CBD: The Complete Beginner's Guide

CBD: The Complete Beginner's Guide

Published May 31

Written By Verma Farms

Table of Contents

What Is CBD?
Which Form of CBD is Right For Me?
What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?
Common Misconceptions About CBD
Benefits of CBD
Possible CBD Side Effects
Forms of CBD
How Much CBD Should I Take?
How Do I Take CBD Safely?
CBD For Pets
CBD Resources

    We get it: with so many different CBD products and brands on the market, understanding CBD and its benefits can be overwhelming. Our CBD guide for beginners is here to walk you through what goes into CBD and its products, its potential benefits, common CBD misconceptions, how to choose the right product for you, and much more.

    What Is CBD?

    what is cbd

    CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the Cannabis Sativa plant that people worldwide use to help alleviate various symptoms and boost calmness. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, CBD is non-psychoactive. So, unlike other compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD doesn’t get you “high.”

    When ingested, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system plays a role in various functions, including appetite, cognition, memory, sleep, mood, and immune function. The ECS works by sending messages through the body, and when ingested, CBD may influence the various signals sent. CBD’s interaction with the ECS is thought to produce the various effects of the cannabinoid, including mood, pain relief, and improved sleep.

    Let’s look at the differences between CBD extracts: full spectrum, isolates, and broad spectrum, along with a newer form: Nano CBD.

    Full Spectrum CBD

    Full spectrum CBD, distilled from Cannabis sativa using a method that preserves many other components of the plant in the final product, can include terpenes (the organic compounds in CBD and many other plants that create its scent profile), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s “stoned” feeling), and some of the other 113 cannabinoids present in Cannabis. Full spectrum CBD oils can contain THC, but no more than .3%--which means it’s unlikely to make anyone high.

    Isolate CBD

    Isolate is CBD distilled to produce extremely pure cannabidiol. It contains no detectable non-CBD ingredients, such as THC, terpenes, or any of the other cannabinoids present in Cannabis plants. The result is a pure crystal powder that can be mixed with a variety of carrier oils or other products for a custom CBD experience.

    Broad Spectrum CBD

    Broad spectrum is between full spectrum and isolates. It contains many cannabis-derived ingredients other than CBD, but notably lacks detectable levels of THC. Broad spectrum products can be created through a distillation process that eliminates only THC, or by creating CBD isolate and then mixing in a custom mix of terpenes and other cannabis components. Some people are uncomfortable using even small amounts of THC, but still want the “whole- plant” experience. Thus, broad spectrum CBD gives them that middle ground.

    Nano CBD

    Nano CBD is a CBD molecule coated with liposomes and lipid particles. These act to stabilize the CBD and are known to move much faster in our blood systems and effectively reach their targets quicker. They are "nano" because the CBD molecules are packaged in nano-carriers that are about 100 nanometers – that’s pretty tiny! This smaller size allows the molecules to stay in your body longer, and that’s where people who use Nano CBD often say the more effective results get most of its strength.

    Which Form of CBD is Right For Me?

    Though even full spectrum CBD products, such as CBD Oil and CBD Gummies, only deliver meager amounts of THC, some people still avoid them because they’re uncomfortable taking THC at all. Users looking for a CBD product with minimal smells or tastes might get the most sensory purity from isolate products, which are often available as crystallized powder, sheets, or suspended in a neutral carrier oil.

    It’s important to note that each person can respond to CBD products differently even if they take the same amount and type the same way due to differences in metabolism, body composition, and body chemistry. Discuss your specific needs with your doctor to best determine which CBD is best for you.

    What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

    does cbd have thc

    As most people understand cannabis as marijuana, the difference between CBD and THC can be confusing. Not only because of the common nomenclature people incorrectly use around the plant, but in understanding that there’s an entirely different strain of the cannabis plant most haven’t been exposed to.

    The biggest reason why people get CBD and THC confused is that they both come from the cannabis plant. While most also mistake marijuana and cannabis as the same thing, their taxonomy is wildly different. To put it simply, marijuana is a member of the cannabis family and CBD.

    The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that THC is considered a psychoactive ingredient. CBD still interacts with cannabinoid receptors (hence, why we mentioned that both chemicals are derived from different variations of the cannabis plant), but is non-psychoactive. Essentially, this takes a lot of the positive side-effects many THC users experience, only without the altered thinking and hallucinations. 

    Common Misconceptions About CBD

    cbd myths and facts

    There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what CBD is and isn’t. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. These plants are also home to other cannabinoids, including THC, and this is where many misconceptions about CBD come from. Let’s take a closer look at some of these common mistakes made about CBD.

    Misconception #1: CBD Gets You High

    Marijuana affects your brain and makes you feel “stoned,” a result of THC, a psychoactive molecule. However, CBD products are not intoxicating, as even the forms containing THC traces are so minimal that they won’t leave you feeling high. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. In other words, it doesn’t have the power to alter your mental state. 

    Legal CBD products must be made with CBD derived from hemp because the plant is naturally low in THC. In order to meet legal requirements, CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC by weight. CBD products that do contain THC have such a low dosage that the amount won’t create any impactful or noticeable effects.

