Complete CBD Beginners Guide

CBD for Beginners – Your Ultimate Guide

New to CBD, Read This BEFORE You Buy CBD

Choosing the right CBD company and product can be complicated, confusing, and, in the worst cases, even risky if you rush in and choose unwisely. This CBD buyer’s guide will help you determine what products are right for you and how to identify high-quality products.  

Table of Contents


So, you are interested in using CBD, either as a natural remedy for a medical condition from which you’ve been suffering or to maintain good health. With so many delivery methods, formulations, brands, and manufacturers out there vying for your attention, choosing the right product can be a daunting experience. 

It can take a seeming eternity of research to determine the product for your needs and lifestyle that is safe, of high-quality, and cost-effective. However, rushing in and choosing the wrong product can be a waste of a ton of money and it might even put your health at risk. 

Upfront, I’d like to emphasize that this ebook was not written to help you diagnose a medical condition nor to provide you with actionable medical advice. Rather it is intended to provide you with information that you can use to better understand the types of delivery methods and formulations of CBD oils and CBD-infused products, what CBD actually is, how it is produced, and how to identify a high-quality product being sold at a fair price. 

As I write, the CBD industry is often compared to the Wild West. Without actual government regulation, anyone can take a drum of any kind of oil, add a pinch of CBD, and call it CBD oil. Although some states have production and testing regulations, the vast majority of CBD products are ordered online and are not regulated. 

As of summer of 2019, the Federal Food and Drug Administration is working on developing a regulatory system for CBD products. It may be 2020 before that happens. 

Even if the FDA does implement strict regulations, there will still be bad people out there trying to capitalize on the CBD explosion by cutting corners to make a profit at your expense. There will also be companies with perfectly good intentions but that might be making promises about their products which they cannot keep. 

A recent nationwide survey of CBD products found that a large swath of these products did not contain the portions of CBD claimed by the manufacturers. And lab studies conducted to determine the purity of CBD products have turned up unwanted ingredients ranging from cough syrup to pesticides. And in some rare cases, products which claimed to be CBD were actually synthetic drugs that sent users to the emergency room — and sometimes even the morgue. 

It’s not just bad companies that are overselling the benefits of CBD. News and information publishers, in a drive, to get viewers, listeners, and clicks will often mass-produce cookie-cutter articles that contain the right keywords to draw you in but are rife with misinformation and bad advice that can result in wasted money and potentially even be damaging to your health. 

My overarching mission with this ebook is to give you a brief but informative introduction to CBD and then send you on your way armed with enough facts to help you cut through all the clutter and noise out there and make informed decisions. 

The goals of this ebook are to help you understand:

  1. What CBD actually is
  2. The various ways in which CBD is produced
  3. Benefits and drawbacks of various production methods
  4. Types of CBD oil and levels of CBD oil refinement
  5. Benefits and drawbacks of various formulations
  6. Benefits and drawbacks of various delivery methods
  7. How to identify high-quality CBD products
  8. How to get the most CBD for your money

And finally, before I get into the details, I’d like to make it clear that this ebook is not intended to provide medical advice or help you diagnose or treat any disease. If you’re taking CBD to treat any medical condition, you should be doing so at the advice of, and under the care of a qualified health professional. 

What Is CBD?

Before I embark on this journey of discovery and send you on your way let’s build a foundation of knowledge about CBD that will underlie all the following chapters in this ebook. If you already have a firm understanding of what CBD is, then you could skip this section. However, it’s a short read and you might learn something new.

Chemists invented the term “CBD” as a nickname of sorts for a carbon-based molecule which is technically referred to as cannabidiol. This compound is produced by the cannabis plant, hence the “canna” prefix.

CBD belongs to a family of compounds known as cannabinoids. The cannabis plant produces scores of cannabinoids, all with similar chemical properties, but each is slightly different than the rest.

Okay, so what is cannabis, exactly?

Cannabis belongs to a family of plants known as cannabesea

Cannabis plants have evolved into a few distinct strains over the eons. I’m not going to get into the differences between cannabis strains in this ebook. We’ll save that for the followup ebook which will provide much more science-based information. 

It’s important to understand that the cannabis plant had been propagating on Earth for millions of years before humans came along. In fact, cannabis has had an effect on human evolution, and the evolution of land animals in general. Over the eons, animal species have adapted to take advantage of the chemical properties of cannabinoid compounds.

And this evolution process goes both ways. Animals have affected the evolution of cannabis. In order to propagate, cannabis needs to flourish and produce seeds. Over the years, via the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest, cannabis has developed strategies to attract fertilizers such as birds and mammals to help it grow and pollinators such as bees to help it produce seeds. Cannabis has, in the same way, also developed strategies to repel pests and diseases.   

The cannabis plant’s strategies for attracting some creatures and repelling others both rely on an extremely powerful family of molecules known as terpenes. Terpenes are highly volatile compounds that evaporate easily. While cannabinoids are odorless, terpenes are responsible for the various distinct aromas of plants and their flowers. And, like cannabinoids, they also play a roll in changing physiological states of humans and other animals. 

Terpenes are also a large part of products known as essential oils which are extracted from plants and flowers. Each plant’s essential oils contain a particular formula of terpenes that gives it its distinct odor and flavor. These essential oils have been used by humans for millennia. 

You might be familiar with a healing modality known as aromatherapy. Aromatherapy utilizes the physiological and psychological effects attributed to terpenes to treat various medical conditions and to change subjects’ mental states. 

To produce the complete range of physiological effects provided by cannabis, terpenes and cannabinoids work together in concert. 

At some point in the evolution of cannabis, humans began to domesticate the plant. 

As I implied earlier, mammals have been using cannabis as a food source for millions of years — long before humans came along. However, the domestication of the plant by humans supercharged the plant’s evolution. Over the eons, humans began to cultivate cannabis. The plants which provided the most desired properties were propagated and the properties of cannabis began to change. 

In recent millennia, strains of cannabis were developed that provided humans with stronger fibers or more abundant seeds. These newly evolved strains of cannabis which were bred to produce seeds and fibers are collectively referred to as hemp. In modern terms, I refer to this type of cannabis as industrial hemp.

At some point in more recent history, strains of cannabis were developed specifically for their medicinal properties. And in more recent generations, strains of cannabis were developed specifically for their ability to produce intoxicating effects. These strains are now collectively referred to as marijuana. Those which have been cultivated to produce specific medicinal benefits are often referred to as medical marijuana.

