Everything You Need To Know About CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is literally everywhere today. We hear the term CBD in small talk at the office water cooler, while we’re at the dog park, during our workouts, and even at the dinner table with our grandparents.
But what is it, exactly? Does CBD work? How does it work? What’s the difference between CBD and other buzzwords like hemp, hemp oil, recreational marijuana, or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)? Is CBD use really growing at the rate people say? All of these are valid questions, especially as more and more inaccurate information gets spewed into our digital atmosphere.
Below, we’ve put together the basics, the details, the nitty-gritty, and then some on all things CBD to put your mind at ease (in more ways than one). Let’s dive right in, shall we?
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in Cannabis sativa, a herbaceous flowering plant that was first cultivated in eastern Asia. Found most abundantly in hemp as opposed to marijuana (two primary classifications of the Cannabis sativa plant), CBD belongs to a class of substances known as cannabinoids. This natural chemical compound is one of over 100+ cannabinoids found in and extracted from Cannabis, second in notariety perhaps only to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound most prevalently found in marijuana.
CBD is rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about substances around the globe, as it is currently believed to provide a wide range of therapeutic benefits for those who ingest it or use it topically. Accordingly, CBD is undergoing extensive testing and significant research in the scientific community. In fact, there are over 100 clinical studies currently listed on clinicaltrials.gov.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids, a commonly abbreviated term for phytocannabinoids, are chemicals produced in glands (Trichomes) located on the flowers of the Cannabis plant, many cannabinoids interact with receptors throughout our bodies when ingested or used topically. Cannabis plants possess multiple metabolic pathways to produce cannabinoids. The amount of each cannabinoid produced is by the plant genetics and growing conditions. Specific stains or varieties of cannabis are selectively bred to produce different ratios of cannabinoids just as breeds of dogs have been bred for different characteristics.
Our bodies produce similar chemicals with nearly identical molecular structures to phytocannabinoids. The cannabinoids produced by our bodies are called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced as a key component of the Endocannabinoid System to activate or inactivate specific receptors in our nervous system and organs. Due to their similar molecular structure, phytocannabinoids can be used to supplement our natural production of endocannabinoids and help to regulate many body functions such as mood, appetite, pain response, neurotransmitter levels, inflammation and pain. This is something we’ll cover in detail a bit later.
What are a few of the most notable cannabinoids?
- Cannabigerol (CBG) – CBG is the precursor molecule for the other cannabinoids. This is where THC, CBD, and the others all start. Biochemical pathways specific to each cannabis strain’s genetics will determine how much of each of the cannabinoids will be produced. Aside from this designation as the “mother of all cannabinoids”, CBG has important biological impact in and of itself such as reduction of intraocular eye pressure associated with glaucoma, reduction of bowel inflammation, and is a powerful antibacterial agent that is effective against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
- Cannabidiol (CBD) – CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits. CBD also acts on the production and reuptake of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. CBD is being investigated for treatment of anxiety, PTSD, and substance addiction. The first medicinal use of CBD centered on treatment of epilepsy with the discovery that cannabis high in CBD greatly reduced the severity and number of seizures in patients with certain types of epilepsy. There are currently two FDA approved drugs on the market containing CBD; Epidiolex for treatment of seizures and Sativex for treatment of chronic pain. Note: Sativex is a 1:1 combination of THC and CBD.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the “High” produced from smoking or ingesting decarboxylated marijuana. While recreational use of THC has been the focus of societal concern for many years, THC has therapeutic merit. THC has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antiemetic (nausea), anti-proliferative (cancer), and neuroprotective characteristics.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) – CBC demonstrates little affinity for EC1 receptors but does active other receptors such as TRPV1 receptor to modulate pain, triggering the body to produce more endocannabinoids like anandamide. In fact CBC’s promotion of anandamide production is thought to be responsible for the cannabinoids neuroprotective and cancer fighting potential.
These cannabinoids, along with many others, are found within Cannabis plants, which, for the purposes of CBD, THC, hemp products, or marijuana, are often broken down into two primary cannabis classifications: hemp and marijuana.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana are commonly mistaken, misunderstood, and mixed up. They are often referred to as “strains” or “species” of cannabis, though they actually are neither. Hemp and marijuana both Cannabis sativa just as a Doberman and chihuahua are both Cannis familiaris. Same species but very different characteristics. The difference between a “Hemp” and “Marijuanna” plant is determined by how much THC is produced by the plant.
