What is CBD?

What is CBD?

What started as merely a curiosity for CBD products, turned into a passionate mission to educate. Inspired by Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special on CBD and vaping, it became very apparent that there was (and continues to be) a lot of confusion and misinformation in the CBD marketplace. In the current state of affairs, CBD remains quite an unregulated market. For this reason, many fraudulent products have appeared on store shelves, making efficacy and potency claims that are simply untrue. During this particular segment, a teenage boy ended up in the hospital after vaping a brand called YOLO with his friend. The truth is, many CBD products on the market do not meet the labeled potency claims they are making, nor are they properly regulated to protect the consumer. To make matters worse, using poor quality or inappropriate carriers for CBD will only amplify the problem, putting consumer’s health at risk.

One thing that we can be sure of is that people who seek CBD products are looking for a solution and relief to otherwise ineffectively prescribed (and chemically derived) drugs with a multitude of side effects. As the landscape of consumer expectations shift from prescribed and OTC drugs to natural remedies, more consumers are turning to CBD for relief of pain, inflammation and anxiety.

To help demystify the confusion, let’s start with the basics.

What is CBD? And what is the difference between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a naturally occurring chemical compound (or cannabinoid) found in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a range of physiological reactions, effects, and changes. CBD first gained its popularity when children who frequently experienced epileptic seizures were given a dose would suddenly experience a reduction in occurrences without any psychoactive side effects. Some children were able to then carry on living a better quality of life.

The endocannabinoid system is made of up endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that help regulate many of our most basic functions like sleep and appetite. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced in the body and cannabis consumption increases the amount of endocannabinoids present in the body.

The purpose of endocannabinoids and their receptors is to maintain homeostasis within the body, to the cell level by reversing damage in whatever way possible. It maintains a stable internal environment despite changes in the external environment. The fact that the endocannabinoid system is connected with most of our basic functions may reveal why cannabis is believed to be useful in treating many medical conditions.

According to a study in the Harm Reduction Journal, the endocannabinoid system is a naturally evolved harm reduction system within our bodies. For example, endocannabinoid levels naturally increase after injuries to the head, illustrating the body’s awareness of the sudden lack in homeostasis and the use of endocannabinoids as a remedy.

The human body produces specific cannabinoids naturally and on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids, named the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain.

CB1 receptors in the brain primarily manage motor skills such as coordination and movement, as well as pain, emotions, mood, critical thinking, appetite, memories, and other functions. The cannabinoid THC attaches specifically to these receptors.

CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They can alter inflammation and pain.

At one point, researchers believed that CBD attached to CB2 receptors, thereby being able to alleviate inflammation and pain. However, further research has shown that possibly, CBD does not attach directly to either receptor, rather it directs the body to utilize more of its own, naturally produced cannabinoids.

Much more research is needed to build more concrete and fact-based data to support remedy claims of CBD products. With research and clinical studies of CBD, there can be light on the horizon for more naturally based medicine to common ailments.

Marijuana and hemp are both from the cannabis family. Although hemp has recently gained popularity because of its CBD content, it has in fact been used for centuries for textiles, clothing, food, fuel and much more.

There is a difference between CBD oil and hemp oil, so let’s not confuse the two. Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain any cannabinoids. Hemp oil, however, is packed with healthy fats and often appears in beauty products for its moisturizing benefits. Hemp seeds will often produce the best hemp oil, although the whole plant can be pressed for oil. Cold-pressed hemp seed oil which has not been refined has a rich, nutty flavor and a slightly green tinge. After refining, hemp oil becomes colorless, and the flavor profile is quite mild. There are many uses for hemp seed oil, and a variety of formats as well.

Hemp seed oil can be used to make soap, paints and lubricants, and a variety of personal and body care products. It may be applied directly onto the skin to treat dry or cracked skin. Alternatively, it can be blended into body oils, skin creams, and other personal care products. Some people also use it as a dietary supplement, in favor of the high concentrations of essential fatty acids in unrefined hemp oil. It has also been used in dressings or as a garnish to improve nutrition.

Having said that, even though hemp seed oil contains only trace amounts of CBD, it does act as a very good carrier oil to effectively deliver the correct dosage of CBD oil. The most common carrier oils include hemp seed oil, and (coconut) MCT oil, although olive oil has recently gained some popularity as well.

Even though CBD oil and hemp oil are both low in THC, the difference in the amount of CBD these products contain is fairly substantial. Hemp oil has only trace amounts of CBD (around 3.5 percent). On the other hand, CBD oil can have up to 20 percent. It is the higher concentration that makes CBD effective in the treatment of various health disorders.

The main difference between hemp and marijuana-derived CBD is the THC content. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is yet another naturally occurring compound that creates a psychoactive effect, or a “high”. Hemp-derived CBD contains only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) and therefore mostly used for its therapeutic effects. Marijuana-derived CBD has higher levels of THC which produces the psychoactive effect.

Marijuana is commonly harvested for its buds, which contains psychoactive properties known to produce the euphoric effects. However, with hemp, it is the stalks and seed that are the targets of this crop. These plants do not contain enough THC to get anyone high. In fact, for cannabis to be considered hemp, it must have no more than 0.3 percent THC.

There are different types of CBD: full spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate.

Full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD is extracted from the whole plant (leaves, flowers, stem, and seeds). It goes through very minimal processing and therefore retains all of the plant’s cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, and terpenes. Full-spectrum is believed to be the most effective due to it’s “entourage effect”.  Since it maintains almost all of the plants naturally occurring compounds it creates somewhat of a therapeutic synergy. At less than 0.3% THC it has little to no psychoactive effective at all. However, even trace amounts of THC will test out during a drug test, so be aware if this could be a concern for you.

Broad-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD is quite similar to full-spectrum, maintaining all of the plant’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, terpenes, etc. except that it is free from any THC at all. It is possible to still have the “entourage effect” since only the THC has been removed. It is somewhat of a hybrid between full-spectrum and isolates.

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. The extraction process removes all other cannabinoids, flavonoids, minerals, vitamins, terpenes and of course, THC. What you are then left with is the therapeutic effects of CBD without any THC. Because the isolate is highly processed to extract all other cannabinoids, it’s entourage effect is usually quite minimal, depending on the person.

Although CBD isolate would be the best choice for someone who is concerned about drug testing, full-spectrum CBD continues to be a strong contender for a more wholistic remedy and relief approach.

As the CBD landscape continues to grow and change, the process of selecting a reliable and honest brand becomes a priority. How can you distinguish honest quality from false claims? Accordingly to Leafly, only 51% of 47 brands that were actually tested came within 20% of the labeled dosage. Astonishingly, 11% detected no CBD at all, while 23% delivered less than 80% of the advertised dosage. Only 15% of the 47 brands tested delivered more CBD than advertised.

Some ways to ensure products are safe and true to claim is to do some research on the brand. Honest brands will very often share test results in the form of a COA (certificate of analysis) right on their website. Just put in the Lot number of the product and a COA should coincide with that Lot number showing test results for pesticides, microbials, potency, heavy metals, residual solvents, and terpenes. It is important to note that it should be a 3rd party tested. This means that the product is sent out to an independent lab for testing and not testing within the own facility or company.

Bonitis’ mission will always be to provide safe, clean, natural and honest products to consumers. It is a guarantee that we will always deliver on potency, safety, transparency, and traceability.

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