CBD Savvy



Are You CBD Savvy?

It can be overwhelming to sift through all the online cannabidiol oil information. Before jumping on the cannabidiol (CBD) bandwagon, take a few minutes to learn terminology, review a list of questions to ask about CBD, and be aware of safety concerns about CBD.

The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp products as legal, removing it from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In Southern California, CBD is found on nearly every street corner. CBD comes in several forms, including tincture oils, soft gels, gummies, and topical liquids or ointments, with varied quality and reasons for use.

Until recently, I’ve tried to stick with trusted dietary and herbal interventions. As a food-first practitioner, I don’t align with a specific company or profit from any supplement suggestions through my accounts with Fullscript or Wellevate. However, when clients ask me about CBD, I owe it to them to do the required research.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is typically derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa L., although there are other cannabis plants cultivated. There are at least 80 different cannabinoid properties in addition to cannabidiol (CBD), the beneficial property that doesn’t cause that “high” feeling.

Another cannabinoid frequently discussed is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is associated with psychoactive properties, making it the most regulated ingredient in CBD. Cannabis was widely used for thousands of years as a therapeutic plant until it was classified as a controlled substance.

Product Terms Defined:

Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil – Derived from the flowers and leaves of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant, contains CBD, & federally legal when it contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight

Hemp Seed Oil – Derived from hemp seeds, contains antioxidants and omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids, contains no THC and little to no CBD

Cannabis Oil – Derived from flowers and leaves of the Cannabis sativa “marijuana” plant, contains little CBD, and contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight

CBD Terms Further Defined :

Check with the specific company to clarify definitions as there are no standardized terms or processes.

Full Spectrum – the product contains full cannabinoids without reduction, so in addition to all the cannabinoids and terpenes, the product may contain higher amounts of CBD and THC (closer to 0.3%) than other diluted products

Broad Spectrum – the product contains full spectrum properties but has been modified through processing to contain fewer compounds such as THC

Isolate – a specific compound has been extracted, such as CBD, with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids removed

What Is The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

Plant cannabinoids, called phyto-cannabinoids, interact with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex, multi-faceted system connected to the Central Nervous System that’s involved with many important functions within the body, including mood, memory, immune function, gut health, and inflammatory status.

In addition to Cannabis sativa, phyto-cannabinoids are derived from common foods like carrots, ginseng, echinacea, black pepper, turmeric, ashwagandha, and cloves. You don’t need to ever touch hemp or cannabis to feel the effects that prompt the powerful ECS.

Is CBD Legal?

CBD derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa L. containing less than 0.3% active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), on a dry weight basis, is considered legal. Always check with your local laws, as certain state laws may affect sale, distribution, or purchasing of CBD.

What Properties Make CBD Special?

Various plant cannabinoids, found in full and broad spectrum products, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. In addition to CBD and THC, main cannabinoids include cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA), which is similar to THC without the psychoactive effect. 

Another noteworthy property within CBD oil is its terpene content. Terpenes originate from hemp flowers, providing benefits like cannabidiol while also determining the product’s aroma and taste.

Terpenes include bisabolol, caryophyllene, linalool, myrcene, ocimene, pinene, terpinolene, limonene, humulene, and eucalyptol. Some terpenes work well for specific conditions, while other terpenes may have negative effects for certain individuals.

For example, a product with elevated limonene, a terpene known for anti-anxiety properties, may increase anxiety symptoms in some individuals who are prone to anxiety. Genetics, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), that affect neurotransmitters or detoxification create the need for a customized approach to CBD.

What Are Common Reasons For CBD Use?

Before deciding to use CBD, you should consider underlying causes for your condition. Being a functional nutritionist, I recognize the common tendency to cover up needs with temporary fixes. For example, if you feel pain because of relationship issues, it may be wise to explore ways to improve your relationship in addition to addressing pain.

Common Conditions Prompting CBD Use:

  • Pain Relief
  • Headache Relief
  • Joint Inflammation
  • Insomnia & Mood Disorders – Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, etc.
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Side Effects from Cancer Treatment

What Questions Should I Ask Before Selecting A CBD Product?

Here’s a short list of questions to ask a company before considering its CBD product:

Is this a reputable company?

Where and how is the hemp grown?

How is it processed (ethanol, CO2, etc.)?

What is the carrier oil?

Are there other additives?

What type of product is this – full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolate?

How much active THC is found in this product, and is there a chance I could test positive on a drug test?

Does the company employ 3rd party testing for each batch & provide those results in a Cerificate of Analysis (COA)?

What is the dosage and potency for that product, using cannabinoids per serving?

And most importantly, does this product negatively interact with a current medication or supplement?

Always speak with your doctor before starting a new product, even if you think it’s “natural.”

What Are Current CBD Safety Concerns?

  • There’s no stringent oversight to ensure CBD product efficacy or safety
  • CBD research is in its infancy, and there’s so much to learn about the benefits and potential effects of CBD
  • CBD has not been studied for long-term use
  • There’s no research confirming safety of CBD use in pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • There’s no research confirming CBD safety for use with children
  • As with everything else, genetics (COMT, CYP SNPs, etc.) and other bio-individual factors may determine how well someone does with a particular CBD product
  • CBD may cause digestive upset
  • CBD may affect appetite and weight
  • CBD may contribute to fatigue.
  • CBD may interact with current medications, especially those with a grapefruit warning
  • CBD may result in liver damage with large doses over a long duration
  • Synthetic, concentrated CBD oil has been linked to toxicities and fatalities

What’s the Bottom Line with CBD?

CBD products are complex, with multiple plant, cannabinoid, and terpene properties. Some CBD products are better than others for specific medical conditions.

After hours of reading research and attending webinars, I recognize the incredible potential for CBD. Individual genetics and medication use add further need for customized recommendations.

Here’s a Summary of CBD Considerations:

  • Know your source. Make sure you’re buying genuine, real CBD, and not a synthetic product.
  • More is not better. Be mindful of dosing.
  • Always look to objective, 3rd party testing for insight. Individual companies should provide 3rd party testing information.
  • Review a 3rd party testing company like Consumer Lab, which provides report summaries to members:  https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/cbd-oil-hemp-review/cbd-oil/
  • If you have a chronic health condition, seek out a CBD expert, not a CBD sales person.
  • Avoid all CBD use when pregnant or breastfeeding. There simply isn’t any research to confirm safety.
  • Avoid CBD use with children, unless indicated otherwise by your medical doctor.

Author: Laura Farnsworth, MS, CNS, CN, Integrative & Functional Nutritionist at Craving4Health.com


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