The world of CBD can be daunting. Why does it seem to be in everything and how do you know what is a quality product!? With little regulation, it’s buyer beware, and be educated. The information below reviews where CBD comes from, why it is beneficial to our bodies, the different types, what to look for when shopping for good CBD, and a few companies and CBD products I love.
I believe everyone should be on CBD daily, like a multivitamin. When I first started with medical cannabis, I thought CBD was the lesser, little sister to THC. I thought once THC was legal, no one would give CBD another look. However, I was wrong. CBD has amazing, unique health benefits that THC alone does not provide. Whenever someone asks me about medical cannabis, and where to start, I always recommend starting with an over the counter CBD. If that doesn’t quite achieve your health goals, then I suggest layering in THC. When I started taking CBD, it’s when I really noticed the biggest shift into remission of my Crohn’s.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is found in cannabis, or varieties of the plant Cannabis Sativa L, referred to as hemp. Hemp produces buds that are rich in CBD and low in THC. Hemp is a cousin to marijuana, which in contrast produces buds that are rich in THC and low in CBD. With hemp and marijuana, you will see the buds are coated in what looks like white frost. These are trichoromes, or tiny crystals filled with a viscous oil that contains hundreds of cannabinoids (CBD & THC), terpenes, & flavonoids. It is this oil that is extracted from the plant, to make CBD oil and other CBD products. Since hemp is federally legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products with less than .3% THC can be sold over the counter, nationwide.
How Does CBD Interact with Our Bodies?
In our bodies, we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for keeping our internal environment stable, optimal, and in homeostasis. A lot is regulated by the ECS; to name a few, appetite, digestion, immune function, mood, sleep, pain and pleasure are all effected by the ECS. To regulate these functions, receptors found in the nervous system and around your body bond like a lock and key with endocannabinoids to create a “reaction”. That’s right, your body naturally produces it’s own cannabinoids (i.e Anadamide). Ironically, CBD and THC (phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids that come from a plant) mimic our own internal cannabinoids and bind perfectly with our receptors. In a very general sense, this is why cannabis has the medical properties it does. The phytocannabinoids bind to the receptors instead of your endocannabinoids, or help fill in the gaps where your endocannabinoids lack, potentially creating homeostasis beyond your body’s own abilities. To read more in-depth about this, visit my previous post: How Does Cannabis Interact With my Body.
How Can CBD Benefit Me?
By tapping into how we function biologically on a deep level, CBD can provide relief for chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many other conditions. Scientific research and mounting accounts from patients and physicians highlight CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of ailments, including (but not limited to):
- Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s MS, epilepsy, Huntington’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
- Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
- Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)
- GI Disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
- Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)
- Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
CBD has also proven neuroprotective effects and its anti-cancer properties are being investigated at several academic research centers in the US and elsewhere. German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, in adult mammals. It’s also said that CBD protects our endocannabinoid system, which ages over time. It helps slow and prevent the degeneration, keeping us naturally healthy, longer.
What are the Types of CBD?
Most of the time, you will see CBD labeled in 3 ways – Full Spectrum or Whole Plant, Broad Spectrum and Isolate.
Full Spectrum or Whole Plant: The oil or extract used comes from the whole plant and has naturally occurring cannabinoids (including less than .3% THC), terpenes and flavonoids. If you are sensitive to cannabis, even that small amount of THC can provide a slight euphoric effect, but it is not likely. With full spectrum, or whole plant, all of the components of the plant are working together in the “entourage effect“, giving you the best health benefits. If you do not have to worry about a drug test, full spectrum, or whole plant, is 100% the way to go. Since there is a very small amount of THC present, a full spectrum, or whole plant CBD can skew the results of a drug test to show positive for marijuana.
Broad Spectrum: THC has been removed from the oil or extract, but CBD and other naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are still present. Does it work as well as full spectrum? I don’t think so but if you are subject to drug tests, this is the best option and better than no CBD at all. You still get most of the entourage effect. Broad Spectrum can cost more to produce, therefore broad spectrum products can cost more than full spectrum.
CBD Isolate: This extract, often a powder, is CBD only. There are no other cannabinoids or components of cannabis left. I don’t love isolates, because they are heavily processed and there is no entourage effect at all, arguably the most valuable & effective part of cannabis medicine. However, there is no risk or euphoria or failing a drug test. Isolates do work for some, but it can be very hit or miss.
