If you’re just beginning your CBD and cannabis journey, welcome to the wonderful world of holistic healing. Over the past several years, I’ve had the pleasure of studying this amazing plant and it never ceases to amaze me how complex, versatile, and extraordinary cannabis is. Because cannabis is still considered illegal at the federal level, research on the plant and its healing benefits are still in the early stages, but there are some key discoveries that we do have a greater understanding of, especially when it comes to CBD (aka cannabidiol).
Before we jump into CBD, you might be familiar with something called hemp. To clarify, cannabis and hemp are the same plant. When you hear the term “hemp”, it’s used to classify cannabis varieties that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, therefore, hemp strains will not impart any intoxicating effects when consumed and contain higher concentrations of CBD. However, when it comes to hemp, be aware that there are different levels of quality within the hemp category, and not all hemp products are created equal.
In order to receive the greatest therapeutic value from your hemp, be sure to choose items that are sourced from therapeutic hemp farms that are using regenerative farming practices, not from big industrial hemp farms. Most often industrial hemp is grown for hemp seed oil or for fiber, not for phytocannabinoid and terpene production, which are the critical components that contribute to the plant’s healing benefits.
Best Sleep Ever CBD Tincture (photo credit: Colleen Eversman for The Ultimate Guide to CBD)
It’s also important to remember that a phytocannabinoid is a phytocannabinoid. No matter what cannabis variety CBD is derived from, the organic compound is exactly the same and is created in special glands known as trichomes. Glandular trichomes are the magical part of the plant that create the richest source of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and all of the other wonderful components that make cannabis so unique. While over 100 different phytocannabinoids have been discovered so far, in addition to THC, CBD is one of the most well-known and most researched phytocannabinoids to date.
Unlike THC, CBD will not make you feel high or stoned, but both phytocannabinoids enhance each other and have the ability to stimulate different receptor sites that are found throughout the endocannabinoid system (ECS). All humans and mammals have an ECS that helps maintain homeostasis. This biological system is composed of different endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors (i.e. CB1 and CB2 receptors), and enzymes that are expressed throughout the body.
While THC binds directly to both cannabinoid receptors that are found in the ECS, CBD behaves differently. For example, research has indicated that cannabidiol does not bind directly to the CB1 receptor as THC does, but CBD can interact "allosterically" with CB1, which means it lands on a different docking site. When they interact, CBD can change the shape of the receptor that weakens CB1’s ability to bind with THC, therefore, blunting some of THC’s intoxicating effects. In addition, CBD has the ability to alter and/or improve the capabilities of non-cannabinoid receptors such as serotonin 5-HT1A, which is one of the leading reasons why CBD can help relieve stress and anxiety. Cannabidiol is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, inhibiting the release of signaling molecules that stem from immune cells that promote inflammation in the body.
As more and more research is conducted, it’s clear that CBD is showing great potential to help aid several ailments, but it’s extremely important to remember that CBD will not fix everything and it’s not for everyone. CBD is not a cure-all, and if you’re new to cannabidiol, don’t fall for marketing schemes! Unfortunately, not every product is reliable, so it’s up to you to do the research to find the best CBD as possible.
A collection of cannabis products selected by Jamie Evans (photo credit: Colleen Eversman for The Ultimate Guide to CBD)
Since writing my book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol, one of the most common questions that I get asked is, “what’s the best way to know if you’re getting clean CBD?” To ensure you’re picking a trustworthy brand, here are three things that I like to recommend:
Know your product from soil to bottle
It’s extremely important to know where your products come from because, as I’ve mentioned before, all CBD products are not created equal! Don’t purchase the first item you see on the internet. Do your research and look into where the company is sourcing the cannabis/hemp from. If you cannot find this information online, reach out to the company to better understand how/where their products are made. If a company refuses to give you information, that’s a big red flag.
Look for Third-Party Testing
At the time of writing this article, there are no officially regulated testing standards in place for hemp CBD products. Knowing this, if a hemp company has legitimate third-party testing results, they’ve gone the extra mile and it’s a good sign they are a reliable brand that cares about their customers and what they’re producing. Transparency is key! I personally believe that any quality brand should have lab results or a Certificate of Analysis that they can share with you. If they don’t, move on.
Find a Dependable Marketplace
The last step to finding a reliable product is to look for a quality marketplace that vets their selection before it reaches the consumer. If you're looking for high-quality hemp-derived CBD products, Come Back Daily is a perfect example! They have done the research for you and stand by every product that goes onto the shelf.
While these are just a few simple suggestions that you can follow, remember that learning how to choose a trustworthy brand is a crucial first step that will help you find success as you explore CBD and cannabis. Remember, cannabidiol is not “one-size-fits-all”. To find a product that works best for you, start with a low-dose and safely experiment with different products and cannabinoid ratios to find your perfect balance.
For more information about CBD or for more beginner tips, please be sure to pick up a copy of my new book by clicking here.
With love and support as you begin your CBD journey,
Jamie Evans, The Herb Somm
About the Author:
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over a decade of wine industry experience and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for her literary work and producing high-end events. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheHerbSomm.