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  • 101 Guide to Hemp and CBD Oil

    August 10, 2022 13 min read


    CBD oil and other hemp-derived have different therapeutic and medicinal properties. Currently, there are several cannabis derivatives in the market, a phenomenon that confuses consumers. Key among the fundamental questions regarding CBD oil and other cannabis derivatives is whether CBD oil has medicinal values.

    Several studies have investigated the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids. While others show promising potency for CBD in certain medicinal applications, more research is needed to verify the growing claims on CBD. Many of CBD-based products may not meet the standards outlined in the bill. As a result, many uncertainties surround these fast-rising and widely available cannabinoids, including their legality, safety, and benefits.

    Thanks to WHO and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the hemp plant is now under scrutiny to determine its potential benefits and risks. It is therefore important to understand the background of CBD oil and other hemp derivatives to tell their benefits.

    Differences between the Hemp and Marijuana Plants

    The hemp and marijuana plants are cannabis derivatives with many cannabinoids such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Hemp plant offers beneficial phytoactive compounds used for their health benefits. On the under hand, marijuana contains elevated levels of THC, making it highly psychoactive. The higher levels of THC make the compound illegal in many countries. Notably, hemp has THC below 0.3%. This makes hemp effective for medicinal application, without the risk of getting the users high.

    What Is CBD Oil

    Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a concentrated solvent extracted from hemp flowers, leaves, or stems and dissolved in edible oil. The edible oil is extracted from sunflower, hemp, olive, or coconut oil; the oils act as carrier to maintain CBD’s bioavailability. Manufacturers use different extraction methods to extract oil from the hemp plant. The extraction methods include supercritical CO2, and distillation. The method used for extraction impacts the oil's concentration, taste, color, and viscosity.

    Hemp oil has different concentrations of CBD, THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBD. CBD and THC are the main components, although they are maintained below 0.3% before in the products. THC is a psychoactive compound that causes intoxication when consumed at high levels. Moreover, the stigma surrounding the cannabis plant makes manufacturers use sophisticated and consumable forms of cannabis, including capsules, topical, and tinctures.

    CBD Oil Classification Based on Extract Type

    CBD oil contains different compounds that occur naturally in the hemp plant. Although industrial hemp has the highest CBD concentration, manufacturers can also introduce different compounds into the oil during extraction or product formulation. These compounds include THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Consequently, CBD comes in three spectrums:

    Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

    Full-spectrum CBD oil contains phytochemicals found in the hemp plant; cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. The spectrum is the most effectives since the synergistic reaction among the compounds yields better outcomes. However, the THC compound in the oil can cause a "high" effect when consumed in high concentrations; hence, the FDA and DEA limit the THC below 0.3%.

    The hemp plant has about 100 cannabinoids, 150 terpenes, 20 flavonoids, and fatty acids. Cannabinoids offer therapeutic benefits; terpenes give the oil its fragrance, while flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties. When combined, these phytochemicals work jointly to give the oil an entourage effect, the main reason it is becoming a natural substitute for prescriptive supplements.

    Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

    Broad-spectrum oil contains all the naturally occurring phytochemicals present in the hemp plant. Unlike full-spectrum, it does not have THC, although some broad-spectrum products may have traces of THC. Broad-spectrum oil also has entourage effects due to additional compounds working synergistically against various health conditions. However, it lacks the psychoactive THC compound. 

    Some studies show that broad-spectrum CBD oil may have a "high" effect even if it does not contain the THC compound. This is due to the synergistic reaction between the compounds present in the oil. Therefore, to avoid intoxication, it is advisable to start with low doses to allow your body to adapt to the cannabinoids. 

    CBD Oil Isolate

    CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD oil without any additional compounds. It is made with CBD oil as the only ingredient; hence, it has no taste or odor. It is mostly suitable for people who want to benefit from cannabidiol without worrying about the effects of the other compounds; hence is not effective compared to other spectrums.

    Although pure CBD oil is considered the safest for most people, it is also expensive to extract. Manufacturers need to invest in advanced methodologies to obtain the cleanest oil, which is time and money-consuming. Many purification methods may introduce toxic substances or lower their therapeutic properties.

