The term CBD seems to have made its way into everyday language these days – but if you were asked to describe what exactly it is what would you say? Chances are you’d start to list the many benefits that CBD is touted as being able to help us with: Getting a good night’s sleep, helping curb anxiety, even potentially helping with achy muscles. You may also have some anecdotal stories from the experiences of people you know. Yet there is still a lack of understanding by many of the genesis of this superb compound and the unique symbiotic relationship that CBD and other cannabinoids have with the human body.
So what exactly is CBD or cannabidiol? Well, it’s a cannabinoid that is derived from the cannabis plant family, but most especially from Industrial hemp. This kind of hemp has NO narcotic value. There are many chemical compounds found in these plants, all with different qualities that can be taken together as they would appear naturally, or broken down to constituent parts for specific uses.
Scientific research into cannabis compounds began in the 1960’s and although THC was the first compound under scrutiny, the discovery of over 100 other cannabinoids, none of which are psychotropic, has been exciting researchers ever since. CBD is probably the best known because it is more abundant in the plant than the others. It was the first one to reach our shelves as a product; the first one to become widely available to the public. Although most good CBD brands contain small traces of other cannabinoids, research is ongoing as to their individual qualities.
CBD interacts with the human body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which was discovered in 1992 and is now known as the regulatory powerhouse that controls homeostasis (harmony and wellbeing) throughout the body. Cannabinoids are understood to supplement the ECS to varying degrees. They connect with the body’s own receptors (CB1 and CB2), like a key in a lock, creating a natural symbiotic relationship. CBD has gained popularity for its potential in exactly this regard.
But there’s a lot more to the story than that, and we want you to have a good idea of what you’re getting into. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about CBD:
- What kinds of CBD are there?
- What Ways Can CBD Be Taken?
- A brief look at CBD Bioavailability!
- Why can CBD be expensive?
- And, of course, is CBD safe and how can you make sure?
Table of Contents
What Kinds of CBD Are There?
If you have an understanding of the three main forms of CBD making their way into products that come to market, it will be much easier for you to assess which one may suit your personal preferences best. With the huge variety of products now available, this basic knowledge will help you to make an informed decision. It’s not about what is right–it’s about what is right for you. Although the best way is to try things for yourself and compare the difference in experience, you may discover that you have a preference for one of these options:
Full Spectrum CBD – This describes the content as it is found in the plant just as nature intended – like the first pressing with none of the goodness removed. As with other plant based food supplements, this is the optimum way to experience all the benefits it offers. In music, the orchestral symphony has a fullness of sound.
The same principle is thought to apply to CBD – Full spectrum includes all the natural compounds and chemicals found in the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC (below the legal limit). Not only does this mean the CBD has undergone less processing (which reduces the potential for toxicity), but many attest that a tiny amount of THC actually boosts the powers of the other compounds – a phenomenon known as the ‘entourage effect.
’New to the world of CBD and looking for a reliable introductory strength, full spectrum product? Try Hemp Company’s own 8% 10ml CBD Oil, the best value for money and guaranteed quality you can trust on the market. It’s consistently a favourite with our Hemp Company customers and has been for many years.
Broad Spectrum CBD – Many people are still concerned with trace levels of THC that naturally occur in the hemp plant, such as athletes or other tested professionals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has thoroughly investigated this issue and has categorically stated there is no psychotropic effect or narcotic value to CBD, however, having it fully removed may still be the preferable option for some people.
Broad Spectrum therefore describes CBD which has all the THC content removed. Rather than the full orchestra you are missing a section, like the wind instruments. This can still be very effective but with less impact.
If you feel that broad spectrum is your preference we can now recommend Elixinol Capsules from one of the world’s best known brands and the latest addition to our Hemp Company stable.
CBD Isolate – All the individual compounds available from industrial hemp can be extracted from the plant separately, and some of these are more bountiful than others – with cannabidiol or CBD being the largest. Scientists and researchers are still working to understand all the many potentials and combinations that may occur.
Removing the plant matter and all other compounds is a complex scientific procedure that results in pure CBD in a crystalline or white powder form. You will experience a solo performance with the attributes of CBD itself but without the ‘entourage effect’ of Full Spectrum. It literally boils down to a personal choice as to what each individual wants and needs from their CBD.
There is a strong likelihood that further processing of the CBD will now occur before ending up in products that reach our shelves. With the extensive range of options now available the next big question is what form to take your CBD in?
What Ways Can CBD Be Taken?
Once your CBD has been extracted from the hemp plant, it can be prepared for use in a number of different products, each providing a different route for the CBD to take as it travels into the body by different ‘delivery methods’. There are distinct applications and effects to these various forms, and it is useful to consider what might work best for you before purchasing.
