Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know About CBD

There is no doubt that CBD, often referred to as CBD oil, has quickly become a “go-to” product for general health and wellness and a wide variety of ailments and chronic conditions. And with CBD retail and online stores popping up throughout the US and around the world, it makes sense that this “accessible for most” plant-based item is soaring in popularity.

If you reside in a state where CBD is legal, it may feel as if it just popped up overnight, but, the truth is, it’s been around for a while. The general population just wasn’t aware of it, because it was hush-hush at first. Why? Because of its relationship to THC, the main property in cannabis (marijuana).

Even though CBD products do not contain enough (if any) THC to make you “high,” it was still viewed as a “pot.” However, with increased knowledge and research on the effectiveness of CBD, this stigma is slowly disappearing.

CBD can be found in a myriad of products, such as coffee, facials, makeup, muscle rubs, creams, bath products, oils, edibles, etc. You can even purchase CBD products that can improve the health and well-being of your cat or dog!

But, even though CBD has permeated almost every crook o the health and wellness world, learning about it can be downright confusing, especially when trying to decide what kind of CBD to purchase and what strength and dosage would be the most beneficial for your body or condition.

You want to make sure the CBD you purchase is legit – pure and safe or you could face mild side-effects. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to teach you what you need to know before you run out and purchase your first CBD product.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD or CBD oil, is a naturally-occurring substance found in the cannabis sativa plant. This plant is also used to create marijuana or “pot.” It can be found in a variety of items, from bath and spa products to tinctures or oils, and edibles (gummies, brownies, etc.).

Thus, the goal of CBD is to improve your health, ease your pain and anxiety, and create a sense of mental and physical calmness and relaxation in your body.

Although CBD comes from the same plant as marijuana, the two substances could not be any more different. CBD does not contain the part of the cannabis sativa plant that causes you to become “high” – unlike marijuana. Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which does make you feel “high” upon consumption.

Another stark difference between CBD and marijuana or THC, is that CBD is not meant to be smoked like a blunt, although some CBD manufacturers have started making CBD products that you can vape [1] Rather, the most common use of CBD involves orally ingesting it in the form of a tincture or consuming it in the form of edibles.


Is CBD Good or Bad for Me?

It depends.

Because in-depth research on the effects (short-term and long-term) of CBD have only recently begun, it is impossible to determine if CBD is scientifically good or bad for you – at least at this point.

However, based on limited research, CBD does not appear to be innately “bad” for you – unless you’re sensitive or allergic to it. But, understand that the only way you will truly know how it affects you is to try it.

CBD contains chemical properties that can affect your endocannabinoid system. The information on how CBD affects receptors in your body is unknown or sparse at this time. However, your bodily reaction to CBD depends on a variety of factors, such as body chemistry, age, health, etc. Thus, the way people react to CBD will vary.

Still, the limited research conducted on CBD indicates that cannabidiol is safe for most people. It also appears to be beneficial for ailments and conditions, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, ADHD, anxiety, inflammation, acne, and other skin conditions, panic attacks, tumor growth, poor appetite, and health and wellness.

A study [2] on CBD found that it can effectively treat children, adults, and dogs who are suffering from epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Researchers [2] have found that the CBD drug, Epidiolex, may lessen anxiety and reduce panic attacks in some individuals.

Studies [3] also suggest that CBD may help autistic children interact with others more effectively. Furthermore, initial research [4] indicates that CBD may improve certain health conditions, such as cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, depression, psychosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Because there are no significant side-effects associated with CBD, most researchers have deemed it generally safe for the population. [5] They have also found that CBD can be “good” for your overall health because it reduce oxidative stress in your body. [5] Moreover, CBD is not linked to extreme reactions, overdoses, or deaths from CBD. [5]

So, according to the general consensus, CBD is ok to use daily, as long as you are using the recommended strength and dose for your health or condition. Just be cognizant of any signs or symptoms that make you feel uncomfortable, such as gastrointestinal distress, headaches, or dizziness.


Can Healthy People Consume or Use CBD?

Yes!

Although pioneering research on CBD’s holistic benefits have prompted those facing mental and physical health problems to add CBD into their treatment regimen, this plant-based substance can also be beneficial for those who simply want to improve their overall health.

CBD is a wellness product, so it can be used by pretty much everyone regardless of health status. Healthy people can use CBD to support their internal systems and maintain their health and well-being.

Understand that a fully-functioning endocannabinoid system is vital to our mental and physical health. Why? Because it ensures that our bodies function at optimal levels.

