CBD is the latest craze to hit the market touting safe and natural alternatives to help a variety of ailments. But with all the different options to choose from, how do you know if what you are choosing is safe?
First, it’s important to understand what CBD is and what it can be used for.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is different from marijuana. Both come from chemicals in the cannabis plant, but CBD is typically derived from the hemp plant. THC, which is found in marijuana, contains psychotropic properties. That is what gets people high.
CBD comes in a variety of products from capsules, gummies, sprays, tinctures, vapes, creams and more. Each type of product has its own uses and dosage amount. We will explore more about how to take CBD products later.
When considering CBD options, it’s important to think about what you want to use the CBD for. For example, CBD has been found to help inflammation. If you are looking for relief from wrist pain, applying a cream straight on the wrist may be more beneficial than taking a capsule. However, if you want to deal with overall inflammation, taking a capsule may be better for you.
The first thing to know is CBD products are not fully regulated. Some states, like Florida, are jumping on board and providing their own regulations to ensure safety and quality. However, like dietary supplements, the FDA doesn’t monitor the creation and distribution of CBD products. So it’s important to be an informed consumer and ensure you are shopping from a reputable source.
One way to do that is to look for a source that offers lab results from third-party companies to prove their products contain what they claim. Many times this can be found on the manufacturer’s website and will contain a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This testing will include an analysis of contaminants and the measure of CBD and THC levels.
When shopping, you should look for a full or broad-spectrum CBD oil instead of a distillate or isolate. These contain a variety of cannabidiols and original compounds from the hemp plant. Full-spectrum may contain both CBD and THC, whereas broad-spectrum generally doesn’t contain THC. This is important to keep in mind if you are concerned about THC showing up on drug screens, although they don’t typically give you that “high” feeling.
The full and broad-spectrum types may enhance the therapeutic benefits of CBD. This is because hemp has other beneficial compounds besides just CBD and full-spectrum will allow them to work together. They are also less processed.
Full- and broad-spectrum may include other compounds such as proteins, fatty acids, fiber and vitamins. These elements contain additional healing properties and help the full and broad-spectrum CBD products to have what is known as the “entourage effect.”
The label itself should be clear and specify what is in the container. First, make sure you understand the dosage. Many times a label will list a big number like 1000 mg. But that is usually the amount of CBD in the entire bottle.
It should also list what it is used for, the batch lot, expiration date and how to use it. Some will even include warnings and contraindications for use.
CBD is generally safe to use, but talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Make sure to read the ingredient list to look for anything you may be allergic to and beware of any hype. Some will tout they it can “cure anything.” Supplemental products are prohibited from being marketed to cure or treat any type of disease.