Cannabidiol, a.k.a. CBD, is one of many cannabinoids, but it’s definitely the most popular right now. In the last year alone, American consumers spent $350 million on CBD products.
Someone thinking about trying a cannabis product is likely considering CBD, as CBD products are often recommended for those who are curious about cannabis. However, because of the constant flood of new products entering the market, getting started can be quite overwhelming. This guide will explore what CBD is, how to use it, and how to differentiate between the different products on the market.
What is CBD and what does it do?
Before picking up a CBD product, one should understand what it is and what it does. As mentioned, CBD is just one of many cannabinoids. Some other well-known cannabinoids include THC and THCV.
Until recently, most researchers have been interested in THC, which is the most common cannabinoid, and also responsible for most of cannabis’ iconic effects. It can be a psychoactive compound depending on the dosage, which is what results in the sensation of being “high”.
CBD is THC’s less famous cousin. The two cannabinoids have almost identical chemistry, but CBD isn’t psychoactive like THC is. The displacement of a single atom means that CBD doesn’t give users the “high” feeling associated with THC.
CBD in the Body
Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In humans, there are two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are in the brain, usually in areas that control memory, emotion and motor skills. CB1 receptors also occur in the nervous system and organs. CB2 receptors are in the central nervous system and the immune system.
THC and CBD bind at different places on CB1 receptors. THC is responsible for the classic effects of cannabis use, such as feeling drowsy or hungry, but CBD doesn’t have these effects.
Research shows that CBD also binds with receptors outside of the ECS. These include opioid and serotonin receptors.
The Effects of CBD
CBD has a wide range of effects because it bonds with different systems. When it binds with serotonin receptors, it affects mood and emotion. When it binds with opioid receptors, it can affect the perception of pain. It can even moderate the effects of THC.
So far, there’s evidence that CBD can treat many different health conditions. These include:
- Pain, including nerve pain and migraines
- Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
- Sleeping disorders (Insomnia, Sleep Apnea)
- Diseases of the brain (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy)
- Diabetes and associated symptoms
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin conditions (eczema, acne)
Because CBD affects appetite, sleep, and energy levels, it can be used to help people maintain a healthy weight or find the extra energy to go to the gym.
The Many Types of CBD
Since CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects, it’s recommended for people who are new to cannabis. Those who are sensitive to THC may find they can use CBD-only products to relieve pain or control other symptoms. CBD is also a good choice for daytime use, particularly for people who need to go to work, drive, or watch their kids.
Exploring the Spectrum
CBD oil is usually made from hemp plants, although it can be made from cannabis plants too. It can then be made into different products.
How the plant is processed affects what ends up in the oil. Pure CBD oil is called CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum oils are less pure. They contain other substances like terpenes, which deliver different benefits.
CBD isolate is a good choice for people who need to take high doses of CBD. It’s tasteless and odorless, which is another benefit. Unfortunately, CBD isolate undergoes the most intensive processing.
At the other end of the scale is full-spectrum CBD. This extract contains all the compounds in the plant. These include essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. Thanks to the CBD entourage effect, these compounds can enhance CBD’s effects. The downsides include a strong flavor and THC content.
Broad-spectrum CBD is the middle ground between full-spectrum and CBD isolate. Like isolate, it’s flavorless and odorless. It doesn’t have the THC content of full-spectrum, which makes it a good choice for those who don’t want THC. It contains other compounds like terpenes, so users still experience the entourage effect.
Choosing a Strain
Those who plan to use a cannabis vape pen or flower will need to consider strains. Strains are divided into three different categories: Indica, Sativa, and hybrids.
There are two main types of cannabis plants: Indica and Sativa. Indica plants tend to have higher CBD content, while Sativas are often THC dominant. Hybrid plants are a cross between Sativas and Indicas.
It’s better to decide on a strain based on its cannabinoid and terpene content than the type of plant. For starters, THC-dominant strains deliver a euphoric experience, while CBD-dominant strains are better for daytime use. A balanced strain, or one that is designated as a 1:1 ratio, is often a good choice for someone trying cannabis for the first time.
When selecting a strain, be sure to consider its chemical profile as well. Like full-spectrum oils, different strains contain different compounds. Terpenes are fragrant oils that give different strains of cannabis their unique scent profiles and different effects on the body. Different terpenes bind to receptors in the body, creating their own effects. When coupled with cannabinoids like CBD, the effects of both compounds are enhanced as they interact with each other.
