5 CBD Oil Truths (Understanding Dosing, Delivery, Potency, and Proper Usage)
CBD (cannabidiol) has gone from a relative unknown a few short years ago, to increasingly in-demand health and wellness supplement. Despite the rising popularity of CBD oil and CBD products — tinctures, lotions, gummies, and capsules, to name a few — there is still a great deal of misunderstanding around what CBD is, what it’s not, and how it can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 5 important truths about CBD that I regularly share with my students and patients to help them gain a clearer understanding of CBD and its potential to positively impact their wellness:
1. CBD is not marijuana.
CBD is a natural constituent of the cannabis sativa plant and for decades was wrongly associated with that other more famous cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the source of the well documented psychoactive ‘high’.
Fact is, CBD oil from hemp is non-psychoactive, safe for all age groups, non-addictive, and loaded with healthy nutrients and antioxidants. In addition, this CBD oil is completely legal and can be delivered right to your door in all 50 US states.
Hemp that is grown for CBD oil has large flower heads or buds that contain the oil, and while the hemp plant looks similar to the traditional marijuana plant, a key difference is that the hemp plant grown for CBD oil contains less than .03% THC (per weight, 3,000 parts per 1,000,000 parts of oil), whereas the traditional marijuana plant is grown and hybridized to contain much higher levels of THC. In Colorado, for example, it has become quite common for marijuana growers to engineer plants with higher levels of THC to increase the psychoactive nature of the plant — these types of CBD products are only sold in dispensaries.
2. CBD is full of nutrients.
CBD oil is a rich source of naturally occurring nutrients essential for overall health, including omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, B complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and beta-carotene.
In addition, CBD oil is also a rich source of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins essential for tissue formation, and for keratin production essential for healthy, strong hair and nails.
3. How CBD works…
When ingested, CBD engages with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex system of receptors that regulate homeostasis in the human body — our overall state of balance — impacting biological processes like mood, memory, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. CBD activates protein molecule receptors — called cannabinoid receptors — on the surface of cells throughout our body, and particularly abundant in our brain and also our immune system. Supporting a healthier endocannabinoid system supports a healthier you.
4. CBD: an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Many people today seek viable alternatives to prescription medication, and CBD is proving itself to be just that. Full spectrum CDB oil, rich with naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial phytonutrients from the hemp plant, is commonly used to assist with:
• anxiety and depression
• pain and inflammation
• insomnia and sleep disorders
• blood pressure
• stress reduction
• and much more!
5. CBD for everyday use.
While more and more studies are highlighting health benefits from CBD use for those with cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and extreme anxiety and depression, it’s important to note that the benefits of CBD oil aren’t just for those with major health issues and illnesses. CBD is used daily by many as a health and wellness supplement to assist with balance, focus, better sleep, pain reduction, inflammation, mood, and daily stress reduction, just to name a few. And for a calm, clear mind, CBD can be effectively combined with anxiety control techniques, and meditation and relaxation exercises.
Consumption of CBD oil is easy and may be done in several ways. Some CBD oils are meant to be taken orally, such as tinctures, drops, or capsules, while others, such as lotions or creams, can be applied directly to the skin. CBD may also be inhaled and ingested by a spray bottle.
Seeking the facts on CBD
As an herbalist, practitioner, and seeker of all available facts on CBD, I have aligned my work and product development with the ever-evolving scientific research around CBD and plant-based wellness. Leading the way in this important area of research is Dr. Jeff Chen and a team of doctors and experts that collectively comprise UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative. Dr. Chen and his team seek to better understand and authenticate the therapeutic potential of cannabis, and the health benefits or any potential risks from CBD and from the many other cannabinoids in cannabis. I also closely follow pioneering research at Mt. Sinai Hospital where studies are currently underway to better understand how CBD can be used to reduce anxiety. Keeping current on CBD research ensures my own product formulations, and plant-based wellness, in general, will continue to positively support human health and wellness for decades to come.
Based on the current research, and my own positive experiences, my message to students and patients is that there are compelling reasons to make CBD hemp oil a part of our daily life. Now, what about dosing?
