Cannabidiol (CBD) is so hot right now. It is flying off the shelves across America's most successful retailers and has made its way into everything from a burger at Carl's Jr. to your favorite skincare product. Many people are probably most familiar with the most common method of administration, the CBD tincture. These are what time-tested CBD veterans tend to use, and it gets the job done. However, some people may find situations where this method of administration (tinctures) can be inconvenient or messy. This has led to the rise in alternative methods of delivery for CBD. The trend of CBD gummies seems to have bled over from the legal cannabis industry. As the rise in consumption of cannabis through legal state frameworks has become a prevalent and even protected and essential service, in many jurisdictions across the United States. The old edibles exemplified by teenagers making ‘pot brownies’ in their mom’s kitchen have been replaced by a sharp and polished industry selling edibles in everything from barbeque sauce, soda, seasonings, gummies, candies and all other variety of sought after eatables. Proponents of CBD likely saw some of these delivery methods as effective ways to reach new consumers who may not be as willing to drop a tincture full of oil under their tongue as experienced users. CBD gummies can be a great first introduction to CBD products and can help you maintain your CBD routine even when you're on the go or in a situation where it is inconvenient to use a tincture. The other thing about CBD gummies is as long as you can verify the contents with a certificate of analysis (COA) verifying the quantity of CBD present then you can trust how much CBD is present in each gummy. This means that gummies from reputable vendors will have precise amounts in each gummy readily identifiable on the packaging on what is called a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
Unlike many industries, the top CBD vendors are not required to do this. They have been an example of an industry going above-and-beyond to meet the shortfalls and ineffectiveness of government regulation that is making health and wellness consumers have difficulty accessing good products that are made with integrity. The FDA does not regulate the contents, or claims made by vendors about supplements, so consumers are to a much bigger degree on their own when they have to determine the quality and of the product they are buying, as well as the integrity of the producer and the supply chain. Unfortunately, there have been many get-rich-quick schemes that take advantage of this unfortunate and potentially detrimental shortfall in government supervision. Many studies done by private actors have found wide variation in the CBD represented and the CBD actually present in a wide variety of products. However, there is a higher level of Hemp extract operators that only use USDA certified organic Hemp, and provide a Certificate of Analysis from a highly certified and prestigious laboratory with every batch. Without this additional certification you cannot be certain what you are getting. Many assume that this is not the case because we live in America, however, personal responsibility is always something consumers should strive to uphold in their due diligence. They should only purchase products from vendors who uphold that responsibility by investing the extra capital in ensuring that their consumers only get the highest quality, contaminant free American hemp-extract products. Supporting American agriculture and businesses that meet a higher standard; and that do right by their consumers is not only the right thing to do, it also will almost always result in a better experience for the consumer as well.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that affects the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS). That’s right, we as humans produce internally our own cannabinoids that have nothing to do with the cannabis plant or any other plant. As the federal prohibition of marijuana came into full swing in the twentieth century, the many legitimate uses of hemp became less and less common in the wider economy. One unanticipated result of this is that hemp and the cannabinoids in it became a lot less prevalent in our diet, leading to a widespread deficiency amongst the American population. This seems to be one reason why so many consumers report positive results when they first experience use of a hemp-extract, CBD-rich product; because they have a major deficiency. Compounds that help people alleviate suffering should be above all politics, in fact, as a society we have a duty to help our elderly and the most infirm among us.
The 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act led to the creation of a legal designation of the Cannabis Sativa (marijuana plant) called ‘Hemp’ that contains less than 0.3% THC. This has created an agricultural and business revolution as consumers’ demand has risen lightning-fast in the versatile supplement that millions find gives them beneficial effects. Those who primarily use CBD are not young millennials ‘sticking it to the man’ but are often baby boomers who have worked hard their whole life, and are experiencing the unfortunate aches and pains of aging that any of us fortunate to make us long enough will inevitably experience.
What Is CBD And Is It Going To Get Me High?
This is probably the most common question someone who knows little about CBD will ask before trying it. It is straightforward to answer. Cannabidiol is one of the most prevalent compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is also the second most famous compound in the cannabis plant, second only to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active compound in marijuana responsible for the widely depicted euphoric high. CBD, unlike THC, will not get you high. Because of the controversial history of the cannabis plant in US political history, the helpful and medicinal CBD compound was caught up in a legal gray area. ' CBD does not get you high, and it is not addictive. It is safe to take in reasonable amounts. According to a report by the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
Ok It’s Safe! But Is It Legal?
