Hey so this week we’re going to talk more about CBD. There is so much buzz about CBD and there is a huge knowledge gap, so here’s a little bit of information to help you navigate that.
CBD is a cannabinoid, like THC. It’s found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, which is called hemp when the levels of THC are negligible (usually less than .03%). Hemp and cannabis are genetically the same plant. Cannabis strains are different types of cannabis that have been selectively bred, and they look and smell different from each other and have different effects.
Industrial hemp is cannabis that is bred not to contain THC, but they can still contain CBD and other cannabinoids. These plants tend to be low-resin, meaning you need a lot of plant material to extract any quantity of medicine. Using industrial hemp for medicine can be problematic because the cannabis plant is a bio-accumulator, it sucks up heavy metals and other toxic shit from the soil. (Fun fact: Hemp was planted near the site of the Chernobyl disaster to help remove radiation from the soil.) So when you couple the fact that you need a lot of plant material to extract a small amount of CBD with the fact that hemp is a bio-accumulator, there’s potential for products with really high concentrations of some very poisonous stuff.
So, tip #1: Buy CBD from organic hemp grown in the US. It should say this on the label or website. If the label just says “hemp oil”, don’t go for it, it could be anything. There are a growing number of strains that are high CBD and high resin, which is awesome. More resin = more medicine per plant and less chance for toxic levels of contaminants.
Tip #2: Ask for lab test results. Reputable dealers will have their lab test results available to confirm the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids in their product and it may also show whether its free of contaminants and mold, which is great.
Cannabinoids work best together. THC works better with CBD and other cannabinoids in the mix, and CBD works the same way.
Tip #3: Look for something that says “full spectrum” or “whole plant”. This means that it contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant. Some products contain CBD isolate, which still has medicinal value but is difficult to dose. CBD has what’s called a bell-shaped dose response, meaning a small amount might be effective, but a larger dose will have no effect, and eventually a much high dose will have an effect again. This makes it harder to find the dose that will work for you. Taking several cannabinoids together helps lessen this response, which allows the user to have a much broader dose and still be effective. Plus, those terpenes and minor cannabinoids have medicinal value too, so, bonus!
Tip #4: Look for CO2 extraction. There are several ways to extract cannabinoids from cannabis. They all involve using a solvent, and cheaper extraction methods use ethanol or butane. These aren’t so great because they can degrade the medicine and leave behind harmful residue. CO2 extraction can only be done using laboratory equipment, so it costs more. But it extracts more medicine, leaves nothing behind, and provides a better tasting, higher quality product.
I use and recommend NuLeaf Naturals (and I’m an affiliate), but there are lots of high-quality products to choose from.
If you’re in the Twin Cities and want to learn more, I’m hosting a meeting about CBD with Ellementa on June 27th at Nina’s Coffee Cafe in Saint Paul. Tickets are $10; click here to get yours. I hope to see you there!
Questions? Leave them in the comments or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Jessica DaCosta, I'm a proud cannabis enthusiast, advocate, and mom of two.