The popularity of CBD is surging the world, it’s medical uses are being discovered and experimented on by medical researchers and layman alike. With CBD derived from hemp being legal in most countries, it’s potential is in constant blossom. It’s being used in treatment of a wide variety of ailments and is available in many forms such as; tinctures, edibles, balms, skin lotions and more.
This is a complete guide on CBD, we will delve deep into the topic and expound on this wonderful gift from nature. It is divided into 6 distinct parts, to help you navigate through it easier.
PART 1: What is CBD?
PART 2: CBD Benefits & Research
PART 3: Legality
PART 4: Using CBD Oil
What is CBD Oil
CBD oil is a non psychoactive oil extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, which is the second most prevalent component of cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not get you high (1). Since CBD oil is jam packed with potential health benefits, this is very fortunate as it is able to benefit all walks of life.
CBD Oil From Hemp Vs Marijuana – Is There a Difference?
For the everyday layman, there may be some confusion around the difference of CBD oil made from marijuana and from hemp. There are distinct differences between the two, to give you a basis for understanding we should lay out the differences between hemp, cannabis and marijuana.
Cannabis refers to a group of 3 plants in the same family, each with psychoactive properties, they are; Cannabis inca, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis. Hemp is only from the Cannabis sativa species, whereas marijana can belong to all 3 species; Inca, Sativa and Ruderalis. While hemp and marijuana share many properties, they are not the same.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years for many purposes, not all those being for consumption, it has been used in things such as; cosmetics, food, fibre for clothing and building materials. The two main differences between marijuana and hemp is that hemp contains high concentrates of cannabidiol (CBD) and almost zero THC (below 0.3%), whereas marijuana contains much higher levels of THC, up to 30% of THC per dry weight.
Since hemp is so low in THC, CBD oil from hemp does not get the user high, rather you may feel more relaxed, alert and overall healthier when using it.
Different Types of CBD
There are a number of different types of CBD oil available on the market, depending on the individual and the reasons behind using CBD, one or more of these types may be more beneficial than others.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from hemp seeds and contains no THC, it’s also considered a super food as it contains high amounts of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. It’s also a great source of protein, making it a great protein source for vegans.
CBD Isolate is a pure crystalline powder, it is essentially PURE CBD, containing around 99% CBD.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the compounds found in marijuana, including CBD, THC, CBN, THCA CBC and CBG.
Broad spectrum CBD is basically the same as full spectrum without THC, so it contains all compounds found in marijuana, but without the THC.
Nano CBD is a compound which has had the cannabinoid molecules reduced to tiny sizes (less than 100nm), effectively converting it to a water based form. THis method allows for the CDB to be absorbed more easily through the skin.
CBD research, just like the research of any chemical compound begins in the lab. Before a compound is tested on animals or humans, it’s biochemical mechanisms need to be deeply understood.
Cannabinoids mechanisms are profoundly complex and still little is known about how cannabinoids and the bodies endocannabinoid system (and other organs in our bodies) interacts.
But while the exact mechanisms are still in the process of being discovered, what is known is it’s powerful effect on these systems.
Much research has taken place and currently running into the effect of CBD on the human body and various ailments.
CBD Health Benefits
Now that we have given a general overview of what CBD oil is and various types, we will jump into it’s medical use.
The world has caught on to the health benefits of CBD oil, so much so that it has blossomed into a thriving multi billion dollar a year industry. CBD is being used to treat a wide range of ailments from pain management to mental health care and treatment in motor disorders.
Since CBD doesn’t get you high, it’s benefits are able to reach the wider population.
The list of applications is far too long to list, but we will iist out the most common proven benefits of CBD.
CBD oil for Pain, Inflammation and Arthritis
Living with chronic pain is an ongoing nightmare, even the most simple daily tasks can leave one in excruciating pain. CBD has been found, through studies and anecdotal evidence, to help treat chronic pain and inflammation. So how does CBD help treat chronic pain? CBD interacts with the receptors in the brain and immune system, acting as an analgesic.