When something disturbs or triggers our hormone levels or body chemistry, our endocannabinoid systems respond by adjusting their processes, so things are “balanced” again. In other words, it works to bring your body and its accompanying systems back into homeostasis.

Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, located in both your central and peripheral nervous systems. These receptors also play an integral role in the function of your immune system.

CBD triggers your endocannabinoid system, balancing your systems and ensuring that your body is functioning at an optimal level.

CBD can also help people attain nutrients that are missing from their daily diets. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to a host of illnesses, conditions, and ailments, so maintaining proper vitamin levels is crucial to health and wellness.

The good news is CBD contains nutrients that are lacking in some diets.

Thus, CBD not only benefits those with health conditions but also those who are healthy. It can ensure that your body, healthy or not, is provided with what it needs to function efficiently.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD is one of 400+ natural compounds located in a cannabis plant. It works by influencing how your brain and body function. Understand that similar to more recognized systems, such as respiratory, cardiovascular, and respiratory, your endocannabinoid system is the key component in how CBD works in your body.

It is responsible for our appetites, sleep patterns, nervous system functions, moods, short- and long-term memories, and our fight-or-flight reactions.

This is important because your brain contains a large number of cannabinoid receptors and our bodies produce millions, if not billions, of cannabinoids every day.

Thus, both cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors play critical roles in how CBD work. Thus, contrary to popular belief, it’s not only the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins that produce that “euphoric high” in the body; it is also anandamide, a cannabinoid.

Our bodies are constantly producing and releasing cannabinoids, however, most of them are destroyed by body-regulating enzymes. This is where CBD enters the picture. It impedes these enzymes allowing users to experience the calming and pain-relieving properties longer.

According to a recent study, [6] CBD may ease chronic pain and reduce neurological symptoms in some people. This is because CBD oil contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for the body.

Researchers [6] also found that when CBD is orally-ingested through a tincture (oil), capsule, or vape, it can alleviate anxiety and reduce depression symptoms. How? It influences your body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls your mood and your body’s ability to relax and regulate itself.

Cannabinoids not only attach to receptors in our endocannabinoid system but also receptors throughout the body (liver, pancreas, etc.). [6]

If you are not producing and releasing adequate amounts of cannabinoids and those cannabinoids are not binding to these receptors, you can encounter health issues. CBD prevents enzymes from attacking the cannabinoids, so they can stay in the body for a longer amount of time. [6]

***It is important to understand, however, that research into the full function of CBD is currently limited.


How Long Does it Take for CBD to Work?

It depends.

CBD typically takes between one-and-six hours to start working, although some may notice a slight improvement within five-to-ten minutes after ingestion. One such case is vaping – you will receive a quicker response if you inhale CBD.

However, it may take longer to get a reaction if you orally-ingest CBD (tinctures and edibles) or consume CBD external through creams, muscle rubs, and oils, ointments, bath products, makeup, etc.

Note: The time frame depends on the CBD product, the dosage and strength, the method of ingestion or consumption, your body chemistry, and your symptoms.

For instance, eating CBD brownies can take 30-minutes to an hour to go into effect, depending on how empty your stomach is. Thus, the best way to ingest or consume CBD is on an empty stomach.


Can I Take CBD Indefinitely?

Possibly.

Very few studies [5] have been conducted on the effectiveness, safety, and dosing standards on CBD. And, even though CBD has become the du jour of the modern world, there is still little-to-no scientific evidence [5] that it helps the body or specific health conditions for long periods.

In other words, most studies [7] on CBD explore the short-term effects of it, not what happens after you’ve been ingesting or consuming CBD for years or decades.

However, researchers have found that CBD works best if taken regularly. [8] This is primarily because your endocannabinoid system may not recognize the benefits of CBD immediately.

In other words, it may take time for CBD to trigger an increase in cannabinoid in your body, and for those cannabinoids to attach to the receptors found throughout your body.

Once, cannabinoids bind to the receptors, your endocannabinoid system becomes more receptive to CBD. So, researchers suggest that taking a daily dose of CBD may keep it in your body for longer periods, thus allowing you to consistently experience the benefits of it.[8]


What Are the Side-Effects?

Research [9] suggests that the CBD side-effects are mild if you experience any at all. It is important to note, however, that most of the current CBD studies were conducted on animals – not humans.

And, because our genetic makeups are different, the outcome may not necessarily translate to humans in all cases. Still, research [10] indicates that most people can tolerate high doses of (1,500mg/day) for chronic health conditions.

