Everything You Want to Know About Cannabidiol

women using dropper in mouthWith the amount of CBD information out there, it can be confusing to know where to start or even what questions to ask. Whether you’ve never heard of CBD, or are a megafan, constantly pushing your friends and family to try it, we’ve got answers for you!

When Peoples Rx began carrying CBD products in 2016, we established quality and purity standards to help our customers navigate the multitude of options. In addition, our knowledgeable wellness specialists and pharmacists keep abreast of the latest research and information and are always ready to help with any questions you may have about the products we carry and which might be the best fit for your particular needs.

Below you’ll find answers to some of the FAQs we hear most often. Consider this a quick and easy guide to help you navigate the shelves as a more informed CBD consumer.  

What exactly is CBD?

CBD is one of 120+ different phytocannabinoids found in hemp plants. There are a variety of other very beneficial phytocannabinoids including CBA, CBG, and CBN, each of which has a slightly different combination of actions in the body.

CBD is non-psychoactive. The only phytocannabinoid that is known to be psychoactive is THC.

CBD has shown a lot of promising anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-neoplastic, and anti-anxiety benefits, and has been documented as an anti-epileptic.

Is CBD from marijuana or hemp?

CBD is naturally found in marijuana and hemp plants, both of which are variants of the cannabis sativa plant. In states that have legalized marijuana, CBD may be sourced from either plant, which is why it may be illegal to bring home those CBD gummies from Colorado, or California, or, well…you get the point. 

In Texas, all CBD products must be sourced from legally-grown industrial hemp, and must have 0.3% or less THC in order to be considered legal. 

What’s the difference between marijuana and hemp? 

Up until the early 1900’s, many farmers grew industrial hemp, which was used to make rope, clothing, paper, and a number of other consumer products in addition to being used as feed for farm animals. 

Marijuana is a cultivar of hemp that has been bred over time for its psychoactive THC content, making it much higher in THC (20% +). It has a different cannabinoid profile than hemp and is generally much lower in CBD. 

What’s the difference between hemp seed oil, hemp oil, and CBD oil? 

Hemp seed oil, often found at natural food stores, has been on the market as a supplement for many years. Sourced from cold-pressed hemp seeds, it contains only trace amounts of phytocannabinoids, but is rich in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA).

Hemp oil is obtained from industrial hemp plants and (if well-sourced) should contain all of the compounds of the hemp plant. This includes all phytocannabinoids including CBD, the plant terpenes (or the essential oils of the plant), and phyto-lipids (EFAs and GLA). 

CBD oil and hemp oil are, in most cases, interchangeable terms. Because CBD was in a legal gray area until the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, most companies banked on the safety of not labeling their products as containing CBD. However, this is one of the instances in which it is important to know the sourcing of your product. Some products marketed as CBD oil may be a CBD isolate (either synthetically made, or isolated from the other phytocannabinoids, plant terpenes, and phyto-lipids). It is important to look for a product labeled full spectrum, total plant, whole plant, or some variation thereof, in order to guarantee that the product contains all of the beneficial compounds of the hemp plant, which work synergistically in the body. 

How does CBD work?

CBD works on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system discovered in 1992. The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, a form of neurotransmitter which we naturally create in our body, working on cannabinoid receptors which are located in tissues throughout the body. These receptors are located primarily in the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the immune system. 

When our body is under stress, we create more of these endocannabinoids in an attempt to bring the body back into homeostasis. However, this system can tap out under extreme or prolonged stress, as well as in certain disease states, meaning that production of these endocannabinoids slows down or halts. 

CBD and other phytocannabinoids work on the same cannabinoid receptors as the endocannabinoids we create, stimulating the ECS, and helping bring the body back into homeostasis, thereby improving mood, sleep, and physical symptoms. 

What are people using CBD for?

While studies are still limited regarding CBD, we have received a lot of anecdotal reports from customers indicating improvements for many conditions and complaints with the use of CBD products.

  • Pain: Arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, MS, headaches and migraines, menstrual cramps, injuries, and sprains
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Reduced appetite (especially due to chemo treatments), and nausea (including motion sickness)
  • Insomnia (more effective if due to pain or anxiety than hormonal issues)
  • Helping to calm children with behavioral issues and dementia patients

Are there any contraindications with CBD?

