Currently, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex. It's approved to treat two types of epilepsy. Aside from Epidiolex, state laws on the use of CBD vary. While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, research supporting the drug's benefits is still limited.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
It’s important to know that there is no “best” brand or product for everyone. The best CBD oil is the one that works well for you. Each person has a unique endocannabinoid system, body chemistry, and severity of the condition. A brand or product that works well for one person with a specific situation may not work for you at all. This reality is understandably frustrating for many of those who are new to CBD oil.
But even though it's infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world (hi, vegan CBD brownies!) many people still find CBD a little confusing—especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the stuff you're buying is, you know, actually legit. Below, we asked experts to answer the most pressing questions about CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
It’s fair to say that the CBD market is thriving. According to market intelligence company Hemp Business Journal, $130 million worth of products containing the cannabinoid were bought in the U.S. in 2016. And that figure is only set to rise in the years to come, the data analyst believes. Indeed, the source estimates that consumer sales of CBD goods will total an astounding $2.1 billion by 2020 – buoyed, perhaps, by claims that the usage of such products can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain, depression and diabetes, to name but a few conditions.
Another point worth clarifying is the difference between hemp seed oil (or hemp oil) and CBD oil. There’s confusion on this point for the very good reason that both CBD oil and hemp seed oil are extracted from the industrial hemp plant. But there’s a big difference between the 2. Hemp seed oil has been pressed from hemp seed, and it’s great for a lot of things — it’s good for you, tastes great, and can be used in soap, paint — even as biodiesel fuel.
Newcomers to CBD oil should leave Hemplucid’s website better informed than they were before visiting. That’s because the company offers a helpful and thorough guide to recommended dosages, depending on need; it also provides a handy breakdown of the methods by which users can consume CBD oil and explanations of the contents of Hemplucid’s products. And for those unsure as to whether CBD oil use is all above board, Hemplucid’s “due diligence” section ought to put minds at rest, since it relays exactly how the brand’s goods “exist within the language of the law” – with relevant court judgments included. Anyone subsequently convinced to consider trying the company’s wares for themselves can, moreover, choose from its extensive range. This includes lotions, softgels, gummies, a vape additive – and a water-soluble, full-spectrum oil that is able to easily be added to drinks.
The tricky part is that there's some evidence suggesting CBD works best for pain when combined with a little THC, says Dr. Danesh. "Depending on what type of pain you have, you might be able to do just CBD, but sometimes you need CBD and THC." This makes accessing a product that will actually help you more difficult due to different regulations in each state. In New York, where Dr. Danesh practices, for example, CBD is available over the counter. But as soon as you add THC, you need a prescription.
Historically, hemp could legally be grown and cultivated for academic research purposes only. However, the legality of hemp growth has changed in the past year. In April 2018, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, a piece of legislation that proposed legalizing all hemp products at the federal level. The act was incorporated in the 2018 United States Farm Bill, which passed in both the House and Senate in December 2018. Per the farm bill, industrial hemp will be descheduled as a federally controlled substance.
CBD oil products generally have a shelf life of at least one year, if stored in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration is typically not necessary as long as it is kept somewhere where the temperature is less than 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Tinctures that use MCT coconut oil as the carrier oil are known to have a longer shelf life than those with hemp seed oil as the carrier oil.
Los Angeles-based PureKana stresses that it extracts the CBD oil for its products from hemp plants that have been cultivated without the use of herbicides, pesticides or other agro-industrial chemicals that may impact upon crops. What’s more, the company states, no solvents go into the extraction process other than carbon dioxide. And to further put potential customers’ minds at rest, PureKana presents the results of third-party testing of its CBD oil tincture on its website – a welcome nod to transparency. That tincture can be found in the company’s own blend of CBD oil drops – the three varieties of which have elicited highly complimentary reviews from users – as well as its capsules and cooling topical ointment. Meanwhile, for anyone with a sweet tooth, PureKana’s CBD isolate-containing gummy bears may just do the trick.
CW Hemp’s Charlotte’s Web strain of hemp came to national attention in 2013 after it was featured on a CNN segment telling the story of Charlotte Figi. Figi has Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy; CNN has reported, however, that after the girl began to take CW Hemp’s CBD oil, her seizures radically reduced in number. A touching update to Figi’s tale can be found on CW Hemp’s website, where those looking to see how the company’s CBD oil products might benefit them are able to purchase capsules, cream and balm. Frequent customers, meanwhile, can take advantage of the brand’s hemp oil bulk package, which offers five regular-sized bottles of CW Hemp’s bespoke blends for the price of four – making it a more cost-effective way for some to get their daily dose of CBD.
Transparency: Receptra Naturals’ website has a database where you can look up lab reports for their products. The first time we checked, we got some 404 errors for a couple of the lab reports, but these glitches seem to have been fixed since then. We were able to see third-party lab reports for all their tinctures (though, apparently not for their topicals).
Koi CBD probably should be higher up on this list given their popularity, but since they’re geared more towards vaping and CBD vape oils, and I have never really used them too much. People who do use them everyday though say that they’ve got the best flavors of any CBD vape oil on the market, and I can say personally that their CBD gummies and spearmint CBD oil work decently as well. I would recommend Koi CBD if you’re big into vaping and have yet to find a CBD vape oil that you like, and/or if you’re looking for a reputable brand that sells high quality oral CBD tinctures as well as edibles and vape products – might as well order everything in one place.
Quality matters with CBD oil products and so does customer service. There are literally thousands of CBD companies selling products today. Some are real companies with a solid reputation among users and some are fly-by-night operations with no accountability. Of course, all of them will tell you that they have the best products out there. Never pick a brand based on one person’s opinion on social media. Especially if you feel like you are getting a sales pitch.
Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
Elixinol has a wide range of products, but their CBD Tincture does the trick. It’s the cream of the crop regarding CBD oils and that reflects in its price. One dropper (1mg) from the 300 series contains 10mg of CBD. This allows you to get precise amounts of CBD and no guess work is required. Elixinol has received numerous awards for their products and extraction process.
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).