The European Journal of Pain conducted a study (2), to investigate if arthritis could be helped with CBD. The study applied a CBD gel on rats, observing any adverse effects in the study. They noticed a significant drop in signs of pain and inflammation, with no negative side effects.
Studies have also shown that subjects were not likely to build up a tolerance to the CBD (3).
Anxiety & Depression
According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 5 Australians experience mental health issues in any given year (4). So with such a high percent of the population living with mental health issues, it’s no surprise that the benefits of CBD oil for anxiety are being brought to light.
While antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs can help, they also can be highly addictive and carry with them a very long list of side effects, such as; headaches, sexual dysfunction, psychotic episodes, insomnia and more.
It is believed that CBD’s benefits for depression and anxiety come from it’s positive effects on serotonin receptors in the brain. Low serotonin levels are a characteristic often found in those suffering from depression, CBD doesn’t exactly boost serotonin levels, but affects the chemical receptors response to serotonin already present.
In 2014, a study found that the effect of CBD on serotonin receptors produced both anti anxiety and anti depression effects.
One of the biggest benefits of using CBD for anxiety and depression over pharmaceuticals, is that CBD results in significantly less side effects, if any.
Epilepsy and Seizures
Epilepsy drugs are not effective for around a third of people with epilepsy. Epilepsy can be caused by a number of things, such as; alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain injury or other causes. But around 60% of sufferers of epilepsy do not know the cause.
Usually, epilepsy is treated with AEDs (antiepileptic drugs), the problem is that as much as 20-40 percent of those suffering from epilepsy are resistant to AED’s. Because of this, many of those with the condition seek out alternative therapies to help treat and manage their seizures.
Epilepsy does not have a single cause, it’s a complex disorder with many possible causes. Essentially, anything which interferes with normal neuron activity patterns can be the cause. CBD interacts with the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which may improve the functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
It is still not fully understood how CBD is able to reduce seizures, but a number of observations have been made by scientists.
- CBD has the potential to aid a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids have a neuroprotective function, reducing the risk of seizures.
- The endocannabinoid system also acts as a modulatory function.
- Seizures can be caused or worsened by inflammation in the brain. CBD is also an anti-inflammatory.
Help Treat Skin Problems
The use of CBD oil for skin problems has been gaining much attention lately, sprouting a massive industry. The skin as an organ has it’s own endocannabinoid system, using CBD cannabinoid’s binds to the skins endocannabinoid system. There are a number of skin issues that CBD can assist with:
Psoriasis: When a person is affected by Psoriasis, the skin cells divide and grow at an accelerated rate. Due to this division, Eczema starts appearing on the skin with red patches of skin, with scale like characteristics. The affected patches of skin become itchy and often painful.
Psoriasis doesn’t have a cure, but there are many different therapies which help in treating Psoriasis and mitigating symptoms. CBD is one treatment which some sufferers of Psoriasis are finding useful in treating their skin disorder.
In a 2007 study (5) CBD was found to slow down the division and growth of skin cells involved in causing psoriasis rashes.
Acne: Acne is a common complaint amongst teenagers and adults alike. Generally acne is caused by hormone imbalances, unhealthy diets and improper skin care. Pimples are caused by an increased secretion of sebum and propionibacterium, sebum actually plays a vital role in skin protection, but the excess production of it leads to acne.
While a modified diet, internal cleansing and use of certain vitamins and minerals such as zinc and vitamin A and D are great ways of battling acne, CBD is also great in helping to treat acne.
- CBD has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- CBD helps in reducing the formation of sebum in sebaceous tissues.
Dermatitis: Dermatitis is a skin condition most commonly found in infants and children. It is characterized by the presence of red, itchy rashes. The standard treatment for Dermatitis is the use of corticosteroids, which are effective but also carry a lot of negative side effects.
The inflammatory properties of CBD have been shown to have a positive effect on dermatitis.
A small study (6) testing the effects of CBD ointment on dermatitis showed positive results, improving skin parameters and symptoms.
The revolution of cannabis legalization has been and continues to spread across the wor
ld, plunging it’s victorious flag into the soil of many nations, but it still has
a way to go, there is still resistance.