  • Industrial Hemp: non-intoxicating, cultivated to produce seeds and fibers
  • Marijuana: usually intoxicating, cultivated to produce particular medicinal and psychological effects

You might have heard that the main compound produced in marijuana which is responsible for the psychotropic effects of the plant is known as delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or more commonly known as THC. Actually, marijuana, as it’s   growing is very low in THC, and much higher in a very similar compound known as THCa (technically tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) which does not cause a high. However, over time, or as a result of applying heat, THCa is converted into the THC so many of us known and love. 

What about CBD? Although CBD does not produce psychotropic (intoxicating) effects, it does produce psychoactive effects, or changes in mental states, but does not change our perception of reality like THC can. 

Some of the psychoactive effects commonly attributed to CBD include improvements in mood and reduced anxiety levels. As a result, strains of marijuana were developed which are not only high in THC but are also high in CBD which were more effective at treating mood and anxiety disorders than strains which are low in CBD. 

(add in Cannabis flowers are capable of producing up to 25 percent cannabinoids by weight.)

It wasn’t until the last quarter or so of the 20th century that strains of cannabis were produced which were high in CBD and low in THC. Strains that are extremely low in THC are effectively devoid of intoxicating effects. 

We’ll get back to the differences between hemp and marijuana as well as CBD and THC shortly. 

For now, let it suffice to recount the following facts:

  • There are two distinct types of cannabis domesticated cannabis:
    • Industrial hemp (farmed for seeds and fiber)
    • Marijuana (cultivated for medicinal and intoxicating effects)
  • Marijuana produces at least two families of medicinal compounds:
    • Cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.)
    • Terpenes (limonene, myrcene, etc.)
  • Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce the effects attributed to marijuana.
  • Cannabinoids can account for as much as a quarter or more of the weight of plant’s flowers. 
  • Terpenes are far less abundant and are measured in parts per million.

There’s one more distinction I’d like to point out here which can alleviate some confusion. It’s important to note that hemp seed oil and CBD oil are not the same product. Hemp seed oil is generally used for cooking and as a dietary supplement for its high levels of omega fatty acids. Hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids. CBD oil, on the other hand, is made by extracting the essential oils from the plant’s flower clusters and contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active compounds.

Types of CBD Oil

Let’s now take a look at some of the variety of types of CBD oil products and compare their qualities.

CBD From PCR Hemp vs. CBD From Marijuana

Essential oils can also be extracted from marijuana, the same way they can be extracted from hemp. The essential oils made from marijuana are correctly referred to as cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is only legal in states which allow the cultivation of marijuana. Extracts made from marijuana may contain some CBD, but will also contain enough THC to cause a high. Therefore cannabis oil is considered to be a controlled substance. 

For the purposes of this document, I are only concerned with CBD oil produced from PCR hemp. I are not concerned with THC-containing cannabis oils made from marijuana, nor are I concerned with extracts of industrial hemp which have low levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Raw CBD Oil vs. CBD Concentrate 

When the essential oils of the hemp plant are first extracted, the resulting product is considered raw hemp extract. This raw extract can be put through a series of filtration and distillation processes to remove unwanted compounds such as waxes and chlorophyll to produce various classes of oils differing in purity and CBD content. These refined oils are referred to as CBD concentrate or CBD distillate.

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil 

Earlier I mentioned another class of compounds called terpenes. Raw PCR hemp extract contains terpenes as well as other cannabinoid compounds similar to CBD. Because it retains the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant, I refer to these products as full-spectrum oils. 

CBD Isolate

CBD can also be isolated and purified. Pure CBD is known in the industry as CBD isolate. In their pure form, and at room temperature, cannabinoids are solid crystals. Purified cannabinoids are colorless and odorless. CBD isolate can be consumed directly or used as an additive in other preparations such as edibles and beverages, however it is devoid of the beneficial terpenes and other cannabinoids found naturally in the plant. 

CBD-Rich Oil

Another term you may hear is CBD-rich oil. This term is generally used to label a CBD oil which has gone through some initial filtration and distillation steps to remove the unwanted compounds such as the chlorophyll and waxes. The resulting product has a higher concentration of CBD than the raw extract, hence the term CBD-rich oil

CBD-Infused Oil

The term CBD-infused can be used to describe either a product which has been infused with purified CBD isolate, or, it can also refer to a product which has been infused with a CBD-rich, full-spectrum concentrate. A properly labelled product will specify which ingredients were used. If the ingredients include “CBD” or “CBD isolate,” then the product is not full-spectrum. If the ingredients include “CBD-rich hemp oil (or extract)” or “full-spectrum CBD oil,” then, obviously you’re getting a full-spectrum product. It’s important to know which is in a product because they produce different effects.

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

Another product which needs to be discussed is what is known as broad-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum CBD oil, as I mentioned, retains the original concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes found in raw PCR hemp extract. Broad-spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, is made by combining CBD isolate and individual terpenes with an oil base. It is not made with natural CBD-rich extracts. The CBD and terpenes in so-called broad-spectrum oils have been stripped of their natural essence. Often times, the terpenes used in these products are not even sourced from cannabis, but rather come from other, less-costly plant sources. Some even use dangerous synthetic cannabinoids and terpenes. Although broad-spectrum oils are less expensive to produce, they are generally not sold at a lower price. These products are produced by companies which are far less concerned with the quality and effectiveness of their products than they are with simply maximizing their profits. If you’re going to spend money on CBD oil, get the real thing.

A List of CBD Oil Products

To summarize, there are a variety of products which contain varying levels of CBD as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes. 

ILLUSTRATION: Show steps connected with arrows. 1. Hemp plant, 2. Raw Extract (beaker), 3. Full-spectrum CBD oil (dropper bottle), 4. CBD concentrate (large jar), 5. CBD isolate (pile of powder)

  • Hemp oil – oil produced from hemp seeds, does not contain CBD.
  • Raw industrial hemp extract – a low-quality source of CBD oil.
  • Raw PCR hemp extract – a high-quality, full-spectrum product which is rich in CBD and contains all the naturally occurring compounds including cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • CBD concentrate or distillate – a full-spectrum product from which unwanted compounds have been removed.
  • CBD isolate – purified CBD, does not contain other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids.
  • CBD-rich oil – either full-spectrum CBD concentrate or an oil infused with full-spectrum CBD concentrate.
  • CBD-infused – generally refers to a product infused with pure CBD, but is also used sometimes to refer to a full-spectrum product.
  • Broad-spectrum oil – an oil which has been “doped” with CBD isolate and terpenes, or possibly dangerous synthetic compounds.

Now that we’ve cleared up these terms let’s answer some of the most common questions asked by first time CBD users. 

