In fact, the compound has become so popular that Arcview Market Research predicts the total value of U.S. CBD sales will reach a staggering $20 billion by 2024.
But why exactly is CBD becoming so popular? Is it because people just want to get high?
Well, no, not really. This was proven by the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill—which legalised hemp at the federal level—causing the popularity of hemp-derived CBD oils and extracts to surge. This is very revealing information, as hemp plants, unlike their marijuana counterparts, have almost non-existent amounts of THC, the compound in cannabis that gets users high.
In fact, many users likely turn to CBD precisely because it has a low THC content.
Without THC, users of CBD can enjoy the benefits of cannabinoids without any psychoactive effects. And as the CBD industry has grown, new products and technologies have continued to enter the market. While this is generally a good thing, the growing array of CBD products can sometimes be difficult to navigate as a newbie.
There's isolates, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products, oils, tinctures, salves, gummies and even pet treats to name just a few different types of CBD extracts.
So what's the difference between them all? Is one type better than the other? Let's find out.
If I Can't Get High, Then Why?
Mastering CBD oils and extracts can be an art, much like becoming a wine connoisseur or a coffee aficionado. Unlike marijuana, which comes packaged with "stoner" preconceptions, CBD provides all the physical benefits, with none of the psychoactive effects.
This is why CBD is becoming considered by many to be a "miracle drug". While the compound is seemingly everywhere, CBD ultimately rose to prominence thanks to a CNN documentary called 'Weed.'
The documentary featured a young girl named Charlotte who suffered from upwards of 300 grand mal seizures a week, due to a rare form of epilepsy called 'Dravet Syndrome.' In an attempt to help her, the girl's parents had unsuccessfully pursued every conventional treatment option available to manage her epilepsy.
Eventually, Charlotte's parents decided—against the advice of many doctors—to give CBD oil a try. However, after beginning treatment the girl's seizures went away almost entirely from that moment on.
Charlotte's amazing transformation put CBD oil on the map, and since the documentary there's been a growing surge of studies on the benefits of CBD. Early studies have currently linked CBD use to improved anxiety and sleep, reduced PTSD, anti-inflammation and muscle relief.
If CBD sounds like something for you, read on and let's look at the different types of CBD oils and extracts.
If you're interested in CBD extracts, then you'll want to know the differences between full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD. Knowing these differences may prove invaluable to you, especially if your job performs drug tests.
Firstly, the main distinction to know is between full spectrum and isolate CBD – the two most prevalent forms of CBD extracts on the market.
This distinction is relatively simple. As the name suggests, isolate CBD is CBD in its purest form – stripped of all other cannabinoids. This is a popular choice for athletes and other individuals who have to face frequent drug tests at work and don't want THC showing up in the results.
You then have full spectrum CBD, which contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, including THC. Full spectrum CBD oil has become a popular choice due to the belief that it activates the "entourage effect".
As we mentioned in our recent edibles article, the entourage effect is believed to be a synergy of all the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes in the hemp plant, yielding more beneficial health results than just the isolated CBD. And don't worry about getting high off full spectrum – Hemp plants have 0.3% THC in them, which won't be giving you a buzz.
Lastly is broad spectrum CBD, which falls somewhat in the middle of isolate and full spectrum. Like isolates, broad spectrum CBD oil contains no THC, so you won't have to worry (much) about drug tests at work. However, broad spectrum contains all the other naturally occurring cannabinoids, inducing somewhat of a lesser entourage effect.
Shaken, Not Stirred
For every CBD enthusiast there's often a specific way of ingesting the compound—with its own subtle benefits or downfalls—that's uniquely suited to their lifestyle. Although the following consumptions methods all use CBD extracts, and will likely yield similar results, they do have their nuances.
Let's take a look at each one to see what suits you best.
CBD oils are by far the most prevalent CBD extract on the market. And it's easy to see why, as CBD oil is extremely versatile, working well with the increasingly popular ingestion method of "microdosing".
You can add CBD oil to food or beverages to liven up a meal, or even place a few drops under your tongue to get your daily dose.
The believed benefits of CBD oil are endless, from alleviating anxiety and combating depression, to helping individuals overcome opioid addiction.
Tinctures combine CBD oil with high-proof grain alcohol, which is then heated. The end result is a concentrated form of CBD oil, which you can then drop under your tongue.
The benefit of sublingual ingestion is that you can sidestep the digestion process, where a lot of the benefits of CBD can be lost. Jessie Kater, the senior vice president for manufacturing at Curaleaf states that "not only do many compounds lose potential bio-availability during [the digestion] process, but the time to onset is delayed."
This means for those who seek immediate relief, a sublingual tincture may be the CBD extract for them. Some experts recommend leaving CBD oil tinctures under your tongue for 60 seconds before digesting to expedite the absorption process.
Topicals come in the form of salves, creams, balms and patches. Unlike CBD oil and tinctures—which spread through the bloodstream—topicals are used to target specific areas on the body. One simply needs to rub some CBD cream or place a patch on the sore area to feel the improvement.
While human trials are limited, there have been studies testing the impact of CBD topicals on rats with arthritis that have shown significant promise.
The trial used CBD gel on rats with arthritis in their knees, and found that the rats that were given the highest levels of CBD displayed significantly lower levels of inflammation and lower pain behavior scores than those who were given lower doses.
Do you love to eat? Well, that's one of the the main benefits of edibles; having CBD in a tasty form. This is perfect for those who don't want to smoke the plant, but still like to have a little fun with their consumption method, rather using a dropper to place CBD oil on their tongue.
The other benefit to edibles is the social component, in that you can go out and grab a CBD brownie with a friend for lunch. It's hard to say the same for tinctures.
Edibles are longer lasting than other forms of ingestion as they are gradually broken down by the stomach. Though because of bio-availability, edibles can also be hard to accurately dose.
If you want a very specific dose of CBD, edibles mightn't be for you.
CBD capsules and pills are a popular extract for a number for reasons.
Firstly, CBD capsules are discrete. CBD capsules look like every other pill or supplement on the market, so nobody will really know what you're taking.
On top of this, each pill provides a specific amount of CBD. Knowing precisely how much CBD you're ingesting is important so you can accurately measure the effects of the compound.
Incorrect dosage has been a growing concern for regulators, who are finding restaurants and cafes inaccurately reporting the amounts of CBD in their products.
Believe it or not, you can vape CBD. Though we wouldn't recommend putting pure CBD into your vape pen. Instead, you should be looking for CBD oil cartridges specifically made for vaporizers.
Similar to tinctures, the onset of effects from vaping CBD oil is relatively quick. This means that if you're in need of immediate pain relief, vaping will certainly help.
Vaping CBD oil has also show promise in helping smoking cessation, as discovered in a small study performed by the University College London in 2013.
The study involved giving CBD to 12 smokers to vape, while another 12 participants were given a placebo to act as the control group. Those that vaped CBD oil saw a 40% reduction in their smoking for the week, while the others experienced no observable changes.
Method to The Madness
There are many ways to ingest CBD, and each person will find their own method that suits them. There isn't one method that is better than all others.
Though what we can say is, you have to try it yourself to know. Researching is only half the battle; the other half is actually trying it. So for those of you fortunate enough to live in a state where CBD is legal, get out there!
For those, however, living in a country where CBD isn't readily available, the waiting game unfortunately continues. Though at the current pace of legalization, it doesn't seem like anyone will be waiting that long to see cannabis become legal in their country.
If you enjoyed this article, keep your eyes peeled as we continue delving into the world of Extracts, Edibles and Concentrates this month!
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