Maybe you’ve been thinking about CBD for a variety of reasons. It’s become a ubiquitous natural remedy in recent years, being touted for everything from insomnia to chronic pain. While research has yet to catch up to the hype, CBD shows great promise from anecdotal evidence and preliminary animal and human studies.
For those who have never dipped a toe into the world of CBD, we offer a primer on how to use it. We’ll discuss some of the potential benefits, why full spectrum is the superior CBD, where to find the best sources, and how to find your perfect dose. Strap in.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound of the hemp plant. Like its cousin THC, it has some potential health benefits, but unlike THC it has no psychoactive effect. You won’t get a high from CBD.
Some potential benefits of CBD include the following:
- May help those with insomnia fall asleep and stay asleep
- May help in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- May help reduce or alleviate chronic pain, due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Is effective at controlling seizures.
- Has neuroprotective properties that are currently being studied for the treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
- May help increase heart health
- May help control the symptoms of diabetes.
While complete studies are few and far between, researchers are currently studying the benefits of CBD in many areas.
CBD is a natural compound with a good safety profile, and many people with chronic pain find it an excellent alternative to traditional prescription painkillers and over-the-counter analgesics. The former can cause serious side effects, as well as being extremely addictive, while the latter are not safe for long-term use.
Why Choose Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD is the least processed of the CBD types. There are three, and they can be categorized as follows:
- Full spectrum CBD. This is the first fruit of the distillation process, and contains essential cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and essential oils from the hemp plant.
- Broad spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum is further processed to remove all traces of THC.
- CBD Isolate. This is the most processed form of CBD. The crystalline powder contains nothing but the isolated CBD molecule.
Full-spectrum CBD is the closest to nature. It offers up the full spectrum (hence the name) of plant compounds found in hemp. It even contains THC in trace amounts (less than .03% for most brands).
This is important because CBD works best when the entourage effect is experienced. This is when the variety of plant compounds works together synergistically to elevate the benefits of each. In fact, studies that show the benefits of CBD almost exclusively ALSO use THC in their experiments. Like peanut butter and chocolate, they just work better together.
How Do I Find the Best Full Spectrum CBD?
Your next step is to find a safe, effective CBD product. “But I thought you said that all CBD is safe?” you may protest. Yes, it is, if that’s what you’re actually getting. Let us explain.
CBD is considered a supplement, and as such is not regulated by the FDA. And due to its popularity, everyone and their Aunt Suzy now sells CBD products. This is a problem. Anyone can go ahead and say that they’re selling a full spectrum CBD tincture that offers 50 mg per serving. How do you know that this is true?
Third Party Testing
There’s only one way to know for sure that you’re getting what’s advertised. Find a company that clearly displays results from third-party testing by independent labs. They should have tests for:
- Potency (ensuring that the amount of CBD in the product is equivalent to what is advertised)
- Purity (Demonstrating that there are no toxins, heavy metals, or other contaminants present)
- Presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp compounds.
Look closely at the wording, here. “Lab tested” is not good enough. “In-house lab tests”, no, this is an obvious conflict of interest. Only third-party lab tests are acceptable when choosing a brand.
Research Your Brands
Look for a reputable, well-known company that’s been in the business for at least a few years. See what you can find about the brand. Do they show up in a lot of third-party reviews and ranked roundups? Have they won awards, and are they known in the industry? If you don’t find a lot of information, this may be a red flag.
None of this is to say that a newer brand can’t be stellar. It’s just a bit easier to find information and accolades for a more established brand.
How Do I Take Full Spectrum CBD Tincture?
A great way to begin taking full-spectrum CBD is by using a tincture. Most come with a measured dropper, so it’s easy to dose and control. Sublingual (under the tongue) absorption ensures that the CBD kicks in quickly. But how to begin?
A good place to start (though not absolutely necessary in most cases) is to talk to your doctor about CBD. More doctors today are familiar with the potential benefits, and they may be able to help you come up with a dosing schedule.
How Much Should I Take?
Everyone’s body is different. No two bodies will absorb CBD with exactly the same response. Further, the response can be different depending on how familiar your body is to CBD (new users may be more impacted), your weight (those who weigh more may require larger doses), as well as other factors.
The best practice is to start small. If you are brand new to CBD, begin by purchasing a tincture of lower dose (like 10-25 mg). Start by taking the smallest dose and recording your feelings. If you don’t notice any benefits, start increasing the dose slowly. There is no official dosing chart because CBD is not regulated by the FDA. Generally, 20-40 mg per day is considered low, while 90-20 mg is considered high.
One thing to understand about full-spectrum CBD is that there are trace amounts of THC present. It is not enough to be illegal or get you high, but if you use higher doses of full-spectrum CBD over time, it may trigger a false positive on a drug test. Talk to your doctor and go with a broad spectrum or isolate if your employer requires drug testing.