I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing many ads along the highway, and signs outside of shops and businesses which are selling CBD oil. You may be wondering what this CBD oil hype is all about. What is it used for? Is it legal? How much should you take? My aim for this article is to provide you with some answers to these questions and help you make a decision about if this supplement is right for you.

What is CBD?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of many active compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Now, you may know the Cannabis plant as Marijuana that is commonly smoked to give you a “high” feeling. What actually gives you that “high” or “stoned” feeling? That would be THC, or Tetrahydrocannabidiol. This is another active compound in the Cannabis plant which contains the psychoactive properties that get you high. Unlike THC, CBD does not have those same psychoactive properties, so it won’t get you high, but you will experience the same medicinal benefits from it.

Another important piece of information you should know about is its legality…If the Cannabis plant contains more than .3% THC it is considered Marijuana, and is illegal in most states, although more states are legalizing its use. If the Cannabis plant contains .3% or less of THC, then it is considered Hemp, and if your CBD is extracted from Hemp it is federally legal. In a nutshell, when you are buying, be sure the CBD oil you are buying has .3% or less of THC. The business should state this. If you’re still hesitant, I’d suggest checking your state’s laws about legality. Also, if you are subject to drug testing at your job or if you are an athlete in a sport that subjects you to drug testing, be sure to check with your coach or supervisor and make sure it’s ok to use prior to purchasing any.

What is it used for?

I generally don’t believe there is any one “magic pill or solution” out there to cure any specific condition, even though people swear by certain remedies. I generally believe that many health conditions can be improved through a combination of factors, but if a specific strategy or product has been shown to have promising potential, I will most likely implement it at some point in time to see how it affects me. As for CBD, it has been studied and used for quite a while to manage and treat certain health conditions, and it has some promising benefits:

  • General Pain Relief and Management: it has been shown to act on the brain’s receptors to help modulate the body’s response and perception of pain. 
  • Reduction of Anxiety and Depression: studies have shown CBD to have beneficial effects in regards to anxiety by helping to reduce stress, improve physiological function by managing heart rate response, and even improve anxiety induced by public speaking.
  • Alleviation of Cancer-Related Symptoms: currently, the results are mixed as far as using CBD as a strategy to prevent cancer. However, it has been shown to relieve pain, inflammation, and nausea due to cancer treatment.
  • Skin Health: due to its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD has been shown to have promising potential in improving skin conditions such as acne.
  • Sleep: although the research yields mixed results in regards to sleep, some studies have shown that taking CBD at least an hour before bed can help improve sleep quality.

How is it extracted and used?

So, now that you know what CBD is used for, let’s discuss how it is extracted and used. Although there are many ways to use CBD such as creams, lotions, capsules, gummies, and vaping, I’m only going to focus on CBD oil used in tincture form which is taken sublingually (i.e. dropped under the tongue). A CBD oil tincture is a liquid that has been made by infusing the CBD into a carrier oil in order to make it easier for your body to process and use. You use it by gently shaking the bottle first to make sure the solution is mixed appropriately, then you fill one dropper at a time and drop it under the tongue until the desired amount has been reached. Let it sit under the tongue from 30 seconds to a few minutes before swallowing to allow for better absorption. It may take 60-90 minutes to experience the short-term effects and perhaps several weeks to months to notice long-term results.

How much should you take?

If you’re using it for the first time, it’s best to just start off with one serving, which is usually two droppers (1ml, which is about 15mg), and see how it affects you. Look at the serving size on the container though before you take it, as product serving sizes may differ. You can increase the dosage from there (e.g. increase by 1 dropper per week) until you feel that it is working well for you. In fact, a 2011 review article on CBD dosage showed that humans can tolerate chronic use and high doses up to 1,500mg per day quite well, although it is unlikely you would need anywhere near that dosage. It’s also important to consider whether or not you should be taking it if you are on some prescription medications. Make sure you speak to your doctor who prescribed you the medications prior to taking CBD so that you know it is safe for you to use. If you are not on any prescription medications, CBD has been shown to be safe to use, with only a few potential side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and changes in weight.

Where can you get it?

As I mentioned previously, you can get CBD just about anywhere. However, you should be aware of a few things when you’re looking for a quality brand. This article contains some pertinent information that you should be aware of when looking for CBD oil, and the author also provides 10 reputable brands for you to choose from. You should opt for a full-spectrum CBD oil instead of an isolate, since full-spectrum CBD contains a variety of cannabinoids and compounds found in the hemp plant, which may help to magnify the therapeutic effects of the CBD. In my experience, I have tried two different CBD oil tinctures. The first one I tried was Wild Health CBD, which can be found here. I felt that, in addition to my normal sleep routine of stretching and breathwork, it helped me relax a bit more before bed and get a better night of sleep. I currently use a CBD oil tincture from Lazarus Naturals. I wanted to find a quality oil that was a little more affordable, and I liked how Lazarus Naturals has a discount program for veterans. Since using it, I have seen similar results as those I experienced with Wild Health CBD. 

In closing, based on my research and experience using CBD oil, I believe it can be an effective supplement to help manage anxiety, mood, sleep, and pain. Give it a shot and tell me about your experience with it in the comments section below!