CBD- what you need to know before purchasing
There is no doubt you have seen the proliferation of CBD stores in Oklahoma in the last few months. While I am sure it is all in preparation for medical marijuana, it is important to understand that CBD itself has some beneficial properties. In many of the studies for some medicinal purposes it was the concentration of the CBD that was a key component so even when THC is on the scene there will be a role for CBD.
Why am I just now writing about this? Up until these last few months, even CBD was considered an illegal drug and under the jurisdiction of the drug enforcement agency because it was grouped with THC. It is still in a gray area legally but the DEA finally made a landmark statement declaring it not under their umbrella which has opened a path for the production and distribution. Even in Oklahoma, CBD was only approved by Governor Fallin a few years ago for epilepsy only.
The body has two endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, and these are found throughout the body. These receptors are thought to affect pain sensation, memory, mood, inflammation, sleep and appetite. Anytime there is a receptor for a substance or drug the impact on modulation can be huge. The perfect example is opioids, we have receptors for opioids which makes them very affective. The need for research in the cannabinoid system is crucial because the potential for a repeat of the opioid crisis is an obvious concern. Don’t be fooled because one is a prescription drug and the other is flying under the radar because opiates come from the poppy plant! The potential is there. I am not saying CBD is in the same family as opiates but I want to be very clear that CBD and THC for that matter are not the holy grail and we do need to be mindful.
Let’s talk what to look for when you are purchasing a CBD product.
· Method of extraction: CO2 extraction is the most costly method but may also currently be one of the best methods because it doesn’t strip the plant of these other phytocannbinoids so you get a full spectrum product. It also doesn’t introduce toxic solvents to dissolve the plant.
· Full Spectrum Phytocannbinoids: CBD (Cannabidiol) is just one of several beneficial phytocannabinoids. The plant itself has a combination of different subsets that all contribute to how the product works. CBC (Cannabichromene), CBG (Cannbigerol), CBN (Cannabinol) and Terpenes are all key ingredients. Each plant will have different ratios of these depending on a variety of factors including the plant species itself and the growing conditions. The best products will have a full spectrum of these. You want to keep the CBC, CBG, CBN and Terpenes as much as possible.
· Organically grown: pesticides are commonly used for mass production. So keep in mind that these plants are being ingested just like food so they are best grown without pesticides.
· Certificate of analysis for pesticides, organophosphates, heavy metals and bacteria
· Certificate of analysis for the actual content of THC (which should be less than 0.3% in OK), but also for the CBD, and other phytocannabinoids (Terpenes etc)
Types of CBD products
- Tinctures: drops you put under the tongue and must hold for at least one minute
- Capsules: not a very good delivery because the oil is difficult to absorb
- Capsules: much better absorption than oil based capsules. Will take about 30-40 minutes for the effect to occur. Often paired with other substances like curcumin for even more potent effect
Creams: topical solutions that offer direct absorption and may be helpful for a local area of pain/inflammation
Reading the label
Each product’s label will have some information on the front but like any label it is what is on the back that you need to pay attention to. With tinctures, you will often see the TOTAL number of milligrams in the entire bottle on the front. For example, if it says 240mg of CBD you might find on the back that 1 drop has 2.4mg of CBD. Look at the serving size and the mg on the back to determine how much active ingredient you actually have. When you have all this information, then you can compare companies. Capsules are different in that it will have a number on the front of the bottle but the back will give you the percentage of active ingredient so again, read the label before you compare two products from two different companies.
Even though CBD products will not get you “high”, I would always start with the lowest dose and work up. You can easily increase your dose by taking more and if you find a higher dose is working better when you refill it then purchase a higher dosed form. If it makes you sleepy then take it at night. Most pain and inflammatory conditions do best with consistent dosing multiple times a day.
There is always a potential of side-effects because we have CB receptors. I have heard of people feeling blue, depressed and have a lack of energy after starting a CBD product. Some notice an increased appetite. If you notice any side-effects after starting it then stop it and see if they resolve.
Because the way the body processes CBD, there is some concern that it might affect the levels of seizure medications. So, if you are taking any seizure medications I would recommend you tell your prescribing physician and have your levels measured after starting a CBD product to make sure it has not altered your medication level.
Because of all the variables in products, we are now carrying ECN (Enhanced Clinical Nutrition) CBD products. These products have met all my requirements for a good CBD product. It is organically sourced, the plant is tested for unwanted products and have a certificate of analysis to show it, it is CO2 extracted and their proprietary method preserves as much of the full spectrum as possible. In addition, they not only have the tinctures & creams but they have the water soluble capsules. Many of their products have an added benefit of the most bioavailable curcumin (UltraCur) and Boswellia for even more of an anti-inflammatory effect.
As always with my approach, if you can find the underlying cause of your issues then I would certainly explore those avenues first. If nothing else is helping or if you need short-term help then CBD (and in the future medical marijuana) may be an option for you to explore.
To your health,