Everything you wanted to know about CBD, but were afraid to ask

You’re in a Zoom cocktail hour with some friends and someone asks, “What’s all the hubbub with CBD?” And you suddenly feel the need to mute your microphone.

Don’t worry. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you lead conversation the next time it comes up.

What the hell is CBD?

CBD is a chemical compound extracted from cannabis plants. Not marijuana plants, but hemp plants.  People use CBD products for its soothing, restoring therapeutic qualities.

Will CBD get you buzzed?

No. You have to turn to CBD’s cousin, THC for that. THC is also extracted from hemp, but more so from marijuana. When CBD is extracted from hemp, it is separated from the THC. If you ingest the extracted THC, say in the form of a gummy bear, you will get “stoned.” If you ingest only CBD, you will not feel stoned in the least. Just relaxed, as if you had a massage.

Why is CBD suddenly a fad?

Actually, CBD is anything but a fad. The earliest unofficially recording of its use medicinally can be traced back to China approximately 4,700 years ago. Over more recent centuries, people all over the world have turned to CBD for its therapeutic powers.  Pain relief, inflammation relief, and anxiety relief. These are all ailments people have been treating with CBD – long before the internet filled up with CBD-based products.

How does CBD chemically interact with your body?

Arguably the most important part of your body is your central nervous system. Without it, you couldn’t think, move your legs, eat or even breathe. Your central nervous system communicates with itself and the rest of your body using chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that your body uses to communicate within the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining and controlling the body’s homeostasis, or balanced regulation of every system in the body. CBD technically (well… biologically) helps to enhance your natural levels of endocannabinoids. Don’t worry, there won’t be an exam Monday. Just remember to tell your friends CBD doesn’t just sit on your skin when applied. It penetrates and works to augment your own biochemistry to reduce inflammation and sooth.

How do I know which of the hundreds of CBD products to choose?

Start with the basics. What do you want it to do? A massage balm, for example, should first and foremost act as a massage balm. But you also want the relaxing, restorative therapeutic power of CBD to augment the massage. So choose a product that does what you want – but does it better. Then you want to make sure the manufacturer is above boards. Check to see that the manufacturer is willing to disclose the contents of their product by providing a QR code you can scan to see third-party verification. What you want to see is the level of CBD and the absence of THC. Because you really don’t want to have THC floating around in your blood. (See next question.)

Will it show up if I take a blood test?

CBD should not show up at all if it’s a high-quality drug test. However, THC will almost always be detected in your blood when levels are high enough. So be extra sure you choose CBD products with 0% THC to make sure your blood is THC-free. Not a mere 1%. Not a minscure .3%. You want none. Zero. Nada. Of course, some drug tests out there do not differentiate between the different cannabinoids (CBD and THC), so we can’t legally ensure our products will not deliver a false positive. But our products are and will always be 100% THC-free per industry testing standards.

How do I know if a product is has 0% THC?

Make sure it’s extracted using the most state-of-the-art processes that can deliver what is called “Broad Spectrum” CBD. That means all the THC has been removed – without removing the therapeutic compounds you want. If the label says “Full Spectrum” CBD, buyer beware. It can contain up to .3% THC.  (Refer to the question above to remind yourself of why that’s important.)

How is CBD extracted?

Basically, think about how olive oil is extracted from olives using a cold-press process. It’s essentially the same for extracting CBD from hemp. But when more sophisticated extraction processes are used to separate the compounds, it will deliver a better product. First, basic extraction only delivers “full-spectrum” CBD. That means it still has some THC mixed in. More advanced manufacturers yield whole-plant extract, for a phytocannabinoid-rich “Broad-Spectrum” CBD – with none of the THC. That’s the one you want.

Can you use CBD products when you are pregnant or taking other prescription medications?

Always check with your physician before you mix CBD with any other medications – prescribed or homeopathic.

Is CBD legal?

CBD is legal in all 50 states if the manufacturer follows the strict guidelines as set forth under the 2018 United States Farm Bill. Again, this is where you want to find “Broad Spectrum” products that contain no THC. It is federally legal to grow, sell, and consume hemp-based CBD products.

Is a brand name product better than the “micro-brew” version made by smaller vendors?

Small producers can deliver a good CBD product. But reputable companies make it easy to assess the quality of their products by putting a QR code on the label that links to third-party test results.

There you have it. All the basics of CBD spelled out for you. So the next time someone asks you a question about CBD, you’ll have plenty to say.