Here in Oregon, the home of Frogsong Farm, CBD seems to be raining from the sky. We come across it in grocery stores, coffee shops, and gas stations. In the year since hemp was nationally legalized, we have seen a flood of brands seeking a slice of this new and exciting market. New businesses aren’t the only ones excited about CBD (also known as cannabidiol). The general public has responded with an unprecedented level of curiosity and enthusiasm.
Why so much excitement? Because this cannabis extract, which comes primarily from hemp plants, offers the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana without getting you high. The compound responsible for the infamous cannabis “high” is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. Both THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for regulating pain, inflammation, immune response, temperature and more. While THC’s effects are intoxicating, CBD’s effects are not.
Technically speaking, CBD is psychoactive, meaning it interacts with the brain and nervous system. It is not, however, psychotropic, which means intoxicating. The intoxicating compound in cannabis is THC, the most famous of over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids.
In this new and under-regulated market, there are countless products and claims to sort through. For instance, the term “hemp oil” could mean true CBD oil, or it could mean hemp seed oil, which is a culinary ingredient with no CBD in it. Another confusing term is the word “cannabis”, which refers to both adult-use cannabis (previously known as marijuana) and hemp.
Due to their THC content and intoxicating effects, oils extracted from adult-use cannabis can only be legally obtained at a licensed dispensary. In contrast, hemp-derived oils are legally required to have less than .3% THC and are widely accessible in stores and online.
Potential Benefits of CBD Oil
Clinical trials of CBD are ongoing. The studies for pain, inflammation, and anxiety are significant. Because the endocannabinoid system is widespread throughout the body and interacts intimately with other systems within the body, the potential effects of CBD are similarly widespread. These may include use as a:
- Pain reliever
- Sleep Aid
- Seizure reducer (the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first CBD medication, Epidiolex, for the treatment of rare and drug-resistant forms of epilepsy.1
- Anxiety reliever
Is CBD right for me? Special Considerations
Safety : There is no known overdose level for CBD. It is non-intoxicating & generally regarded as safe.
Interactions : CBD can affect the metabolism of certain drugs, by limiting production of the CYP450 enzyme which is responsible for metabolising 60% of pharmaceutical drugs.2 Talk with your doctor if you are using prescription medications and would like to use CBD as a part of your treatment plan.
Side Effects : CBD side effects are rare and mild. They may include drowsiness, nausea, and dry mouth.
Drug Testing : Hemp-derived CBD products are legally required to have less than 0.3% THC. However, it is possible to fail a drug test from using CBD products. This depends on a variety of factors, including frequency of use, individual metabolism, physical constitution, and sensitivity of drug test.
Pregnancy/Breastfeeding : There is inadequate research regarding the use of hemp-derived CBD products during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talk with your doctor about potential risks and benefits before use.
Choosing a Method
It is essential to choose the most effective form of CBD for your particular needs. Different conditions require different treatment approaches. There are benefits and potential drawbacks for all forms of CBD.
The oldest known method of consuming cannabis and hemp is inhaling. This is done by smoking or vaping. When cannabis is heated and inhaled, the effects can be felt almost instantly. Many CBD users opt for vaporizers for portable, on-demand use. However, there are significant health concerns with this method of ingestion. For that reason smoking and vaping are not recommended as a primary method of use.
Endocannabinoid receptors, which are the binding sites for cannabis compounds, are abundant in the skin and hair follicles. When CBD is applied to the skin, it interacts with these receptors, which can reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the surrounding joints and soft tissues.
Topical products are popular with individuals who have never used hemp products before, as they do not need to be ingested in order to work. Body rubs may take the form of a salve, gel, lotion, or balm. The form is not as important as the concentration. Look for at least 250 milligrams of CBD per ounce of product.
Physical conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, and arthritis can benefit from the use of topical products. Topicals are preferred for their fast, localized relief. However, because they do not enter the bloodstream in significant amounts, they will have little to no noticeable effect on issues such as anxiety, sleep issues, seizures, and neurological conditions. It is necessary to ingest CBD for those results.
