The Story of CBD

Published on March 25th, 2020

What’s All the Hubbub About CBD?

CBD seems to be everywhere these days:  at the corner gas station, in grocery and retail stores, and all over the internet.  It’s become a multi-billion-dollar industry, reaching every area of the wellness market.  But what is CBD exactly?

First, a little history.  Cannabis is the plant family that includes both marijuana and industrial hemp.  The difference is that marijuana contains high levels of THC (the stuff that gets you high) while hemp contains high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC, less than 0.3%.  When our country was founded, hemp was commonly grown to be made into paper and cloth.  This ended in 1937 with the Marihuana Tax Act, which classified hemp as a Schedule 1 drug.  Some 80 years later, Congress passed the Farm Bill, which President Trump signed into law in December of 2018.  This removed hemp from the drug list and designated it as an agricultural crop, just like corn and soybeans.  This has led to much needed research on CBD, including clinical studies.  The FDA is in the process of creating guidelines and regulations for the sale of CBD.  In 2018 they approved the sale of Epidiolex, a cannabis derived medicine for the treatment of epilepsy in children.

So how does CBD work?  All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates many of the other systems in the body: Digestive, circulatory, endocrine, respiratory etc.  There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, although they are primarily in the brain (CB1 receptors) and in the immune system (CB2 receptors).  CBD enhances the body’s own production of endocannabinoids.  That’s why it appears to have an effect on many different maladies such as anxiety, pain and inflammation.  Not all people react to CBD in the same way.  Some require a very small amount, while others may need a higher dose.  Everyone needs to find their own good place, and there is no such thing as an overdose.  It’s always a good idea to speak with your health care professional before starting a CBD regimen.

CBD typically comes in the form of a topical ointment or an ingestible tincture.  It’s also available as capsules, gummies, and water-soluble liposomes.  Here’s what you should look for in selecting a CBD product:

1.   Look at the label.  It should be labelled as a dietary supplement and have the FDA disclaimer.  It will state the total amount of CBD (in milligrams) in the bottle as well as the serving size and list any additional ingredients. Look for the U.S. Hemp Authority certification seal.

2.   Look for third-party testing.  This is independent testing in addition to the manufacturer’s testing.  You want to be sure that the amount of CBD stated on the bottle is the amount you are getting, and that it is free from pesticides and chemicals.  Most reputable CBD products have a QR code on the bottle which can be scanned to get the Certificate of Analysis.

3.   Look for a lot number.  Reputable manufacturers include a lot number in the event that there is a recall on the product.

4.   Beware of exaggerated claims.  Any product that claims to cure a disease is not legit.  Be cautious of products that are bargain priced.  Producing CBD is an expensive process, and you get what you pay for.

An excellent resource for more information is available at Realm of Caring, www.theroc.us.  They are a non-profit 501c3 organization focusing on CBD research and education.  They offer online orientation, guidelines, and access to their Research Library.