What is CBD?
You’re likely here because you’ve heard about CBD and you’d like to know more. Perhaps your friend or colleague mentioned they use it.
There’s a lot of information on CBD out there - and it can be super overwhelming, especially for a beginner. We at New Haven Naturals have created a beginners’ guide to CBD so that you have access to all the information you need in one easy-to-read, simple guide.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the many natural chemical compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. These compounds are called cannabinoids. CBD might have a range of health benefits, which is why it’s becoming a popular health tonic nowadays.
Here’s what you need to know about CBD.
What is a cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are the active compounds found in cannabis and hemp. CBD is one of the most prominent cannabinoids in hemp. There are dozens of known cannabinoids, and it’s possible that many more are out there, still waiting to be discovered!
Other cannabinoids include:
- THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBN (cannabinol)
- CBG (cannabigerol)
- CBC (cannabichromene)
You might be surprised to know that Cannabis isn’t the only thing that makes cannabinoids! Cannabinoids are also found in your body. Whether or not you use cannabis, your body naturally makes its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.
Cannabinoids work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is found throughout your body.
The only major cannabinoid that can get you high is THC. CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it can’t get you high.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals, from humans to dogs to rodents to cats. This system plays an important part in keeping your body healthy.
- Endocannabinoids, which are the cannabinoids produced naturally by your body.
- Receptors, which receive “messages” from the endocannabinoids.
- Enzymes, which break down cannabinoids that are no longer needed by the body.
The endocannabinoid system affects many different organs, body parts, and bodily functions, including your heart, brain, digestive system, skin, muscles, eyes, and more. The endocannabinoid system’s main function is keeping your body in a state of homeostasis - the perfect state of balance that your body needs to function optimally.
However, our bodies get sick, injured, and out-of-whack all the time, and sometimes our endocannabinoid systems need a little help keeping us healthy. This is where cannabinoids come in. Taking cannabinoids like CBD might help you with certain ailments and injuries.
What are the benefits of CBD?
So far, scientific research has suggested that there are multiple health benefits of CBD. However, the research on CBD is still in its infancy, meaning there’s a lot we don’t yet know about the chemical.
1. CBD can prevent seizures
CBD has been used to treat certain seizure conditions for many years. High-CBD strains of cannabis were specifically bred to help children with seizure conditions.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a CBD-based treatment for seizures, called Epidiolex, a prescription medicine used to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
2. CBD can reduce pain and inflammation
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. It also seems to reduce pain, according to a 2018 review of studies that found it effectively reduced cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. CBD is often used by people with chronic pain, temporary injuries, and menstrual pain.
3. CBD could treat acne and other skin conditions
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD might help it treat inflammatory skin conditions. A 2016 study shows that CBD might be an effective treatment for acne. Research from 2014 shows that CBD can affect the sebaceous glands in our skin, which produce the natural oils in our skin.
4. CBD might reduce the symptoms of cancer
Some people claim that CBD kills cancer cells. While there is evidence that CBD might have tumor-fighting effects and could slow the growth of cancer cells, there isn’t enough research to prove that CBD “cures” cancer.
But, research suggests that CBD reduces the symptoms associated with cancer and chemotherapy. The 2018 review on CBD and pain concluded that CBD can reduce cancer-related pain. What’s more is that a 2010 study suggests that CBD might reduce nausea and vomiting in chemo patients.
5. CBD might soothe anxiety
Anxious? CBD might be your new best friend!
A 2018 review suggested that CBD reduces one’s overall stress level, and one case study showed that CBD effectively treated insomnia and anxiety in a child with post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study, which involved giving 54 subjects a public speaking test, found that 300mg of CBD reduced anxiety.
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, there’s some evidence that CBD might:
- Have anti-psychotic properties
- Reduce blood pressure
- Treat diabetes
- Soothe nausea
- Aid digestion
Is CBD safe? Are there side-effects of CBD?
As this extensive review notes, CBD is considered safe and it is well-tolerated by humans. However, there have been some reports that it can cause a few uncomfortable side effects, like diarrhea, changes in appetite, and being too relaxed.
CBD shouldn’t be taken if you’re using any chronic medication with a “grapefruit warning.” Like grapefruit, CBD can interfere with the way your body processes certain drugs. So, if you’ve been advised to steer clear of grapefruit on your medication, you should consult with your doctor first.
Again, it’s always best to speak to your doctor before using any supplement, including CBD. Just because CBD can be bought without a prescription doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek medical guidance when using it.
Can I give CBD to my pet?
Many pet owners give their four-legged friends CBD in order to treat certain ailments and support their general health. There is some promising, continuing research that CBD can help dogs and cats with certain illnesses.
Research suggests that CBD can help dogs, specifically, with:
- Pain. A 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis showed that CBD soothed their pain and improved their activity levels.
- Seizures. A 2017 study found that CBD reduced the frequency of seizures in epileptic dogs.
- Skin conditions. A study conducted in 2012 showed that dogs with atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition, might benefit from CBD oil.
A recent survey of US veterinarians shows that many vets find CBD to be helpful for these conditions, as well as inflammation, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, a 2018 report found that CBD is well-tolerated in dogs, although it can produce a few adverse effects if a very high dosage is given to them.
