What is CBD? Start Your CBD Education Here

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Cannabidiol (more commonly known as CBD) has remained in the shadow of THC (the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis) for quite some time, but things can change quickly.  The Farm Bill of 2018 decriminalized hemp and separated it from THC, and it’s done nothing but jump in understanding and popularity ever since.  

However, there’s still so much to know about CBD because it’s ever-evolving. New information is continuously discovered by those who study the compounds to bring us enhanced therapeutic relief for the medical conditions we struggle with. 

Sometimes, we understand things from a distance, and might only have specific points of knowledge about those things. CBD is no different because it gets complex talking about the difference in CBD and THC, or how various products have different bioavailability, how oils are extracted, etc.

CBD School's mission is to be the most trusted resource for CBD education on the internet. We publish articles based on the latest scientific research. 

This article, combined with our free Beginner's Guide to CBD, is your starting point. Once completed, move onto our more in-depth articles on specific topics, including research into the benefits of CBD for a variety of medical conditions and our product guides in which we test and recommend the best CBD products available.  

You can even bookmark it and come back to it as a reference! 

Let’s get your CBD education started, shall we?

What Does CBD Stand For? 

Short and sweet––CBD stands for cannabidiol. 

Where does CBD come from?

It comes from a hemp plant, which is technically called the Cannabis Sativa plant. There’s a massive difference in the way that hemp is grown and the way traditional marijuana is grown. 

Hemp is much more low-maintenance than marijuana in the growing process, and the crops yield much more. Hemp, by definition, contains less than 0.3% THC, which makes it non-psychoactive. 

The Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the agricultural production of hemp, so many US hemp farms are functioning and producing crops for some of your favorite CBD companies. 

Once the crops are produced, those plants produce oils that play a vital role in creating the company's product selection. That’s why it’s essential to align yourself with a company that’s growing hemp organically. Oh, and did you know that some hemp growers even use rainwater to water the crops?!? 

So, after the crops are done, it’s time to extract the oil. Any reputable company that cares about quality, purity, and potency will use the supercritical CO2 extraction process because it produces those three specific factors. The CO2 process uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide to pull the needed phytochemicals from the plant. 

The first type of oil you’ll see is full-spectrum oil, and you’ll find all of those compounds that naturally occur in that plant––terpenes, CBD, and cannabinoids, and those trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). Since all of the compounds are still there, they can work in synergy and create what is called the “entourage effect”. 

Some of the other compounds found in full-spectrum oil are Cannabidiol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabidiol Acid (CBDA), and Cannabidiviarin (CBDV). All of these compounds are non-psychoactive and bring different benefits to the table. Some of them studied more than others, but we mentioned earlier that there is still much to learn by way of capabilities. 

Broad-spectrum oil goes through the same process, but another purification process filters out all traces of THC. This option is great for those who don’t want to risk a false positive on a drug test. 

What Is CBD Used For?

CBD works well for a wide variety of health issues and concerns. It alleviates everything from stress, anxiety, pain relief and management, PTSD, insomnia, seizures, neurological problems, mood enhancement, depression, and much more. 

It really does it all!

How Does It Work In The Body? 

It’s quite fascinating how CBD works within our bodies. We all have something called an endocannabinoid system. It controls some of the most significant functions of the body, such as sleep, pain, mood, and a few others. The human body is vast and complex, but it’s still surprising to know that this system was only discovered in 1992!

The ECS sends signals to the CB1 and CB2 receptors and works to maintain balance within the body. These signals work in a way to achieve homeostasis in the body. 

How To Choose High-Quality Products

Choosing high-quality products can make all the difference in your experience with CBD. The good thing is that once you know how to spot high-quality ingredients, your shopping experience is that much easier. 

The first thing to pay attention to is where the hemp is grown. If the hemp is grown outside the US, it’s best to steer clear from that company because the quality might be a little questionable. We have certain agricultural procedures here that other countries might not follow. 