    CBD Oil Classification Based on Formulation

    The oil spectrums fit into different products available for consumption. The wide range of formulations has allowed consumers to choose which method fits their lifestyle. For instance, while smoking was ancient way to consume cannabis derivatives, it was not suitable for everyone since it was associated with a typical smell that led to social stigma. People with lung issues also avoided smoking cannabis since they believed it could cause lung cancer. Therefore, manufacturers have come up with advanced consumption methods that allow everyone to enjoy the different formulations:

    CBD Vape Oil

    CBD vape oil is taken through electric cigarettes (e-cigarettes). It is also called CBD vape juice or cannabis e-juice and is the easiest and most convenient way to inhale cannabinoids. It is similar to the traditional e-liquid. However, nicotine is substituted with cannabinoids ingredients like vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). It also contains organic flavorings, especially if it is made from flavored liquids.

    People mistake vaping regular CBD oil for CBD e-liquids. However, do not inhale regular CBD oil since does not contain base liquids like VG and PG; inhaling regular oil introduces hot oil into your lungs, which can cause irritation.

    CBD Tinctures

    CBD tinctures are made by mixing CBD extracts with alcohol-based solvents to make them soluble. The process preserves most of the cannabinoids in the extract while preventing them from oxidation. However, it requires more refining and filtration to eliminate toxic substances, which can leave the oil with a bitter taste. Manufacturers mix their tinctures with sweet additives, flavorings, or vegetable glycerin to mask the bitter flavor. Also, depending on the purpose of the tinctures, some companies might mix them with natural vitamins, herbal extracts, and supplements such as melatonin.

    CBD tinctures are taken sublingually. They placed under the tongue for some minutes before swallowing. This allows cannabinoids to absorb through the mucus membranes in the mouth and directly into the bloodstream. The sublingual method provides the safest way cannabinoids can reach the endocannabinoid system although more research is needed to clarify how quickly CBD can absorb through the membranes.

    CBD Topical

    CBD oil is also used to make topical products like creams, balms, and lotions. These are CBD-infused skin-friendly products containing medicinal properties that help with various skin issues such as pain, inflammation (Hammel et al., 2016). Some CBD topical also contain nourishing ingredients such as Shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba, and vitamin E that maximize their medicinal capabilities. Oil-based CBD topical absorb quickly and deeply into the skin, leaving it younger and smoother.

    Unlike the tinctures and vape oils, topicals are applied to the skin and left to penetrate through the epidermis. Depending on the ingredients used to formulate the topicals, they might have tingling, warming, or cooling effects on the skin. You might also feel the effects after a few seconds when using CBD topicals for pain. However, when applying them for skin issues such as acne and eczema, you may need to apply them severally to start experiencing their effects.

    How CBD Oil Works in the Body

    The body needs to maintain a state of balance (homeostasis) to keep our health status on point. An imbalance pushes the key system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system to counter-attack the influence. The system sends signals throughout the body to maintain homeostasis. It has three major parts; endocannabinoid, receptors, and enzymes. The two endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2AG, while the two main receptors are CB1, found in the central nervous system, and CB2, found in the peripheral nervous system. CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors, which later impact the overall body function. Therefore, the oil helps the endocannabinoid system to maintain homeostasis whenever there’s an imbalance.

     CBD and Endocannabinoid

    CBD interacts with endocannabinoid system and stimulates it to produce more CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, there is little evidence on how CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system to produce more receptors. Also, the current scientific study phase does not explain how CBD helps any of the receptors to regulate and maintain homeostasis.

    CBD also slows down the breakdown of the already existing endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2AG); anandamide is known as a "bliss" molecule, a substance that makes you happy. This allows the body to use them efficiently and reduce inflammation while maintaining a happy mood. Hence, when it breaks down, you feel sad. Other receptors that CBD impacts include:

    • Dopamine; is responsible for mood regulation and preventing addiction.
    • Opioids; responsible for pain regulation.
    • Serotonin; is responsible for mood, anxiety, and addiction regulation.

    Potential Health Benefits of CBD Oil

    CBD is a vital compound in the medical because its non-psychoactive compared to THC. Also, while some CBD products may not have traces of THC, the synergistic reaction between the phytoactive compounds increases their therapeutic potential. Hence, people who want to avoid the risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs can use CBD products since they have natural ingredients that treat various health conditions.

