In fact, numerous studies have looked at the relationship between CBD and pain, and the results are promising. Researchers have looked at various kinds of pain – from joint pain to cancer pain. One finding is that CBD increases levels of glutamate and serotonin – both neurotransmitters that play a role in pain regulation. And CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties help by tackling the root cause of much chronic pain.
To add to the challenges, brands in the CBD space are struggling to verify their own products. Laura White, founder of Soul Addict, started a CBD line after she found it helped her with crippling anxiety. Wanting to create a reliable product in both purity and potency, she’d test on top of the farm’s tests and kept running into the same problem: The lab results didn’t match. When White finally found a farm that had accurate tests, she’d partner with them. A few years later, Soul Addict now sources all its CBD through small, family-run farms in Colorado and White is in the process of integrating her own crops from North Carolina. The lesson she learned? Brands should be constantly testing their product to verify their farms’ reports.
Is it full-spectrum? Full-spectrum is the use of the whole hemp plant vs. an isolate which extracts the CBD from the plant. Using marketing terms like “pure” and “all natural,” isolates are sometimes not hemp at all and synthesized in a lab. While the efficacy of full-spectrum is debated in the scientific community, anecdotes and a study in Israel favor full-spectrum. In addition to potential benefits, there’s another reason you should be buying the whole plant: contamination. Chen notes that isolates are harder to trace back to origin and can be straight-up fake. Overseas lab-made isolates are cheaper than domestic versions, making the potential for contamination high. Utah recently grappled with synthetic CBD when 52 people became sick from an isolate. While isolates can be legitimate (FDA-approved Epiliodex is an isolate), you’re going to have to spend more time researching the brand’s products and practices. Put it this way, if you could get your vitamin C from Sunny D or fresh squeezed OJ, which would you prefer?
For some, having more than trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) might not be a big deal, but if you’re being drug tested at work, operating heavy machinery, or fall into a number of other categories, you may want to keep the THC to a bare minimum. In order to qualify as a legal hemp product, CBD oil must contain less than 0.03% THC. Look for CBD oil certified to have low levels of, or zero, THC in them. Many reputable sellers do offer products that have absolutely no THC in them at all, so if you are concerned about keeping even trace amounts of TCH out of your body, it is best to look for those products and sellers.
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