The global cannabis market is expected to reach $5.3 billion by 2025. That’s an annual growth rate of 40.4%! Founded upon a plant that has been used for thousands of years for its incredibly versatile healing properties, this comes as no surprise.
Although mainly associated with hippies and drugs since before Woodstock, newer research and ancient findings are quickly broadening that perspective. As benefits are discovered at a record pace, more and more CBD products are becoming available.
The cannabis plant is incredible. It can produce over 480 chemical compounds and has high pharmacological and even nutritional value.
Also referred to as hemp, marijuana, or “Mary-Jane” (although that one is typically reserved for the high THC strains), its fast-growing reputation of being a multi-purpose wonder plant is hard to keep up with.
Used for everything from pain relief to superfood to plastic replacement, it’s easy to see why. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that hemp is a “Jack of all trades”.
The many facets of cannabis are exciting. In this article, however, we’ll be focusing mainly on CBD and its applications to help you make a personalized and informed decision on the best products for you.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. The five major ones are THC, CBD, CBC, CBN, and CBG. These are the compounds that affect the symptoms of medical ailments.
With THC originally being the most popular one due to its euphoric, “high” inducing properties, CBD and its benefits have officially caught up.
Fun fact: cannabis plants are referred to as either hemp or marijuana based on the levels of THC they contain. Marijuana farmers intentionally breed their plants to have high levels of the psychoactive compound.
Hemp farmers, on the other hand, seldom modify their plants. According to the FDA, plants are legal as long as they carry less than 0.3% THC. These legal hemp plants are the ones that give us CBD oil.
How Does it Work?
The effects we feel from taking any cannabis-derived substance are due to the cannabinoids interacting with receptors in our endocannabinoid system. The two receptors our bodies produce are CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are located primarily in the brain and influence appetite, mood, movement, pain, memories, and more. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and also affect pain along with inflammation.
THC will attach to CB1 receptors while CBD stimulates the receptors which cause the body to produce endocannabinoids. We know it’s science-y, but you don’t need to understand the mechanism to reap the benefits.
A Brief History
Ancient civilizations have been taking advantage of hemp’s medicinal properties for thousands of years. In fact, written evidence of this has been found that dates all the way back to Chinese texts from 2900 B.C.
The oldest record of cannabis use was an encyclopedia of medicine and agriculture called the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. It recorded the hallucinogenic properties of the plant and also recommended cannabis for constipation, rheumatic pain, female reproductive disorders, and malaria.
Beyond that, cannabis was actually used along with wine as anesthesia during surgical procedures. A far cry from what we use for today’s operations.
Find Your Ailment
The first thing to ask yourself when researching different CBD products is what are you trying to treat? Here’s a list of ailments that have been scientifically shown to benefit from CBD.
- Chronic pain
- Cancer-related symptoms
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Seizure disorders like epilepsy
- Tumor growth
- Lung problems
- Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Migraines and cluster headaches
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heart problems and high blood pressure
- Diabetes prevention
- Mental disorders
- Nervous system disorders
Bioavailability vs. Onset Time
Now that you’ve pinpointed exactly which symptoms you’re trying to alleviate, it’s time to learn two new terms. You’ve probably heard of both but learning these terms will help you understand the purpose of different modes of delivery for CBD products.
This literally means the degree to which a substance is absorbed into the body. In other words: how much of the CBD you’re taking actually gets into your bloodstream.
Seeing as water and oil don’t mix that well, and CBD is oil-based while blood is water-based, a lot of the CBD that enters the body is quickly absorbed into the fatty tissues before it can find its way into your bloodstream.
One solution is a process called nanoencapsulation. This is where nanoscale droplets of CBD oil are surrounded by a microscopic skin that mixes more easily with water. A product’s bioavailability can be increased by up to 400 times through this process.
This term speaks to how long it takes to feel the desired effects. It depends entirely upon which mode of transport is taken for getting the CBD into your system. If inhaled, it is instantly absorbed through the lungs. If ingested, the onset time is much slower since it has to go through the digestion process.
Full, Broad, or CBD Isolate
Something else to consider when searching for the right CBD product is what kind of components it has. There are a few different options.
This type of oil has other cannabinoids besides CBD. This could include small amounts of THC which is responsible for the famous “high” associated with marijuana.
It also contains terpenes, essential oils that occur naturally within plants, and flavonoids. The flavonoids found in cannabis have been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum in the sense that it also contains other compounds naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. The difference is that you are not getting any THC. This means you won’t be at risk of feeling any sort of psychoactive effects.