Full-spectrum concentrates are considered the gold standard for using CBD. This is because of their consistency in dosing and effects, their rapid onset, and the relative safety of sublingual oil when compared to inhaling. These are also a popular choice because they offer both physiological and mental health benefits. They can be taken every day with no known overdose level and very few known side effects, as noted above.
Concentrated CBD oils like Drops and Drops Plus are designed to be dispensed under the tongue, where they are held for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. This allows the active compounds to absorb through the sublingual glands and the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. Learn more about using cannabis oils here.
It’s common to see CBD edibles advertised in grocery stores and coffee shops. But is it worth spending $3 for a dropper of CBD in your latte? Maybe not. This is because a large amount of CBD that is eaten becomes destroyed by the digestive process. This leaves very little left for the body to use. Nevertheless, it’s likely that CBD edibles like chocolates, gummies, and beverages will remain popular for their availability, ease of use, and novelty factor.
Tips and Tricks for Enhancing CBD Benefits
FDA Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. The FDA has not approved CBD to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a medical practitioner if you have a condition which requires treatment.
- Stay Ahead
For managing chronic conditions like pain and anxiety, focus on prevention first and management second. As with the management of most chronic conditions, it is often more effective to support the body and mind before the episode begins. It is easier to prevent flare ups than it is to reduce their symptoms when in full force. For example, if arthritis is an ongoing issue, take Frogsong Farm’s Drops Plus every morning to reduce levels of inflammation. Then, if a flare up does occur, it is easy to spot treat as needed with a topical product like FSF’s Body Balm or Rubbit.
- Eat Good Fats
Consume your tincture with fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, or butter. These fats can bind with CBD and allow it to bypass the first-pass metabolism within the liver, leaving more for the body to use.
- Buy Full-Spectrum
Buy full-spectrum CBD products rather than isolate. Scientists have identified a phenomenon called the Entourage Effect, in which the beneficial compounds found in cannabis have more benefits when taken together rather than separately.3 So a 10 milligram dose of full-spectrum CBD oil can be expected to have more consistent and multi-dimensional benefits when compared to an equal amount of CBD isolate.
- Know your Condition
Not all conditions are created equal. Things like pain, stress, and insomnia can have a variety of underlying causes and complexities. Understanding why your symptoms are manifesting the way they are, will help you decide your specific goal in using CBD. For example, a sore back caused by osteoarthritis will have different needs than a sore back caused by a long day of gardening. The first is connected with inflammation and set deeper within the body, so perhaps a CBD dropper is preferred, while muscle soreness from overactivity may benefit more from topical products. Insomnia caused by anxious thoughts may benefit from CBD to settle the mind, whereas it may have reduced benefit for insomnia caused by late night screen usage which inhibits melatonin production.4 Understanding your symptoms allows you to set clear expectations.
When it comes to getting the most out of your CBD, understanding the various forms of cannabidiol and their use is essential. Topical products are faster acting and common selections for first-timers, though its key to remember that CBD applied to the skin is limited in its ability to circulate throughout the body. Taking CBD internally is the common choice for those managing chronic inflammation as well as pain, arthritis, anxiety, and neurological conditions. The significant health and bioavailability questions regarding inhaling or eating CBD products leave CBD oils as the most popular and preferred method of ingestion. Full-spectrum products like Frogsong Farm’s Drops Plus are a reliable and safe option for most people.
Until Next Time,
All Of Us at Frogsong Farm
Becca Recker is Director of Communications for Frogsong Farm. With a background in organic farming and permaculture design, Rebecca has been writing about soil health and local food access for nine years. The author of several blogs, she has contributed to articles for Oregon Leaf and Green Living PDX magazines, as well as the following websites: Civilized, Splimm, Miss Grass, and Flowertown. She has been a featured guest on the Periodic Effects and Your Highness podcasts.