CBD is not an acronym. Cannabidiol has been shortened to CBD simply because it’s customary for cannabinoids to have a three-letter designation such as THC for tetrahydrocannabinol, CBG for cannabigerol, CBN for for cannabinol, and so forth. 

Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids mimic compounds which I call endocannabinoids that are produced naturally by all mammals.  

  • Phytocannabinoids – Cannabinoids produced by plants
  • Endocannabinoids – Cannabinoids produced by the human body

Other cannabinoids found in CBD-rich PCR hemp include cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG). Cannabichromene (CBC) is the third most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. Like CBD, cannabichromene is non-psychoactive. Cannabigerol (CBG) is produced early on in the hemp’s growth cycle. Both CBD and CBG are believed to have properties similar to those of CBD.

Endocannabinoids, those produced naturally by our bodies, are signaling molecules. They are technically called neurotransmitters. Hormones are a more familiar type of neurotransmitter. 

A vast array of neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in response to various states of health and also environmental factors. They interact with receptors found on the surface of cells throughout our bodies. Their job is to instruct a cell to adjust its activities. This can include changing how cells react to other neurotransmitters. 

In order to illustrate how neurotransmitters work, let’s use an analogy. 

The brain doesn’t connect with every cell in your body, just like traffic officers can’t connect directly with every car on the road to be able to instruct individual drivers how to behave in every traffic situation. In order to manage traffic, I implement traffic signals. These include street signs, traffic lights, the lines on the road and so on. Traffic signals inform drivers where they can and cannot travel, when they should stop and when they should go, how fast they are allowed to move, and so on. 

Some of these signals can sense what’s going on in the environment such as when a car pulls up to a traffic light. The sensor triggers a controller causing the light to change, thereby changing the behavior of the drivers approaching that intersection. 

In the same way, your body’s nervous system connects to a wide variety of sensors to keep track of every system in your body. The signals from these sensors are decoded by the brain and the nervous system. If it is determined that a system has gone out of balance, the nervous system produces neurotransmitters which travel through the bloodstream and interact with receptors on cells and instructing them to adjust their behavior.

The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two components. First is the endocannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. And second are the endocannabinoids themselves which interact with those receptors. 

For example, CBD is known to mimic a signaling molecule called anandamide. Anandamide is responsible for the production and uptake of serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because levels of serotonin in the body are directly associated with mood. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter which is responsible for “runner’s high.” Serotonin levels are often low in people suffering from depression and anxiety. Supplementation with CBD has been shown to raise serotonin levels. 

The endocannabinoid system is vast and far-reaching. It regulates a wide array of bodily functions, from appetite regulation to sleep patterns, moods, metabolism, immune response, the lifespan of cells, and much more. This is the reason that CBD seems to effect such a wide range of conditions.

List of common cannabinoids

Below is a list of the most common cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis and some of the effects they are believed to possess.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) – The second most common cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant, non-psychotropic (it doesn’t get you high).
  • Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives users a feeling of euphoria.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) – The third most common cannabinoid, also non-psychoactive, is thought to have anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and anti-fungal effects.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) – Believed to act as an appetite stimulant, antibiotic, anti-asthmatic, pain reliever, and sedative.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) – Non-psychoactive, used as an antibiotic, antidepressant, and pain reliever.
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) less psychoactive than THC, known to have anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties.
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDv) – Similar to CBD in its effects.
  • Delta(8) THC – Similar to delta(9)-THC, less psychoactive, may have neuroprotective and anti-anxiety properties.
  • THCa and CBDa – Compounds found in raw cannabis, non-psychotropic, use for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

Although cannabinoids are mainly known for the role they play in the human endocannabinoid system, they also function in other ways. 

For example, cannabinoids are known to have antioxidant effects. Vitamin C is an example of a common antioxidant.

The process of metabolizing food can produce harmful molecules I refer to as free radicals. These molecules can latch onto molecules in our cells causing oxidation, the same process that causes metals to rust. Free radicals can harm or kill a cell and damage DNA. Antioxidant molecules such as cannabinoids latch onto free radicals rendering them harmless. 

CBD is also known to have antibacterial and anti-biological properties as well. In a similar process as described above, CBD can latch onto germs, killing them or rendering them harmless. 

Terpenes are recognized as safe for human consumption by the Food and Drug Association and are used in a wide variety of food and cosmetic products. 

Terpenes can also have powerful effects on our bodies. In fact, terpenes have been utilized by humans for millennia in a healing modality known as aromatherapy. For example, the scent of citrus is produced primarily by a combination of limonene and pinene, both of which are thought to elevate mood.

Common terpenes along with their reported benefits:

  • Linalool has a floral scent and is prominent in lavender. It is used as a sleep aid as well as a pain reliever, and an anti-inflammatory. It has also been used in the treatment of psychosis and anxiety and is believed to have antiepileptic effects. 
  • Terpinolene is produced by oregano, marjoram, cumin, lilac, citrus, and conifers. It has been used as a treatment for insomnia for hundreds of years. It’s believed to be an anti-biological agent with anti-tumor, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. 
  • Myrcene is found in plants such as mango, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, and lemongrass, among others. It is thought is used in the treatment of spasms, insomnia, and pain. It’s also believed to have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects. 
  • Citronellol is produced in geraniums, rose, and citrus. You might recognize its odor from its use as a mosquito and moth repellent. It’s thought to have anti-biological, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulating effects. 
  • Caryophyllene is found in basils, cloves and black pepper. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-biological, and antioxidant properties. 
  • Pinene is found in pine trees and orange peels. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects and has been used for centuries in the treatment of asthma. 
  • Limonene has a strong citrus odor and bitter taste. It is commonly used for treating toenail fungus, gastric reflux, depression, and anxiety. It’s also believed to have anti-tumor and immuno-stimulant properties.
  • Humulene is found in hops and has an odor reminiscent of beer. It has been used for centuries for anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and appetite suppressant effects.
  • Camphene has an earthy, woodsy aroma. It is a component of camphor oil and ginger oil which are both to provide therapeutic effects. It has been used for centuries in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. 
  • Terpineol is found in lilacs and other flower blossoms and has a sweet scent. It is thought to produce calming, relaxing effects. It also exhibits antibiotic and antioxidant properties. 
  • Phellandrene is produced in a number of herbs and spices. It is responsible for the aroma of peppermint. It is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive disorders and treat systemic fungal infections. 

Some terpenes can act as neurotransmitters. They can also act as serotonin uptake inhibitors, enhance norepinephrine activity, and increase dopamine activity, all of which are known to produce antidepressant effects. 

