When most people think of the hemp (aka cannabis) plant, they think of the effects of THC — the psychoactive (or high-inducing) compound in marijuana. Lately, however, another active ingredient in hemp has been getting a lot of recognition for its health benefits: CBD, or cannabidiol. Gummies, tinctures, supplements, and even skin creams with CBD in them have exploded in popularity, but why? And what are the benefits of CBD, and what should you know before trying it for yourself?
Since CBD and THC both come from the hemp plant, there are a lot of misconceptions as to how they differ when it comes to their chemical structure, psychological effects, and legality. So before trying a CBD product, a little preemptive research is probably a good idea. After all, how is it even possible that a supplement works for both better sleep and more energy?
A leading CBD company, HempFusion, is dedicated to clarifying the misconceptions, as well as creating cannabinoid products which harness the beneficial compounds in their full capacity, and backed by transparent third-party testing. Keep reading to learn just about everything you need to know about CBD: Why people take it; how it differs from THC; whether or not it’s legal; how to best use it; and how to shop for it.
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What Is CBD Used For?
Because it contains cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other nutrients, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system without making you feel intoxicated. (In other words, it helps you to feel a mild sense of relaxation, both physically and mentally.) As a result, many people use it to help with anxiety, sleep issues, inflammation, and bodily pain, and while more research is still underway, scientific studies have found it to be a generally safe way to improve overall health and well-being.
How Is CBD Different From THC?
Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are compounds that naturally occur in the hemp plant. However, while they both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, the ways they do so are different.
THC is a psychoactive compound, which means it’ll get you high — whereas CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in a way that is psychoactive but helps the body reach homeostasis without an intoxicated, impairing feeling. Instead, with CBD, you’ll likely experience a mild reduction in pain and a subtle but pleasant feeling of relaxation.
Will CBD Make Me High?
Because it contains minimal or no THC, CBD should not make you high. However, different types of CBD products can contain different levels of THC: In broad-spectrum CBD products, the THC has been largely removed. Full-spectrum CBD products, on the other hand, tend to contain trace amounts of THC, which could impact the way you feel, especially when taking higher doses.
While full-spectrum CBD products definitely have their benefits, those who are concerned about THC levels should opt for broad-spectrum CBD instead. (And, as with any new supplementation regimen, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before you start.)
Is CBD Legal?
Because there are so many factors, this question can be a difficult one to answer. CBD in and of itself is legal at the federal level with some restrictions — but since THC is not, things can get a little complicated. If a CBD product has 0.3% THC or less, then it qualifies as hemp, and it’s considered federally legal (though states can vary). Any more THC content, though, and federal law deems it illegal. However, again, individual states are free to make their own regulations surrounding both CBD and THC, and cannabis use (medical and/or recreational) is currently legal in more than half of US states.
If you’re wondering whether or not CBD will show up on a drug test, most standard drug tests only check for THC, so it shouldn't. Again, if you’re concerned about THC content, opt for a broad-spectrum CBD product instead of a full-spectrum one.
How Do I Use CBD?
CBD comes in a wide range of forms, and it can be absorbed into the body through several different methods. Gummies, edibles, and tinctures can be swallowed and processed through the digestive system. Oils can be placed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream that way. You can also inhale CBD with a vape or apply it topically with a cream or a spray.
The “ideal method” is often a matter of personal preference and what your goals are, though different methods offer different levels of bioavailability (in other words, how much CBD your body can actually utilize and in what ways). No matter which method you choose, it’s always a good idea to check with a doctor first — and to start with smaller, more controlled doses to test how CBD affects your body and your mind.
What Should I Look For When Shopping For CBD?
Not all CBD products are created equal. Just like with other supplements, the best CBD companies use independent lab testing and are willing to display or send their certificate of analysis batch reports. That way, you can check the levels of CBD and THC, as well as the presence of specific types of cannabinoids. While many companies use isolated CBD and call it “broad-spectrum,” studies suggest that a wider range of cannabinoids often have more beneficial results. (This is called the Entourage Effect, and it happens because the terpenes, omegas, and other supportive nutrients can all work together in a more holistic way in the body.)
All of HempFusion’s broad-spectrum CBD products are created using a careful four-step process, which includes USDA-certified organic farming, solvent-free extraction, FDA-registered manufacturing, and independent third-party testing. As a result, these CBD items contain 1,000% more terpenes than many competing brands to further boost the health benefits without introducing the bad stuff. Plus, they meet high safety standards and offer transparency in the form of detailed batch reports.
In addition to offering multiple dose sizes and forms of CBD, HempFusion also created blends with other ingredients for targeted benefits like GABA for sleep and relaxation, elderberry for immunity support, ginseng and guayusa for energy, and even menthol in a cream for sports-related aches.
Moltke, J., Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems, https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00061-5
Russo E. B. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No "Strain," No Gain. Frontiers in plant science, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969
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