tinctures is twice that of edibles — anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent.
Bioavailability of Inhaled CBD
The delivery method with the highest bioavailability is inhalation. CBD can be vaporized or atomized and inhaled. The vapor is absorbed into your lungs in the same way that oxygen is. Furthermore, the effects of inhalation are almost immediate. This is because the CBD directly enters your bloodstream through the capillary-rich tissues in the lungs in the same way that oxygen does.
The bioavailability of inhaled CBD is estimated to range between 25 percent and 60 percent. The actual number depends on the ingredients being vaporized, and other factors such as how much is inhaled in each puff, how deep it is drawn into the lungs, and how quickly it is exhaled.
How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Take Effect?
There are several important factors that come into play when determining the onset time of various methods of administration of CBD oil. Some of these variables are related to CBD itself, and others are related to how the human body reacts to CBD.
Because of unique genetics, no two people react to CBD oil in the same way. Furthermore, factors such as age, health, weight, circulation and metabolism can all affect the onset time of the effects of CBD oil.
A factor that can be influenced by all the above is the number of cannabinoid receptors in the body, how they are expressed, and the ability of the body to produce endocannabinoids. An individual who expresses more receptors or produces fewer endocannabinoids may be more sensitive to CBD than someone with an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors.
There are also numerous other factors involved such as the type of product being used, how it’s being used and how much is being used. The onset of edibles will typically be longer than that of tinctures, for example.
As we mentioned, the onset time of inhaled CBD is virtually instantaneous. The onset time of edibles and capsules can range anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. And the onset time of tinctures can take up to 20 minutes.
These figures are to be considered general guidelines and will vary from person to person, as we mentioned above.
CBD Oil Serving Recommendations
As with bioavailability and onset time, the ideal serving of CBD depends on a variety of factors including the product being used, the concentration of the CBD in the product, genetic makeup, sex, weight and so on.
Some CBD products list a recommended serving size. However, without considering all of the variables, the recommended serving size might be far too low or possibly even too high. In particular, the serving size will vary greatly depending on the reason for which the CBD is being consumed.
A serving that is appropriate for one product might be much different than that of a similar product. This is because various CBD oil products contain varying percentages of CBD. Whereas one product might contain 10 percent CBD, another might contain twice that concentration.
The most important factor to be considered, however, is that both serving size and duration of use depend largely on the reason the individual is using it.
Given all the above-listed factors, determining your ideal serving requires some thinking. Taking too little will not produce the desired effect and will be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, taking more than you need may not provide additional benefits.
It will take some research and experimentation to determine an ideal serving for a person.
Stick With One Product
It’s a good idea to put some thought into which product you’re going to use and stick with that product for a while. This allows you to gauge the effects of that product. If you switch back and forth between different products, determining a serving amount will be much harder.
Start With a Low Serving Size
When you first begin using CBD oil, it’s a good idea to start with a low serving size. This gives you a chance to determine your body’s reaction to supplementation with CBD. Most experts recommend starting with 1 mg of CBD for every 20 pounds of weight. Using this rule, someone weighing 100 pounds should start with 5 milligrams, while someone weighing over 200 pounds can start with 10 milligrams, and so on.
Start Before Bedtime
When first using CBD oil, it’s best to start at night — about an hour before bedtime. That way, if CBD has a tendency to make you drowsy, you’re not dragging during the daytime. It’s uncommon for a low serving size of CBD to cause drowsiness, but it’s good to be sure. If you have no issues, take another serving in the morning. If CBD oil does make you sleepy, take it at night. And if it keeps you awake at night, take it during the daytime. Oftentimes CBD oil is used for both nighttime sleep and daytime focus, in which case it can be taken multiple times throughout the day.
Increase Your Serving Size Slowly
If all goes well but you have not achieved your desired results, you can try doubling your servings. Each time you increase your serving size, take a few days to make note of any changes you experience.
If a rise in serving size produces unwanted effects such as making you drowsy, back off to a lower serving.
CBD Oil Delivery Methods
Let’s now look at some of the CBD oil delivery methods that are available and the pros and cons of each, in order to help you to determine which product, or products, are right for you.
Some of the factors that should be considered when determining which product is ideal for you are your lifestyle, the reasons you’re using CBD oil, the onset time of the delivery method and the bioavailability of the method.
Regarding lifestyle, some products are more convenient than others, some products travel better than others, and some products are simply more enjoyable to use than others. Capsules are preferred for traveling, for instance. There’s nothing to drop and break or spill.