More importantly, terpenes also act on cannabinoid receptors and are known to modify the effects of cannabinoids. 

The Entourage Effect

Although not as potent as cannabinoids in terms of their overall effects, terpenes are valuable medicinal components of cannabis. 

The overall effect of the rich combination of cannabinoids and terpenes is known metaphorically as The Entourage Effect. The word entourage refers to a group of people who travel and work together. In the case of cannabis, these cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce a range of effects which is thought to be greater than the sum of its individual components. 

More research is needed to determine the exact role that terpenes play in the overall effects of CBD oil, but it seems clear that terpenes work in concert with cannabinoids to produce a richer effect than CBD alone.

As I mentioned earlier some CBD oil products are actually simply oil infused with pure CBD. These products do not have the added benefits of terpenes and other cannabinoids and do not produce the entourage effect. They are not recommended.

The secrets of cannabinoids are vast and they run deep. After many years of study, still very little is known about how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system as well as other complex organs and systems in our bodies such as the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the heart, liver, and kidneys, the epidermis, and others. 

But one thing is certain — CBD does have an effect on all of these complex systems which, themselves, are not fully understood. Determining the exact mechanisms which are producing CBD’s vast array of effects might take many more decades.

In the meantime, much research is underway, and many research study reports about CBD’s effects on the human body have already been published. 

A non-profit CBD information source known as Project CBD maintains a comprehensive list of conditions for which the potential therapeutic effects of CBD are being studied. 

Some of these conditions have been the subject of only a few studies, while others have been the topic of a larger number of studies. Some are done on animals and others are performed on cells in petri dishes and test tubes. There are also a handful of studies on CBD’s effects on human subjects. 

The preponderance of evidence presented as a result of these studies points to one conclusion: There is a vast list of human ailments which seems to respond to treatment with CBD. 

Although anyone in the U.S. can buy hemp CBD oil online, some states have looked at the research and determined that CBD oil can be a valuable tool in the treatment of a variety of conditions and have instituted laws allowing doctors to recommend it to their patients. So far, 30 US States, plus Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. have approved such measures. 

Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions. Some lists include broad and inclusive qualifying conditions, while others are strictly limited to a list of particularly severe conditions.

Many of the conditions on these lists are very different from one another, illustrating CBD’s wide range of potential therapeutic uses. 

Common qualifying conditions for CBD oil in the U.S.

This list shows that there is enough credible and compelling research into CBD’s therapeutic benefits that state lawmakers across the country are convinced enough to institute laws allowing its use, even in the face of potential DEA and DOJ legal action under federal cannabis prohibition laws. 

CBD Drug Interactions

Although very little research has been done in this area, there is a possibility that CBD can affect how the body metabolizes other prescription drugs. The effects could be either beneficial or unwanted depending on the drug. 

CBD oil may improve the efficacy of certain drugs, allowing users to reduce their dosage, thus also reducing potential negative side effects. On the other hand, these interactions might reduce the efficacy of certain medications. 

One class of drugs that might be affected by the use of CBD are blood thinners such as Warfarin. Using CBD oil along with warfarin might cause an increase in the time required to metabolize the drug.

A report by the Washing D.C. Department of Health entitled, “Medical Cannabis – Adverse Effects & Drug Interactions,” ends by pointing out that CBD inhibits compounds which are involved in the metabolism of certain drugs — CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 — in particular. This can result in extending the time required to metabolize certain drugs. They point out that about a quarter of all drugs are metabolized by CPY3A4. Again, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on the condition and the drug. 

A recent study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham entitled, “Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs,” published in Epilepsia found evidence that CBD can alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic medications. The report concludes that CBD can cause changes in blood levels of anti-epilepsy drugs including clobazam, topiramate, rufinamide, zonisamide and eslicarbazepine. However, none except for clobazam showed levels outside of the normally accepted range. 

More research is required to determine all the potential drug interactions involved in treatment with CBD.

Bioavailability of CBD

Not all methods of administering CBD are created equal. Their effectiveness depends not only on the method of consumption and the ingredients in the product, but also the bioavailability of the CBD afforded by each method. 

The bioavailability of any active compound is the percentage of a given dosage which ends up in the bloodstream and is thus available for your body to use. 

In the case of CBD oil, the active ingredients include both cannabinoids and terpenes. However, for the sake of discussion, we’ll talk only about the bioavailability of CBD itself. 

A bioavailability of 100 percent would signify that 100 percent of the CBD in the product is available to your body. The only way to achieve 100 percent bioavailability is through intravenous administration — meaning injected directly into the bloodstream. 

Every other method of consumption will result in some percentage of the CBD becoming unavailable to the body for reasons such as becoming trapped in fatty tissues or metabolized (broken down) before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream. 

Each method of CBD oil consumption has a particular range of bioavailability. We’ll discuss these factors next, however, I will also touch on them when discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Bioavailability of CBD Edibles and Capsules

CBD-infused edibles present the lowest bioavailability of any internal application (as opposed to external applications such as skin creams). 

The reason edibles have a low bioavailability is twofold. First, because CBD is soluble in oil but not water, it has a tendency to be absorbed into fatty tissues which are high in various oils. As edibles work their way through your digestive system, they encounter these fatty tissues and get trapped making that portion of CBD unavailable. 

Secondly, some percentage of orally administered CBD will be metabolized by your liver before it is able to reach your bloodstream. 

Researchers estimate that the bioavailability of CBD-infused edibles can range anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent. 

Bioavailability of CBD Tinctures

A tincture is a liquid — usually an oil or an alcohol base — which has been infused with CBD oil. Tinctures are used sublingually, meaning under the tongue. When delivered via this method, the CBD in the tincture can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the veins and capillaries in the tissues in your mouth. 

Although tinctures will generally have a higher bioavailability than CBD-infused edibles, the actual bioavailability can be difficult to determine. 

It is generally assumed that the bioavailability of CBD in tinctures is twice that of edibles — anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent. 

Bioavailability of Inhaled CBD 

Aside from intravenous injection, the delivery method with the highest bioavailability is inhalation. CBD can be vaporized or atomized and inhaled. The vapor is absorbed into your lungs in the same way that oxygen is. Furthermore, the effects of inhalation are almost immediate. This is because the CBD directly enters your bloodstream through the capillary-rich tissues in the lungs in the same way that oxygen does. 

The bioavailability of inhaled CBD is estimated to range between 25 percent and 60 percent. The actual number depends on the ingredients being vaporized, and other factors such as how much is inhaled in each puff, how deep it is drawn into the lungs, and how quickly it is exhaled. 

