Beginners guide to CBD. What is all the fuss?
By : Laura Murphy
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol (pronouced ka-nah-beh-die-all), is
the second most sought after active ingredient produced by the
cannabis plant, especially in hemp. Its popularity has skyrocketed
over the past couple years and to be honest, its for good reason. So
let me help reduce the stigma of the word Cannabis and start you down
the right path of discovery.
So, the million dollar question, right? What is CBD?
A naturally occurring chemical compound amongst hundreds of others in
the cannabis plant, CBD is known as THC's non-psychoactive sister
Yup, thats it folks. A simple molecule found in the cannabis plant.
Article done, right? Well no, there is more to be discussed! So let's continue.
Hemp vs Marijuana derived CBD
Hemp and marijuana both are in the botanical family Cannabaceae. What
this means is that they both come from the cannabis plant.
The only difference between the two is that hemp typically contains
very low amounts (less than 0.3%) of THC, while marijuana plants have
Its important to note that any cannabis product with a higher than
0.3% of THC is currently only legal for sale at licensed dispensaries.
Knowing the difference between CBD that is derived from hemp vs.
marijuana is very important because marijuana derived CBD can cause
psychoactive effects, and will show up on a drug test. Meanwhile, Hemp
derived CBD only contains the small 0.3 percentage of THC, which is
not enough to cause psychoactive effects and is less likely to show up
on a drug test, although to be clear it still has the possibility to
Now, why is it being talked about everywhere?
Well, because it has incredible benefits to our natural
endocannabinoid system (don't worry, we'll get to what that is in a
moment), and helps to keep our bodies in a state of homeostasis. The
anti-inflammatory properties of CBD work both in the brain and the
body, and can have a huge impact not only on your health, but overall
well-being; helping with things like a simple mid day headache,
anxiousness, even your grandfathers serve arthritis pains.
Curious about what is an endocannabinoid system?
Its a complex molecular system responsible for regulating and
balancing many processes in the body including pain, memory, mood,
appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, and immune function. For example,
when you are experiencing high levels of stress, taking CBD can help
with relief by coating receptors in your ECS which is assisting your
body to maintain homeostasis. CBD acts upon our CBD1 and CBD2
receptors inside the ECS. Not directly binding to either of the
receptors, but instead impacts them indirectly.
Now that we talked about what, where and why, let's talk about the
different types of CBD that you can find on the market today.
Full spectrum: the ultimate charcuterie board of all the naturally
occurring compounds, including 0.3% content of THC.
Broad-spectrum: Has all the same compounds as full spectrum, but THC
has been removed
CBD isolates: best known as pure CBD. The only compound found in this
form is CBD and should contain no trace of THC.
I am sure you're now wondering, how do I choose?
Well, a lot of people prefer full spectrum because of what we call the
entourage effect - meaning, you're getting that array of cannabinoids
and compounds working together, targeting more areas of your
endocannabinoid system for a more therapeutic effect.
Broad spectrum is chosen by people who want all the benefits of the
terpenes and flavonoids, but where consuming THC is undesirable.
Lastly, those who prefer CBD isolates may do so because its tasteless
and orderless. All beneficial in their own ways, choosing a type of
CBD is based on you and your bodies needs, because all of our bodies
I can hear you thinking, "okay, now, what are terpenes and flavonoids?"
To touch on them briefly,
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in the cannabis plant that
are reported to have therapeutic and health boosting benefits. There
are some who say that the scent you're most attracted to is the one
your body needs the most. To be honest, I can't prove this, but I
really like the idea. Flavonoids are naturally occurring pigments
found in many plants. They are known for giving a plant, vegetable,
fruit and/or herbs its colors and flavors, and are powerful
How to read the ingredients on your CBD products.
You've finally chosen your product and now you're wondering is this really CBD?
Make sure to check the ingredient list closely. When checking, it
should be listed as CBD or hemp extract. If your product says hemp
seeds or hempseed oil, these ingredients are not the same as CBD.
All CBD companies should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis,
otherwise known as a COA. An outsourced third-party test is performed
by a laboratory that provides a full composition of a product. For CBD
products, this should include a total list of cannabinoids. If the
product contains heavy metals or pesticides, you can find this report
on the companies website, or in some cases you can even access the COA
while in store by scanning the QR code on the product with your
Reading a COA can be overwhelming but here are some key factors to look for:
First, double check that the CBD and THC content on the COA matches
what is on the product label. Second, if purchasing a broad or full
spectrum product, look for the list of other cannabinoids and other
compounds such as CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBC, etc. Third, always check the
date on the COA. If the date of testing was done a long time ago the
COA may be invalid.
How to find the CBD product for you and how much should I take?
There are so many options available when looking for CBD products.
Between oils, topicals and edibles, companies have done an amazing job
of making them their own. If you live in a CBD friendly state with
cannabis dispensaries, start there. by asking the staff their favorite
If dispensaries aren't accessible, you may want to consider online
resources, forums and even social media to point you in the right
direction. As long as you do a little homework on how reputable the
source of the information you are getting is, the internet is
definitely your friend here!
I did want to note that just because a gas station has CBD doesn't
mean you should buy it. You really want to put in the time and
research of the CBD company you want to try.
Also, Amazon has a policy that prohibits the sale of CBD products, so
unfortunately, no you cannot get prime delivery for your CBD. Though
there are endless amounts of smaller businesses that have so many
wonderful CBD products to offer.
So there you have it! Now that you know the basics, I hope that you
will start to explore the wonderful world of cannabis and it's array
of medicinal possibilities.