Onset Time Considerations
As mentioned, various methods of administration require different amounts of time to take effect. For example, edibles can take upwards of an hour or more to take effect, whereas inhalation methods are virtually instantaneous.
Bioavailability, as we pointed out earlier, is the amount of CBD that makes its way into your bloodstream. If onset time is not a consideration, your main consideration should be value. CBD is not inexpensive like products such as vitamins and minerals. You want to try to maximize the value you get for your money. If a product has only 10 percent bioavailability, you’re essentially paying five times more for your CBD than if you used a product which has a 50 percent bioavailability.
Another consideration is how accurate you would like to be with your servings. It’s easy to gauge a serving when you’re taking capsules, for example, but much harder to gauge serving size when vaping since it depends on factors such as how much you inhale and how deeply you inhale it.
With that knowledge, let’s take a closer look at the best uses, pros, and cons of individual delivery methods.
CBD Oils and Tinctures
Earlier, we discussed the fact that there are a variety of products which makers refer to as CBD oil. These can include everything from raw hemp extract to more refined products to pure CBD-infused oil. There are also several types of oil which are used as a base for CBD oil. Some CBD oil products also contain added ingredients such as additional terpenes, essential oils and vitamins.
To use a tincture, simply place the recommended amount under your tongue, where it will be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Tinctures generally come in a dropper bottle for ease of administration.
CBD Oil Capsules / Gelcaps
CBD oil capsules are generally delivered orally. There are cases where you might want to puncture a capsule for use on the skin, but for the most part, this is an orally administered product.
Capsules are made with gelatin, which melts within minutes in your stomach and delivers the entire serving of CBD oil. This means that none of it will get absorbed into the tissues in your mouth or throat.
The average size of nanoemulsion CBD oil droplets is between 4 and 200 times smaller than the industry standard. This smaller size leads to much higher absorption in the blood and, therefore, results in extremely high bioavailability. Because of this, less nanoemulsion CBD oil is needed to produce the same results as regular CBD oil.
Pros and Cons of Capsules
As we mentioned, capsules, because they dissolve quickly, will deliver a serving of CBD directly into your stomach.
Capsules are also very convenient and easy to use with no mess, and they also allow for exact serving sizes. If a capsule contains 25 milligrams of CBD, assuming you’re using a reputable manufacturer with good production methods, you know you’re getting a serving of 25 milligrams of CBD.
One downside of capsules is that they have a longer onset time.
It’s also important to note here that capsules which do not use nanoemulsions have far lower bioavailability than those which do contain nanoemulsions.
CBD-infused topicals include skin creams, balms, salves and oils. Once again, these products can be infused with pure CBD, or they can contain a full spectrum CBD oil. The same rule applies — the products with the full spectrum oils will contain other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
Topicals often have a variety of additional beneficial ingredients meant to contribute to the overall effects. For example, skin creams may contain moisturizers, vitamin E, collagen and so on. Pain creams may contain ingredients meant to help the product penetrate deeper into tissues. Salves may contain other soothing and healing ingredients such as aloe.
Topical products can also be very simple as well. In fact, CBD oil with no other ingredients can be used directly on the skin. CBD-rich oils are great for moisturizing. CBD oils often contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which are produced naturally along with the oil.
Pros and Cons of Topicals
Topicals are great for use on an area of skin or underlying muscles and joints. They deliver the CBD and other beneficial ingredients directly where they can do the most good.
How To Buy Potent, High-Quality CBD
The CBD market is currently expanding at a breakneck pace. Unfortunately, along with the good companies, bad ones are trying to capitalize on the trend. Many of them will do anything to cut corners and increase profit margins. Some companies will use inferior and unsafe products. Some are completely dishonest, selling so-called CBD oil products that have negligible amounts of CBD in them, or even none whatsoever. Or, even worse, they could contain dangerous synthetic CBD.
CBD oil is not a product on which you should skimp on quality. You need a trusted manufacturer that makes CBD oil products that are rich in natural CBD and terpenes.
Also, a recent survey by the Brightfield Group of CBD products found that a full 40 percent of CBD products on the market do not contain the amount of CBD listed on the label.
With all these CBD oil producers flooding the market with new products, it becomes difficult to know who to trust and where to find the highest quality CBD oil.
Identifying a Good Company
There are a few factors that need to be considered when searching for a company that makes high-quality CBD oil products. These include the source and variety of hemp, the method of extraction used to produce the raw hemp extract, whether the company uses nanoemulsion technology, and the quality of the other ingredients in the products they offer.