Onset time

There are several important factors that come into play when determining the onset time of various methods of administration of CBD oil. Some of these variables are related to CBD itself, and others are related to how the human body reacts to CBD.

Because of unique genetics, no two people react to CBD oil in the same way. Furthermore, factors such as age, health, weight, circulation, and metabolism can all affect the onset time of the effects of CBD oil.

A factor that can be influenced by all of the above is the number of cannabinoid receptors in the body, how they are expressed, and the ability of the body to produce endocannabinoids. An individual who expresses more receptors or produces fewer endocannabinoids may be more sensitive to CBD than someone with an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors. 

There are also numerous other factors involved such as the type of product being used, how it’s being used, and how much is being used. The onset of edibles will typically be longer than that of tinctures, for example.

As I mentioned, the onset time of inhaled CBD is virtually instantaneous. The onset time of edibles can range anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. And the onset time of tinctures can take up to 20 minutes. 

These figures are to be considered general guidelines and will vary from person to person, as I mentioned above.

CBD Oil Dosage Recommendations

As with bioavailability and onset time, the ideal dosage of CBD depends on a variety of factors including the product being used, the concentration of the CBD in the product, genetic makeup, sex, weight, and so on. 

Some CBD products list a “recommended serving size.” However, without taking into account all of the variables, the recommended serving size might be far too low or possibly even too high. In particular, the serving size will vary greatly depending on the condition for which the CBD is being consumed. 

A dosage which is appropriate for one product might be much different than that of a similar product. This is because various CBD oil products contain varying percentages of CBD. Whereas one product might contain 10% CBD, another might contain twice that concentration. 

The most important factor to be considered, however, is that both dosage and duration of treatment depend largely on the condition which the user is attempting to treat. One person might simply be using CBD as a dietary supplement to support health and wellness, while another might be using CBD to treat a particular ailment. 

Another factor to be considered is whether or not the product being used contains a full-spectrum CBD oil with terpenes. For example, a terpene known as myrcene is known to make the brain-blood barrier more permeable, effectively reducing the required dosage for treating brain conditions. 

Given all of the above-listed factors, determining your ideal dosage requires some thinking. Taking too little will not produce the desired effect and will be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, taking more than you need may not provide additional benefits. 

It will take some research and experimentation to determine an ideal dosage for a particular person.

Supplemental Dosages

The method for determining a supplemental CBD dosage for health maintenance is different from that of determining a dosage that will effectively treat a particular ailment. 

Here are some general guidelines for determining a supplemental dosage of CBD oil:

Stick With One Product

It’s a good idea to put some thought into which product you’re going to use and stick with that product for a while. This allows you to gauge the effects of that particular product. If you vacillate back and forth between different products, determining a dosage will be much harder.

Start With a Low Dosage

When you first begin using CBD oil, it’s a good idea to start with a low dosage. This gives you a chance to determine your body’s reaction to supplementation with CBD. Most experts recommend starting with 1 mg of CBD for every 20 pounds of weight. Using this rule, someone weighing 100 pounds should start with 5 milligrams, while someone weighing over 200 pounds can start with 10 milligrams, and so on. 

Start Before Bedtime

When first using CBD oil, it’s best to start at night — about an hour before bedtime. That way, if CBD has a tendency to make you drowsy you’re not dragging during the daytime. It’s uncommon for a low dosage of CBD to cause drowsiness, but it’s good to be sure. If you have no issues take another dose in the morning. If CBD oil does make you sleepy, take it at night. And if it keeps you awake at night, take it during the daytime. Oftentimes CBD oil helps with both nighttime sleep and daytime focus in which case it can be taken multiple times throughout the day.

Increase Your Dosage Slowly

If all goes well but you have not achieved your desired results you can try doubling your dosage. Each time you increase your dosage take a few days to make note of your condition including factors such as energy, sleep, mood, pain levels, and so on. 

If a rise in dosage produces unwanted effects such as making you drowsy, back off to a lower dosage. For health maintenance, experts recommend a maximum dosage somewhere between 10 and 100 milligrams per day depending on your size, the bioavailability of the product and so on. 

Treating Medical Conditions

If you are trying to treat a particular ailment with CBD oil, skip all the above advice and talk to a medical professional who is knowledgeable in the use of CBD as a therapeutic agent for your condition. Your condition may require larger doses of CBD than you would typically take for health maintenance. 

Also try to reach out to people who are successfully using CBD to treat the condition. There are websites dedicated to every ailment you can think of. 

Can you take too much CBD oil?

CBD is completely non-toxic. Research into CBD’s effects on the human body has shown that CBD is well-tolerated in humans. You would have to consume quite a bit of CBD oil before it results in any truly adverse health effects. There is no known record of anyone ever being poisoned by, or overdosing on CBD.

However, taking more CBD than needed might cause some unwanted effects such as making you too relaxed for particular activities such as work or sports.

Once you have arrived at a particular dosage based on the product you are using, it’s a good idea to stick with that product. 

CBD Oil Delivery Methods

Let’s now take a look at some of the CBD oil delivery methods that are available and the pros and cons of each, in order to help you to determine which product, or products, are right for you.

Some of the factors that should be considered when determining which product is ideal for you are your lifestyle, the reasons you’re using CBD oil such as for cannabinoid supplementation or to treat a particular condition, the onset time of the delivery method, and the bioavailability of the method.

Lifestyle Considerations

In regards to lifestyle, some products are more convenient than others, some products travel better than others, and some products are simply more enjoyable to use than others. Edibles and capsules are preferred for traveling. There’s nothing to drop and break or spill. On the other hand, if you’re on a road trip and you have to leave them in a hot car, gummy candies and capsules might not fare well and will probably melt into one big blob. Hard candies, or baked goods, on the other hand, will withstand the heat much better. 

Conditional Considerations

Certain delivery methods are better for certain conditions. For example, if you’re trying to treat a skin condition, you can treat it directly by using a topical product. If you’re treating a digestive condition, edibles are a better choice, and if you’re treating a condition such as asthma, an inhaled product might be a good choice.

Again, consult with a qualified medical professional to discuss the methods of administration which would be best for you

Onset Time Considerations

As mentioned, various methods of administration require different amounts of time to take effect. For example, edibles can take upwards of the hour or more to take effect, whereas inhalation methods are virtually instantaneous. 

If you’re using CBD oil as a dietary supplement, onset time is not really a factor. On the other hand, if you’re using CBD oil to treat a condition with a sudden onset such as PTSD or panic attacks, you’ll definitely want to use a product with a faster onset time. 

