How To Choose Your CBD
While CBD is believed to possess many health benefits, it can cause side-effects as well. A World Health Organization study blamed contaminated or low-quality CBD for some of these. Here is what you need to know about finding a reputable source for your CBD.
What do you need CBD
The first thing to decide when choosing your CBD is what you need it for.
Because of the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, research suggests that CBD can help alleviate conditions such as inflammations, chronic pain, anxiety and mood disorders, insomnia, arthritis, and PMS, among others.
Ask a doctor
Before trying CBD, or any medication, for that matter, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.
They will recommend the appropriate form and help you determine your ideal CBD dosage, according to your symptoms and the desired result.
Your doctor will also take into account any other medication you might be taking and which may interfere with CBD. This is particularly important, as interaction with CBD lies behind most of CBD’s side-effects according to the World Health Organization 2017 study on CBD.
If you’re already on medication, your doctor may change your CBD dosage or space your medication in a way that will minimise interaction with CBD.
Choose your method of CBD intake
What is your ideal type of CBD?
Ask yourself how and when you want to take your CBD. You also want to keep in mind how long the effects will last in your body, so that you can spread the doses across the day.
CBD comes in many types and forms: capsules, pills, oils and tinctures, vapes and creams. Choose the one which works best for you. For instance, some CBD oils have the characteristic slightly bitter taste of CBD. Are you OK with that or do you prefer something tastier or even completely tasteless?
Also, will you be taking your CBD at home or on the road? This is important because popping a pill or capsule during the day is easy and discrete but having a dropper and dropping a drop of CBD oil in your mouth might be awkward at the office or in a bus.
How do CBD types differ?
Each method of delivery differs in terms of efficiency, too.
CBD oil capsules enter the stomach where they are first absorbed, therefore losing a little bit of their initial efficacy. However, their effect lasts long.
CBD oil tinctures are taken sublingually: you let a drop of CBD oil under your tongue for about a minute. They are absorbed fast by avoiding the digestive tract. Also, they enter your body through the bloodstream, thus retaining their full strength.
CBD creams and ointments are great for topical use, for example, an inflamed knee, irritated skin, or acne. However, they have to cross the skin barrier. They take longer to act and lose some of their efficiency in the process. Also, they tend to have a lower CBD concentration.
CBD vapes enter your body immediately through the lungs but could be conspicuous and awkward to use during the day. More importantly, vaping has been linked to lung problems because of unscrupulous producers using contaminants or counterfeit substances.
Check your CBD concentration
Another important factor is the CBD concentration.
The concentration of CBD in a product will tell you the strength of CBD in each portion, be it a drop, a pill, or a capsule.
The stronger the CBD concentration, the higher the efficacy and the longer-lasting the effects.
A user’s experience, as shared on Quora, perfectly illustrates how much of a difference getting the right dosage and product can make: she took two drops of ultra-potency medical-grade CBD oil each day and felt great.
When her sample ran out, she got a bottle of CBD oil bought at a local county fair. As she says:
I felt like I may as well have been taking water, for all the good it did me!
After checking the concentration on each product, she realised that the original product was ten times more potent, hence the difference in her experience.
Avoid extravagant CBD claims
Now that you know what you are looking for, it is time to buy your CBD. There are several brands with numerous CBD products in ever-increasing forms. You need to decide which one to trust.
The obvious and most important step is to avoid any brand promising to heal cancer, inflammation, and epilepsy, all within a couple of weeks.
Avoid products making extravagant claims because they are simply not true. CBD holds much promise but more research is needed before it is clear how and when it helps. A brand’s excessive promises are a tell-tale sign they are not serious.
Where does the hemp come from?
Once you have eliminated the misleading brands, start looking for trustworthy ones and research their products.
CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is an industrial agricultural product. Hemp is a bioaccumulator. This means it absorbs heavy metals such as mercury and lead, pesticides, and harmful chemicals from the soil and water. That is why farmers, especially in Asia, use it to clean up contaminated soil.
Unscrupulous producers buy that hemp because it’s cheap and use it to produce CBD. Unfortunately, the pollutants then find their way into CBD.
Obviously, you don’t want to put any unhealthy chemicals in your body. So, look for CBD products whose hemp production has been monitored and tested for chemicals and heavy metals.
In Europe, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands grow hemp. Their respective governments have set up frameworks with regulations and guidelines for hemp growers, who have to abide by specific standards.