As you get to understand your own body’s relationship to cannabinoids you can experiment with the various options available. Indeed, for many consumers a combination of multiple delivery methods may be a better option than just one. For example, using both CBD capsules that deliver to the endocannabinoid system within, and CBD topicals which target specific areas of the body externally, may lead to a more complete and effective response for some.
Here’s a guide to the popular CBD delivery methods and their benefits:
CBD Oil – The most usual delivery of CBD oil is by placing drops under the tongue and holding there for at least one minute. This method is described as ‘sublingual’ application. It is best known for its absorption directly through mucous membranes into the system via the bloodstream without first passing through the digestive system.
Simple and pure form CBD oil is generally combined with a ‘carrier’ oil that helps your body absorb CBD more easily. Popular carriers include medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils—whose rich unsaturated fat content boosts CBD’s bioavailability, or hemp seed oil, which has a number of beneficial properties for the skin and hair (among other things).
Water-Soluble CBD – Rather than use oil as the carrier, this describes water-soluble – or in the case of tinctures, alcohol-based – carriers. Also delivered by the sublingual method, the speed of absorption is increased as CBD reaches the bloodstream quicker due to its liquid consistency The main benefit of this delivery is the almost instant response it can have, making it ideal for use in situations where fast action is required. It can also be further mixed with juices or teas for those who find oil or capsules hard to swallow.
Our favourite is the Active+ Water Soluble CBD from our Hemp Company brand. This comes as a spray pump so is easy to direct under the tongue and is useful to carry with you for times of need.
CBD Capsules – This can be a preferred delivery method for those of us who may not like the natural earthy taste of hemp. Many people also find it easier to remember to take a capsule and quicker overall. Capsules are an ideal way to ensure that you receive your perfect dose of CBD consistently.
CBD oil is put in a capsule (look for a plant-based cellulose capsule) which is easy to swallow and easy to dose while also having the benefit of being slow release. This means that capsules require longer to take effect (as they must be digested before making their way to the bloodstream), but last longer overall. Capsules are also easy to transport without fear of spillage.
For a pure organic CBD capsule, try MediHemp’s Full Spectrum Organic Hemp Capsules with 2.5% full spectrum CBD. Exact amounts of CBD with only a small percentage of organic hemp seed oil, these are a great supplement you can stagger throughout the day to keep CBD levels consistent!
CBD Topicals – The delivery method topicals take is called transdermal, or to apply externally to the skin. From here, CBD makes its way to ECS receptors located throughout the body and under the layers of skin. As the largest organ our body possesses, our skin has a powerful ability to absorb.
The combination of CBD extract with other ingredients can create a wide range of topical products such as lotions for body-care and cosmetics, but that’s not all. Balms, salves, roll-on oils, and transdermal patches can all provide direct CBD and ECS interaction.
If there are issues related to your skin or muscles that you feel may benefit from the properties of Topical Products, browse this category to help you decide what might best suit your needs. Here are some of our favourites:
- Hemp Company’s own CBD Infused Forte Balm is ideal for teenagers and young adults to use on the face – combine with a paraben & perfume free soap from our Herbs & Hydro range for good results.
- Pure Ratios Transdermal Patches provide a powerful delivery method when direct and lasting effects are required for specific areas of the body.
CBD Edibles – The clue is in the name for the delivery method referred to here – it’s CBD combined with things you can eat and drink. The possibilities are vast, as you can imagine! CBD infused tea and coffee, biscuits and bars, CBD infused chocolate and sweets, with more innovations reaching the market every day. Edibles are perfectly dosed and contain an exact amount of CBD, so if you require exact tracking of your CBD usage, edibles can offer this.
Beyond this, though, edibles can prove to be an excellent way of delivering the goodness of CBD to those who may experience difficulty getting enough – indeed the perfect amount of CBD could be one little, delicious chocolate away.
For a refreshing alternative to regular CBD oil, why not mix things up with a Sparkling CBD Infused Beverage from Parachute? With 10mg of CBD per can, these lemon and juniper + green tea drinks are healthy, delicious and a great way to get your CBD quota while on the move.
CBD Vaping – This is a highly effective and popular way of delivering CBD to the body. CBD E-Liquid is converted to vapour as it passes through specialised equipment, such as a vaping machine or a small personal device similar to a pen.
See some of our tried and tested favourites or choose from exciting new brands that we have chosen for their quality and performance by our experienced team at The Hemp Company. We recommend Harmony CBD E-Liquids for anyone looking for a range of natural, terpene rich flavors!
