CBD a Beginners Guide – Cheeky Introduction
One question I often get asked is…
“What is CBD and what does it do?”
Most of the time, my answer to this question is “how long have you got?”
I stroke my beard as I would stroke a cat. A question with a question, how perplexing.
The reason I say this is that there’s no short answer without taking up someones precious time. With this in mind I thought it was convenient to write a post on “CBD a beginners guide” to give a better, but light opinion on those three mysterious letters.
What Is Cannabidiol and How it’s Made?
Cannabidiol or CBD for short, is one of over a hundred cannabinoids (chemicals) found in hemp and marijuana plants. Making up for nearly half the plants genetic make up. The major key factor is another chemical called tetrahyrdrocannabinol or THC for short.
This is the psychoactive ingredient that resides in both plants and is the reason you get high, in marijuana there are larger amounts of THC with less CBD. Whereas hemp has a much lower level of THC (0.2% by law) but a higher amount of CBD.
If you are still awake after the above I will put on my Willy Wonka costume and continue. After the plant has been harvested, it will get broken down into a pulp to begin the extraction process. This is where all the key components will be separated in various ways. There are a number of ways to extract CBD, the most common of which is with Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
This method separates the CBD using liquid and gas at various different temperatures, using state-of-the-art filtration equipment allowing for a better, cleaner and safe concentrate to use. This process is called fractionation and once this is complete you have an oil that is ready to be used in pretty much anything you can think of (more on this later).
History Lesson and Prohibition
As we all know, Marijuana/Hemp has been around for centuries and has been used as medicine, paints and varnishes in Asia to begin with as far back as 500 BC. From there as time passed the plant was introduced in Africa, Middle East, Europe and America.
Hemp fibers were used to make rope, fabrics and paper, while the seeds were used for food among other things. As the plant is so easy to grow and cultivate it was in the 1600s of colonial America that Hemp was mass-produced for the above and used for hundreds of years for many purposes.
In the 1800s doctors in India, Europe and America discovered the medicinal uses of the plant and proceeded to use it on patients to reduce nausea, to help increase appetite and treat stomach problems. As time passed people began to not only use the plants as medicine, but also recreationally. This was around the turn of the twentieth century when prohibition began and the plant was illegal pretty much all across the globe, with exceptions.
There was a large recreational increase in use after the second world war and up to this day. The plant can be used for medicinal purposes as an alternative to conventional medicine in some cases, while Hemp is finally being used and produced in huge numbers again for the purpose of its versatility with many uses.
Restrictions, Quality and Variety
Without going down the rabbit hole of laws and regulations (big yawn), Hemp can be grown legally if levels of THC are kept to the minimum level (0.2% in the UK and 0.3% in USA). CBD can’t be sold as medicine as claims can’t be made on its medical benefits, so its usually sold as a food supplement.
The CBD industry is still heavily unregulated and there isn’t much third party testing at the moment to create a solid foundation for people to refer to, so its worth doing some research before you purchase any products and check the ethics of the company you are buying from.
There is such a huge buzz at the moment with CBD, as anecdotal accounts of the benefits are through the roof and the use of medical marijuana being passed to be used by hospitals for certain treatments is a step in the right direction.
However, some are sceptical because so little testing has been done so far. It’s also worth noting that everybody reacts differently to supplements and dietary changes. Always consult your doctor before you do so.
The three main types of CBD to look for are Full spectrum, Broad spectrum and Isolate.
Full Spectrum CBD is the process of extracting various elements of the plant for use.
Isolate CBD is the purest form as when extracted only the CBD is taken.
Broad Spectrum is a mix of the two above by starting as full spectrum, then through a refinement process all THC is removed.
Type of Products – Which to Choose?
If you were to think of any product you could get from the supermarket, there’s a chance there’s a CBD variation available. Grab your trolley and follow me…
The most common form is with droplets taken orally using a tincture. Other products available include:
Then once you have decided on what product, you need to consider the strength. As this is another potential minefield, with products ranging from 300mg – 20,000mg! It’s always best to start off light and judge how it feels for you.
CBD has come a long way in such a short period. More testing is required and awareness increased. People who use products for chronic pain, insomnia, inflammation and anxiety swear by them (myself included).
Research and spend time looking at different products.
There’s no denying CBD has a long way to go in the eyes of some. For those who use it to help with their ailments, they consider CBD a life saver, especially as conventional methods to help at times fall short. It’s good to know with the internet people have an alternative in CBD, should they choose to try it.
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