Hemp grown from countries with safety-checks is more likely to be clean and safe for human consumption.
CBD is considered neither medication nor food, both of which are carefully regulated. As a supplement, it sits in an awkward place whereby manufacturers can make all sorts of unsubstantiated claims.
The best way to verify the claims a CBD product makes is to check whether the manufacturer is testing it throughout the production process.
The best guarantee that the CBD you will be purchasing is clean and healthy is to see if the producer tests the hemp plant for undesired chemicals, ideally at a certified third-party lab. Then, watch for further tests throughout the production process.
The most trustworthy producers share their test results online or issue a Certificate of Analysis. This will tell you everything you need to know about the CBD product you’re buying.
What am I looking for in the tests?
Testing is important, as long as you know what you are looking for. The tests provided by the manufacturer should show how much THC and CBD the product has.
Full-spectrum CBD should have a maximum of 0.2% of THC (THC being the hallucinogenic component in cannabis); broad-spectrum CBD should have no THC at all.
Also, look for the amount of CBD and all the other beneficial components of cannabis such as terpenes and other compounds.
Research suggests that CBD oil is particularly beneficial when it contains other natural compounds found in the hemp, such as cannabinoids like CBG and CBN and terpenes. This is the so-called entourage effect.
Deciphering a CBD product label
Several studies have shown that the majority of CBD products on the market have misleading labels. That is largely because of CBD’s unusual legal status.
Be careful if the label only mentions cannabinoids in general, rather than CBD.
Hemp has hundreds of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, CBN, and more. The most beneficial compound of hemp is believed to be CBD, so any CBD product should clearly label how much CBD it contains.
The label should also be clear about how much THC the product contains. This should always be less than 0.2%, not just for legal reasons, but to ensure you don’t suffer any unwelcome side-effects.
A common question is if a THC-free product is better.
Both broad-spectrum CBD products and synthetic ones contain no THC at all.
Producers prefer synthetic CBD, as they can better control the end product’s properties.
However, full-spectrum CBD is preferred by many consumers because the combination of THC and CBD seems to be particularly beneficial thanks to the entourage effect.
CBD’s method of production
The extraction method used to extract CBD from the hemp plant also matters because some methods use unsafe chemicals.
The hemp plant needs to be ‘squeezed’ to extract the beneficial CBD. There are various methods of extraction. The safest and widely used ones are CO2 extraction or ethanol extraction. CO2, in particular, is so safe that you can find it in all carbonated drinks.
Butane extraction, on the other hand, is controversial, as butane is unsafe for human consumption.
Carrier oils help your body absorb CBD. Our bodies know how to recognize and break down oils, absorbing any CBD in them in the process.
Producers use several carrier oils in CBD products. Common ones include coconut oil (also known as MCT oil), hempseed oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and avocado oil.
Knowing about carrier oils is useful because sometimes people experience side-effects with CBD that are actually caused by the carrier oil used in its production.
Switching to another brand with a different carrier oil solves that problem.
Choosing the right CBD manufacturer
As with all products, some manufacturers are more trustworthy than others.
Manufactures who control their CBD production process from hemp production to the final bottling stage, are generally the best ones. Since they are in control of the entire process, they will know if any contamination has taken place. Also, they will be able to run safety tests throughout the process.
That is not always the case with white label manufacturers, as they may not know with certainty the purity and potency of their product.
Check the company’s website. Look at the FAQs and all their claims. The more open a manufacturer, the more certain you can be about their production process. Call them if you have any questions and monitor their response and openness.
Ask other CBD users
We live in the era of the Internet. Check out online forums about CBD and join CBD-related discussions.
Learn from other users and their experience. Chat with them. Ask them about what brand they use, their experience, and any side-effects they may have experienced. Look for CBD oil reviews across the Internet and in forums.
Judge a book by its cover
Yes, we are often told we should not judge a book but its cover. Still, we all do it, and with good reason.
The image of a product, its packaging, and labelling can tell us a lot.
Glass containers are better than plastic ones. Amber glass containers stop UV rays and are generally safer than transparent ones.
Are the labels clear? Do they include all pertinent information? Do they mention any tests?
These details give us more than an image about the manufacturer: they let us determine their dedication to quality and the safety of their product.
If you follow the tips above, you are more likely to avoid any side-effects and profit from any health benefits CBD has to offer!