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BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO CBD

While CBD has been growing in popularity in recent years, the information available concerning the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of CBD can be overwhelming for anyone who is yet to understand the concept.

If you’re interested in trying CBD products for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions starting with: What is CBD? Which product is best for me? or How much to take? In this Beginner’s Guide to CBD, we break down many of the common questions about CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a medicinal compound found in the cannabis plant, a molecule produced uniquely by the resinous flowers of cannabis. CBD is a safe, non-addictive, non-psychoactive substance.

Besides CBD, more than one hundread other cannabinoids,  and other natural plant components, like terpenes, have been discovered in cannabis plants and have shown remarkable therapeutic benefits and tremendous potential in medical applications. When consumed together, these compounds have been shown to work synergistically and increase the healing properties of one another.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) refers to a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules that regulates processes such as sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and fertility. The ECS performs multiple tasks, but the goal is always to maintain a stable environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. It is the system that creates homeostasis or balance within the body.

This was discovered in 1992 by researchers trying to discover how cannabis interacts with mammals. The scientists came across an unknown molecular signaling system within the body that is involved in regulating a broad range of biological functions.

The discovery of these receptors, resulted in the uncovering of naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the human body called endocannabinoids. It was later discovered that the ECS is present in all vertebrates—mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians, fish, etc, – they all produce endocannabinoids!

Know Your Cannabinoids

Among the 500 or so natural components in cannabis, more than 100 are classified as phytocannabinoids. Each of these phytocannabinoids can provide multiple benefits to improving the health of the human body.

There are two different types of cannabiniods: endocannabinoids (what our body produces naturally) and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids we can intake from cannabis and other plants). The most talked about cannabinoid right now is CBD, but other common or researched cannabinoids include the following:

Endocannabinoids (produced naturally within our bodies)

  • Anandamide
  • Impacts a host of physiological mechanisms, including appetite stimulation, mood fluctuation, pain management, and even fertility.
  • 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol)
  • Is involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions, and pain management.

Phytocannabinoids (from cannabis and other plants)

CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
CBG (Cannabigerol)
CBC (Cannabichromenes)
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)

CBD, along with other plant derived cannabinoids, can act as a supplement to our naturally occurring endocannabinoids, helping keep our body running in optimal balance by maintaining internal stability and health.

How does CBD affect your body?

When cannabinoids from plants (phytocannabinoids) enter the body, they interact with our ECS receptors in the same way our internal endocannabinoids do, they bind to cannabinoid receptors.

Researchers have identified two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2, though several more are currently being studied. CB1 receptors are concentrated in the brain and spinal cord but also can be found in other areas of the body. CB2 receptors are mostly located in the pheripheral organs and especially immune cells.

While CBD does not directly bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors, one thing is clear: it has powerful indirect effects and can also influence non-cannabinoid receptor sites, which allows CBD to be such a powerful, effective, and versatile compound.

As we continue to sort through the emerging science of cannabis and cannabinoids, it is now clear among researchers that everybody needs cannabinoids to function.

Full Spectrum CBD vs Isolates

CBD isolates, or often labeled as “pure CBD” or 99 to 100 percent CBD, as you may have guessed from the name, are products that have been refined to isolate only the CBD compound with no extra cannabinoids, terpenes, or other natural plant components.

Full-spectrum CBD includes at least 100 other known cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from the cannabis plant. Each cannabinoid has different effects on the body, and it is known that combining various cannabinoids can lead to a strengthened effect as opposed to CBD by itself.

This synergy is referred to as the Entourage effect and is thought to give CBD a much wider reach as far as health benefits.

For a more in-depth look at what the entourage effect and terpenes are, and how they can be used, please see our What are terpenes page and read our terpene and product FAQ page.

Starting your CBD journey

As the popularity of CBD is growing, there are plenty of different products to fit around a variety of different lifestyles and needs, from  tinctures,  topicals to powders, and more.

Sadly, we can’t tell you which product is best for you, or exactly how much CBD you should be taking, because that number rests of a variety of factors. However, we can provide you with some rough guidelines to help you out.

Here is a breakdown of how much CBD is the average taken per day for different weights and different conditions. Since it is based on weight, the table may be applicable to both dogs and humans.

<25 lbs: 5 mg
25-50 lbs: 5-7 mg
51-100 lbs: 7-15 mg
101-200 lbs: 15-30 mg
200+ lbs: 30 mg+

In general, you should start out with a very small amount of CBD and work your way up from there. Taking CBD for the first time, you may want to start with 5-10 mg, and then increase your intake, always making sure to listen to your body.

KEY TAKEAWAY

There is no “best” way to take CBD, and ultimately the decision is yours to make based on your individual goals, convenience and lifestyle. Just remember that you should always start small, and make your CBD experience as enjoyable as possible while you find what works best for you.