CBD Oil and Bioavailability
Finding the best CBD oil to suit you can be a challenge to say the least. Understanding Bioavailability, the rate at which (and how much) CBD is absorbed into your body might help. This can vary depending on the method of consumption or application you choose.
Sublingual is the most popular delivery method for consuming CBD oil. Absorbed by the soft tissue beneath the tongue, it can be processed rapidly by your body. Scientists are still trying to determine the precise bioavailability of CBD administered in this way, as detailed in recent studies, but right now the consensus seems to be that sublingual administration is one of the fastest ways to consume CBD.
This is advantageous for any consumer looking for almost immediate effects (around 15 minutes usually). However, you may need to take CBD a few times throughout the day as the noticeable effects of the CBD can wear off more rapidly.
CBD Edibles and Bioavailability
Because CBD edibles, capsules and CBD drinks need to be digested, they are less bioavailable, according to a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Passing through the digestive system involves a bit of time (30 minutes to 2 hours, in fact), and the end result produces a CBD experience much less noticeable than sublingual ingestion.
Edibles are great for anyone looking to have subtle, longer lasting effects. You can track your dosage needs more accurately since every edible, capsule, or drink has a carefully measured amount of CBD.
CBD Vaping and Bioavailability
CBD becomes highly bioavailable through the lungs when inhaled.
Although some people may be wary of inhaling anything, Vaping still remains the most direct method for delivering CBD straight to where it is most required in the body. This can have very immediate impacts and as such can be a very desirable method of CBD consumption.
CBD is not as inclined to break down as much as it might in other methods that must take a longer journey through the body. It also means you can access the benefits of CBD while out and about, socialising or on the move.
CBD Topicals and Bioavailability
Topicals, on the other hand, don’t enter the bloodstream at all, aren’t digested and only interact with the ECS close to the surface of the skin on which it’s applied. They target areas where specific results are wanted with a strong and lasting effect. Because they don’t have to worry about being digested, they go to work rapidly as well.
See some of our very favorite, groundbreaking CBD Topical products, utilized for the overall wellness of your skin and muscles!
What CBD Strength is Best?
The strength and dose that each person needs can vary depending on their weight, height, body chemistry, and even the reasons you’re taking CBD in the first place. There is no hard and fast rule book for CBD dosage – but there are some simple guidelines that can help:
- Read the label – most CBD products will have a guide to dosage.
- Start low and go slow – CBD can take several weeks to build up in your system, and if you’re new to taking CBD it is best to be patient as your body adjusts. See how a small amount works for you before incrementally increasing until you’ve figured out what works best, this is known as your ‘sweet spot’.
- Build up your knowledge – Because there are so many different factors that can affect your perfect CBD dose, research the products that interest you!
Why Can CBD Oil Be Expensive?
When you make the decision to invest in CBD you are making an investment in your own long term wellbeing. This is not simply a matter of ‘the more expensive the better the product’, it is about building your knowledge and experience to find what might be the right one or combination for you.
There are many different factors that can affect how expensive or inexpensive CBD oil can be: the processing method used, cultivation practices and the quality of earth used for growing, manufacturing processes and distribution channels can all contribute. By and large, more robust cultivation, processing, and manufacturing methods will result in a more expensive end product.
Very inexpensive CBD, although tempting, may ultimately leave you with a product that contains less actual CBD and more unwanted guests, especially if it comes from plants grown in poor quality earth. There are several ways to ensure that you are participating in safe CBD consumption, however. Always buy from brands that can be trusted, that readily provide third party lab test results and that can provide certificates of analysis. Making informed choices will help ensure you get exactly what you’re paying for.
Are CBD Oil Products Safe?
CBD oil in and of itself has already been classified as safe by the World Health Organisation with NO narcotic value and NO potential for addiction. But as with any new trend, many companies set up to take advantage of customers hungry for products. This can mean corners are cut and marketing ploys are used to entice the consumer. Please look for reputable sources for your CBD products as some may not stand up to scrutiny.
At the Hemp Company, we know how difficult this task can be – that’s why we use our years of knowledge and expertise to stock only the most reputable, respected brands on the market. When you purchase from us, you can be assured that every single product has made it through our rigorous standards for quality.
A third party lab report and certificate of analysis are sure ways to double check that what is advertised to be contained in your CBD (or, indeed, not) is the case. Research the brands you’re interested in buying from. What do other people have to say? Do they have good reviews and readily available customer services?
The information offered here is not exhaustive but we hope it gives you a slightly more confident approach to your purchasing. We will be returning to these topics regularly in future blogs to help you develop a deeper understanding of the unique symbiotic relationship we beings have with cannabinoids. In the end, CBD may prove to be a great addition to your wellness regime, but doing your homework is necessary to make sure you can take full advantage of its effects and buy intelligently!