But, regardless of strength, dose, and frequency, you still need to understand the possible side-effects, risks, and complications of using CBD.

Although side-effects are rare or mild, the most common ones are listed below:

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Gastrointestinal distress – diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, or vomiting
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Dry or “sticky” mouth
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Low blood pressure

Note: Your age, body chemistry, hormone levels, weight, underlying health conditions, medications, and other environmental factors (like pollution) may determine if and to what degree you experience these side-effects.

CBD side-effects are usually rare or mild, so experiencing them once does not necessarily mean you will experience them indefinitely.

The good news is negative or harmful side-effects (i.e. high blood pressure or elevated heart rates and temperatures) are not associated with CBD use.


Who Should Avoid CBD?

Although CBD appears to be relatively safe, doctors caution against certain people using it.

Listed below is a list of people who should avoid CBD:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Because most studies [11] are not conducted on pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is recommended that this group avoid CBD products. Although not prohibited by law, researchers typically caution against these women using CBD due to the possible threat to their babies.

Understand that research [11] in this area is limited at best, so medical professionals are unsure of the short-term and long-term effects in fetuses, babies, and children. Therefore, most doctors can’t recommend CBD use in this demographic. [11]

A 2009 study [12] found that CBD may “thin-out” the placental barrier, allowing harmful microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) to enter the womb and harm the fetus.

  • People taking medication

Researchers suggest that people who take medication, especially prescription medications, are more at risk of experiencing side-effects than those who do not take them.[13] This typically caused by an interaction between CBD and another medication – not by CBD itself.[13]

A study [14] found that combining CBD with medication used to regulate liver function can lead to liver damage or failure in some people. So, if you are taking medication for a health condition, consult your doctor before use.

  • Children

Children may also be susceptible to CBD side-effects. Although Epidiolex, a CBD prescription medication used for pediatric epilepsy and seizure disorders, has shown promise, broad-scale research studies [15] have not been conducted on pediatric CBD use.

Therefore, consult your child’s pediatrician before adding CBD into your child’s treatment plan.


How Much Does CBD Cost?

It varies.

CBD products range in cost from $10 to $500+ depending on the specific item, the size, dose, strength, and the frequency of use. Keep in mind that CBD’s rising popularity is causing rising prices.

The cost of CBD is currently at its peak. But if you are new to the world of CBD, you may wonder how you will be able to afford to use it long-term.

Well, thankfully, some companies like Lazarus Naturals, offer discount programs for those who need CBD for health conditions and for veterans who have proudly served our nation.

They also offer a 10% discount for individual consumers (enter the promo code, “parentingpod” upon checking out) to offset the price of regular CBD use.

But in general, it could cost you between $25 and $200 for a 30-milliliter bottle of CBD oil (tincture). While it could cost you between $40 and $70 for a 1,000-milligram bottle of CBD oil.

Note: Several key components affect how much you will pay for your CBD product – the product (a form of CBD), the purity of the product, the potency of the CBD, where the company sources its hemp if third-party labs were used to test it for quality and safety.


Will Health Insurance Pay for CBD?

It depends…

Currently, health insurance companies will not cover CBD for general health and wellness or chronic conditions. If a doctor bills a patient’s health insurance company for CBD, it will be denied.

This is also true for medicinal marijuana. Medicare and Medicaid also do not cover CBD treatments. This, if you decide to purchase CBD, it will be an out-of-pocket expense.

Health insurances will not cover CBD as a whole because it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and effective medicine. The only CBD treatment approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication used to treat epilepsy and seizure disorders in children.

Another reason health insurance companies will not cover CBD treatments is because there isn’t enough scientific data or research on the effectiveness and safety of CBD in the human population. In other words, clinical trials and double-blind studies are limited when it comes to CBD.

Note: In June 2018, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex for the treatment of epilepsy and seizure disorders, specifically Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. However, the price of Epidiolex is approximately $32,500, per year (or $2,700+ a month).

Because Epidiolex is FDA-approved, there is a good chance your health insurance company would pay for part or all of it.

Although pediatric patients who are enrolled in Medicaid programs could pay between $5 and $10 a month for Epidiolex, pediatric patients who have private insurance could pay approximately $200 a month – but this is way less than $2,700+ a month.

The best course of action is to check with your health insurance company to see if it will cover Epidiolex for your child.


Can I Give My Child CBD?

Yes.

