CBD has gained so much momentum over the last year or so and is the #1 supplement that I am asked about by patients, family, and friends.
Check out this trend line that shows consumer interest in CBD based on Google searches over the last 5 years:
Google Search Trend : CBD 2014-2019
Google Search Trend : Melatonin 2014-2019
Dramatic difference! Interest in CBD is at an all-time high, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
I’m going to dive into the evidence for CBD in a later post, since that’ll take some time to put together, and I feel an urgency to share what I have learned about CBD products, including safety, formulation, and administration.
I wrote this guide to help you understand what to look for when deciding on CBD products
because I want my patients, family, and friends to be educated about what they’re putting into their bodies. After all, that’s what Mindful Medicine Rochester is all about.
So, here are my TOP TEN must-know facts about CBD:
1. CBD vs. THC
Cannabis plants contain numerous “cannabinoids” – bioactive substances that have various effects in our bodies. Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC are just a couple of these – at last check, over 100 cannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant. THC has psychoactive properties and is not permitted to be present in significant concentrations in the CBD supplements that are sold in the USA.
Bottom line: CBD is just one of many cannabinoids naturally occurring in the Cannabis plant.
2. CANNABIS and HEMP
Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant (Cannabis Sativa). A main distinction between hemp and marijuana is the THC content. Hemp contains a very low concentration of THC (usually less than 0.3%). As a comparison, THC levels in a marijuana plant can be as high as 20%. In most of the United States, the maximum legal allowed THC content for a CBD supplement is 0.3%.
Bottom line: Be sure that the CBD product that you are purchasing has 0.3% or less THC.
3. FULL SPECTRUM vs. ISOLATE
As I discussed in #1, the hemp plant contains more than just THC and CBD. There are many other compounds in the hemp plant that are thought to have beneficial effects in the body. “Full spectrum” means that the CBD supplement contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from the hemp plant. “Isolate” refers to a product that has isolated the CBD molecule and removed all of the other compounds. Limited research has shown that a full spectrum product offers increased relief when compared with a CBD isolate.
Bottom line: Consider a full spectrum product if you want all of the benefits of the hemp plant.
4. THIRD-PARTY TESTED CBD
Simply put, this means that the product has been tested by an independent third party (usually a laboratory). Not only does the report provide assurance that the product contains what it claims to contain (concentration of CBD), it also ensures that the product is free of harmful contaminants like pesticides. Without a lab report, you can’t confirm what’s in the product or if it is safe to use. Also, make sure that the lab is accredited!
Bottom line: Verify that the product has been third-party tested if you want to assure purity.
5. OTHER INGREDIENTS
Just like anything else you’re consuming, it’s best to know what it contains! If you’re buying a CBD product, you’re going to want a high concentration of cannabinoids and not much of anything else. Read the ingredient list! Look for natural, organic ingredients. The extract that I like has only two components – the CBDs and coconut oil.
Bottom line: Read the ingredients!
6. CBD CONCENTRATION
I wanted to put this as #1 but I felt it important to talk about safety first. But when it comes to getting the most for your $$, you absolutely want to know the concentration of CBD in the product. Use this simple formula: divide the total amount of CBD in the bottle by the number of milliliters in the bottle. For example, most bottles are 30 mL or 1 ounce. If the bottle has 1000 mg CBD, then the math is : 1000mg/30mL = 33.3 mg of CBD per mL. This allows you to compare different brands to know exactly how much CBD you’re getting for your money.
Bottom line: Do the math!
7. WHERE WAS THE HEMP SOURCED FROM?
A trustworthy CBD provider will indicate exactly where and how their products are processed, whether they are organic, and how the CBD has been extracted. The US has high standards for hemp cultivation and quality and there are actually research pilot programs in Colorado, Kentucky and North Carolina whereby state agencies and institutions of higher education study the cultivation and processing of hemp.
Bottom Line: Look for “Made in the USA.”
8. CBD ≠ MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Commercially available CBD products are NOT the same as medical marijuana! The state-administered medical marijuana programs are for patients with certain health diagnoses and require certification by a health-care provider. A huge difference between “CBD” and medical marijuana is that medical marijuana is allowed to contain THC. Recall that CBD products must have 0.3% of THC or less — some formulations of medical marijuana may contain concentrations as high as 95% THC!
Bottom Line: CBD supplements ≠ state-administered medical marijuana programs.
9. TINCTURE vs. TOPICAL
I suppose there is some common sense here in terms of how you’re going to get CBD into your body. The most common ways are to use a muscle rub on sore muscles or to ingest the CBD via a tincture (using a dropper to place a highly concentrated liquid under your tongue).
There are also inhaled (vape) formulations as well as pills. Given the safety concerns about vaping devices (I just read a report today of another person killed by a vape pen exploding), I’m not recommending them to my patients. Also, the same rule about “CBD concentration” applies to muscle rub – know how much you’re getting!
Bottom Line: Consider a tincture or a topical muscle rub over other methods of administration.
10. DISCUSS CBD WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN!
CBD products are not risk-free. As with any product you’re ingesting or putting on your skin, you could have or develop an allergy to the active ingredient or any of the other ingredients. CBD’s can also inhibit certain enzymes in our bodies that are responsible for metabolizing drugs. Some of these drugs are: certain antibiotics, calcium channel blockers, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antiretrovirals, and some statins (atorvastatin and simvastatin).
Bottom Line: Discuss the use of CBD products with your physician.
This list is not exhaustive but it represents the answers to the most common questions that I get regarding CBD products. If you would like to schedule a consultation with me to discuss whether CBD is right for you, please contact me at email@example.com. I have purposely not made any product recommendations here but I have done significant research and I do carry a CBD product that I trust in my office for purchase.
All information, content, and material posted on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
The information contained here is not intended to recommend the self management of health problems or wellness. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular type of medical treatment. No information contained in this blog should be used by any reader to disregard medical and/or health related advice or provide a basis to delay consultation with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider.
You should not use any information contained in this website to initiate use of dietary supplements, vitamins, herbal and nutritional products or homeopathic medicine, and other described products prior to consulting first with a physician or healthcare provider.
As always, if you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.