    Although research on the potential benefits of CBD is still anecdotal, a fair amount of studies associate CBD to the following:

    Offsetting Anxiety and Depression

    Anxiety and depression are major mental disorders affecting a significant population worldwide. While temporary anxiety and depression can subside after a short time, some can last longer; hence, affecting the overall health negatively. These disorders are often treated with pharmaceutical prescriptions. However, studies show that overreliance on drugs can cause drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, or even insomnia. In contrast, CBD is a natural alternative with minimal side effects.

    CBD can treat anxiety and depression (Moltke & Hindocha, 2021). For instance, people who take a placebo, a 150-mg, or a 600-mg of CBD 90 minutes before public speaking can experience reduced anxiety. CBD can also safely alleviate anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, taking hemp-derived products such as CBD tinctures can alleviate depressive symptoms in cannabis addicts.

    Relieving Unmanageable Pain

    The effect of CBD on pain is traced as back as 2900 B.C. Eskander et al.,(2020) suggested that certain cannabis compounds like the CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system that regulates various body functions such as sleep, appetite, pain, and immune response. When taking CBD oil, the natural cannabinoids alter the body’s receptors and neurotransmitters, reducing nerve, back, and neck pains. However, the effects are more potent when using a full-spectrum CBD product that contains THC. More CBD can help people with rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia. Though, more evidence is needed to prove the effectiveness of CBD against chronic pain.

    Alleviating Cancer-Related Symptoms

    Zhang, et al, (2016) suggested that CBD can alleviate cancer-related pain, nausea, and vomiting. One research that determined the effects of CBD and THC on people with cancer-related pain showed that those who received an extract containing both compounds experienced faster relief than those who received THC only. Five more studies also revealed that Sativex can help people with cancer-related pain. However, studies investigating the effects of cannabinoids on cancer-related nausea and appetite showed mixed results. Therefore, more evidence is needed to determine how regularly one should use CBD to manage cancer symptoms.

    How to Choose the Best CBD Oil

    Since CBD oil is becoming a versatile supplement, you are likely to meet hundreds of companies claiming their oils to be the best. Therefore, while it is not easy for consumers to determine the best brand, a few considerations can help new buyers differentiate low-quality vendors from reputable CBD oil suppliers. These factors include:

    The Hemp Source

    The hemp source and the extraction methods are key factors to consider before buying any CBD oil. Always buy CBD oil extracted from hemp grown in Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky, and California since these regions have a history of safe hemp cultivation. The soils in these regions are ideal for hemp growth, while farmers use only organic farming practices following the FDA regulations.

    Choose CBD oil extracted using CO2 extraction technique; the method gives purest CBD extracts little toxic solvents. Other safest methods include ethanol, used traditionally to make CBD tinctures, and lipid distillation.

    Check the THC Content

    If you want to benefit from the acclaimed potential capabilities that come with cannabinoids, you can buy full-spectrum CBD oil since it all phytoactive compounds from hemp. However, check the THC content to ensure it is below the 0.3%. Alternatively, buy broad-spectrum oil without THC content but has terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids.

    Check the Ingredients

    Manufacturers add various ingredients to the CBD oil to increase its bioavailability and efficacy. Some herbal oils added to the extract include coconut, olive, or hemp seed oil. Moreover, they can use other additives to boost the oil’s health capabilities, including melatonin and guarana. Those who dislike the earthy taste of CBD oil with can have flavors such as mint, vanilla, kiwi, and citrus fruit. However, always choose oils with natural ingredients to avoid irritation.

    Is The Oil Third-Party Tested?

    Always buy CBD oil from reputable brands that offer Certificates of Analysis (COA) from third-party laboratories. The certificate shows the CBD and THC concentrations and results for contaminants. Avoid companies that influence the test results since a third-party laboratory should not have any affiliation with the manufacturers; hence, it conducts sample tests on unbiased grounds. You can find this downloadable certificate on the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can scan QR codes provided on the product’s package to access test results on every batch.

    CBD Oil Possible Risks

    Most scientific and clinical researches suggest that CBD is a beneficial compound with limited side effects. These studies believe that risks associated with CBD oil are only caused by additional compounds such as THC and ingredients used during formulation. Therefore, while there is still limited clarification on the risks of CBD, here are a few possible side effects of CBD oil;

    • Increased anxiety.
    • Appetite changes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    • Mood changes.
    • Drowsiness or excessive fatigue.
    • Dry mouth.