While CBD is mainly touted as an “adult miracle drug,” the majority of studies [16] on children center on the CBD drug, Epidiolex, for epilepsy and seizure disorders.

Because of CBD’s popularity and accessibility (for most people), parents have started to give it to their children in hopes that it will improve their health and mitigate or “cure” their ailments and chronic conditions (autism, anxiety, depression, ADHD, epilepsy, etc.).

Although many parents have turned to CBD to manage their children’s chronic conditions, the long-term effects of it in children are still largely unknown. [16]

Although side-effects are virtually non-existent for most children, they still exist. The most common side-effects seen in children are nausea, changes in appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue, although these side-effects typically stem from drug interactions.

Keep in mind that CBD is unregulated, which means it’s hard to determine if the oil used in various CBD products (tinctures, creams and lotions, balms, muscle rubs, supplements, and gummies) have been tested and are pure and safe.

However, many scientists still believe it is safe for children to ingest or consume CBD. [17] And, although the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex has helped quell many pediatric-related CBD concerns, it is important to use caution when using it to treat your child’s chronic conditions.

 Listed below are things you should consider before giving your child CBD:

  1. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  2. Learn the risk signs and watch for side-effects.
  3. Research CBD products and only purchase CBD products from reputable companies. (A 2017 study [18] found that 26% of CBD products purchased online contained a lower amount of CBD than advertised).
  4. Begin with lowest dose and gradually increase it until you notice a difference in your child’s symptoms. (It can take between six and twelve months to find the right dosage for your child. There is no blanket “one size fits all” dosage for children. Therefore, it is important to begin with the lowest dose and slowly increase it to prevent side-effects).
  5. Store CBD products like brownies, gummies, and other edibles out of reach of children, because they could be mistaken for treats. Even though CBD is not lethal, too much of it can cause stomach upset.

Where Can I Purchase CBD?

If legal in your state, you can purchase CBD locally and online. But not all CBD products are legit (pure, effective, or safe) and not every local or online store is honest and trustworthy.

And even though online retail giants like Etsy and eBay offer a wide range of CBD products from marketplace sellers, it is probably best you refrain from purchasing anything CBD-related from these places.

Why? Because it’s hard to determine if you are getting what you paid for. These products have not been screened, which means you could be purchasing dangerous products. You could also be purchasing nothing – a pricey placebo that will do absolutely nothing for you.

Note: Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of CBD products on its site, however, many online companies, including Amazon marketplace sellers, have found a way around this rule by labeling themselves as “hemp product sellers.”

By saying that they sell “hemp oil or hemp extra items” they can continue to sell CBD products without saying they are selling CBD products. Still, there are tons of trustworthy local retail businesses (physical locations) that specialize in legitimate CBD products.


What Should I Look for When Shopping for CBD Products?

The first thing you should look for when shopping for CBD products is lab results. Trustworthy CBD online and retail stores will share their test results by posting them in their stores or on their websites.

If not posted, they should provide you with a written copy of the test results, if you request them. If a company refuses to show you the results, then do not purchase from them, because their CBD products may be impure or dangerous.

This is important because cannabis plants are penetrable. In other words, they can absorb a variety of heavy metals, insecticides, and other toxic chemicals.

Therefore, companies must test their CBD products regularly to ensure they are safe and effective. Testing is also important to ensure the CBD is pure and that it contains the amount of THC or the lack of THC that it claims to have.

It is also important to read customer reviews from the CBD stores you are considering purchasing from. Make sure to research both the companies and their products. These reviews are extremely important because they provide you with real testimonies from people who have purchased products from a company.

Understand that many companies only post glowing reviews – reviews from happy customers, so you probably won’t get the “real deal” on their sites. So, look up reviews from sites like Yelp or Travel Advisor.

Although largely prohibited on Amazon, it is also a great site to look up real-life, honest testimonies from those who are or who have used CBD products (at least for the most part).

Also, pay attention to how the company responds to negative reviews and questions. If they take the time to answer questions and they respond to negative reviews in an appropriately – that signals that the company values transparency, communication, and integrity.

Listed below are four important things to consider before purchasing CBD products:

  • The company uses third-party lab tests to verify the quality, effectiveness, and safety of its CBD products.
  • The company posts or shares lab results with you without hesitancy.
  • The crops used to cultivate cannabis plants do not contain chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or other toxic chemicals.
  • The company exhibits good customer service and offers a money-back guarantee, if unsatisfied.

