What exactly is cannabidiol (CBD) and more importantly, what does it do? Those questions and more are at the heart of this comprehensive guide to one of the most fascinating and important compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds. Not all of those compounds are unique to marijuana, of course, and appear in many other species of plants. That’s why marijuana can smell like pine trees or taste like fresh lemons. But of those 400 compounds, more than 60 of them are totally specific to the plant genus Cannabis. Scientists call these special compounds “cannabinoids.” However, not all cannabinoids are created equal. One of them, cannabidiol, or CBD, holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers.
Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, MD, clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger.
Given CBD’s reputation as a popular, artisanal remedy, one would think that Epidiolex would command a lot of “off label” attention. After all, physicians often prescribe pharmaceuticals off label to treat conditions that were not the actual focus of clinical trials. But the costly price tag for Epidiolex (more than $30,000 annually) precludes off label prescribing as well as affordable access for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
CBD is described in milligrams. Most people find a dose of 1 to 6 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of their body weight to be effective. If you’re new to CBD, it’s highly recommended that you start with the lowest suggested dose. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would start with a 15mg dose of CBD. See how that makes you feel. If you don’t feel any effects after a few days, you can gradually keep increasing your dose until you land on the right amount.
In your internet travels, you may also come across products called “terpsolates.” The manufacturers of these products infuse CBD Isolate with terpenes (but not cannabinoids like THC). These terpenes may enhance the effectiveness of CBD — or maybe they just make it smell good. This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third-party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
There are very few known adverse side effects of CBD. According to this study, CBD is “a major non-psychotropic constituent of cannabis, has multiple pharmacological actions, including anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. But if you are looking for a high from CBD, you will not get that because CBD has no psychoactive effects. Do speak with your physician if you are concerned about drug interactions.
At the top of our ranking is Portland-based Lazarus Naturals, which has honed a reputation for high-quality, affordable CBD. Their consciously crafted CBD is sourced from organic, Oregon-grown hemp which the company controls from seed to sale. With low prices, a robust assistance program, free shipping, and a 30-day, no questions asked return policy, you really can’t go wrong with Lazarus Naturals.
Kat’s Naturals not only takes the quality of its products seriously, but it also ensures that their contents are produced in a way that’s as environmentally friendly as possible. The essential oils in its best-selling Heal CBD Hemp Oil, for example, are harvested in a sustainable manner, while the hemp that goes into its range more generally is completely organically grown. And in a customer-friendly move, Kat’s Naturals provides CBD oil blends specifically tailored to users’ needs, whether they want to boost metabolism, get a good night’s rest or simply feel freer from muscle pain. Perhaps the most innovative Kat’s Naturals product, though, is its CBD-containing capsaicin cream. This topical owes its heat in part to a component commonly found within chili peppers, and the company’s website claims that it also helps give respite to neuropathy sufferers and those with Raynaud syndrome.

In response to the FDA’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act. 

Aside from maybe only PureKana, CW Hemp is probably the most popular CBD brand in the U.S. – at least in terms of the amount of product that they sell. And indeed they make some great, highly effective tinctures, but the only reason I don’t have them ranked higher is simply because I think they’re a bit overrated – and overpriced. If you’re into name brand reputation and will feel more comfortable buying from an established company like CW, by all means don’t be afraid to spend the money and try them out – they certainly don’t lack for quality. I just think there are other brands out there that offer better overall value for the amount of money that you’re spending.  
Fab has rapidly become the leading “lifestyle” brand in the industry. They are very engaged with their customers in their online community, and they have the top customer loyalty program that we’ve seen. Their full spectrum CBD oil drops and topical cream are made from 100% organically grown Colorado hemp, producing a very high-quality product. And their zero THC gummies get high marks from customers for taste and effectiveness.
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.
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.
At the top of our ranking is Portland-based Lazarus Naturals, which has honed a reputation for high-quality, affordable CBD. Their consciously crafted CBD is sourced from organic, Oregon-grown hemp which the company controls from seed to sale. With low prices, a robust assistance program, free shipping, and a 30-day, no questions asked return policy, you really can’t go wrong with Lazarus Naturals.
In response to the FDA’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act.
Owned by CV Sciences, PlusCBD Oil applies experience from the pharmaceutical industry to CBD. The company’s mission: optimize human health with the endless potential of hemp. Using state of the art production facilities and the guidance of a scientific advisory board, PlusCBD Oil is another high-quality purveyor of CBD oil that really takes CBD seriously.
If you are discovering the benefits of CBD then our Pure CBD e-liquids may be the best place to start. Vaping is the recommended and one of the most effective method of consuming CBD as vaping facilitates absorption into the body. Our CBD vape liquid is produced for VSAVI in Europe in “Clean Room” laboratories. It is safe, natural, pure and free from both contaminates and THC.
Insomnia: The anxiety-alleviating and sleep-prolonging qualities of CBD oil make it a good option for many people with insomnia. Those who experience insomnia due to pain or discomfort may also find that using CBD oil alleviates their physical symptoms to a noticeable extent. CBD oil may also promote daytime wakefulness when taken in small amounts; people with insomnia can use it as a pick-me-up if they feel excessively tired due to lack of restful sleep.
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