The list of countries which have either legalized weed and their derivatives such as CBD is quite impressive, and growing every year. Cannabis laws vary greatly between countries and even states within countries. Depending on where you are in the world, the laws determining the legality of possessing, cultivating, distributing and using CBD will be different.
Since hemp derived CBD contains very little amounts of CBD, it is generally the only type of CBD that is legal in most countries. CBD which is derived from marijuana and contains higher levels of THC is generally only legal in countries that have legalized marijuana, since it falls under the same category.
In 2018, the government approved the trade of hemp products in Australia.
The stipulation to this law is that any hemp foods or CBD products can not contain more than the allowed ratio of THC which is 0.005%.
While the laws for producers and distributors of CBD are very strict in Australia, consumers over the age of 18 will have no problem legally buying hemp derived CBD over the counter.
Canada fully legalized recreational marijuana on October 17. 2018.
This move made Canada the first G7 country to fully legalize marijuana for adults and the second in the world, following Uruguay. The Canadian government crafted bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act.
While marijauna has been legalized, the government is leaving it up to each province to decide on age limits and how it will be sold and distributed.
Since Canada has fully legalized marijuana, the use, production and distribution of both hemp derived CBD and marijuana derived CBD are legal.
The United States
CBD derived from hemp was legalized in the United States in 2018, provided it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
As far as CBD derived from Marijuana, the legalization status of marijuana in the United States is not very well flattened out. There’s a huge mismatch between states. 11 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, in others you can use it for medical purposes and others you will be thrown in jail for even possessing a small amount.
In the UK, CBD is legal, provided it contains no THC an is derived from an EU-approved hemp strain. But there is an exception made to the rule. A 50% THC and 50% CBD mix called Sativex is approved in the UK for treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Using CBD Oil
In this section we will be looking at some of the ways CBD oil is used, as well as going over correct dosing and discussing who can use CBD.
Not all methods of CBD use are equal, the effectiveness of any given method depends on the type of CBD that is being used and it’s bioavailability.
Bioavailabilty is the proportion of a substance which makes its way to the bloodstream after being taken into the body. There are a number of factors which affect absorption, but the most important factor is the way it is administered. A substance can be administered either by way of ingestion, inhalation, absorption or injection into the bloodstream.
When a substance is injected directly into the bloodstream, it has 100% bioavailability, since it has been introduced directly into the blood, none of the substance has been lost along the way. When a substance is taken orally, it must travel it’s way through to the bloodstream, giving it a lower bioavailability, since not all of the substance will arrive at it’s destination.
The other methods of consumption hold varying levels of bioavailability. Inhalation is a very effective way of getting the substance directly into the bloodstream through absorption in the lungs. Taking a substance sublingually allows it to enter the bloodstream through glands underneath the tongue. Using nasal sprays is another effective method, with a high
bioavailability rate, allowing the substance to be absorbed through the nasal mucous membranes.
Bioavailability of CBD
The range of different CBD products is vast with many different forms available. CBD products rage from topical ointments, to oil extract, edibles and much more. The bioavailability between each product varies.
CBD tinctures are one of the more popular methods of ingestion and generally have a bioavailability of around 10 – 40%.
For those who want the method with the highest bioavailability, vaporized CBD gives the highest range of bioavailability apart from intravenous injection. CBD inhalation provides a bioavailability range of around 25 – 60%, but depends greatly on other factors such as how deep the CBD being vaporized is inhaled, how much is taken with each puff and the type of CBD being used.
Ways to Use CBD
Depending on a number of factors, the method you choose for taking CBD may vary. With such a variety of options for using CBD it can feel a little overwhelming choosing which will be the best for you.
It’s useful to first determine which CBD product will be best suited to you. There’s a few things to consider.
Define Your Goals
CBD has a long list of medicinal uses and some methods are better than others for certain uses. For example, if you are using CBD for skin health, a topical CBD lotion will be better suited than ingesting CBD orally.
If you are just curious of CBD’s general affect on health and wellbeing than you may want to experiment a bit with different methods of use.
What’s Your Time Frame
Another thing to consider when choosing what method of CBD to use, is the time it takes to feel the effects from any given method of consumption.