Bioavailability Considerations

Bioavailability, as I pointed out earlier, is the amount of CBD that actually makes its way into your bloodstream. This is really only a factor if your onset time and the reason for using CBD oil are not considerations. For example, if you’re trying to treat a stomach ailment, you’re going to want to use an edible product regardless of its low bioavailability. Topicals are better for skin issues regardless of bioavailability. 

If these things are not considerations, however, the main consideration here is value. CBD is not inexpensive like products such as vitamins and minerals. You definitely want to try to maximize the value you get for your money. If a product has only 10% bioavailability, you’re essentially paying five times more for your CBD than if you used a product which has a 50% bioavailability. 

Dosage Considerations

Another consideration is how accurate you would like to be with your dosage. It’s easy to gauge dosage when you’re taking capsules, for example, but much harder to gauge dosage when vaping since it depends on factors such as how much you inhale and how deeply you inhale it.

With that knowledge, let’s take a closer look at the best uses, pros, and cons of individual delivery methods. 

Depending on the formulation of a product it may contain other active and beneficial ingredients as well such as hemp seed oil which contains omega fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.

CBD Oils and Tinctures

Earlier, I discussed the fact that there are a variety of products which makers refer to as CBD oil. These can include everything from raw hemp extract, to more refined products, to pure CBD-infused oil. There are also a number of types of oil which are used as a base for CBD oil. Some CBD oil products also contain added ingredients such as added additional terpenes, essential oils, vitamins, and so on.

Oral vs. Sublingual Administration

What I have not discussed is that there are also two types of CBD oil tinctures. The first, which I have described, are oil-based tinctures. However, there are also alcohol-based tinctures. Whereas oil-based products can be used both orally and sublingually (under the tongue), alcohol-based tinctures are generally only used sublingually.

Alcohol tinctures have a faster onset time and a higher bioavailability than oil-based tinctures. This is because blood is water-based, and oil and water do not mix well. This doesn’t mean alcohol is necessarily a better choice. In fact, alcohol tinctures are generally not full-spectrum products and do not provide the added benefits you’ll get from the additional cannabinoids and the terpenes found in full-spectrum products. 

To use a tincture, simply place the recommended amount of drops under your tongue where it will be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. 

Oil-based tinctures can also be used orally. A good example of why you might want to use an oil tincture orally is to treat conditions related to inflammation of the throat and esophagus. 

Tinctures generally come in a dropper bottle for obvious reasons, however, CBD oils can also just come in a plain bottle and administered with a spoon in the same way that cough syrup would be taken. 

Pros and Cons of Oils and Tinctures

Tinctures are generally used at home in the morning and the evening, and can also be used at work if your situation allows it. As mentioned they can have a relatively quick onset time and higher bioavailability than edibles, and so are a better choice when treating conditions such as anxiety

The downside of tinctures and oils is that they don’t travel well. They can be messy if you’re trying to use them on the go. They also generally come in a breakable bottle with a breakable dropper. If you’re looking for a product to take hiking, for example, tinctures are probably not your best choice. 

CBD Oil Capsules

CBD oil capsules are generally delivered orally. There are cases where you might want to puncture a capsule for use on the skin, but for the most part, this is an orally administered product. 

Capsules are made with gelatin which melts with minutes in your stomach delivering the entire dosage of CBD oil to the stomach. This means that none of it will get absorbed into the tissues in your mouth or throat. And, depending on whether or not you take them with food, very little is likely to make its way through the rest of your digestive system. 

Capsule Types

There are two types of capsules which are commonly used for CBD oil. The first is your standard capsule which has a plastic-like look and feel. The second is a softgel capsule which has a more rubber consistency like gelatin. There’s really no upside or downside to either of these types of capsules.


Nanoemulsion technology encapsulates the active compounds in nano-sized emulsions. The average size of nanoemulsion CBD oil droplets is between 4 and 200 times smaller than the industry standard. This smaller size leads to much higher absorption in the blood and, therefore, results in extremely high bioavailability. Because of this, less nanoemulsion CBD oil is needed to produce the same results as regular CBD oil.

Pros and Cons of Capsules

As I mentioned, capsules, because they dissolve quickly, will deliver a dosage of CBD directly into your stomach. If you’re treating conditions such as nausea or ulcers of the stomach, this is a perfect delivery method. 

Capsules are also very convenient and easy to use with no mess, and they also allow for exact dosing. If a capsule contains 25 milligrams of CBD, assuming you’re using a reputable manufacturer with good production methods, you know you’re getting a dosage of 25 milligrams of CBD. 

The downsides or capsules are they have a longer onset time. Also, as mentioned, when taken on an empty stomach, very little of the CBD will make its way into your intestines as most of it will be directly absorbed into the lining of your stomach. 

A product which does not melt so quickly or digest so easily would be better suited for treating issues related to the intestines. Otherwise, capsules can be taken with food for the same effect. 

CBD-Infused Edibles and Beverages

Most kinds of edible food and beverage products can be infused with CBD oil. This includes candies, baked goods, soups, sauces, and so on, as well as just about any kind of beverage. 

However, there is a big caveat here. Many of these products are infused with purified CBD rather than a full-spectrum CBD oil. There are a couple reasons for this. 

Firstly, CBD oil has a strong flavor which changes the taste of just about any food or beverage to which it is added. Pure CBD, on the other hand, is flavorless and tasteless. So if a maker wants to add CBD to a product without changing its flavor they’ll infuse it with pure CBD rather than a full-spectrum oil. 

Candies vs Baked Goods

Just about any kind of edible product can be made with either full-spectrum CBD oil or pure CBD. The two most common type of edibles are candies such as gummy bears, hard candy, and chocolate. CBD-infused baked goods such as brownies, cookies, and so forth are also common. 

The onset time and bioavailability of these CBD-infused edibles depends on a wide range of factors including the type of product, the particular recipe, the potency, whether or not it is eaten on empty stomach, and so forth, as well as how your digestive system functions. 

To reiterate what I discussed above, when taken on an empty stomach, CBD-infused candies will melt within minutes, delivering the entire dosage of CBD to the stomach. When taken with other food some of the CBD can work its way down further through your system. 

Other products such as CBD-infused baked goods, which contain complex carbs and fiber, take longer to digest, and may carry more CBD into the intestines than CBD-infused candies. 

Pros and Cons of Edibles 

Edibles are highly portable. They’re great for packing for lunch or a trip or for hiking, sports, and so on. They also have the added benefit of being enjoyable to consume.

If you’re using CBD to treat stomach issues, CBD candies are a great choice. And if you’re trying to treat a condition of the intestines, something with some complex carbs and fiber is a better choice. 