Understanding how much CBD oil to take and how and when to take it is important because optimal dosing is directly linked to how CBD may support your overall health and wellness.
To better understand dosing, we must first recognize that:
• Each person has unique body physiology — their weight, metabolism, and their body’s current state of homeostasis or balance.
• There is a variety of often confusing and complicated messaging from one brand to another about percentage-based measurements and total milligrams of active ingredient per volume.
So what is a good starting dose when beginning whole plant hemp CBD oil?
I am asked this question a lot, and the answer is that it depends on potency. For example, the amount of active CBD oil in 10 drops of oil is determined by the potency of the product. For example:
• a 10ml bottle containing 500mg of hemp CBD in hemp seed oil equals 50mg active hemp CBD per ml., and 10 drops equal approximately a ½ ml, therefore contains approximately 24.5mg of active hemp CBD oil.
Once dosing begins…
When beginning CBD orally, it is important to observe how you are feeling in the subsequent 3 to 5 days and to note any changes in how you are feeling — both positive or negative. The adage ‘less is more’ definitely applies when using any herbal product, supplement or whole plant hemp CBD oil. By starting at the lower end of the dose spectrum, you can observe what changes take place (if any) and make adjustments as necessary.
Remember, each person is different
Being an herbalist, a fundamental principle is assessing the individual, their overall strength and constitutional traits, and any weakness that can be observed or found through the clinical interview process. In Chinese herbal medicine, we also look at the tongue and, when we can, feel the pulse of an individual as part of this assessment process. A robust person whose constitution is clearly strong can typically assimilate a higher does than someone who is compromised in some way.
• Hemp CBD oil tinctures — held sublingually under the tongue, the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and therefore has a more immediate and stronger effect
• Capsules, powders, and gummy preparations — These preparations are ingested and therefore go through the digestive process and liver detoxification pathways (the cytochrome P450 enzymatic process). This process reduces the amount of active ingredient that reaches the bloodstream. This also affected by the strength of the person’s digestion. If the digestive process is poor — which could mean too fast or too slow — it will affect the amount of absorption from the ingested preparation.
Based on this understanding of sublingual and ingested preparations, the sublingual method of delivery provides faster absorption and therefore a potentially stronger effect.
Dose and potency
Remember, dose is connected to potency. What this looks like on a label:
• 10ml (bottle) with 500mg CBD contains 500mg active CBD, which translates to 50mg per ml, or 24.5mg per 10 drop dose
• 30ml (bottle) with 1500mg CBD. This potency is the same as the 10ml bottle containing 500mg CBD. (30ml is three times more than 10ml, and 1500mg is three times more than 500mg)
The calculation that you want to remember is to divide the amount of CBD (in mg) by the total ml or size of the bottle.
• 1000mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle equals a potency of 33.33mg of CBD per ml
• 1500mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle equals a potency of 50mg of CBD per ml
• 750mg of CBD in a 20ml bottle equals a potency of 37.5mg of CBD per ml
• 500mg of CBD in a 10ml bottle equals a potency of 50mg of CBD per ml
For maintaining and supporting overall health, a potency of 50mg whole plant hemp CBD per ml is sufficient in most cases. Higher potencies become very expensive, and unnecessary for most people.
What’s the difference between whole plant, also known as, full-spectrum phytocannabinoid rich (PCR) hemp CBD oil, and CBD isolate?
When hemp CBD oil is referred to as full spectrum or whole plant CBD oil, it means the oil contains all cannabinoids found in the hemp plant along with terpenes, amino acids, and anti-oxidants. Depending on the product, along with these cannabinoids, the oil can also contain trace amounts of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid that produces the “high” when using marijuana. The trace amounts found in hemp CBD have no psychoactive stimulation and produce no high when used and ingested.