A note on both spectrums: many users believe that due to a phenomenon called “the entourage effect”, there are greater benefits to using these CBD products. The reason for this lays in the ability of compounds to work together and enhance medicinal properties.
As the name would suggest, CBD isolate is supposed to be the most distilled version of CBD that you can get. There should be no other terpenes or cannabinoids present whatsoever. Most CBD isolates are over 99% pure.
The different avenues of application and ingestion have taken off along with the exploding industry. Where once you might have imagined smoking to be the only option, there are now many others. Let’s go over them.
CBD oil tinctures are probably the easiest, most efficient, and most versatile option you can find. They’re perfect for everyone from new to daily users and make dosage more flexible.
Tinctures are primarily intended for sublingual absorption, holding the oil under your tongue for up to 90 seconds for best results. Usually, you’ll feel effects within 30 minutes which is a pretty quick onset time.
The great thing about these products is that they can easily be added to your favorite recipes or a soothing cup of tea.
Who doesn’t love gummies? Even if you don’t now, there was probably a time in your life when you did. This form of ingestion can really take you back.
Gummies are fun because they’re available in different flavors while still delivering on CBD benefits. I mean, if you’re going to bust some stress or kill some pain, why not have a sweet while you’re at it?
These are for the no-nonsense CBD lover. If you’re comfortable with swallowing pills and capsules of different shapes and sizes and want a set, dependable dose consistency, you’ll adore these.
With each capsule containing the same amount as the last, you’ll never have to worry about droppers, spills, or measurements, super practical for people constantly on the move. They can be added to your morning or evening supplement routine with no extra effort.
As with anything we ingest, edible or pill forms of CBD will take at least an hour to absorb into our bloodstream and give us the effects we’re looking for. That’s just something to keep in mind when making your decision.
Obviously not for everyone, this is still a great option to have. It’s super fast-acting which makes it perfect for users looking for situational convenience.
Kind of like gummies, CBD vape liquid comes in a variety of flavors. Although definitely a fun way to mix things up, vaping is not recommended for anyone with lung problems, like asthma.
These types of CBD products don’t necessarily have to be used in place of others, they can actually be used in tandem. Available as creams, gels, ointments, and oils, topicals are a great way to target problem areas.
This form is ideal for athletes due to their high incidence of sore muscles, inflamed joints, and other aches and pains. Seeing as topicals are easily transportable and can be slapped on pretty much anytime, anywhere, they’re also super convenient.
6. Edibles and Drinkables
Brownies. I know what you’re thinking, but if you don’t put any THC in them, you don’t have to get high. This is the case with CBD-infused edibles.
They have low onset time, again due to digestion, and also low bioavailability. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel any effects, they’ll just be on the subtle side and slower to manifest. Brownies are like medicine for the soul anyway, so you might not mind as much.
When it comes to beverages, you’ve got all sorts of options. You can find CBD-infused coffee, water, tea, wine, beer, and pop to name a few.
Could you imagine going to a coffee shop and ordering a CBD Latte? Or a glass of CBD Merlot? We’ve come so far in our usage of hemp products.
7. Bath Bombs
There’s just something about bath bombs that makes most people happy, and the “happy hormone”, dopamine, combats stress. In this case, you’ve got the dual pleasure factor mixed with medicinal CBD, kind of like the brownies.
This option is great if you’re looking for natural ways to relax. Made of soothing essential oils, Epsom salts, and other aromatic or decorative ingredients (think rose petals and lavender flowers), you’re in for a decadent evening.
Quality and Disclaimer
We should probably mention here that the cannabis industry is unregulated. Now, don’t let this worry you, but rather encourage you to do some research before buying from any particular company.
Some things to look out for are:
- Third-party lab results – these should be made available to customers either online, with the product, or by request
- Customer service – if they’re not willing to answer your questions, they’re probably not a reliable source
- Transparency – information on where they source their plants, other possible ingredients, and THC content should be clear and accessible
You should also always talk to your healthcare practitioner before attempting to treat any symptoms you may be experiencing.
CBD to the Rescue
With evidence on the many benefits of CBD oil and other hemp products still being uncovered, the industry is only going to continue on its upward trajectory.
This will mean that more and more people are going to be able to benefit from CBD products as time goes on and research continues. We hope that includes you.
If you enjoyed this article and want to keep learning about CBD and its amazing properties, we have an entire section dedicated to the topic. Check out our latest stories!