CBD 101: Everything You Need to Know
- Written By:Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
From gummy bears to lattes to tinctures, we’re in the middle of a huge CBD moment. Derived from the industrial hemp and cannabis sativa plants (aka marijuana), cannabidiol or CBD is a phytocannabinoid that works with our body's endocannabinoid system to keep everything in balance. A natural anti-inflammatory, products containing CBD have been designed to target everything from anxiety to pain relief. It's popping up as an add-on to spa treatments, an ingredient on cocktail menus and is being added to a wide range of personal care products (think scalp scrubs and eye creams). And there are no signs of slow down. The Hemp Business Journal estimates that hemp-derived CBD industry will grow to $736 million by 2020.
So how exactly does CBD work? Will it get you high? What product is right for you? We talked to experts from our favorite CBD brands to tell you everything you need to know about this growing trend.
HOW IT WORKS
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules that play a role in regulating everything from physiology to mood, including modulation of pain and inflammation. Joel Greengrass, CEO of Theramu, describes it as “the thermostat for all cell functions in our bodies.” When your ECS is out of balance, everything is out of balance. CBD works to keep your body in homeostasis (balance) by engaging these cell receptors. “The receptors in our ECS are located throughout all of the cells in our skin,” explains Greengrass. “CBD binds to those receptors to restore homeostasis and [acts] as a catalyst for healing.”
CBD VS THC
First things first: you will not get high from CBD. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive. “People are surprised to hear that our products are 100% THC-free,” says Christie Tarleton, co-founder of Yuyo Botanics. “It’s the most widely asked question we get because there are so many different types of CBD you can get out there.” Most products on the market are made with CBD isolate, containing only the cannabidiol molecule. Broad-spectrum CBD has a more limited cannabinoid profile with the THC removed. Products made with full spectrum CBD, meaning it has a full range cannabinoid profile, do contain trace amounts of THC (amounts are below the legal limit of 0.3% THC). Always read the ingredient labels before ingesting a product and feel free to reach out to the brand if you have questions. Yuyo Botanics provides a batch certificate of analysis for products upon request.
In June, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution for the treatment of seizures in children, making it the first approved drug that contains a substance derived from marijuana. A study in 2011 showed that CBD reduced anxiety in those with social anxiety disorder who were faced with a public speaking test. According to the study, those who received 600mg of CBD had “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance.” Other clinical trials exploring the impact of CBD are still underway, but advocates for the use of the phytocannabinoid say the potential health benefits are great.
Beth Stavola, founder and CEO of CBD For Life, suffered from scoliosis and turned to medical cannabis to deal with the pain she was having from inflammation. She started researching CBD for pain management and created her own product, a rub, at home. At the same time her sister, Julie Winter, started applying the rub to sore muscles and noticed softer and clearer skin. On top of pain relief, the duo realized that CBD had benefits when it came to soothing skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema and began to infuse it into a range of products to start their line.
“We have patients using Theramu for arthritis, migraines, eczema, workout recovery, and overall health and skincare,” says Greengrass. He uses CBD products himself to treat systems of MS, which has freed him from six prescriptions and over-the-counter painkillers. “There's almost no one who can't benefit,” adds Greengrass.
“What is so amazing about cannabis in general is that it’s helping children that are five years old with something like epilepsy, but also helping someone that is a senior citizen that has arthritis and has just been told to take a Tylenol everyday,” says Winter, COO and founding partner of CBD For Life. She says the brand’s customer base ranges from Parkinson's patients to those with sleep disorders to extreme athletes looking to soothe sore muscles.
HOW TO USE IT
It’s safe to say that you could replace just about every product on your vanity with a CBD-infused version today, making it hard to know where to start. Tinctures and edibles tend to the fastest acting and most effective. Yuyo Bontica has added the adaptogen ashwagandha along with peppermint and lemon to its AM Formula Tincture, noting that other plants can help to heighten the effects of CBD. Lord Jones is another brand known for its edibles and tinctures, complete with Instagram-worthy packaging.
When it comes to topically applied CBD products, start with a salve, roll-on oil or balm. Theramu uses emu oil to increase its ability of their CBD Relieve Balms to penetrate layers of the dermis. CBD For Life makes a convenient Roll-On Oil for targeted topical application that is easy to travel with and mess-free. There is a product out there for everyone, and plenty more on the way.