Next, you’ll want to make sure that the company conducts the proper lab testing on their products. Third-party labs are crucial because it confirms the quality, purity, and potency of the product.

They’re able to look at the report and make sure that the product has no heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, chemicals, etc. There are over 100 different compounds in the hemp plant, so these tests can indicate which compounds are present in a particular product.

Some people may feel overwhelmed when trying to read the lab report (also known as the certificate of analysis). Still, it’s really easy to learn to interpret these lab reports, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

This needs to be conducted by an independent third-party lab. If a company is testing its own products, then those tests are likely to be biassed or skewed in their favor. 

Another vital factor to consider is the number of positive reviews you can find online for the product. If you’re anything like the rest of society, you probably check the reviews before you make a big purchase, check out a new restaurant, or seek out a service. It’s a part of purchasing now, don’t neglect this step or you could miss vital information. 

On the other hand, negative reviews of a product have the potential to be helpful, too, because you can look into it and see if there’s any truth to it. 

How To Avoid Sketchy Products 

Any industry has scams, and CBD is no different. There are certain places that you buy CBD from and places that you shouldn’t. Those places are Amazon, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. 

For starters, Amazon prohibits CBD sales, so anything that you see on Amazon claiming to be CBD is fraudulent. These companies try to pass off hemp seed oil as hemp oil. Hemp seed oil is more of a nourishing oil that's used in a lot of beauty products. 

Those who aren’t as familiar with CBD see “hemp” and assume that it’s CBD hemp. 

CBD products sold in gas stations and grocery stores have minuscule amounts of CBD and will most likely be ineffective. 

There’s no shortage of reputable CBD companies making stellar products. Align yourself with some of those e-commerce companies and get the high-quality products you deserve!

Different Types Of CBD Products

The CBD industry is growing by the minute. In fact, it’s estimated that it will reach $20 billion by 2024!

CBD companies understand that this projected growth is something that they need to capitalize on and what better way to do that than by creating a vast assortment of products––something for all walks of life!

It’s best to understand that when you’re starting with any product, you should begin to slow and work your way up. Some products might even work better within your system for several reasons based on your biology. 

Not to mention, each product has its bioavailability. Bioavailability is how quickly your body absorbs the CBD and goes to work in your system. 

Let’s look at a few different product categories. 

CBD Tincture Oils 

CBD tincture oils are favored by many. They’ve been around for quite some time, people are familiar with them, and some CBD tinctures are pretty tasty! When taking a tincture oil, you place a few drops under the tongue.

The capillaries then absorb it under the tongue, so the bioavailability is excellent based on that factor. It takes anywhere from 20 minutes up to 2 hours to kick in, depending on your body chemistry. 

CBD Vape Pens

Vape pens have gained tremendous popularity lately. They have the highest bioavailability, going to work in a matter of minutes! 

You have to be a little more cautious when it comes to purchasing vapes. Some companies try to slide in harmful ingredients (we talked about this above), but the difference is that with vapes. 

It’s so much more harmful because you’re inhaling those toxic chemicals into your lungs. 

To avoid this, make sure to reference those third-party lab results we spoke about earlier so you can make sure to avoid heavy metals, mycotoxins, and vitamin e acetate. 

CBD Edibles

Edibles have the lowest bioavailability because they are ingested and take longer to make their way through your system. You can find edibles in the form of gummies, drinks, capsules, cookies, and more. 

Edibles have proven to be great for those just starting with CBD because they can better control their serving size. 

CBD Topicals 

Topicals provide targeted relief by traveling through the layers of skin to assist. You can find topicals in lotions, creams, balms, bath products, patches, and more. 

Parting Thoughts 

The CBD industry is vast and complex, but once you have some inside knowledge, navigation is a breeze. Now you have all the information needed to start your journey. Are you ready to continue your CBD education? Download our Free Beginner's Guide to CBD using the form to the right of this article. 

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