Choosing the Right Product
Now that we have an understanding of the differences between CBD products, it’s time to look for products that meet our individual needs. CBD products come in many different forms, and each has its pros and cons.
Forms of CBD
Other than CBD flower, most CBD products are made with CBD oil. Capsules are usually filled with oil, while edibles are infused with it. There are three main categories:
- Inhalable CBD includes CBD cigarettes, concentrates, and vape pens. CBD enters through the lungs. The effects are immediate and last anywhere from one to four hours.
- Topical products include transdermal patches and CBD-infused creams. Patches can deliver CBD for up to 24 hours. Topical creams are an easy way to add CBD to a skin care routine to promote wellness or to treat acne.
- Edibles are food and drink products like gummies, chocolates, or brownies. They take longer to hit the bloodstream, but the effects last much longer.
The right choice depends on the individual’s needs. For fast, effective relief of symptoms, a vape pen might be the best bet. For longer-lasting relief, an edible is recommended.
Finding High-Quality CBD
Once someone has decided on the type of CBD product they want, they need to be sure they can find a high-quality product. Consider the following:
- Price. A high price is usually a good indicator of quality.
- Potency. How strong is the product? A large bottle with a low amount of CBD has likely been diluted.
- Production. Ask about how the plant was grown, how it was processed, and how the product was tested.
Top Picks for CBD First-Timers
Check out these CBD-only products. They make excellent starting points for people new to CBD and cannabis.
This pre-rolled joint clears the mind and helps people get ready for the day ahead. USA Hemp Co grows the AC/DC strain organically, then blends it with peppermint for a refreshing hit.
Like the popular Sunday Scaries CBD gummies, Kushy’s CBD Peach Gummy delivers an organic, full-spectrum experience. These sweet treats can help people rest up so they’re ready to tackle tomorrow.
Papa & Barkley CBD Hemp Capsules
Papa & Barkley’s all-natural hemp capsules make it easy to add CBD to even the most hectic of schedules. Take them on the go, after a long day at work or even as part of a bedtime routine.
For more targeted use, give this luxurious CBD salve a whirl. The aroma of herbal extract encourages relaxation while high-quality CBD and hydrating oils and butters go to work on the skin. It’s the perfect traveling companion through a busy day.
Some people need THC to make the most of their CBD experience. If that sounds familiar, give one of these products a shot:
Kushy Punch Private Reserve Gummy
These Sativa/Indica gummies leave users feeling more than just relaxed. Rest your body, lift your spirits, and Enjoy the best of both worlds with these mouthwatering strawberry lemonade delights.
If someone’s looking to bust anxiety or depression, they won’t go wrong with the AC/DC Cartridge from ABX. This high-CBD Sativa delivers immediate relief of these symptoms and more.
Start Low, Go Slow
Even when someone finds the perfect product, they may need some help getting the dosage right. The best advice for anyone is to start low and slowly increase their dose over time. While no one has ever died from taking too much cannabis, it is possible to experience negative reactions, such as panic attacks and confusion. That’s why doctors recommend taking the lowest effective dose. Since everyone is unique, it may take time to discover the “optimal” dose.
Don’t be afraid to talk to a medical marijuana doctor. Their expert advice can help a new user find the right dose sooner. Doctors are available late in some states, so there’s no reason not to start a CBD journey now.
Learn more about:
Medical marijuana aka cannabis should be used under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider. This site is intended for adults and legal medical marijuana patients. This site contains links to products we sell on our marketplace.
How does Heally work?
Creating an account is easy, free, and safe in our HIPAA compliant platform. Visit with a doctor from the comfort of your home or on the go using your cell phone or computer. No appointment is necessary. If the physician thinks cannabis is right for your health and wellness goals, they will discuss treatment options and will grant you a downloadable certification document. Heally’s Telehealth platform currently serves California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio with medical recommendations. Please note there’s no charge if the doctor doesn’t believe the video visit meets her or his standard of care. If you do not live in a medically legal state and would like access to CBD products, visit the CBD Marketplace. We ship CBD products nationwide without a doctor’s recommendation. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org