What is hemp?
Hemp is legally defined as a variety of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This definition was officially legitimized in the 2018 Farm Bill, otherwise known as the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Hemp is cultivated for fibers (rope, clothe, paper), foods (hemp seed oil and hemp seeds), medicines, and only recently became more popular for its high abundance of CBD. Some varieties of hemp contain as much as 20% CBDa, which is converted by heat to CBD through a process called Decarboxylation.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana, on the other hand, is any variety of the same plant containing greater than 0.3% THC. This distinction was made official for legal purposes as the 2018 Farm Bill aimed to clear the air and give evident classification of the varieties of Cannabis. Marijuana, chemically, can contain up to 30% THCa, the carboxylated form of THC.
What about legalities? Is CBD legal?
Simply put, hemp-derived CBD is federally legal to cultivate, process, possess, and use in the United States, though several licensing and handling restrictions exist and differ from state to state.
Hemp and marijuana have very different legalities. Though hemp was originally grouped together with marijuana and labeled illegal under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, it was officially removed from the list of illegal substances with the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. At the federal level, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 Drug, though several states have legalized or decriminalized it, resulting in a confusing enforcement landscape across our country.
After the 2018 Farm Bill, which provided a legal definition of hemp and hemp derivatives, the USDA issued an Interim Final Rule to put forth a set of regulations surrounding the production of hemp and the guidelines for state program submissions.
Though hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, the differing state-to-state laws often conflict and cause confusion. It’s imperative to remain aware of both state and federal legislation surrounding substances like CBD just to exercise proper caution.
How is CBD extracted and processed for use?
Cannabis plants contain potentially thousands of compounds. These include cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fats and lips, and chlorophyll to name a few. Because of the complex mix of compounds, several methods of selective extraction based on solvent affinity for the target cannabinoids have been developed. The main commercially utilized methods for cannabinoid extraction are hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide, and ethanol. These three methods share the benefit of utilizing a relatively non-polar solvent to extract the non-polar cannabinoids and leave much of the unwanted polar molecules and water behind. A non-polar solvent makes the job of post-extraction purification much easier.
The best solvent is determined by the desired end product. If pure CBD is desired, then a solvent that will ignore the terpenes and flavonoids is best. If a full spectrum oil is desired, then ethanol extraction is most efficient. Here at Grow with Redeem, we utilize organic, food-grade ethanol because it yields the best mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes to stimulate the “entourage effect.” Our extraction methods are also very sustainable, because we recapture and reuse 85% of the ethanol used in extraction.
As mentioned above, cannabinoids exist in raw cannabis in the “acid” form. Most, if not all, of the CBD in the raw hemp plant is actually CBDa. The same is true for THC that is present. While there is evidence that acid forms of cannabinoids have therapeutic benefits, conventional extraction and processing of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids includes “activation,” known as decarboxylation. After extraction, the resulting extract is filtered and processed through an initial distillation to remove the ethanol and concentrate the extract into “crude.” The crude is then heated in a controlled manner to remove the oxygen-hydrogen complex, known as a hydroxyl group, from the cannabinoid molecules. This process of decarboxylation converts CBDa to CBD. The requirement to activate cannabinoids is demonstrated by the fact that eating raw marijuana flowers will not generate a psychoactive effect. The THC in marijuanna must be heated by combustion (smoking) or incorporated into a “cooked” food product in order to produce a “high.”
In order to produce a clean, good tasting CBD oil, the crude is further processed by molecular distillation to further separate the desired compounds from those without therapeutic benefit and detract from the taste of the final product. During the final distillation, the black crude is transformed into a light, amber-colored oil containing 80-90% CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids. This “honey,” derived from certified organic hemp, is what we use to manufacture the finest CBD products available.
How does CBD work?
It’s important to note that while much of CBD’s biological activity is clearly understood, more research is still necessary to completely understand its abilities and potential therapeutic use. That being said, significant strides are made daily regarding this high-demand chemical compound, and extensive testing has already been conducted.
