According to a Gallup poll taken in August 2019, after a federal law paved the way for legalizing the use of CBD products, at least one in seven Americans reported that they took CBD products. While the majority demographic of CBD product users are young Americans, with more and more growing interest in alternative medications to relieve even the most common ailments such as pain and insomnia, many are turning to CBD products for their medical needs.
However, like with all forms of alternative medicine, doing your research and furthermore, consulting with a medical professional are important steps to deciding whether or not using alternative medicine can ensure that your medical needs are met.
In this guide, we go over the “b” in basics for CBD hemp oil, answering common questions and clearing common misconceptions in an easy-to-read and straightforward manner.
What Is CBD Hemp Oil?
Before we go into specifics about CBD hemp oil, it’s best to start with this common question that has confused many first-time researchers: what is hemp and how is it different from marijuana?
While scientifically there is no such thing as a “hemp” or “marijuana” species, both words are used to classify plants in the cannabis genus. Just like how two citrus fruits may be categorized by how sour and sweet they are while ignoring their scientifically detailed backgrounds, “hemp” and “marijuana” are terms to classify plants from the cannabis genus based on their chemical composition.
The main difference between hemp and marijuana is the compounds composed within the plants. Simply put, plants considered as hemp have a THC level of less than 0.3% while plants that can be considered as marijuana have a THC level higher than 0.3%. THC is the compound most commonly associated with the high received by those smoking marijuana recreationally. And though both plants look strikingly similar, they both have different uses as well. For thousands of years, hemp has been used as a resource to create tools such as rope and cooking oil while marijuana has been mostly used for recreational as well as therapeutic purposes.
Now that we’ve covered the common misconceptions between hemp and marijuana, let’s move onto CBD. What exactly is CBD and how is it used in relation to hemp oil products?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is a compound commonly found in cannabis. The way CBD interacts with our body is primarily by connecting with important cell receptors found throughout our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). No need to be intimidated by how long that might sound—the ECS is essentially a cluster of nerves that regulate and control some of our body’s most important functions such as sleeping and eating and plays a role in our body’s recovery process as well. What CBD does is essentially connect with these cell receptors, triggering processes such as anti-inflammation and the release of serotonin.
While marijuana usually has less CBD, hemp has shown to contain at least 20% or more CBD. However, CBD hemp oil products are typically infused with CBD. Regardless of the product you purchase, you should check how many milligrams of CBD are included in each dose.
Is It Legal for Me to Use CBD Hemp Oil?
Though the legalization of hemp on a federal level was only recently in 2018, nationwide usage of hemp oil, as well as curiosity towards using CBD products, has spiked. However, despite legalization, research is still being done on the effects of CBD products and some states still maintain legal restrictions about CBD usage. Be sure to check with your state laws as depending on the writing, you may be subject to such restrictions.
Can CBD Hemp Oil Make Me High?
Since CBD hemp oil is specifically made from hemp, which has a THC concentration of less than 0.3%, CBD hemp oil can not make you feel the “high” most commonly associated with marijuana.
Especially for those who operate heavy machinery or need a level of concentration for their job duties, this makes CBD hemp oil a very convenient and reliable medication. However, be aware of the following side effects that may occur when taking CBD hemp oil:
- Changes in appetite and weight
Like with all medications, please consult with a medical professional before using CBD hemp oil on a daily basis to see if it’s right for you. Also, consult with a medical professional in the situation you have persisting side effects or discomfort when using CBD hemp oil products.
While medical research has shown that the human body can take up to 1,500 mg of CBD daily, be sure to stick to the appropriate dosage of CBD as all good things come in moderation.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
While hemp naturally contains CBD, the CBD must be extracted from the hemp plant first before it can be medicinally used. When extracting CBD, a variety of processes are available. Small-scale productions use solvents such as butane to extract CBD from hemp plants; however, sometimes remnants of the butane used may end up in the final product, and this material is not fit for consumption.
A more expensive method but with fewer drawbacks is CO2 extraction. While CO2 extraction requires special machinery and professionals who can operate it, the extraction method is better for the final product and for the consumer’s body. Basically, by heating up CO2 to a specific temperature in addition to applying pressure, CO2 can act as a solvent. When extracting CBD, hemp is typically placed in an extraction chamber of the machinery where this heated CO2, as well as pressure, can take out the CBD in the plant. After the CBD is extracted, it’s separated into a collection chamber, the CO2 can be re-used for another extraction process once it has cooled down, and the hemp plant can be re-purposed as materials such a textile or rope. In a way, the CO2 extraction process is more sustainable and environmentally friendly as well.
For the hemp oil, the typical process is cold-pressing the seeds to produce hemp seed oil. This method preserves the health benefits of the oil, such as unsaturated fats and the nutrients and minerals naturally contained within hempseed.
A common misconception is that CBD hemp oil is simply hemp oil, but in reality, it’s actually hemp oil infused with CBS extracted from hemp plants. When purchasing a CBD hemp oil product, be sure to check the dosage and the amount of CBD in the product to make sure it fits your medicinal needs.
What Is CBD Hemp Oil Good For?
CBD hemp oil has a variety of uses, from pain relief to even reducing symptoms related to terminal illnesses such as cancer. While there are a multitude of ailments that CBD hemp oil can alleviate, in this section of the guide we’ll go over the top five most common reasons people choose CBD products for their medicinal needs.
According to a Gallup poll taken in 2019 shortly after the federal legalization of CBD products, 40% of CBD users take it for pain relief. Since CBD can impact the cell receptors in your ECS, this leads to reduced inflammation. Users of CBD for issues such as back pain and arthritis often find relief from their frequent aches due to this.