CBD isolate, on the other hand, is CBD only, that has been extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant and isolated from the other cannabinoids. The isolate may be extracted well and processed using methods that are safe and effective, however, with an isolate you are not receiving the benefits of the whole plant, which directly affects efficacy. Studies have shown that CBD isolates act on a “bell curve,” meaning the therapeutic effectiveness subsides over time. Whereas a full-spectrum hemp CBD oil is going to continue to deliver the same degree of therapeutic effectiveness with continued use.
So what are the benefits of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, amino acids, and antioxidants?
Here we introduce what is referred to as the entourage effect.
Using the whole plant means that all the active ingredients of the plant are included and when used together, they create what is known as the “entourage effect.” This means the active ingredients within the whole plant work synergistically to produce a stronger, longer lasting effect. Additionally, the other active ingredients have their own beneficial effects on the body.
Is a whole plant, full-spectrum product more effective than an isolate?
Yes, whole plant CBD is more effective than an isolate. Because a CBD isolate’s therapeutic effect works on a bell-curve its efficacy is limited whereas the therapeutic effect of whole plant CBD oil continues with use. Another important factor is that when the dose of whole plant CBD oil is increased so do the therapeutic effects.
When it comes to buying a CBD oil, selecting a whole plant hemp CBD oil will be the most beneficial option.
My personal experience with CBD
Even with all the positive information available today about the potential benefits of CBD, it can be challenging to find first-person accounts from satisfied, daily consumers of CBD oil revealing exactly how CBD oil benefited them and helped support their overall health and wellbeing. So I’d like to share with you my personal journey with CBD over the last year.
Having been an herbalist for a few decades, I’ve developed a keen sense and an objective approach to trying something new. After a period of use, I’ll give the new herb or supplement an honest assessment to determine its benefits (or lack of). Thus, after two months of integrating CBD oil into my daily health regimen, I experienced the following outcomes:
Every day I use our CBD infused face oil, and our CBD infused lip and nail salve. Since starting with these, my skin feels better than it has in years and is noticeably healthier, happier, firm, and younger looking. Remember, CBD contains numerous nutrients responsible for producing the tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy, stimulate collagen production, and help to reduce signs of aging. I highly recommend CBD for daily skin care!
Balance and reduced anxiety
Due to a busy schedule and some accumulated life stress, I was experiencing mild to moderate anxiety a couple of times per week. I had been managing it for the most part with herbs, diet and lifestyle, regular exercise and good sleep. Since beginning CBD twice daily I noticed a dramatic shift and reduction of anxiety and an increased sense of overall balance.
As a younger adult, I had always been a solid sleeper, easily getting 8–9 hours per night on a regular basis. Much to my disappointment, this changed in the last few years, dropping to 5–6 hours of sleep followed by a restless 1 or 2 hours. Since beginning CBD, my sleep has become deeper, more restful and restorative, and I wake feeling more refreshed and energetic.
Fewer hot flashes and night sweats
Always significantly affected by my diet, lifestyle and sleep, my hot flashes and night sweats have been with me through peri-menopause and into menopause. Ebbing and flowing with the hormonal shifts inherent in this natural life change, all have settled tremendously since beginning daily CBD. I think this is due largely to my improved sleep, as lack of sleep has always had a negative impact on my hot flashes/night sweats.
Improved focus and concentration
Improvement in mental focus and concentration was probably one of the first things I noticed when I began daily CBD oil. I was able to work on “heady” projects later in the day, and reading into the night, where previously I cherished my morning hours for a fresh mind and the needed focus and concentration to write and read.
How I supplement CBD oil
Consumption of CBD oil is easy and may be done in several ways. Some CBD oils are meant to be taken orally, such as tinctures, drops, or capsules, while others, such as lotions or creams, can be applied directly to the skin. For my daily consumption of CBD, I dose pure CBD oil under the tongue twice daily, and as mentioned, I use a CBD infused face oil, and CBD infused lip oil.
In short, it’s easy to supplement a healthy lifestyle with CBD, and my personal experience confirms that making CBD oil a part of our daily lives results in tangible health benefits. And, to get started, it would be in your best interest to consult with a healthcare practitioner who can guide you through the process.
Statements made in this article are not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease.