While THC affects your brain’s endocannabinoid receptors (resulting in the high), CBD does not attach directly to the receptors. Instead, it influences your body into using its own natural supply of cannabinoids more effectively. That is to say, it can inhibit or activate compounds in the ECS, which in turn can impact the amount of pain you feel or limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system.
Watch Out For: Companies who won’t disclose their extraction method or utilize hydrocarbons like butane and propane. These substances are toxic in high amounts and even with proper purging, most hydrocarbon extracts contain residual solvent. Other extraction methods do not result in a full spectrum extract – meaning they were not able to extract all of the beneficial compounds from the hemp plant (i.e. you don’t get the full range of benefits).
In short, Cannabidiol – or CBD – is a cannabis compound that has many therapeutic benefits. Usually extracted from the leaves and flowers of hemp plants – though marijuana can also be a source – CBD oil is then incorporated into an array of marketable products. These products vary from the most common, like sublingual oils and topical lotions, to the less common (think CBD lattes). Basically, if you can dream it, you can buy it.
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Of course, that data has to be displayed someplace that’s easy for consumers to find. Trustworthy CBD retailers are transparent with their ingredients and test results not just online, but on their products as well. Clear and accurate labeling is key, as it ensures customers never have to wonder what’s in the bottle of CBD oil they ordered—they can always find out at a glance.
Unregulated markets come with some obvious risks; lack of oversight, false claims, the potential for dangerous pesticides and contaminants. Cannabis, in states where it’s legal, is regulated. Sold in state-licensed stores (akin to states controlling liquor stores, except with higher taxes and much stricter regulations) aka dispensaries, you can be confident that the CBD-dominant cannabis tinctures, topicals, vapes, and edibles on shelves are accountable to purity and accuracy tests.
Meanwhile, independent testing by accredited laboratories with globally accepted analytical methods ensures the organic extract is intact from pesticides, heavy metals, or microbiological contaminants. And reputable CBD companies have lab results from independent labs available on their websites, this can also be used as an indicator for consumers about what companies are providing high-quality CBD.
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it is capable of absorbing both the good and the bad from the air, water, and soil in which it’s grown. This makes it all the more important to know that your CBD oil comes from organically grown hemp that can be tracked to its US-grown source. The last thing buyers want is for their CBD oil to have accumulated toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. For decades, farmers have used pesticides to protect crops against insects, disease, and fungi – and have used herbicides to control weeds – but we’ve known for quite some time that chemicals used to harm other species can also be harmful to our own species. That’s one big reason behind the global push to go organic. People are starting to prioritize organic crops, whether you’re talking about fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, livestock feed – even textiles like cotton, wool, and flax.