Yes, CBD itself is not prohibited by any statute or law in the United States. The cannabis plant was banned under the Controlled Substances Act, and unfortunately, Cannabidiol became collateral damage. However, with the full legalization of Hemp (cannabis that contains less 0.3% THC), CBD is now being sold across multiple sectors, and consumers are voting yes to CBD again and again with their wallets! However, it is imperative to stress that CBD derived from Hemp, or full-spectrum and broad-spectrum hemp extract, is entirely legal in the United States. If you are purchasing CBD obtained from illegal cannabis plants, you may be opening yourself up to needless liability. Only purchasing CBD that is derived from 100% United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic Hemp will get you the highest quality. This will also shield you from any problems with law enforcement so long as your supplement was derived from Hemp. It will also ensure you’re getting a cleaner product that is not tainted with pollutants or heavy metals that could be counterproductive to your health and wellness goal.
It’s also essential, and we realize this can all be quite confusing to remember that hemp oil is not the same as hemp extract. Hemp oil has been traditionally used in cooking and beauty products, but it contains little, if any, CBD. Whereas CBD is derived from the plant's fibrous material, stalks and leaves mainly, hemp oil is obtained only from the seeds of the plant. This means that they contain little CBD, which must be extracted from the plant matter.
So, as long as you're buying CBD extracted from 100%, USDA certified organic American Hemp, you have nothing to worry about. You should always keep in mind that full-spectrum hemp extract contains up to 0.3% of THC, the legal limit. Full-spectrum Hemp contains every single cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. So, if you are a professional that works in a field that requires regular drug testing, you may want to try using broad-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD has effectively had all the CBD removed. It will receive a zero percent lab test rating, which likely means it contains less than 0.000199% THC. Though it is impossible to say for sure, it is unlikely that this amount of THC will trigger a false positive on a drug test. However, that is impossible to guarantee since so many variables contribute to how long THC metabolites will remain in the human body. It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty. The other type of CBD, which may be used in some products is CBD isolate. This is when the process of separating CBD from all the compounds in the plant occurs. While there is nothing wrong with CBD isolate in itself, vendors who only offer products that contain CBD isolate may be suspect. For one thing, if you cannot verify the contents of a product, do not buy it. Many unscrupulous vendors have been caught misrepresenting and exaggerating the levels of CBD in their products. They will often just throw a little isolate in there and misrepresent the product to the unwitting customer. Make sure you can trace where the CBD comes from and make sure it comes from organic Hemp.
What Are The Potential Benefits of Taking CBD?
It is essential for the reader to understand that any medicinal benefits that CBD may or may not have are currently too poorly understood to allow CBD to be considered an actual medicine or treatment for a disease, unless specifically for Dravet’s Syndrome (a juvenile seizure disorder that the FDA has approved a medication containing CBD to be used for treating). This means that you should not take CBD with the intention of curing anything, and you certainly should not take it as an alternative or replacement for prescription medications unless your doctor recommends explicitly that.
CBD is thought to have many benefits—some have been studied, while others are still anecdotal. There is an ongoing effort to seek clarity and approval from the FDA. Dozens of studies have suggested CBD helps with anxiety, schizophrenia, insomnia, pain management, and other ailments. The FDA has approved CBD to treat particularly vicious epilepsy disorders in children with miraculous results. The only thing that the FDA officially allows CBD derived medications to treat is epilepsy. Although the compound is still relatively new, for sure, CBD has a lot of promise to promote well-being. CBD may help relieve symptoms of the following ailments and medical conditions:
- Pain Relief:
CBD is especially good at managing and reliving what’s called “neuropathic pain." Neuropathic pain is a chronic type of ailment, usually resulting from tissue or nerve damage. The old methods of dealing with chronic pain included prescription medications like opioids or non-prescription medicines like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. More and more research is concluding that the long-term usage of even non-prescription drugs can have serious adverse side-effects. That is why more and more people are turning to natural options like CBD to help manage their chronic and sometimes even acute pain—including things like muscle injuries.
- Anxiety Relief:
One of the most common benefits of CBD is how it is used in treating anxiety. The use of CBD oil, in particular, is popular among those who suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety can range from a mild, although unnecessary, feeling of nervousness before social situations to debilitating feelings of anxiousness that prevent people from doing anything new for the first time or experiencing any social joys. Social anxiety is so malicious because of how it snowballs. People usually start mild cases of affliction, but even mild social anxiety is often enough to inspire people to go out less and avoid social interactions more. Anyone who experiences social anxiety should seek help in either the form of therapy or natural remedies like CBD. CBD can help reduce or eliminate unnecessary feelings of nervousness or anxiety in social situations, which will help you be better and more confident.
