CBD FOR BEGINNERS
The world of CBD is large, growing and vastly confusing for many people. The idea of starting to learn more about CBD seems daunting for some,maybe even impossible. This article will provide a guide for people who want to learn and understand more about this little plant that claims such big things. We will discuss what exactly CBD is, as well as its legality, sourcing and dosage.
Cannabis, Hemp, CBD, and THC
To start, we will discuss what cannabis really is. Cannabis sativa is the species of plant that is commonly known as pot, weed or marijuanna. This cannabis plant contains many different chemicals called cannabinoids. Two of the most famous cannabinoids found in cannabis are THC and CBD. While many confuse the two, CBD and THC could not be more different. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” feeling that people associate with marijuanna. It is a controlled substance and is psychoactive. CBD has a myriad of other benefits for a variety of symptoms and conditions, and it does not intoxicate you. It is all natural and not a controlled substance. Many people get confused between the two as CBD and THC interact with the bodies in similar ways, but they are both different chemicals in the cannabis sativa plant.
This is the part where things get confusing unless you happen to have a degree in plant biology. In layman's terms however, cannabis sativa has varying THC content and varying CBD content. Cannabis sativa is the overarching umbrella category, but natural variation in plants means that each cannabis sativa plant can have a different amount of cannabinoids. These different levels of cannabinoids are identified and then different cannabis sativa plants are bred together to create a cannabis sativa plant with a specific THC content, CBD content or both. Hemp is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant that is rich in CBD and contains less than 0.3% THC. These proportions are required in order for the plant to be classified as the legal “hemp”, rather than the illegal “cannabis”.
Most people still associate the word “cannabis” with little plastic baggies, sketchy dealers and teenagers passing around the joint. However, the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (also known as the Farm Bill) allowed farmers across 46 of the United States to grow hemp that contains less than .3% of THC. Thus, cannabis sativa plants that were high in CBD but low in THC were removed from the controlled substances list. This act allowed Americans to have greater access to CBD by removing the specification of hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.
However, this act did not classify hemp under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is responsible for protecting public health by regulating human drugs and biologics, animal drugs, medical devices, tobacco products, food and cosmetics. Even though CBD can be used in all of these forms, it is not regulated by the FDA. This means there is currently no federal regulations or federal agency that controls CBD products. In fact, the FDA themselves has said that “CBD products currently sold in the United States are unregulated and untested,” and some of the testing they have done has revealed that some CBD products contain toxic metals, pesticides and even THC.
More than simply being outside the purview of the FDA, CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Since the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements anyway, there are many laws and regulations that must be changed before consumers can have confidence in their safety of the CBD products. Supplements dosage claims are also not evaluated. In a 2019 study done by a purity lab with the largest set of test results and analysis on CBD products to date, they found that more than half the CBD products tested had labels that inaccurately reflected the concentration of CBD in the product — meaning that many of these CBD products did not actually contain the dose of CBD that they claimed to. Since CBD interacts individually with every person, dosing is difficult enough without false potency claims confusing the subject further.
Due to the lack of regulation in the CBD industry, it is more important than ever for consumers to conduct research into the source of their CBD products. While about about 70% of U.S. hemp is from China, there are many sources of safe, effective and potent CBD that are grown in America. Research smaller brands who are committed to safety testing and committed to helping people. There are very few valid badges or certifications to earn in the CBD world so make sure to conduct additional research when confronted with a brand claiming to have an official product accolade.
While there are many CBD products available that are unsafe and misleading, there are also many CBD products that are produced with consumers in mind and harness the potential medical benefits of this plant. This specific industry simply requires consumers to find a brand they can trust.
In 2017, the NIH conducted a study that reviewed all of the available research on CBD. They concluded that it is a relatively safe treatment and underscored the fact that different people respond to different dosages of CBD. Most of the human studies use dosages anywhere between 20 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. This is a gigantic range but the individual dosage
• Metabolic rate
• Frequency of use
• Condition being treated
• Individual body chemistry
• the concentration of CBD in each dose
Unfortunately, the current best method for determining dose is trial and error. There is so much about CBD that has yet to be discovered and many more research trials are being conducted due to the recent legalization of hemp. As the cannabis industry grows, researchers will conduct more studies on CBD and hopefully provide a fuller picture of dosages.
The CBD industry is a growing one. There are many regulation updates that must occur to provide consumers safer CBD; however, in the meantime, consumers can research themselves to find trusted CBD brands to purchase from. While the dosing for CBD is currently an inexact science, too much CBD is not harmful and therefore does not present a barrier for consumers to find their correct individualized dosage. As additional research is conducted, more aspects of CBD will be better understood and can then be applied to helping people more effectively.