    Misconception #2: CBD Works Better in Higher Doses

    The logic here is that if CBD is good for you, then taking more means reaping more benefits. However, this is not exactly the case—you should consult with a doctor to determine what dosage and concentration are appropriate for you. A lower dose might actually be more effective, and many studies show that CBD is more effective when combined with minimal traces of THC.

    Misconception #3: CBD Will Make You Fail a Drug Test

    Full Spectrum CBD products often contain 0.3% of THC or less. Because of this, it’s possible that levels could be detected in your bloodstream. However, our pure CBD oils do not contain THC and will not cause you to fail a drug test. In short, if you have a drug test in your future, stick to pure CBD and steer clear of Full Spectrum CBD products. Learn more about CBD and drug tests in our guide to THC levels, third-party lab reports, and more.

    Benefits of CBD

    cbd benefits

    CBD is sourced from hemp, which also contains other health-boosting compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids. Various studies have shown just how beneficial CBD may be in improving physical and mental wellbeing. Interested in learning more? Keep reading how CBD can help you to better navigate different parts of your life and wellbeing.

    CBD Can Help Boost Energy and Productivity

    Many people need a productivity boost every now and then, but caffeine and energy drinks can lead to crash and burn later in the day. Luckily, CBD provides many of the same benefits as coffee or energy drinks without the crash, making it a great alternative to turn to when you need to work or study late into the night. CBD can help with focus and mental clarity, helping you complete tasks quickly and efficiently, and its ability to reduce anxiety can relieve stress so you can get more done with less worry.

    CBD Can Help Aid Relaxation

    Not getting enough sleep at night has more of an impact on your health than most people think. Whether you have issues falling asleep or staying asleep, CBD can help you sleep better. Because the compound relaxes the mind and body, it puts you in the prime condition for getting the sleep you need. Without racing thoughts and a restless body keeping you awake, you’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and stay that way all night long.

    CBD Can Help Alleviate Inflammation-Related Pain

    Whether applied topically or ingested in oil or gummy form, CBD can help alleviate inflammation-related pain. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates all functions, including pain. CBD can help control the leading underlying cause of pain by reducing inflammation. Plus, CBD is 100% natural and has no addictive properties.

    Possible CBD Side Effects

    cbd side effects

    While everyone responds differently to CBD, most find that the positive effects far outweigh any drawbacks. That being said, here are a few considerations and possible CBD side effects you should be aware of before taking a product (as well as when you’re trying to measure its effectiveness):

    Drug Interactions

    CBD interacting with any drugs you currently take is a possibility no matter what type of drug or product you’re putting into your body. The presence of CBD in your system could react with an over the counter or prescription medication, so it’s important to always talk to your doctor about your concerns. They can help you better understand how CBD affects your body, and whether or not you’re taking another substance that could result in a drug interaction.

    Drowsiness

    It’s common for people to take CBD oil to calm them down, especially before retiring for the evening. For this reason, it’s possible that it could result in drowsiness, thus making it difficult to attend school, perform on the job, or operate a motor vehicle. When taking CBD oil for the first time, pay close attention to the side effects. If you find that it makes you drowsy, strongly consider when it’s best to take in the future.

    Dry Mouth

    One of the primary complaints associated with taking CBD oil is dry mouth. We know that CBD has a major impact on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which includes the salivary glands. For this reason, some people experience dry mouth. On the plus side, this side effect doesn’t typically last long, and even if it does, you can sip on water or another beverage to quench your thirst.

    Forms of CBD

    types of cbd

    CBD products are available in a variety of forms, including oils, capsules, gummies, and even topical products. As we’ve learned more about CBD, it’s become evident that hemp-derived cannabidiol may offer a host of therapeutic benefits that support physical and mental wellness. What’s available out there when it comes to CBD? Let’s take a look!

    CBD Oil

    As a liquid, CBD oil and tinctures are the most common way to take CBD. With the help of a dropper, you place the liquid under your tongue and let your body do the rest. With absorption through the oral mucosa, any effect is likely to happen quickly. You can add a few drops to different types of liquids or foods if you want to experiment with different forms of consuming this versatile form of CBD.

    CBD Gummies

    CBD gummies may be the perfect product for you if you have a sweet tooth, with their delicious flavors and sugary chewiness. Just like the cannabidiol hemp extract that you find in CBD oils, these candies are infused with just the right amount. The one thing you need to know about CBD gummies is that its absorption occurs through the digestive system. Generally, this means it’ll take longer to feel any effect.

    Topical CBD

    As a natural anti-inflammatory, topical CBDs can effectively remedy acne-prone skin. It can also work to balance hormones, resulting in your skin producing less sebum oil, which is often the cause of acne breakouts and other skin irritation. Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD may help with skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. Since CBD doesn’t have any side effects, it’s worth a try for those who want to improve their complexion without irritating their skin.

    Other Forms of CBD

    As the CBD industry continues to grow, you can find a variety of CBD products, including bath bombs, inhalers, makeup, toothpicks, CBD dried fruit, and more. If you keep an open mind, you’ll come to find that there are many other ways to take CBD - some of which may be just what you’re looking for.