The downsides of edibles are their lower bioavailability and slower onset time. Although the bioavailability is lower than some other delivery methods, the amount delivered directly to the stomach might be higher than with a method that has to circulate through your entire body to get there. 

Edibles are not a good choice if you want fast results. However, if you prefer edibles and want the fastest acting edibles, candies are your best bet since they dissolve quickly. 

CBD-Infused Beverages

As with CBD-infused edibles, it is possible to make beverages with both pure CBD and a water-soluble preparation of CBD oil. There’s no special method to using these products. Drink up. 

If they are made by a reputable manufacturer, you have to assume they contain the amount of CBD claimed on the label. If a beverage contains 10 milligrams of CBD and your plan is to take 20 milligrams per day, then drink two a day. It’s that simple.

Just keep in mind that, as with edibles, a CBD-infused beverage with a full-spectrum oil will contain cannabinoids and beneficial terpenes and provide the added benefits of the entourage effect. 

Pros and Cons of Beverages

CBD-infused beverages can be an enjoyable way of getting your CBD. They have a faster onset time than CBD-infused baked goods. 

On the downside, although they are convenient for home or office use, they’re a little heavier and bulkier than edibles and capsules and therefore aren’t as ideal for travelling and outdoor activities.

CBD-Infused Topicals

 CBD-infused topicals include skin creams, balms, salves, and oils. Once again, these products can be infused with pure CBD, or they can contain a full-spectrum CBD oil. The same rule applies, the products with the full-spectrum oils will contain other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. 

There are a number of reasons that people use topical preparations. These include skin care products such as moisturizers, products meant to treat skin conditions, balms used for muscle tension and pain relief, and salves which are formulated to reduce itching or burns. 

Topicals often have a variety of additional beneficial ingredients meant to contribute to the overall therapeutic effects. For example, skin creams may contain moisturizers, vitamin E, collagen, and so on. Pain creams may contain ingredients meant to help the product penetrate deeper into tissues and aid in pain relief such as menthol. Salves may contain other soothing and healing ingredients such as aloe. 

Topical products can also be very simple as well. In fact, CBD oil with no other ingredients can be used directly on the skin. CBD-rich oils are great for moisturizing. They provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect skin from damage, they can act as an antibiotic, and they might improve circulation to a particular area. CBD oils often contain vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and so on which are produced naturally along with the oil.

Pros and Cons of Topicals

Topical are great for treating a particular area of skin or underlying muscles and joints. They deliver the CBD and other beneficial ingredients directly where they can do the most good. 

However, they take some time to apply and can be a little messy. This may not be a concern for you if you use these kinds of products regularly. 

Another thing to consider is that, when taken internally either orally, sublingually, or inhaled, CBD will make its way to all areas of your body including your skin. So if overall skin health is your goal, you may just opt for one of those other applications rather than having to apply a topical all over your skin. 

Which brings up a side note. When receiving a massage, generally, an oil is used on the entire body. This is a great opportunity to give your skin some extra love by adding some full-spectrum CBD oil to your massage oil.

Inhalation Methods

Aside from being a preferred delivery method for treating inflammation of the lungs from conditions such as asthma, inhalation also has the fastest onset and highest bioavailability of any other method aside from intravenous injection. 

There are two devices use to prepare CBD for inhalation — vaporizers and nebulizers. Vaporizers essentially heat a CBD oil preparation to a temperature where it evaporates into a gas. These are very popular and easy to find. Nebulizers simply convert a solution containing CBD into a mist or cloud and are less common at this time. 

Pros and Cons of Inhalation

The faster onset time and higher bioavailability are obvious benefits of inhalation methods. This is especially true for treating conditions for which symptoms can appear suddenly such as PTSD, panic attacks, and asthma

Nebulizers provide the added benefit of providing a measured dose, whereas delivering an exact dosage of CBD using a vaporizer is trickier. This is because most vaporizers — or vape pens, as they are commonly referred to — are not designed to vaporize an exact amount of solution. A lot depends on how big a puff a user takes and how deeply it is inhaled.

Another potential downside of vaporizers is that some ingredients are believed to be harmful when vaporized. For example, many vape oil solutions contain a petroleum-based chemical known as polyethylene glycol (PEG) — the same stuff that’s used as a coolant and antifreeze in car radiators. Although this product has been approved by the FDA for use in foods, some studies have suggested that vaporized PEG can be harmful to the lungs.

Transdermal CBD Patches

The term transdermal simply means “through the skin.” A transdermal patch is a device which contains a CBD-infused preparation. The patch adheres to the skin allowing the CBD to be absorbed into the bloodstream. A good example of transdermal delivery systems are the nicotine patches used by people to help them quit smoking cigarettes, and hormone supplement patches which are used to increase particular hormone levels. 

The bioavailability and onset time of CBD patches can vary greatly depending on the carriers used to help penetrate the skin as well as the concentration of CBD in the product and the location on the body to which the patch is adhered. 

However, the idea of a patch is not to provide fast relief. Rather, CBD patches are designed to provide a constant supply of CBD over an extended period of time. 

Pros and Cons of Transdermal Patches

The main reason for using a CBD patch is to deliver an ongoing supply of CBD. Neither oral, inhaled, nor topical preparations offer this benefit. All of these methods provide the entire dose at once. The CBD is then delivered and metabolizes over time until none is left in the bloodstream, or another dose is consumed. This creates rises and falls in CBD levels. 

A patch, on the other hand, will provide a steadier supply of CBD over time. When the preparation within the patch begins to run out, another patch can be applied, providing a constant supply of CBD to the bloodstream. 

An upside of using patches is that they are simple and clean to use, they’re discreet, and they don’t require any particular equipment such as a vape pen or nebulizer. 

A glaring downside to transdermal patches is that they cannot provide a full-spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. They can only be made with isolated cannabinoids. So, if you’re looking for the full-spectrum entourage effect, then patches are not a viable choice.

How To Buy Potent, High-Quality CBD

The CBD market is currently expanding at breakneck pace. Unfortunately, along with the good companies, bad ones trying to capitalize on the trend. Many of them will do anything to cut corners and increase profit margins. Some companies will use inferior and unsafe product. And some are completely dishonest, selling so-called CBD oil products that have negligible amounts of CBD in them, or even none whatsoever. Or, even worse, they could contain dangerous synthetic CBD. 

CBD oil is not a product on which you should skimp on quality. You need a trusted manufacturer that makes CBD oil products that are rich in natural CBD and terpenes. 