Following pain relief, the second-largest reason many individuals have looked at taking CBD products is for reducing anxiety. Especially as conversations concerning mental health are just starting and improvements are still being made to treating mental health issues, CBD products play an important role in helping individuals who currently suffer from anxiety and its symptoms. Due to CBD’s ability to engage the brain’s receptors for serotonin, which is important for regulating mood and social behavior, studies have shown that taking the appropriate amount of CBD is effective in lowering anxiety.
To be clear, CBD hemp oil can’t eliminate your insomnia—however, it can ease symptoms that may be causing your insomnia, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
On top of this, studies have shown that over 60% of participants with anxiety have had better sleep after using CBD products. However, one thing to note is that when using CBD especially to help with poor sleep, it may take more than a month for the effects to kick in, meaning you will need to take a dose for a significant amount of time to see changes in your sleeping habits.
Though not as well known, CBD hemp oil has also become an increasingly used addition to skincare products. While research is still being done on CBD hemp oil and its use as a skincare product, current research has shown that not only does CBD act as an excellent anti-inflammatory, but it also has many antioxidants. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is also anti-inflammatory but can also serve as a useful moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores.
However, like with all skincare goods, different people require different products. The same dosage and product will not have the same effect between two people, so when choosing a product that best fits your skincare needs, be sure to do extra research and have extra time to test things out.
5. Symptoms Related to Cancer
Some studies have shown that CBD has anti-cancer properties, meaning it can instill cell death in cancer cells. While these studies have only be restricted to test tube and animal-involved experiments, CBD benefits for those suffering from symptoms due to chemotherapy have been confirmed.
Especially for nausea, vomiting, and pain, studies have shown that consumption of CBD can help with reducing the severity of these symptoms. While there are drugs dedicated to treating these symptoms, for some individuals, these drugs are ineffective and CBD products have shown to be a good replacement instead.
How Do I Take CBD Hemp Oil?
Considering how there are over 65 points in your body for CBD to interact with cell receptors, it’s important to choose an intake method that fits best for you and your needs. While the intake method will depend on your medicinal needs, specifically for CBD hemp oil, the most common intake method is orally. There are two ways to take CBD orally: swallowed or sublingual.
Oral — Swallowed
Simply take the CBD hemp oil with food or swallow it directly. Through this method, CBD is first passed through the digestive tract and then absorbed into your bloodstream. While this is the slowest way for CBD to reach its target destination, it’s also the way where CBD is the longest active. Studies have shown that peak bloodstream levels occur anywhere between 1 to 6 hours. Especially for the long run, swallowing down the CBD hemp oil may be better.
Oral — Sublingual
While we’re sure seeing this term may lead to some to Google right away, we break it down for you here: sublingual administration is the administering of drugs to the body by dissolving it beneath the tongue. By dissolving the drug beneath the tongue, the drug is absorbed faster into the body as it enters the capillary-rich area under the tongue. While the effects of CBD hemp oil taken sublingually happen right away, the peak bloodstream level is only between half an hour to 5 hours.
Can I Prepare Food with CBD Hemp Oil?
Yes! Especially for those who find the earthy taste of CBD hemp oil to be a little more on the strong side, taking CBD hemp oil with food is a good way to mitigate the flavor while still reaping the full benefits of the oil. However, keep in mind that by consuming the oil with food, you will have to wait for its effects to kick in as the oil must go through your digestive tract first before entering your body’s bloodstream.
In addition to this, try to consume CBD hemp oil by mixing it with sauce or sprinkling drops on food. Since CBD hemp oil has a lower evaporation rate compared to your typical household cooking oil, it’s suggested not to use it for cooking if you want the full health benefits.
Things to Consider Before Buying CBD Hemp Oil
After reading through most of our guide, if you feel that CBD hemp oil may be the best for you in terms of alternative medicine, please consider these four pointers below, especially before you decide on a particular product or even before you begin your search:
1. Your Body’s Needs
When choosing a CBD hemp oil product, it’s important to consider factors such as your weight, your height, and your metabolism—all of which are special and particular to you and your body. Different people require different levels of CBD in their product, and on top of this, dosages and products that work for certain individuals may not have the same effect for you. Doing what is best for your body and its medical needs should be the number one priority.
2. Consult with a Medical Professional
Like with all medication, consulting with a medical professional is necessary. Not only can a doctor help evaluate whether or not CBD will ease your medical condition, but they can also help in determining which products would be best for you or what dosage would give your body the most benefits.
3. Research Brands
Since CBD hemp oil isn’t vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumer research is more important than ever when deliberating the array of CBD products available on the market. Since companies selling CBD products aren’t under any scrutiny except from the reviews of customers, brands aren’t obliged to be truthful about the CBD levels in their products—or if there is even any CBD in the product.
4. Factor in Costs
As of writing, Medicaid and health insurance do not cover any oils that contain CBD. For your convenience, be sure to weigh the cost of CBD hemp oil into your budgets before fully committing—depending on the medical condition you are taking CBD hemp oil for, it may take more than one month to see its effects and to adjust the dosage to the right amount for your needs.
Though there are many studies and tests that still must be done to fully gauge the medicinal benefits of CBD hemp oil, given the rise of interest and consumption of CBD and hemp for medicinal use, we can only see a trend of growth for its usage as well as for the hemp industry.
However, while statistics, facts, and numbers are nice defining boundaries, the most important goal in promoting knowledge and education of CBD hemp oil is to give everyone a chance to reap its benefits, regardless of their medical background and their prior knowledge of the subject. We hope with this guide that not only do you feel more informed as to what CBD hemp oil is and its applications, but also you feel more able to make a more informed decision as to whether or not CBD hemp oil is the right choice for you and your medical needs