Will Using CBD Causes Me to Fail a Drug-Test?

Possibly.

Although drug tests do not specifically look for CBD that does not mean you can’t or won’t fail a drug screen.

Most drug tests do screen for THC, the main property in marijuana, because it gets you “high.” Keep in mind that drug tests have different thresholds or levels that determine positive and negative results, so one drug test may deem a certain level of THC positive, while another one deem it negative.

Generally, a THC level of 50mg/ml or lower will most likely yield you a negative drug screen. However, anything above that will most likely garner you a positive THC drug screen.

However, to fail a THC drug screen you would have had to ingest or consume at least 2,000mg, and because CBD can only contain 0.3% THC by law – that is highly unlikely.

Note: THC is fat-soluble, so if you take the full-spectrum CBD (containing 0.3% THC) and you take it often and at high doses, there is a slim chance you could fail a drug screen. As a result, those who may have to take a drug screen to opt for CBD isolate (containing 0% THC) to avoid this dreaded outcome.

Keep in mind that THC can stay in your system for up to six days, triggering a positive drug screen. Although some studies [19] suggest that it may be detectable for up to a month in some individuals.

Also keep in mind that there is a chance that the CBD product has more than the allowed 0.3% of THC – even if it claims not to.

According to Penn State researchers, approximately 70% [20] of CBD products contained at least 6mg/ml [21] of THC. This is not only over the legal amount of THC but high enough to cause harm.


Is it Legal in All 50 States?

Yes and No.

Due to the 2018 Farm Act, “THC-free CBD” is legal in all 50 states. However, “THC-containing CBD” is another story altogether.

Therefore, the legality of CBD rests on THC levels. While “THC-free CBD” is legal on the state level, CBD that contains significant amounts of THC is not legal on the federal level. “THC-containing CBD” may also be illegal in some US states.

Listed below are eight states where “THC-containing CBD” is currently legal:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Washington
  • Alaska

Note: While THC-containing CBD” is legal in the states listed above, other states may limit the amount of THC allowed in CBD products.

Listed below are states where “THC-containing CBD” is legal with some limitations:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

In some states, the maximum amount of THC legally-allowed in CBD products is between 0.3% and 0.9%.

These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Bottom Line – If the CBD does not contain THC, it is legal. [22] But if the CBD does contain significant amounts of THC, it may or may not be legal in certain amounts, depending on your state laws.


What Forms Does CBD Come In?

CBD comes in a variety of forms, such as tinctures, bath and spa products, house spray, edible, beverages, supplements, topicals, vapes, etc.

Listed below are the most common forms of CBD:

  • Vapes

The fastest way to experience the benefits of CBD is through vaping (inhaling CBD). In this form “vape juice” containing CBD is delivered through a vape pen. When you inhale CBD through a vape pen it enters your bloodstream, so you experience the benefits of it more quickly. However, keep in mind that vaping any substance can heighten your risk of

carcinogen exposure.

Because this method is fast-acting, you can absorb approximately 90% of the CBD within 10 minutes. But exercise caution when using this method, because vaping can lead to lung tissue damage or severe lung disease. [23], [24]

  • Tinctures (Oil)

Tinctures involve CBD oil that is placed under the tongue for 30-seconds before swallowing. The good thing about tinctures is they work faster than edibles and topicals. [25] They consist of CBD oil that has been extracted from cannabis plant leaves and combined with a carrier oil like coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or hempseed oil. This oil combo is meant to be orally-ingested or swallowed.

  • Topicals

CBD topicals consist of muscle rubs, lotions, creams, makeup, and balms. These products are usually used to ease joint pain, muscle aches, soothe skin inflammation (i.e. acne) or improve the condition of your skin. [26] CBD is absorbed through your skin and designed to provide natural pain relief to specific areas of your body.

This form of CBD can provide immediate relief to those suffering from back pain, headaches, lupus, muscle cramps and pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and psoriasis.

According to a 2015 study, [27]rats experienced a decline in swollen joints after CBD gel was placed on the skin. The results suggest that CBD could also be beneficial for arthritic conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.[27]

  • Edibles

Another form of CBD is edibles. Edibles are foods that have been injected or made with CBD. These foods include gummies, chocolates, candies, casseroles, cookies, cakes, and other pastries and baked goods. It generally takes longer for edibles to absorb into the bloodstream. If you consume edibles, it can take 30-60 minutes to feel the full effect of the CBD.

Researchers have found that CBD has two phases – the “first-pass effect” and “full absorption.” [28] During the “first-pass effect,” some CBD is processed by your liver and digestive tract. [28] What does that mean? It means it takes approximately two hours to metabolize the first 25% [28] of the CBD. The remaining 75% of the CBD is absorbed within the next 2 hours = “full absorption.” [28]

Note: You may prefer this form of CBD if you are sensitive to tastes and/or textures. An added benefit of edibles is that they can be taken anywhere.


What’s the Best Way to Take CBD?

It depends.

The goal of all forms of CBD is for it to enter your body and provide the benefits you are seeking. However, when it comes to choosing the right or “best” way for you, it is important to consider these three factors: (1) the dose needed to fully experience the benefits of it, (2) the results you would like to see from it, and (3) how long you’d like these benefits to last. So, there isn’t a universally-accepted “best” way to take CBD.

If you are not a smoker, you probably will not want to vape the CBD. However, if you are a smoker and you need fast-acting CBD, this may be the “best” way for you to ingest CBD. You can expect results to last several hours if you use this method.

If you don’t like the “earthy” taste of CBD or you don’t want others to know you use it, then edibles are probably the way to go. If you want something quick, but don’t want to vape because of the possible health risk, tinctures may be the “best” way to use CBD for you.

FYI: You can get unflavored tinctures (oil), flavored tinctures, isolate CBD oil (no THC) or full-spectrum CBD (0.3% or more of THC). If your main goal is to ease the pain – muscle, head, back, and/or joint, the “best” way for you to use CBD is probably topicals.

But if you are generally in good health and plan to use CBD to unwind and relax after a long day, the best way to use CBD may be bath and spa treatments.

Lastly, if you are leery about placing oil in your mouth or eating the CBD, supplements may be the way to go. This typically takes a while to fully absorb, but there is no lingering aftertaste either. You are also less likely to experience side-effects because the absorption rate is slow.

The form you use also depends on what your intention is. Why do you want to use CBD? Is it for a health condition or general health? If you want to use CBD for pain, you’ll probably want a strong, fast-acting form of CBD, but if you want to use it for general health, you may want to opt for a longer-acting form of CBD.

But the truth is, it is just a matter of personal preference and your desired outcome.


Are There Different Strengths? And, How Much Should I Take?

Yes, there are different strengths. And, the dosage depends on what your ultimate goal – for symptoms or to improve your overall health and well-being.

Listed below are the different CBD doses and strengths:

  • Low-Potency CBD (300mg)

Low-potency CBD is typically used to ease mild-to-moderate anxiety symptoms, reduce chronic panic attacks, and alleviate minor aches and pains. This strength is also beneficial for those who are hypersensitive to cannabis and/or CBD.

People who have a highly active or an overactive endocannabinoid system may not need a strong potency to benefit from CBD.

Low-potency CBD is also beneficial for healthy people who are looking for a daily supplement to improve their overall health – i.e. strengthen their immune systems, achieve a state of internal homeostasis (balance), and lower their risk of viruses, infections, and diseases.

Note: Fifteen drops of CBD oil is equal to 300mg in a 30mL bottle. This translates to about 7.5mg of CBD per serving. Keep in mind that most people will only need about 5-to-7 drops of the oil, rather than a full dose (15 drops) of it. Five-to-seven drops of CBD oil translates to about 3.5mg per serving.

  • Medium-Potency CBD (600mg)

Medium-potency CBD is appropriate for people who need a moderate strength of CBD to achieve their goals or experience relief. These individuals typically need multiple 300mg doses to attain the desired outcome. So instead of taking multiple low-potency doses of CBD, they can take one medium-potency or 600mg dose of it and still get the desired effect.

Note: Six-hundred milligrams of CBD is typically needed to ease anxiety, soothe gastrointestinal distress, quell pain, and reduce inflammation. Fifteen drops of CBD oil in a 600mg bottle is equal to 15mg of CBD per dose.

  • High-Potency CBD (1000mg)

High-potency CBD is considered 1000mg of CBD. This is the highest strength currently available for purchase. This strength is typically reserved for people who are suffering from painful, chronic health conditions (arthritis, depression, severe anxiety disorders, and panic attacks, insomnia, chronic pain, ADHD, epilepsy, and seizures, etc.).

These individuals are unable to get relief from the lower strengths. This strength is also used by those who are trying to wean-off drugs and alcohol and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Note: A thousand milligrams of CBD is not recommended for first-time users. High-potency CBD oil usually comes in a 30mL bottle with 15 drops of the oil equaling 24 grams of CBD. So, unless you have a severe chronic condition, lower potencies may help you get the relief you are seeking.