    CBD Oil Frequently Asked Questions

    Is CBD Oil Legal?

    CBD oil is federally legal if it comes from industrial hemp. The industrial hemp plant has a higher CBD concentration with THC content below 0.3%. However, the legal status of CBD oil further depends on every state. For instance, while some states allow CBD oil for medicinal purposes, others allow for recreational purposes only. Therefore, check with your state laws to determine its legality.

    How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Kick in Effect?

    Working (2022) observed that time someone takes to experience CBD effects depends on the dosage, body composition, and the extract type. Normally, it can take 15 minutes for vape or sublingual oils such as CBD tinctures to give effects, while edibles and topical can give effects after about one or two hours. Moreover, people taking higher doses can experience effects faster than those taking low doses.

    How Long Do CBD Effects Last in The Body?

    Generally, the half-life of CBD in the body ranges between one hour and 5 days. On the other hand, the half-life of CBD sprays and drops is between 1.4 and 10.9 hours, while vape oils have a half-life of about 31 hours. However, the duration can vary based on how often CBD is consumed. Also, the body weight, food, method of consumption, and medications can affect how long CBD stays in the system (Working, 2022).

    Is CBD Oil Addictive?

    CBD oil is considered safe as long as it has below 0.3% THC. World Health Organization also reports that CBD is generally safe and has a tolerable profile. That means it is not addictive. The side effects reported are results from interaction with other medications or contamination during extraction. However, since CBD products might have different ingredients, you should always consult your doctor to avoid disorders from consuming low-quality CBD oil.

    Can You Get “High” From CBD Oil?

    The only compound associated with the “high” effect is THC. Luckily, industrial hemp used to extract CBD oil has less than 0.3% THC levels which cannot euphoric effects. Also, most people prefer using broad-spectrum or isolated CBD oil which does not contain THC. However, these versions have fewer potential capabilities than full-spectrum CBD oil.

    Is CBD Oil the Same as Hemp Oil?

    CBD oil and hemp oil are often used interchangeably because they come from the cannabis family. However, they are two different oils with varying compositions. CBD oil comes from hemp leaves, stalks, and flowers, with a higher CBD concentration. On the other hand, hemp oil, sometimes referred to as hemp seed oil, comes from hemp seed. It does not contain CBD and THC but has a higher concentration of nutrients, fatty acids, and other health-relevant bioactive compounds. CBD and hemp oils have almost equal potential health benefits due to the higher levels of phytoactive compound; the available studies cannot justify which oil is better than the other.

    How Old Should One Be to Buy CBD Oil?

    The age requirement for buying CBD oil depends on various factors, including the legal status of CBD in a specific state, how the oil is sourced, and the intended use. Most states recommend selling CBD products to people above 21 years. However, children below that age can also use the product, especially if it is intended for mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Reputable brick-and-mortar stores may also ask you to verify your age before buying CBD products from them.

    Is It Possible to Overdose on CBD Oil?

    Studies show that CBD doesn’t significantly inhibit the brainstem since it has fewer cannabinoid receptors. The brainstem is the part of the brain that controls various biological processes such as blood pressure, breathing, body temperature, and digestion. Since it has fewer receptors, taking higher doses of CBD cannot impact our physiological processes. That means it is not possible to overdose on CBD oil.

    Is CBD Oil Good for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers?

    Although CBD can alleviate pregnancy and breastfeeding-related stress and anxiety, its impact on the newborn or the fetus is unknown. Notably, ingested CBD can reach the fetus through the mother's bloodstream, leading to birth issues. However, pregnant or breast-feeding mothers should avoid using CBD without medical advice.

    What Is the Right CBD Oil Dosage?

    There is no set minimum for CBD consumption since the FDA does not regulate the CBD manufacture and usage. Hence, CBD dosage is a personal choice, though you can consult a CBD expert to give dosage suggestions based on various aspects. Moreover, the consumption method chosen determines the amount of CBD taken (Working,2022). For instance, CBD tinctures and oils come in calibrated droppers that offer standardized CBD amounts. On the other hand, CBD edibles are dosed based on units, which does not offer flexibility.


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