In the last few years, CBD has become impossible to ignore—as a product that is federally legal, countless retailers and online storefronts have started selling CBD products, ranging from capsules and tinctures to skincare items.
What used to be an obscure product is now becoming a household name. And as more research backs up the health benefits of CBD, more people are using it as a part of their daily routine or as a holistic alternative to traditional painkillers and medicines.
But with so many products on the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. This guide will help you understand what CBD is, how to find the right product for your needs, and which brands have earned our trust.
What is CBD and How Does it Work?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. The two main compounds in cannabis are THC and CBD—THC is psychoactive, which means it produces a high, while CBD does not produce any intoxicating effects.
Though both compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It’s also been studied for its potential to help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain relief and recovery, and stress relief.
When a user applies, ingests, or otherwise consumes a CBD product, the compound is absorbed into the bloodstream and binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the body. This interaction can have various effects, including reducing inflammation and pain relief.
THC vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?
THC and CBD both come from the same plant, but their effects are very different. As mentioned earlier, THC is psychoactive and will produce an intoxicating feeling when consumed in large enough doses.
As suggested by Brown’s CBD, CBD has no psychoactive properties and will not produce a high or intoxicating feeling. However, it is still considered a psychoactive compound since it does impact the body’s endocannabinoid system and causes a change in consciousness.
When looking for a federally legal product that contains CBD, you may find that the terms “full-spectrum” and “broad spectrum” are used to describe certain products. These terms refer to the amount of THC in a product; a full-spectrum product contains all of the compounds found in cannabis, including trace amounts of THC (usually less than 0.3%). A broad-spectrum product contains all (or many) of the other compounds found in cannabis (e.g., CBG, CBN), but without any THC.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product
When it comes to choosing the right product for you, there are a few things to consider:
- Potency: CBD products come in different potencies, ranging from low-dose tinctures to high-strength capsules. It’s important to consider your own needs and find the product that best meets them. If you’re using CBD for anxiety, a lower potency might be more effective than a higher dose.
- Delivery Method: There are several delivery methods for CBD, including tinctures, edibles, capsules, topicals, and vape products. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each delivery method to find the one that works best for you.
- Quality: It’s important to find a product that has been tested by a third-party lab to ensure safety and purity. Look for products that have been tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants. You can certainly find cheap and high-quality CBD products at Area52, but it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for in most cases.
- Brand Reputation: Finding a brand that is transparent about its ingredients, sourcing methods, and manufacturing processes are important. Reading reviews from other customers can also help you determine which brands are trustworthy and offer quality products.
- Manufacturing and Processing: The FDA does not regulate CBD, leaving it up to individual companies to ensure their products meet high standards for quality, purity, and potency. Many companies abide by strong quality standards because of the nature of their target market, but it’s always a good idea to look for brands that use clean extraction methods and source their hemp from reliable sources.
Best Practices for Using CBD
Before you use CBD products, you should know the basics of safe and responsible use. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Consider your other medication beforehand. CBD interacts with opioid analgesics, anticonvulsants, anti-epileptic medications, antidepressants, and THC and marijuana products. If you take medication that you think might interact with CBD, consult your doctor before using any products.
- Start low and go slow. It’s important to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it until you find the right amount for yourself. Too much CBD can cause drowsiness or other side effects, while too little won’t produce the desired effect.
- Be aware of the potential side effects. Usually, CBD is regarded as safe and well-tolerated, but it can have some side effects, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, or a change in appetite. If you experience any of these effects while using CBD products it’s important to stop taking them and speak to a doctor.
- Look for high-quality products. Low-quality CBD products can contain contaminants or other ingredients that are not listed on the label. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable brand that uses high-quality CBD, and always read labels to ensure they list all of the ingredients in their products.
- Store your products safely away from children. If you have kids, it’s important to remember that CBD products aren’t meant for them. Especially if you use gummies or other kinds of CBD edibles (which resemble normal food), make sure you keep them somewhere where they won’t have access. For more information on CBD edibles, click here.
CBD is a powerful compound found in cannabis plants with potential therapeutic benefits for many common ailments. However, educating yourself before using CBD products is essential, and you should always talk to your doctor first.
When you’re ready to buy CBD products, consider the potency, delivery method, quality, brand reputation, and manufacturing processes of the product you choose. With the right information and a little bit of research, you can find a CBD product that works for you.