What are the Health Benefits of CBD? And, is CBD Effective?

CBD offers several benefits. And, yes, it is effective.

Limited studies [8] have explored the benefits of CBD and have found that it helps individuals suffering from a variety of health conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis, anxiety, acne, insomnia, muscle pain, depression, acne, ADHD, autism, epilepsy, and heart disease.

Research [8] suggests that it may even help alleviate or reduce cancer-related aches and pains.

Keep in mind that CBD research is still in the infancy stage, so more studies need to be conducted before scientists and physicians can say that CBD is beneficial for these conditions – on a grand scale.

We still have a lot to learn about the short-term and long-term effects of CBD, along with its safety, and effectiveness. However, research [8] indicates that CBD may be a safe, natural alternative treatment for a variety of health issues, concerns, and conditions.

Listed below are ways that CBD may be beneficial for those suffering from pain and chronic health conditions:

May Relieve Pain

Cannabis (marijuana) has been used to treat ailments since 2900 B.C. [29] But recent studies have indicated that specific properties found in cannabis plants can ease chronic pain and improve your overall health. Cannabidiol is one of those pain-relieving properties.

In fact, according to recent animal studies, [30] CBD may reduce inflammation and alleviate aches and pains in some people. One animal study [31] found that CBD shots may lessen post-surgical incision pain in some patients, and another animal study [31] found that oral CBD treatments may reduce inflammation and relieve sciatic nerve pain.

Some human studies have also discovered the benefits of combining CBD and THC to lighten chronic multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis pain. The CBD/THC combo prescription called Sativex was recently approved in several countries (Canada, Australia, the UK, and Spain).

Sativex is an oral spray used to reduce MS pain, muscle stiffness, weakness, and poor coordination. It is also used to treat cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries.

Note: Sativex is currently available in the US, but it is pending with the FDA for the treatment of cancer.

Researchers found that when Sativex was given to people with MS for 30-days, their symptoms greatly improved. [32] More specifically, they experienced less pain when walking and fewer muscle spasms.

Similarly, another study [33] examining the effects of Sativex found that people with arthritic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus experienced a noticeable reduction in pain upon movement, restlessness, and pain when resting and sleeping.

May Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Two of the most common mental health conditions in the world are anxiety and depression. These two conditions can have a tremendous effect on your health and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, [34] depression is the #1 contributor to disability across the globe. Anxiety disorders come in 6th. Both conditions are typically treated with prescription drugs – anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants. [35]

While effective for most, these medications can lead to a host of side-effects, such as sleepiness, irritability, sleeplessness, sexual dysfunction, and/or headaches. To top it off, benzodiazepines are addictive and can lead to prescription drug abuse or addiction. [36]

According to a 2017 study, [37] using CBD (300mg) before an important speaking engagement can ease stress, angst, and social anxiety in some people.

Keep in mind that the individuals who were given 150mg of CBD and those who were given 600mg of CBD before the engagement did not experience the same results. These strengths provided little-to-no anxiety-relief to the speakers.

May Alleviate Cancer Symptoms

CBD may alleviate cancer symptoms (i.e. nausea, vomiting, and pain) in some patients. It may also help reduce the side-effects of cancer treatments (i.e. chemotherapy and radiation).

According to a recent study, [38] cancer patients who did not receive from prescription painkillers experienced a significant decline in pain after using a CBD/THC tincture.

A similar study [39] found that cancer patients who were receiving chemotherapy experienced a reduction in pain, nausea, stomach upset, and vomiting after using a CBD/THC combo mouth spray. These individuals reported that they received more relief from this combo than traditional prescription medications.

Furthermore, animal studies [40] have shown that CBD may help prevent cancer in some people. One study found that high-potency CBD can cause breast cancer cells to shrink or die, while another one [41] found that CBD may help stop the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in some women.

May Reduce Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that affects approximately 10% [42] of the population. It is caused by a variety of factors, such as bacteria, inflammation, allergies, hormones, too much sebum (oil), and/or genetics. [43]

According to recent studies, CBD may help treat acne and other skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD also decreases your body’s production of sebum.

A 2014 study [44] found that CBD prevents sebaceous oil glands from emitting producing too much sebum. It also triggers anti-inflammatory functions and prevents your body from releasing inflammatory cytokines (proteins that are triggered by stress).

