CBD Oil Basics: Everything You Need to Know Before Getting Started

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Fed & Fit

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    Today we're answering all of your most frequently asked questions about CBD oil, from how it works to who should (and shouldn't) take it!

    a person's hand holding a clear dropper bottle of CBD oil

    In the past few years, CBD oil has exploded in popularity, and chances are you've heard about it a time or two as a possible solution for pain, sleep, and anxiety. But, you may have found yourself wondering what exactly it is, whether it really works, and if it is a safe option for you. Today we're answering all your questions to help you get started with CBD!

    What is CBD?

    CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found within the Cannabis Sativa plant, which is also known as hemp or marijuana. The Cannabis Sativa plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, though the ones we focus on most frequently are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD. Unlike THC, which is the major active part of marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive (meaning, you won't feel any sort of “high” from it), but still delivers many of the health benefits observed from medical cannabis without the side effects.

    Is it legal? 

    Yes, CBD is legal! The Federal Farm Bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014) legalized the production and sale of hemp bred with 0.3% percent or less THC. So, if you live in a state where marijuana is not legal, the CBD you buy will be from industrial hemp plants, not from marijuana plants.

    How does CBD work?

    CBD has been shown to be useful for sleep, anxiety, and pain, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. How exactly does it work though? The answer is in our body's endocannabinoid system.

    The Endocannabinoid System

    The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system of receptors in our bodies that was discovered in the 90s and is still being researched today. This system helps the body maintain balance through homeostasis and plays a role in regulating the central nervous system, immune system, inflammation, and more(1). Two main types of cannabinoid receptors have been discovered in the ECS. The first is CB1 receptors, which are found mainly in the central nervous system, and the second is CB2 receptors, which are largely found in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells.

    Our bodies naturally create neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that interact with these receptors and bind to them to control different functions, such as pain and inflammation, but as we age and experience daily stress, the body begins to make fewer endocannabinoids and the system functions less efficiently.

    How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?

    As mentioned before, both CBD and THC are cannabinoids. THC has the ability to attach directly to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, but CBD works a bit differently. Instead of attaching directly to the receptors to influence their activity, CBD actually modifies the receptors' ability to attach to cannabinoids, influences other types of receptors, and enhances your body's natural levels of endocannabinoids by inhibiting the production of molecules that break them down(2). This difference in the mechanisms of action is why CBD doesn't have the same psychoactive effects as THC, and why they affect the body so differently.

    How Does CBD Work Outside the Endocannabinoid System?

    In addition to interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD has also been shown to influence other (non-cannabinoid) receptors in our brains, including serotonin receptors(3), which can influence mood, digestion, and many other functions, pain receptors, which play a role in how the body experiences pain(4), and nuclear receptors, which play a role in gene expression and can influence disease activity(5). CBD has also been shown to act on opioid and dopamine receptors, which regulate many aspects of behavior and cognition.

    3 bottles of CBD drops lined up in a triangle on a marble surface

    What Are the Benefits of CBD?

    While we've touched on this a bit already, there is a huge range of potential benefits for CBD. Here are a few:

    • Reduced Anxiety (6)
    • Improved Sleep (7)
    • Reduced Pain (8)
    • Reduced Inflammation (9)

    Additionally, CBD is currently undergoing clinical trials to determine its efficacy for treating many diseases and symptoms, so there will likely be more benefits found in the coming years!

    Who should take CBD Oil?

    Most of us experience stress in our everyday lives, and CBD is a great tool to help you better adapt to stress. It can also be beneficial to those with anxiety, insomnia or restlessness, chronic pain, inflammatory conditions, and can even help with menstrual cramps and acne(10) when applied topically.

    Before starting any new routine or supplement though, we always recommend checking with your doctor first!

    CBD Oil Side Effects + How it Makes You Feel

    Now that we've covered how CBD works, let's talk about side effects and how you'll actually feel when you take it!

    Does CBD oil get you high? 

    No, CBD oil will not get you high. While most CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, it isn't enough to actually cause any psychoactive effects! The effects of CBD are very subtle, and will usually make you feel a bit more peaceful and relaxed, but not high. One way to think of it is the warm feeling you get after a few sips of wine.

    Does CBD oil have any side effects?