When CBD is ingested, it has shown to provide a wide range of therapeutic effects and benefits by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a part of our nervous system.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system, short for endogenous cannabinoid system, is a signaling network in all mammals that monitors and modulates a range of neuronal functions, inflammatory processes, stress-related signals, certain types of pain, and some endocrine and hormone mechanisms. This system is predominantly composed of networks of receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors exist primarily in the central nervous system—the brain and spinal cord. These receptors influence memory processing and pain regulation. Additionally, some motor control functions are thought to play a role in how “fear” is processed by producing anxiety-reducing effects.
CB2 receptors exist mostly in peripheral tissue and are thought to play a significant role in the regulation of immune function and inflammation. Additionally, studies show ample evidence that activating CB2 receptors can reduce nociception, or the body’s response to harmful or potentially harmful stimuli (pain).
These receptors are activated by endocannabinoids, the natural chemicals our body produces that we mentioned before. When endocannabinoids bind with CB1 and CBD2 receptors, they trigger these diverse responses and actions.
How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?
CBD and our endocannabinoids are very similar, chemically speaking. However, at the same time, they share significant distinctions. As a result, CBD molecules actually have little affinity for endocannabinoid receptors and don’t bind directly when ingested. However, the indirect binding is understood to block receptors and facilitate an increase in endocannabinoid production, thereby affecting a range of responses and chemical changes in the body.
What are the benefits of CBD?
CBD and CBD oil provide an abundance of benefits for a wide range of conditions. By indirectly integrating with your endocannabinoid system, CBD offers tremendous therapeutic value.
Specifically, by protecting our endocannabinoids and stimulating increased production of endocannabinoids, CBD helps our bodies to improve the monitoring and regulation of important functions such as sleep, appetite, pain response, anxiety, and more. Studies continue to find new CBD benefits every day, and more research is still needed to totally understand the inner workings of CBD and its ultimate potential.
CBD is also considered a non-toxic substance, which just means that it poses no implicit danger to the body or health of those who ingest it. Any reported side effects are generally mild, including dry mouth, reduced appetite, and drowsiness. The World Health Organization has published a paper containing a summary of CBD safety and effectiveness.
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it produces no mind-altering effects. As legal hemp contains trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%), taking any hemp-derived CBD won’t get you “high.”
Consumers around the world are using CBD to reduce anxiety, mitigate joint inflammation and arthritis, improve their sleep, regulate their appetite, increase energy levels, and minimize muscle soreness. Additionally, CBD is undergoing significant research regarding the role it plays in more serious illnesses, and studies show promise of CBD’s positive influence, regression, and prevention of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and others.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability is a term that refers to the degree that a substance is absorbed into the body’s bloodstream. CBD bioavailability is important because it is indicative of how much of the compound actually gets into your system, which impacts your CBD effects, your CBD experience, and your wallet.
CBD is best delivered sublingually by a dropper or a spray in CBD oil form, a method in which the oil is absorbed through a thin membrane under your tongue. This is the chosen delivery practice because of its efficiency. Sublingual application displays faster absorption rates, is easy to accommodate, and produces high bioavailability.
CBD in the form of spray bottles provides the added benefit of reduced particle size, which makes it easier for your body to absorb and distribute the CBD molecules. By spraying the CBD oil under your tongue and holding it for 30-60 seconds, you ensure that most of the CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream instead of traveling through your digestive tract where the majority is destroyed by first pass metabolism in the stomach and liver. Sublingual sprays maximize bioavailability and deliver the best of CBD benefits.
What are the best ways to take CBD?
CBD is most commonly ingested in the form of oil. Again, this promotes adequate bioavailability and is a relatively simple method of intake. Most consumers prefer CBD tinctures and sprays for this reason. CBD oils are formulated by suspending the extracted CBD in a carrier oil such as fractionate medium chain length coconut oil (MCT). MCT has health benefits in and of itself.
CBD is also available in the form of topical creams or lotions. Though this method sacrifices some bioavailability, this allows the CBD to be applied directly to specific ailments, such as sore muscles, aches, and pains. Consumers enjoy CBD creams for the added benefits that traditional lotions provide and the ease of application.
CBD oils come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s important to go with a brand that offers noteworthy transparency and readily accessible data regarding the ingredients and processes. This ensures that your CBD experience is safe, trustworthy, and effective.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds also found in cannabis plants. These aromatic (strong-odor producing) compounds are secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids and are responsible for the recognizable smell of cannabis. Many terpenes are found to have similar effects as CBD, as some are mood enhancers, some have anti-inflammatory properties, some are sedatives, and so on. Some terpenes have even shown potential to regulate the proliferation of cancer cells.