For example, administering CBD oil orally by dropping a few drops into the mouth (without swallowing right away) is a quick and effective method of consumption, but if you were to quickly swallow the CBD, it would take much longer to reach the bloodstream as it needs to pass through the digestive tract.
Now let’s look deeper into a number of methods of using CBD:
Sublingual: Tinctures, Concentrates & Sprays
Using the method of sublingual application is am effective way of introducing CBD to the body with a higher bioavailability than simply swallowing the compounds.
The way it is done is with a solution, either in a tincture or spray, being held under the tongue for a period of about 60-90 seconds before being swallowed.
When this method is used, some of the compounds are directly absorbed into the mucous membranes. After the solution is swallowed, the remaining compounds are passed through the digestive system, finally reaching the bloodstream.
If you do not like the taste of cannabis, you may not enjoy this method, as you will need to hold it in your mouth for over a minute, but there are also flavoured alternatives available.
Inhalation: Smoked, Vaporized & Dabbed
Inhalation is a popular method of consuming CBD, it’s highly effective and is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream via the lungs.
There are a number of CBD products available that can be inhaled, such as: hemp flower, vape products and concentrates used for dabbing.
The interior surface of the lungs is highly permeable, resulting in a very high bioavailability. Inhaling has a quick onset of just a few minutes.
Topical: Lotions, Balms and Patches
Topical use of CBD is a fast growing industry, it’s a great way of application for administering cannabidiol directly on the skin.
The skin contains natural cannabinoid receptors, which react with the cannabinoids in CBD, making skin application very effective in alleviating skin issues as well as body aches.
When consuming CBD edibles, the cannabinoids are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. They need to be processed by the liver before making their way to the bloodstream. While the process of absorption takes longer than the other methods, the effects generally last longer, making it great for arthritis or chronic pain.
One of the bonuses of consuming edibles is the huge variety of choices available, you can consume cookies, candy, pizza, you name it.
Edibles are without a doubt the tasties method of consuming CBD.
While this application doesn’t sound so appealing and you wouldn’t expect to find this advertised too often in the top fold, it is an effective method with very high bioavailability. A CBD suppository gives you both fast onset and longer lasting effects, taking effect in less than 15 minutes and lasting up to hours, which is longer than all other forms of CBD use.
Dosage: How Much Should You Take
There isn’t a universal correct CBD dosage, the optimal dosage will depend on a number of factors, such as the users body type, CBD tolerance and the reason the user is taking CBD.
Other important things to consider when working out the correct dosage are the type of CBD product you are taking and its bioavailability and its concentration. As we have mentioned previously, there is a lot of difference in bioavailability between the various methods of use.
Important Dosing Factors
Determining the correct CBD dosage will depend on the following factors:
- Body weight: A persons weight plays a part in determining the correct dosage. Generally, those who are heavier in weight tend to need to take more CBD and those who are lighter in weight usually require less.
- Concentration: This refers to the strength or amount of CBD in a product. The concentration is measured using milligrams (mg) and will indicate how many mg of CBD per serving. For example, if a bottle of tincture has a concentrate of 1000 mg and contains 20 millilitres o(mL) of tincture, with a standard serving size of 1 mL, then each serving will contain 50 mg of CBD.
- Tolerance: Regular users of CBD, may develop a tolerance which can result in reduced effectiveness. If this is the case, higher doses may be required.
- Desired Effects: The dosage required also depends on why the user is taking CBD and their level of pain. If the consumer is experiencing chronic pain they may need higher doses of CBD.
In calculating dosage, it’s essential to dose according to your body weight. A good rule of thumb for dosing, is to dose 2 -12 mg of CBD per 10 kg of body weight. The variance between the dosing levels is based on the users level of pain and the reason they are taking CBD.
Each individual is different and will react differently to CBD, we all have different chemistry, substance history, and varying overall health. So a dosage that works for someone else, might not necessarily work well for you. Because of this, it’s a good idea to first calculate your dosage, start on the lower end of dosing and then gradually increase the dosage, monitoring your body’s reaction and how you feel on each dosage.
Who Can Use CBD Oil