Also, a recent survey of CBD products found that a full 40% of CBD products on the market do not contain the amount of CBD listed on the label. 

With all these CBD oil producers flooding the market with new products, it becomes difficult to know who to trust and where to find the highest quality CBD oil. 

Identifying a Good Company

There are a few factors that need to be considered when searching for a company that makes high-quality CBD oil products. These include the source and variety of hemp, the method of extraction used to produce the raw hemp extract, whether or not the company uses Nano emulsion technology, and the quality of the other ingredients in the products they offer such as other essential oils. 

The good news is that a reputable company will gladly provide this information. If it’s not touted on their website, you can use their contact form to inquire about their hemp source, extraction method, and the source of other ingredients. If a company will not provide you with this information, simply rule them out. There are plenty of respectable, high-quality CBD oil makers out there.

Preferred Hemp Sources

Hemp is farmed all over the world. The US is only recently starting to rebuild its hemp industry after a century of prohibition. However, the U.S. produces some of the finest quality cannabis and hemp products in the world. 

It’s important to understand that not all hemp is created equal. Industrial hemp is primarily grown for its seeds and fibers and is not bred to produce high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. PCR hemp, on the other hand, was specifically cultivated to be rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. 

In order for a CBD product which is made from industrial hemp to contain the same concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes as CBD oil made from PCR hemp, industrial hemp CBD must be further refined removing or destroying many of the naturally occurring beneficial compounds. 

If a manufacturer specifies that their CBD was extracted from industrial hemp, it’s safe to assume that the product is either lower in CBD and terpenes than a product made with PCR hemp, or has been further processed and has lost some of its natural essence. Finding a company whose products are made with PCR hemp (such as those produced by Joy Organics) is highly desirable. 

The lowest quality CBD oil products are usually produced in Asian countries such as China where quality standards are far lower. CBD oil products produced in China are often made from strains of industrial hemp which are not rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. And they are often extracted using cheaper methods which are harsh and can actually destroy cannabinoids and terpenes. They may contain toxic pesticides which are illegal in the U.S., or may be contaminated with molds and other biological toxins. 

Preferred Extraction Methods

A variety of methods are used to extract the essential oils from hemp. As can be expected, some are better than others. Some are less expensive and produce a lower quality product, and some are more costly but produce a higher quality product. 

Methods which use chemical solvents such as ethanol or butane are cheaper, but can destroy cannabinoids and terpenes. Residual solvents may also be found in the end product. 

While CBD by itself offers health benefits, research demonstrates that a full-spectrum CBD product which contains other naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes increases the health benefits of the product. This is called the Entourage Effect

Another process is used to separate the plant solids from the oil. The oil is then ‘distilled’ to remove the food-grade ethanol. What remains is a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD oil. 

Quality of Other Ingredients

Although raw and refined pure hemp extract is available, the vast majority of CBD oil products contain additional ingredients such as vegetable oils, or other essential oils. 

All the rules mentioned above apply here. Products produced in the U.S. are preferred. Products produced in Western Europe may also be of high quality. And products made elsewhere are quite often of lower quality. 

Which ingredients are used can also be telling when determining if a company is trying to cut corners. Oils such as hemp seed oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and others are generally healthy and of high quality. If a product contains ingredients you can’t pronounce or sound like chemicals, then the manufacturer is probably trying to cut corners. 

For example, a product known as polyethylene glycol is often used in CBD vape oils. This is the same stuff found in your car’s radiator. Although it has been approved for consumption by the FDA, there is evidence that it may irritate the lungs. 

One exception to the can’t-pronounce-chemical rule is an oil known as MCT oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCT oil is a natural product made from coconut oil. Coconut oil contains both medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Triglycerides, although this sounds like a type of chemical, are simply the main constituent of human body fat. Without going into a biology lesson, let it suffice to say that MCT’s are easier for the body to process than raw coconut oil.

There are other exceptions to the rule. When in doubt just do an internet search on the ingredients in question and you’ll usually be able to determine fairly quickly whether or not a particular ingredient is safe and healthy.

Quality Testing

Another factor to consider is third-party lab testing. Most serious manufactures will send their products out to testing labs to determine whether or not they contain any contaminants and also to measure the levels of cannabinoids in the product. 

Because different strains and crops produce different levels of CBD, CBD oil can vary in potency from one batch to another. Any good manufacturers will want to know exactly how much CBD is in their products. 

Another thing that’s extremely important to know is that the product contains zero THC or have THC levels that are so negligible, there might as well be none. Because THC is highly regulated, selling hemp-derived CBD oil which contains THC can mean the end of the line for a CBD company. 

Many top manufacturers will provide the lab reports for the exact batch of products being sold. If one of the makers you are considering does offer this information, give them extra points.

CBD Oil Health Claims

 This is worth touching on. Many companies will put CBD products on the market and make health claims about their product. Because health claims are not allowed by the FDA until a product is thoroughly tested and approved, these claims are a sure sign of a company that does not know what it’s doing. Avoid them.

Finding a Trusted Manufacturer

Another way to narrow down your list of CBD oil makers is simply to do some internet research on CBD companies themselves. You’ll notice that some brand names will consistently be portrayed in a good light, while others might have an overabundance of bad reviews. 

There are some smaller, more obscure companies which produce very high-quality CBD but may not have much in the way of reviews. Don’t necessarily rule them out. Use the methods above to determine if they will make the cut.

As I mentioned above, products produced in areas of the world other than the U.S. or Western Europe are usually of lower quality. There are plenty of great U.S. CBD oil producers to choose from, so it’s best to stick with U.S.-made products.

A Word On the Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids

You may have heard on the news about some people in Utah becoming seriously as a result of using CBD products which contained synthetic CBD — that is CBD produced in a lab instead of in a hemp plant. I can’t stress enough how dangerous these products are. Stay away from them at all costs. If you use the methods above to find a quality CBD oil maker, you should be fine. 

Set Goals

It’s important to have some goals before you begin using CBD oil. For example, you may not be getting enough sleep, or you may be experiencing pain from athletics. Determine what effects you’re hoping to get from CBD oil so that you can make a decision as to whether or not it’s working for you. 

Determine Your Dosage

If you’re taking CBD oil for health maintenance you should be taking lower doses of CBD. Anything over 50 milligrams a day may be more than you need. You may only need 25 milligrams or less per day. 

If you’re trying to treat a particular ailment, on the other hand, you might need higher doses of CBD. Or you may be taking medications with which CBD will interact. And there may be other considerations. You really need to discuss your decision with a qualified medical professional who is well-versed in the use of CBD as a therapy for your particular condition in order to determine your ideal dosage.

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