As with most supplements and herbal medicines, CBD has not been studied for safety in pregnancy or with breastfeeding mothers.

Because CBD is metabolized by Cytochrome P450 (CYP450), a liver enzyme that works on a lot of different substances including many pharmaceutical drugs, CBD may slow down or speed the metabolism of these other substances. In the case of certain pharmaceuticals, this may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor before beginning CBD, and feel free to come talk to the staff at Peoples Rx. Our pharmacists can look up potential contraindications.

Some products list different parts of the plant being used. Does this make any difference? 

CBD products can be derived from different parts of the plant, each with their own profile of benefits: 

  • Combination stalk, stem, and seed extracts have lower concentrations of phytocannabinoids, and higher profiles of EFAs, GLA, and other fatty acids. 
  • Aerial parts have higher concentrations of phytocannabinoids and plant terpenes, and lower profiles of EFAs. 
  • Whole plant complexes are a combination of aerial parts, seeds, stalk, and stem, leading to a combination with the all-around best benefits. 

How is CBD extracted, and how does the method impact the end product?

Cannabidiol can be obtained from hemp through a variety of different extraction methods. Beware CBD products that don’t readily list their extraction method! Butane and Hexane are neurotoxic solvents sometimes used in CBD extraction that leave toxic residues!

The best ways to extract CBD are:

  • Ethanol Extraction: This method is a clean and affordable extraction method, but is often time consuming and difficult to mass produce. This process may leave some taste residue from the ethanol.
  • CO2 Supercritical Extraction: This process is the cleanest extraction method, and can quickly produce large quantities of CBD products, but requires a lot of expensive equipment.

I know sourcing is important, but what do I need to look for?

As the popularity of CBD has exploded, the market has been flooded with CBD vendors, so paying attention to sourcing is more important than ever.

  • Avoid synthetic CBD. Synthetic CBD will be void of additional  benefits naturally found in hemp like phyto-lipids, plant terpenes, omega fatty acids, etc.
  • Find third-party tested, true-to-label CBD to avoid getting less CBD than the label claims, or more THC than it claims.
  • Look at additives; some are helpful (like fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, or other fatty acids) and some are questionable or outright harmful.

 Will CBD show up on a drug test?

Yes, it can! Although unlikely in smaller doses, full-spectrum CBD products can show up on a drug test. Poor liver clearance or slow detoxification pathways can play a role in this. Additionally, some cheaper drug tests are not THC specific, but test for phytocannabinoids in general.

How do people take CBD products? 

CBD comes in a variety of delivery methods. At Peoples Rx, you can buy it in the form of oils, capsules, softgels, paste, honey, chocolates, gummies, lozenges, salves, suppositories, balms, lubricants, and other edibles and topicals. Often the best starting place is with oils and topicals, as the concentration can be easily modulated. 

Why take CBD topically?

    • Topicals can be applied directly to an area of pain or inflammation. 
    • Because they have a more localized effect, and do not get processed by the liver, there is little to no risk of interactions with oral medications, but always consult your doctor or pharmacist before experimenting.
    •  Additionally, the topicals work quickly and effectively for most people without having to experiment with varying strengths. 

How would I take it orally? 

    • When taking CBD orally, most people start with low concentrations and slowly begin to titrate up. 
    • The key is to find an amount that works for you. When you have found a potency that seems to be doing something for you, stick to that amount and try taking it several times throughout the day. 
    • If that amount becomes less effective, slowly increase the amount until you once again feel benefits. 
    • Also, when taking CBD in an oil form some absorption takes place directly in your mouth, so hold it under your tongue before you swallow. 

Different people need different amounts, and different conditions need different delivery methods. Finding the perfect strategy for you may take some time. Peoples Rx is a great place to start your CBD journey. Not only can you trust that all of our CBD products have been fully vetted, but our knowledgeable staff are here to help pick the right product for you. This month (November), you are in luck, as several of our CBD products are on sale

If you have comments and/or questions about this blog, email us at blog@peoplesrx.com.

Lindsey Wilder Flatt, LAc, DAcOM, AOBTA, CCT is a nationally board-certified graduate of the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin and is licensed by the Texas State Medical Board. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, she grew up in an environment steeped in natural and alternative medicine and is proud to have been a part of the Peoples Rx family for many years as a wellness specialist.