    CBD is well-tolerated by most, and side effects can often be mitigated by changing the dose or timing, but some people do experience side effects. Here are the most common ones which were found when taking CBD at higher doses(10):

    • Fatigue
    • Diarrhea
    • Change in Appetite
    • Dry Mouth

    Is it addictive?

    No, CBD is not addictive! Since CBD doesn't produce a high and actually enhances our body's ability to produce its own endocannabinoids, it is not habit-forming.

    Will CBD show up on a drug test?

    Drug tests screen for THC, not CBD, and due to the low amount of THC present in CBD oil, it is unlikely that it would show up on a drug test. But, it is not impossible. If you're concerned about testing positive for THC on a drug test, we'd recommend exploring CBD options with no THC in them.

    How do you know if CBD is really helping you?

    The effects of CBD are often subtle, and you'll notice more success with consistent daily use over time. You may notice that you are falling asleep easier and sleeping better through the night, are able to more easily handle stress, or have reduced anxiety and less pain. If you aren't seeing any results right away, don't be discouraged! Changing your dose and sticking to a daily regimen over the long term can make a huge difference.

    3 bottles of CBD in a box with gold confetti

    CBD Safety

    Can you use CBD while pregnant and nursing?

    This was one of our most frequently asked questions, and unfortunately, there's no easy answer here! Pregnant and breastfeeding women are usually the last group to be studied because we don't want to put them at risk, and in the case of CBD there haven't been any studies done on pregnant and nursing women to determine if there are any side effects. So, whether or not you decide to use CBD is really a personal choice, and we recommend making the decision with your doctor!

    Does CBD interact with any medications?

    Yes, CBD can interfere with certain medications, which is why we always recommend working with your doctor before taking CBD or any other supplement! You can find more information on CBD and drug interactions HERE.

    What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil

    With the explosion of the CBD industry in the past few years, CBD is everywhere. You may have even seen it at your local grocery store or even gas station, but you should be aware that the FDA is still in the process of working out its regulations for CBD – which means not all CBD that you see is created equally. Below we'll discuss what to look for when buying CBD!

    Look for Full Spectrum CBD

    CBD has many great benefits, but it is just one of 140 cannabinoids present in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Full-spectrum CBD products include all of these cannabinoids, including THC in small amounts. This is important because CBD works better when surrounded by other cannabinoids, which makes full-spectrum products better problem-solvers than THC alone!

    A CBD isolate is CBD oil that contains only CBD and not any of the other cannabinoids. When choosing a CBD product, we recommend looking for one labeled full-spectrum or broad-spectrum that also contains a low amount of THC.

    Look for Third-Party Lab Results

    Since CBD isn't well-regulated by the FDA, many brands don't have as much CBD as they claim. Look on the manufacturer's site or email them to ask if they have third-party lab results to validate their claims. If they can't provide this information, we recommend trying out a different company!

    Find Out Where the Hemp is Grown

    When looking at CBD, it's also important to know where the hemp is sourced from. Preferably, you want to look for a company that sources its hemp from the same farm to ensure its quality, plus you want to check that the hemp is organically grown, non-GMO, and pesticide, herbicide, solvent, and heavy metal-free. Finally, CBD should be extracted from cannabis flowers only, not stalks or stems. If the company doesn't readily display this information on their website, or can't provide you with it, we recommend looking for a different brand!

    3 bottles of cbd oil lined up in a row on a marble surface

    Our Favorite CBD Brand – Equilibria CBD Oil

    To be fully honest with you, I'd tried a few CBD brands in the past and had completely written off CBD because I hadn't seen any positive benefits. I decided CBD was just expensive and over-hyped – not for me! We've turned down many CBD partnerships in the past, and when Equilibria approached us 8 months ago, I was skeptical.

    But, I was impressed by their science-backed products and unique approach, and as someone who deals with chronic pain, multiple autoimmune diseases, and occasional anxiety, I felt I had nothing to lose by giving the products a shot. After a few weeks, I noticed that I was sleeping better, feeling less stressed, and experiencing less pain. All these months later, I'm still using Equilibria on a daily basis – and purchasing the products with my own money. I truly love them! After diving into the research and learning more about CBD, it's easy to see why other brands of CBD oil didn't work for me in the past, and why you can't trust just any CBD product on the market. Here's what sets Equilibria apart, in my opinion:

    #1: Full-Spectrum Products

    As mentioned above, full-spectrum CBD products are much more effective than CBD alone thanks to the entourage effect! Equilibria's products have 9 cannabinoids & 21 terpenes that work together to give you powerful therapeutic results. They're also specially formulated with women in mind!