- Skin Conditions:
CBD oil has become a popular additive in face and body creams. The compound is both moisturizing and has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce acne and facial redness. It is often mixed with other agents commonly used in skincare products to assist in hydrating and soothing skin.
- Inflammation-Related Diseases and Ailments:
One of the most exciting things you may not know about CBD is that it may not only reduce pain but may target and help heal one of the primary causes of pain and illness in the body: Inflammation. Inflammation is linked to countless ailments and diseases, including, even, cancer. While more research is still needed, doctors are looking into whether CBD may have anti-cancer features that can be used in treatments and medicines.
What Kinds of CBD Gummies Are There?
The boom in CBD products has led to a very extensive diversification of the products available. There are all kinds of gummies available. Some vendors may choose to mix CBD with other ingredients in the gummies. One example would be gummies that contain caffeine and CBD. These might be taken by a user in the morning to get an extra jolt on the day. Mixing with melatonin could create a gummy that accentuates CBD natural qualities in promoting healthy sleep.
Another mixture that has become popular is to mix CBD with Turmeric. Since both compounds are believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties, it seems pairing them may be able to provide a benefit. Some may choose to combine the gummies with superfoods such as spirulina that also has antioxidant properties.
Based on a user's experience level and needs, the dose they may need can vary. Of course, it should always be cautioned that since CBD is not regulated as a medicine, there is no official human dose, and there’s no effective dose known for particular reasons people take CBD. That being said, the new user will generally start with 5 mg gummies. Experienced users or those seeking more acute effects may need a more concentrated form, or take multiple gummies.
Many CBD gummies may contain artificial sweeteners or other products that may not comply with gluten-free, non-GMO, and soy-free restrictions that many consumers have. Always make sure you know the other ingredients of the product besides CBD. If you can’t tell what those ingredients are, then do not buy the product.
Always use common sense as a consumer in this space. Most consumers find that shopping for organically sourced gummies will result in better, not worse taste. The producers of gummies have gotten incredibly innovative. Odds are you can find a particular gummy for your specific need and taste without too much effort. Ensure you know what you value in process and brand values as a consumer before you buy anything. Always consult your physician before starting any supplement, including CBD. Make sure you understand the side-effects and potential interactions with other prescriptions before you begin taking CBD.
How To Read A Certificate of Analysis
A COA should be easy for most to understand and read, but let’s give a quick refresher since not all of us are accustomed to looking at laboratory reports, which is essentially what one of these are. The measurements are very precise, but usually are rounded for easier consumer comprehension. It will usually list the levels, by percentage of total weight, of the key cannabinoids that each product contains. This can be compared with other products that also conduct lab tests, however, make sure that this is a certified lab test and not just a bogus claim that cannot be verified. There are many resources and consumer reports that can be checked to see which vendors are good. A good CBD vendor will meet the following criteria.
- They will use only 100% USDA certified hemp: Without this certification it is possible that you could get tainted hemp that contains heavy metals or other contaminants that are completely counterproductive to the goal most consumers share; which is health and wellness. Also, this will ensure that harmful pesticides and the like were not used in the cultivation of your product. Please be sure to especially not have any raw hemp juice that is from a hemp plant which may have an uncertain or uncertified origin. This is because raw hemp juice will expose you to even higher levels of contaminants then a typical hemp extract.
- They will use a state-of-the-art laboratory, or preferably own their own laboratory and conduct rigorous testing, as well as provide a COA on every product batch. This is essential given the complete lack of consequences, other than those doled out by private groups, for vendors who misrepresent the contents of their products. Not only do many vendors under-report the amount of CBD in their products, some vendors dramatically underreport the amounts of CBD in their products which can lead to unpleasant side effects or unnecessary issues.
- Stick to a vendor that cares about their customers. Does a vendor have a recognizable brand and tens of thousands of loyal, mature customers? Then it is probably a safe bet, particularly if it has the last two things we mentioned as well. One of the best ways to select a brand is to follow how consumers ‘vote’ with their wallets. Sometimes, this can tell you even more about a product then anything else. If the brand, the mission and the people who started the company your are looking at are aligned with your values and inspire trust, then you should use that brand. Support brands that align with your values.