Thus, due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, studies [44] have found that it may be a natural, safe, and effective way to treat acne and other skin conditions.

May Slow Cognitive Decline

Because CBD works with your endocannabinoid system, some researchers believe that CBD may be beneficial for neurological disorders like epilepsy, genetic seizure disorders, MS, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries (TBJ).

Epidiolex, an FDA-approved CBD prescription medicine, is used to treat epilepsy and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, rare, genetic seizure disorders. It is also sometimes used to treat MS and other neurological disorders.

Although research [45] on CBD in this area is fairly scant, study results are encouraging. A recent study [46] found that children who were given Epidiolex to treat epilepsy or specifically Dravet syndrome experienced a decline in seizure activity.

Sativex, an oral spray CBD/THC combo has also shown promise in several European countries. In fact, according to a study, [45] Sativex reduced muscle spasms in those suffering from MS.

CBD studies [47] also suggest that CBD may improve the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have found that it may also help these individuals sleep more soundly at night. [47]

Lastly, studies [48] have found that CBD may prevent the neurodegeneration involved in Alzheimer’s disease by reducing inflammation in the brain. Thus, researchers suggest that CBD may prevent or slow cognitive decline in some people. [49]

May Support Heart Health

Recent research suggests that CBD may help with heart and circulatory system issues. More specifically, studies [50] indicate that CBD may help lower high blood pressure, a common cause of heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes.

One study [51] found that men who took 600mg CBD supplements experienced lower blood pressure as compared to those who only took traditional blood pressure medications.

Researchers also found that men who took the CBD supplements had a lower level of stress and anxiety, common triggers for high blood pressure. [51]Another study [52] found that CBD could reduce inflammation by destroying harmful cells, commonly linked to heart disease and heart failure.

CBD can also help with the following conditions:

  • Diabetes & Diabetic Nerve Pain
  • ADHD & ADD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Drug & Alcohol Abuse or Addiction
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiovascular Disease (Heart Disease)
  • Arthritis
  • Stress & Tension
  • PTSD & Social Anxiety
  • Muscle Pain & Spasms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches

Can I Fly with CBD?

Maybe…

It is legal to fly with CBD within the US – as long as it does not contain THC. In other words, you can fly with isolate CBD or THC-free CBD. Neither the federal government nor the TSA restricts travel with THC-free CBD products.

However, CBD that contains THC is a flying no-no. This form of CBD is illegal because the federal government views it as a form of “marijuana.”

Keep in mind that TSA agents are required to report you to the authorities if they catch you with full-spectrum or THC-containing CBD. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to check with your airline for more guidance.


Can My Pet Use CBD?

Yes!

Because dogs and cats have endocannabinoid systems that resemble humans, if you give your pet cannabis or CBD, he or she will most likely react to it the same way you react to it. In other words, it may relax an anxious or jittery cat or help a dog sleep more soundly at night [53]
There is one major twist – dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans, which means too much THC can trigger static ataxia (wobbliness or clumsiness). [53]

Therefore, it is extremely important that the amount of CBD you give your pet, especially your dog, must be controlled to prevent an overdose.

Listed below are some ways pets can benefit from CBD:

  • Reduced Chronic Pain – Muscle, Back, Neck, or Joint Pain
  • Fewer Seizures
  • A Healthy Appetite
  • A Lower Risk of Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Calmness or Relaxation
  • Lower Risk of Anxiety or Anxiety Management
  • Inflammation
  • A Decline in Cancer Symptoms
  • Better Quality of Life

In Summary…

Interest in CBD has been increasing over the past few years. And as a result, more and more people are flocking to it, willing and ready to use it on themselves, their children, and even their pets.

Although it has become the go-to remedy for pain management and better health, only one CBD drug, Epidiolex, has gained FDA approval. Epidiolex is primarily used to reduce seizures in children who suffer from epilepsy.

Another CBD medication called, Sativex, has also become quite popular for multiple sclerosis (MS) in European countries, although it is not currently sold in the United States.

However, with these two CBD medications making waves in the prescription medication arena, it makes sense that this plant-based substance is also being used for other reasons. So even though CBD may not be federally legal in all 50 states, it is emerging as a real contender when it comes to holistic treatments.

However, more research is needed before scientists and researchers know the true purpose, effectiveness and safety of CBD for women, men, children, and pets. If you are interested in trying CBD talk with your doctor first to make sure it will not negatively affect your current treatment plan.

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