If you’re considering giving your pet CBD, it’s a good idea that you speak to your vet first. A holistic-friendly, CBD-informed vet could help you figure out whether CBD is safe for your pet, how much to give them, and what brand of CBD to use.
Which CBD product should I take?
There are a number of different CBD delivery methods. You might want to experiment with different delivery methods before deciding which one you prefer.
CBD delivery methods include:
CBD oil or tincture, where CBD is suspended in a carrier oil like MCT oil, coconut oil, or hempseed oil. CBD oil usually comes in droppers, which makes it easy to give yourself a very specific dosage. CBD tinctures could be oil- or alcohol-based.
CBD topicals, such as CBD-infused creams and balms. These can be applied to your skin to treat pain in a localized area. However, they’re often more expensive than CBD oil, and less bioavailable.
CBD capsules, often soft-gel capsules. These are great if you’re taking the same dosage every day and if you want a flavor-free alternative.
CBD gummies, which are like vitamin gummies that contain CBD. These can be quite tasty. As with capsules, these are ideal if you’re taking the same dosage every day.
CBD edibles, which can be candy, cakes, and snacks with added CBD. It’s pretty trendy to add CBD to all sorts of foods, but it’s not as bioavailable - and CBD edibles are often overpriced.
CBD vapes, which can either be portable vaporizers or larger desktop vaporizers. One downside is that the actual vaporizer can be expensive. However, vaping does allow you to customize the amount of CBD you use, and the effect is nearly immediate.
Is CBD the same as hemp oil or hemp seed oil?
CBD can be derived from hemp plants - but it’s only present in certain parts of the plant, particularly the flower. There is no CBD in hemp seeds.
Hemp-derived oils might contain CBD, but you can’t be sure unless it explicitly states that it does. CBD oil should explicitly state that it contains CBD.
What’s the difference between CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD?
You might have noticed that CBD oil is labeled CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, or full-spectrum CBD. But what do these terms mean?
- Full-spectrum CBD contains a high concentration of CBD and a smaller amount of many other cannabinoids. This could include THC, CBG, CBN, and more.
- Broad-spectrum CBD contains a high concentration of CBD and a smaller amount of multiple other cannabinoids. Generally, it contains fewer cannabinoids than full-spectrum CBD.
- CBD isolate contains pure CBD, with tiny, trace amounts of other cannabinoids.
Is CBD isolate better than full-spectrum CBD? That depends on what you’re looking for. Many people believe that full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD is better because of the ‘entourage effect’, which is the idea that cannabinoids are more effective when they work together.
However, full-spectrum CBD can contain a lot of unwanted parts of the plant. For example, many people don’t want THC in their CBD products at all. Many doctors opt for CBD isolate when giving it to their pets, children, or people on chronic medication.
Broad-spectrum CBD can be thought of as the “best of both worlds” - it contains multiple cannabinoids, but still undergoes some processing to get rid of the unwanted chemicals.
New Haven uses broad-spectrum, THC-free extract from USA Grown Hemp plants that are purposefully high in CBD. Our oil drop tinctures also contain terpenes, which are infused into the products for added relief.
What are terpenes?
Do you know the soothing fragrance of fresh lavender? Or the smell that surrounds you when you enter a pine forest? Or the energizing aroma of fresh-cut citrus?
These pleasing fragrances are all because of terpenes. Hemp and cannabis plants naturally contain terpenes, too, which vary from plant to plant. For this reason, some cannabis might smell like lemons while others might smell like blueberry.
These terpenes don’t just smell great - they ilicit beneficial responses from the body. For this reason, our broad-spectrum CBD oil also contains a range of terpenes.
Which CBD should I buy?
Naturally, we’d like you to buy our CBD - but if you can’t, that’s okay!
We do, however, advise you to use high-quality CBD products. Unfortunately, some companies have produced dodgy products and marketed them as CBD. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has actually issued warning letters to various companies for producing sub-par CBD. Their products either contained less CBD than the companies claimed, or they contained no CBD at all.
So, how do you figure out whether a brand produces top-notch CBD products? The best way is to read their lab report. Their CBD should be tested by a third-party lab. In other words, the lab that tests it should not be a part of their company, as this makes them biased.
The lab report should confirm the claims they make about their CBD on their website and packaging. Ideally, the lab report should also mention whether their products contain traces of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold - naturally, you don’t want any of these contaminants in your CBD!
The lab report should be available on their website, or they should be prepared to send it to you - just ask them via email. If a company doesn’t have a legit lab report, that’s a huge red flag.
If you’d like to view our lab report, click here.
There are a few other things you can do when figuring out what brand of CBD to buy:
- Ask your doctor. As you can tell, we’re huge advocates for speaking to your doctor when it comes to CBD. They can advise you on whether or not CBD will be safe for you, and they can suggest a brand as well as a dosage.
- Chat to a CBD expert. Talking to a CBD expert at your local dispensary or cannabis shop can help you choose a brand of CBD that’s both high quality and within your budget.
- Read reviews. Online reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, as they could always be fake. However, it’s a good idea to check out what fellow customers are saying about a company.
Choosing a brand of CBD can be daunting, but it’s worth the time and effort it takes to research different kinds of CBD. After all; your health is your biggest asset - and it’s worth investing in!