    How Much CBD Should I Take?

    cbd dosage

    No one can answer this question except for you, as no two people are seeking the same experience or looking to accomplish the same thing. It’s always best to discuss CBD usage with your doctor so that they can guide specific dosage and type. However, some guidelines can help you decide how much CBD you should take.

    Oils are often the easiest to steadily increase the dosage, as they come in one milligram per drop concentration. Don’t overdo it at first, as there’s no way of knowing how your body will react. Start small and slowly increase your dose, paying close attention to the effect that it has. This will help you find your “sweet spot” in regards to effectiveness. Don’t start taking CBD with the idea that there’s a specific amount that’s best for you. This varies from person to person and product to product.

    How Do I Take CBD Safely?

    cbd safety

    If you are wondering how to purchase CBD products, where do you begin your research? It is imperative to double-check that who you are doing business with is a brand that practices sustainable farming, only grows organic hemp, tests their products with third-party labs for potency and purity, and is transparent about their processes, which will help you determine a CBD product and its shelf life.

    How To Read a CBD Label

    Many people have questions on how to read a CBD product label. First, it's important to note how much THC or pure CBD it contains. This information is usually included in milligrams (mg). It refers to a substance called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, found in marijuana. 

    There are also numerous different methods of extracting CBD from industrial hemp. The extraction method determines how many cannabinoids are in the final product. Different methods include: CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction, and olive oil extraction. When buying CBD products, you want to find a company that uses CO2 extraction. This process doesn’t use any harmful chemicals. Overall, avoid companies that use solvent extraction, often done using ethanol, butane, or acetone.

    Lastly, look out for the hemp source. American and European-grown hemp is more likely to be of higher quality. Hemp grown in these two parts of the world is safer for consumption, as plants are grown without pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals.

    Look For Third Party Lab Reports

    When it comes to research, the more you do, the better! If you're looking for extra peace of mind when consuming CBD, look for products backed by a third-party lab report to know what you're getting with your products. This report will usually confirm a product’s specific ingredients and where they are sourced from. This will also assure you just how much, if any, THC is in the product, which is always important to know before consuming CBD products.

    CBD For Pets

    cbd for pets

    For pet owners, the well-being of their four-legged companions is of the utmost importance. If you're on the lookout for the best products for your pooch, the chances are that you’ve heard or maybe even tried CBD for pets. Like humans, dogs and cats have an endocannabinoid system, and CBD interacts with it to produce all sorts of positive health effects. Still unsure? Here are a few things to know about CBD for dogs and cats and what to look out for.

    Benefits of CBD For Pets

    Animals experience stress and anxiety in much the same way as humans. Maybe your dog hates long car rides, or your cat is sensitive to loud sounds. As a standalone or combined with more traditional medication, CBD can help bring much-needed calm to your pet’s life.

    In older animals, arthritis may occur in one or more limbs or joints as well as other areas of their body. You can try CBD for dogs in the form of oil or tasty pet treats to help manage their pain level, especially with inflammation-related pain such as swelling joints and stiff limbs.

    How To Administer CBD To Pets

    When giving your pet any type of CBD product, you need to be well aware of how much CBD a serving contains. Be sure that the brand you buy from has their products tested by a 3rd party lab. A reputable product will have a certificate of analysis (COA). This document provides in-depth details about how much CBD the product contains along with other compounds.

    One of the go-to options for fussier pets is CBD oil tinctures. All you have to do is squirt the appropriate amount of oil into your pet’s mouth or food. What’s nice about oral administration is that it works quickly. CBD and other compounds can soak directly into the bloodstream, which means faster relief.

    CBD treats especially made for cats and dogs are another great option. As these treats are pre-dosed, there’s no need to measure amounts and you know exactly how much CBD your pet is getting. As always, discuss your options with your vet beforehand to best determine which product will work best for your pet’s specific needs.

    CBD Resources

    cbd resources

    Interested in learning more about the world of CBD? It’s important to turn to trustful resources for full information. Here are a few organizations and websites that report the latest updates on CBD and how their impact continues to grow throughout the world.

    The World Health Organization

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is a United Nations agency that handles international public health issues. In June 2018, it released a critical review on CBD. The document covers the chemical composition and pharmacology of CBD, its therapeutic applications, and possible adverse effects. The WHO concluded that CBD products, such as CBD Oil and CBD Gummies, are generally well-tolerated and have no results indicative of dependency or abuse.

    The National Institute of Health

    A branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH is one of the world’s leading medical research centers. You can read abstracts (and full-text articles from open-source journals) discussing the results of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, which are the gold standard for medical research. A cursory search revealed articles on CBD’s potential to reduce spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, relieve nerve pain, and impact the growth of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

    Project CBD

    While government agencies and scientific literature provide the most detailed and accurate information about CBD, the technical jargon in these documents makes them inaccessible to the average citizen. Fortunately, other sources are available. Founded by two journalists, Project CBD provides information in an easy-to-understand format to empower people to take an active role in their health.

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