These chemical compounds can be part of the CBD extraction process and are essential to providing a full CBD experience. The synergy and collaboration between CBD, terpenes, and other naturally-derived cannabis compounds has become known as the entourage effect.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect is slowly becoming a household term. This term describes the ideal balance and combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other chemical compounds from the hemp plant working together in harmony once ingested. This perfect, synergistic balance improves the effectiveness of CBD in our bodies to provide the optimal experience that hemp has to offer.
Which CBD is right for me?
Because of the increasing popularity of CBD, the market is constantly inundated with new CBD companies—some of which know what they’re doing, some of which do not. Choosing the right CBD in these conditions can be extremely challenging and often requires excessive research and comparisons.
Ideally, you want to choose a CBD company that is forthright in their approach, one that offers truth, transparency, and readily accessible information. The best CBD companies clearly state their compliance to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and provide third party testing and Certificates of Analysis (CoA) for their products.
The principles behind cGMP encompass the entire scope of CBD manufacturing from the purchase of hemp and other ingredients, to extraction, formulation, lot traceability, inspection and testing, validation of processes, and even distribution. Adherence to cGMP ensures that a CBD business properly maintains adequate facilities and equipment, employs sufficiently trained professionals, undergoes official third party inspection, and thoroughly documents procedures and manufacturing records.
A CoA is an official report from an accredited, third-party laboratory that clearly displays a concentration and content of each batch of CBD. By making CoAs readily accessible directly from the test lab, a CBD business can provide its customers with ensure truth and transparency along with full knowledge and awareness of the ingredients and composition of their specific CBD product.
CBD businesses that implement these practices, and go the extra mile to do so, often provide an outstanding finished product. You’ll want to do a bit of your own research regardless, but these serve as good indicators and can help you choose the best CBD for you.
What is full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate?
Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate are all terms used to describe the different ways of formulating and preparing a CBD product.
- Full spectrum CBD simply refers to the total extraction of CBD including all of the associated cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds from the hemp plant. This includes the trace amounts of THC found in hemp as well.
- Broad spectrum CBD, though similar to full spectrum CBD, mostly refers to a CBD product that contains the full range of associated chemical compounds with the intentional omission and removal of THC. Broad spectrum CBD is typically sought and consumed by consumers that explicitly object to consuming any THC at all.
- CBD isolate is also known as “pure CBD.” This refers to a substance that has been extracted from hemp and removed of all cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds other than CBD itself. This process produces a crystalline form of CBD that is then dissolved into a carrier oil.
What is Optimal Spectrum™ CBD?
Optimal Spectrum™ CBD, is a term that sets us apart from all of the noise in the CBD industry. With all of the knowledge you’ve just gained about CBD, hemp, and more, you probably understand that consistency in this industry could be challenging. All of the working parts related to developing the best CBD oil on the market contain so many variables and numerous obstacles.
Here at Grow with Redeem, we know that no two hemp plants are exactly alike. Hemp grows in an array of different soil conditions with varying sunlight and weather conditions—not to mention the different seasons, farms, and logistics. With all of these variables, how could any CBD business guarantee consistency and reliability to provide the optimal experience?
Enter: Optimal Spectrum™ CBD. Our Optimal Spectrum CBD oil is analyzed and measured, using our extensive background and knowledge we gained from years working in the FDA regulated pharmaceutical industry. When our measurements show that a batch comes up short of our standards in terms of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we redeem the product with additional, organically derived compounds to achieve the perfect balance. Through this process, we’re able to guarantee that our hemp extract is consistent, and we can ensure batch-to-batch uniformity.
It’s this level of control, care, truth, and transparency that we aim to put out into the world and into our CBD products.
Grow with Redeem is a CBD white label company that is committed to developing exceptional hemp-derived CBD products that help everyday consumers take back their health. We bring truth and transparency into the world of CBD and enable our clients to produce a consistent and reliable experience with their CBD. Our team of CBD manufacturers, suppliers, processors and designers offer the experience, facilities, and knowledge necessary to drive your brand and attain your vision. Learn more about the white label CBD process with Grow with Redeem and contact our team today.