The good news is that a reputable company will gladly provide this information. If it’s not touted on their website, you can use their contact form to inquire about their hemp source, extraction method and the source of other ingredients. If a company will not provide you with this information, simply rule them out. There are plenty of respectable, high-quality CBD oil makers out there.
Preferred Hemp Sources
Hemp is farmed all over the world. The U.S. is only recently starting to rebuild its hemp industry after a century of prohibition. However, the U.S. produces some of the finest quality cannabis and hemp products in the world.
It’s important to understand that not all hemp is created equal. Industrial hemp is primarily grown for its seeds and fibers and is not bred to produce high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. PCR hemp, on the other hand, was specifically cultivated to be rich in cannabinoids and terpenes.
For a CBD product which is made from industrial hemp to contain the same concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes as CBD oil made from PCR hemp, industrial hemp CBD must be further refined, removing or destroying many of the naturally occurring beneficial compounds.
If a manufacturer specifies that their CBD was extracted from industrial hemp, it’s safe to assume that the product is either lower in CBD and terpenes than a product made with PCR hemp or has been further processed and has lost some of its natural essence. Finding a company whose products are made with PCR hemp is highly desirable.
The lowest quality CBD oil products are usually produced in Asian countries such as China, where quality standards are far lower. CBD oil products produced in China are often made from strains of industrial hemp which are not rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. They are often extracted using cheaper methods that are harsh and can destroy cannabinoids and terpenes. They may contain toxic pesticides which are illegal in the U.S. or may be contaminated with molds and other biological toxins.
Quality of Other Ingredients
Although raw and refined pure hemp extract is available, most CBD oil products contain additional ingredients such as vegetable oils, or other essential oils.
All the rules mentioned above apply here. Products produced in the U.S. are preferred. Products produced in Western Europe may also be of high quality, and product made elsewhere are quite often of lower quality.
Which ingredients are used can also be telling when determining if a company is trying to cut corners? Oils such as hemp seed oil, coconut oil and almond oil are generally healthy and of high quality. If a product contains ingredients you can’t pronounce or sound like chemicals, then the manufacturer is probably trying to cut corners.
One exception to the can’t-pronounce-chemical rule is an oil known as MCT oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCT oil is a natural product made from coconut oil. Coconut oil contains both medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Triglycerides, although sounding like a type of chemical, are simply the main constituent of human body fat. Without going into a biology lesson, let it suffice to say that MCT’s are easier for the body to process than raw coconut oil.
There are other exceptions to the rule. When in doubt just do an internet search on the ingredients in question and you’ll usually be able to determine quickly whether or not a particular ingredient is safe and healthy.
Another factor to consider is third-party lab testing. Most serious manufactures will send their products out to testing labs to determine whether they contain any contaminants and also to measure the levels of cannabinoids in the product.
Because different strains and crops produce different levels of CBD, CBD oil can vary in potency from one batch to another. Any good manufacturers will want to know exactly how much CBD is in their products.
Another thing that’s extremely important to know is that the product contains zero THC or has THC levels that are so negligible, there might as well be none. Because THC is highly regulated, selling hemp-derived CBD oil which contains THC can mean the end of the line for a CBD company.
Many top manufacturers will provide the lab reports for the exact batch of products being sold. If one of the makers you are considering does offer this information, give them extra points.
CBD Oil Health Claims
This is worth touching on. Many companies will put CBD products on the market and make health claims about their product. Because health claims are not allowed by the FDA until a product is thoroughly tested and approved, these claims are a sure sign that a company does not know what it’s doing. Avoid them.
Finding a Trusted Manufacturer
Another way to narrow down your list of CBD oil makers is simply to do some internet research on CBD companies themselves. You’ll notice that some brand names will consistently be portrayed in a good light, while others might have an overabundance of bad reviews.
There are some smaller, more obscure companies which produce very high-quality CBD but may not have much in the way of reviews. Don’t necessarily rule them out. Use the methods above to determine if they will make the cut.
As we mentioned above, products produced in areas of the world other than the U.S. or Western Europe are usually of lower quality. There are plenty of great U.S. CBD oil producers to choose from, so it’s best to stick with U.S.-made products.
A Word On the Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids
You may have heard on the news about some people in Utah becoming seriously ill as a result of using CBD products which contained synthetic CBD — that is CBD produced in a lab instead of in a hemp plant. We can’t stress enough how dangerous these products are. Stay away from them at all costs. If you use the methods above to find a quality CBD oil maker, you should be fine.
Big Dream Organics, LLC
1723 West Main Street
Albert Lea, MN 56007
Hours of Operation
MON – FRI
10:00am – 6:00pm
10:00am – 4:00pm