    #2: Verified by Third-Party Labs

    Equilibria's products are also verified by a third-party lab, you can see all of the results HERE. Their hemp is exclusively grown on an 1100-acre farm in Colorado and is organic, free of solvents, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and herbicides, so you can feel good about taking it.

    #3: Custom Consultations with a Dosage Specialist

    As mentioned earlier, I buy Equilibria with my own money, which has allowed me to personally experience their awesome customer service! When you order from Equilibria, you'll receive an invitation both in your first box and via email a few days later to schedule an appointment with their Dosage Support Team. You'll start out with the recommended dose, then the Equilibria team will work with you to tweak your routine and help you find your ideal minimum CBD dosage, as well as the best timing and products for you. This varies for everyone, so it's incredibly helpful to have some guidance along the way!

    #4: Wide Range of Products

    Another thing I love about Equilibria is that they have a wide range of products to support you. Here's a full run-down of the products:

    • Daily Drops – These oil-based drops are meant to be held under the tongue, where they are absorbed sublingually straight into your bloodstream. This allows you to start feeling the effects within minutes, and they stay in your system for about 3-8 hours. These are ideal to take before bed, and you can supplement with half a dropper anytime you start to feel stressed!
    • Daily CBD Softgels – These softgels are also oil-based, but since they are swallowed and absorbed through your digestive system, they take a bit longer to kick in and also stay in your system for longer – about 5-12 hours. These are a good option to take in the morning, so you can get the benefits of CBD all day long.
    • CBD Relief Cream – This cream is great for aches, pains, and period cramps and can be rubbed onto the affected area periodically throughout the day to relieve pain and inflammation. The cream absorbs in minutes and can last for hours!
    • CBD Rollers – We LOVE these CBD rollers! They're a great product if you're just starting out with CBD. In this duo, you get an energizing roller for daytime and a calming roller that's great before bed or if you're feeling stressed. They are formulated with 75 mg CBD plus essential oils like peppermint and lavender to relieve pressure points, regulate mood, and ease topical discomfort.
    • Bath Products – Equilibria's Balance Bath Bombs and Mindful Mineral Soak are also perfect if you just want to dip your toe into the world of CBD, or if you want to have a luxurious spa day at-home. Both contain full-spectrum CBD and essential oils to help with relaxation.

    How to Get Started with CBD Oil + A Discount!

    If you're not sure which product to start with, we recommend trying the Brilliance Box, which contains the Daily Drops, Softgels, and CBD Relief Cream so you can decide which products work best for you. Right now, you can save 15% off your first purchase with the code FEDANDFIT, and you can save an additional 20% by signing up for a monthly or bi-monthly subscription!

    I hope this article helped clear up some of the confusion around using CBD, if you have more questions, drop them into a comment below!

    Sources

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    3. De Gregorio, D., McLaughlin, R., Posa, L., Ochoa-Sanchez, R., Enns, J., Lopez-Canul, M., Gobbi, G. (2019, January). Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/
    4. Manzanares, J., Julian, M., & Carrascosa, A. (2006, July). Role of the cannabinoid system in pain control and therapeutic implications for the management of acute and chronic pain episodes. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430692/
    5. Granja, A., Carrillo-Salinas, F., Pagani, A., Muñoz, E., Russo, E., Laprairie, R., Cox, M. (2019, March 21). Fig. 1 Cannabinoids bind to PPAR γ ( a ). Relative PPAR γ affinity of… Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Cannabinoids-bind-to-PPAR-g-a-Relative-PPAR-g-affinity-of-the-phytocannabinoids_fig1_230841397
    6. Alexandre de Souza Crippa 1, J., Zuardi, A. W., Garrido, G. E., Winchert-Ana, L., Guarnieri, R., Ferrari, L., Busatto, G. F. (2004, February 29). Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14583744/
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