While learning the types of CBD and what labels might read is important, remember that CBD is not regulated. Meaning, companies can use the words above to describe their products, but no one is holding them accountable if the information is true of not. I’ve seen many products label full spectrum, and they are really only an isolate. We’ve even seen hundreds of products labeled as CBD, come back with little to no CBD in them at all. As a result, it is important to know what questions to ask and what to look for when shopping for CBD.
What to Look for When Evaluating CBD Products & Important Questions to Ask:
COA: Can I see the COA for this product? The most important thing to ask for is the COA, or the certificate of analysis. The COA is a document from a 3rd party, accredited laboratory that shows the quantity of various cannabinoids in a product. Manufacturers should send every batch of every product they make to a lab for testing, to protect their customers and prove that their products have as much CBD as they advertise. This will also show if the product is truly full spectrum, broad spectrum or an isolate. There should not be one blanket COA for all products, but every product and every batch. COAs also test for any contaminants and heavy metals, which is important since hemp is very absorbent and will pull anything and everything from the soil, which leads to the next point.
Organic: Is the hemp used to make your products grown organically? Did you know that industrial hemp was planted at Chernobyl to help clean the land? This is because hemp naturally cleans soils contaminated with a multitude of toxic substances – a process known as “bioremediation” or “phytoremediation.” That is why it is important that hemp plants are grown and treated organically. This is especially true since the plant material is being concentrated down to make the oils you are consuming.
Made in the US: Where is the hemp grown & what parts of the plant are used to make your extract? Look for products made with hemp grown in the US. The US has more regulation on farming, and typically cleaner growing conditions. You also want to look for a product that is made from areal parts of the hemp plant. This means the extract comes from the oil found in the trichomes on the buds, leaves and stems. DO NOT buy CBD that is made from hemp seed oil. This means they pressed a hemp seed, and collected the oil. While it does have health benefits, is does not have CBD, or any other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids present. You will not know how CBD helps or works for your body, because none is present. All CBD products sold on Amazon are made with hemp seed oil. Amazon is NOT a good place to buy your CBD.
A Clear Label: The label should clearly tell you what is in the product, how much CBD is present, if any THC is present as well. Look for a batch number and a harvest date as well. The label might also tell you how the oil is extracted. I prefer a CO2 method, as it is the cleanest, least damaging to the natural components of the plant, and leaves no residual residue behind. Typically, the more information provided on the label, the better the product it is.
When in doubt, I always call the company and speak with someone. I’ve found that quality CBD companies are happy to chat and can always answer the questions above. They are usually passionate and excited to share more about the plants their product comes from, how it is grown and all that goes into the process. If they instead dive into marketing terms, like only telling me all the amazing health benefits CBD has, or they have a strain that can legally get me “high”, I run. This typically means they are in business for the wrong reasons.
CBD Products I love and Recommend:
There are a lot of products out there in many forms. Below are the ones I have fully vetted and use myself, or have recommended to my clients. Typically, when consuming CBD orally, it is good to start with 25 mg per day. I have Crohn’s, so I take 50mg per day, every morning. Sometime I will increase that to twice a day, if I’m having a flare or feel like my body needs some extra assistance. It is important to note, CBD can take 4 days – 4 weeks to take full effect. It is often like a multi-vitamin, preventing things and keeping you healthy in ways you don’t even realize. After a little time, you might also notice those little aches and pains are gone, and your mind is a bit calmer. If you find you can’t achieve your cannabis health goals 100% with over the counter CBD, that is when I suggest getting your medical cannabis card, or layering in THC.
Cohen Medical Centers: Use the code MANDY for 10% off. Dr. Cohen, now 80, was one of the first medical marijuana doctors in Colorado, and created these capsules when he found a lot of the CBD on the market is garbage. These are full spectrum and do contain THC. I take these capsules myself, but would recommend any of Cohen’s products.
Full Spectrum, Whole Plant 25mg capsules (https://www.cohenmedicalmarijuanalasvegas.com/product/whole-plant-hemp-capsules-reg/)
Full Spectrum, Whole Plant 50 mg capsules (https://www.cohenmedicalmarijuanalasvegas.com/product/whole-plant-hemp-capsules-plus/)
Note CBD: A family owned business also out of Colorado, is a seed-to-sale operation and is completely vertically integrated. They use the very best genetics, hand plant, care for, harvest, extract, bottle and package directly from the farm. I use the salve, nectar pens & lip balm myself, as well as the pet CBD for our cat. However, I’d recommend any of Note’s products.
Topical salve, great for aches and pains or even as a moisturizer (https://www.notecbd.com/product/salve/40?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false) . This is not transdermal, meaning it will not go into the blood stream and can be used topically, even if drug tests are a concern.
Broad Spectrum Nectar Pens (https://www.notecbd.com/product/nectar-pen/38?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false), no flavor, but great if you like consuming via inhalation. Also, NO THC present. Safe if you get drug tested. Great for immediate, on the go relief, adding to your daily tincture or capsule.
Lip Balm (https://www.notecbd.com/product/lip-balm/37?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false), my lips have never felt so great. This is one of my favorite, go to products.
Pet CBD (https://www.notecbd.com/product/500mg-pet-tincture/48?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false), our cat loves it, and I vow to put our next puppy on CBD for his entire life, hoping it will help prevent cancer and other illnesses.
Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture, (https://www.greencompassglobal.com/product/500MGBSNAT), I have not tried this product myself, but they are a reputable company that answers all the questions correctly. This product contains NO THC, or only trace amounts. If you are drug tested, this is the best product for you to take daily.
Treadwell Farms: Treadwell Farms has been farming in Florida for more than 100 years. Those agricultural roots and their own health journeys led them to create and curate natural, healthful and helpful small-batch, artisanal hemp products that are trusted and tested with the community in mind. I love that they are local to Florida, showing that hemp can grow and thrive here. I’ve toured their greenhouse, and see their production facilities. They create a beautiful, organic product that has worked so well for me and others. I highly recommend all of their products, but below are my favorites.
Hemp Tea (https://www.treadwellfarms.com/products/citrus-spice-yaupon-tea), perfect for a cold night before bed, or morning where you know it is going to be a stressful day.
Warming Salve (https://www.treadwellfarms.com/products/warming-blend-cbd-hemp-salve?variant=34246828425348), I use this on my ankle I sprained badly abut a year ago, whenever the pain or swelling flares up. Within minutes, the pain is gone. This is also topical, and not transdermal, meaning it is safe to use if you are drug tested.
Full Spectrum Evening Blend (https://www.treadwellfarms.com/products/warming-blend-cbd-hemp-salve?variant=34246828425348), a couple droppers full, and this helps me fall right to sleep when I need some extra comfort. It also tastes delish!
Flower & Pre-Rolls – These are not on their website, but a quick call or visit to their store in Umatilla, and they can help you with beautiful, trichrome covered CBD flower and prerolls. I love smoking a CBD joint when I need immediate relief without the euphoric effect. I also mix it into my marijuana, or THC flower, for a more balanced effect.
DragonFly Botanicals: based out of CO, their vision is to bring the world superior plant-based, organic products with labels anyone can read and to craft with the HIGHEST QUALITY herbs, oils and essential oils! They are passionate about sourcing the purest plant-derived ingredients. Their philosophy is that simple is better….just as Mother Nature intended.
CBD Isolate Tincture (https://dragonflyhempcbd.com/product/cbd-hemp-isolate-mint/), as mentioned above, I’m not a huge fan of isolates, but this product is safe if you are drug tested. No THC is present. It only has CBD, and not other cannabinoids, so you might need more to make it work, if it works for you at all. I always say, it is worth trying, as even CBD without the entourage effect is better than nothing at all.
Potli: Use code MANDY15 for 15% off your order. Delish foods infused with CBD, a great way to layer in your CBD throughout the day, if your daily intake isn’t quite cutting at the moment. Founded by two Asian American women, Potli draws on its founders’ roots in both holistic and eastern medicine and California upbringing to create delicious and intentional staples. They source all our ingredients from the highest quality, artisan-owned Northern California farms.
Dream Honey (https://www.potlishop.com/products/cbd-dream-honey), 1 teaspoon in my tea at night, and I can’t keep my eyes open after 30 minutes. This product contains CBN, and CBD. It is not safe if you are drug tested, as CBN is derived from THC.
Authentic – High Country Hemp
Women’s Moon Balm (https://authentichempcompany.com/products/womens-moon-balm) – Amazing for that time of the month. I rub a small amount where my cramps are and it provides great relief.
Lip Balm (https://authentichempcompany.com/collections/nourishing-lip-balms/products/nourishing-lip-balm-coconut)
As always, please remember that I am not a doctor, just a medical cannabis patient who is sharing what I’ve learned along the way, during my own health journey. Always consult with a medical professional before adding any new supplements to your routine. I know this is a lot to review and can be very confusing. If you have questions, that’s what I’m here for! Feel free to email me, or, let’s set up a consultation!