While you might already know the best way to dose and be an expert on terpenes, there are plenty of lesser known facts to learn about CBD. From its earliest use and who’s using it now to the difference between cannabinoids and hemp plants, CBD has had a surge in popularity and with its increased availability, the more you know the better.
CBD has been used for thousands of years (just not in quite the same way).
While the extraction methods and applications are considerably more advanced, humankind has been utilising CBD from hemp for a long time. Hemp has been used widely in products ranging from paper, textiles and as a food source for over 5000 years now. Its first recorded history of use in medical practices is in China at around 2000BC. “Pen Ts’Ao Ching” (read as: hemp) was already widely cultivated as a food source until surgeon Hua T’o used hemp boiled with wine as an anaesthetic before performing operations on his patients(1).
Different products absorb at different rates and in different quantities.
Not a lot of people consider the method of administration when they’re taking CBD, but it really does make a big difference. In the same way that an intravenous drip administering pain relief in a hospital has a faster absorption rate and level than tablets, the same applies to CBD products. Capsules, edibles, vaping and tinctures all have a different bioavailability meaning your body will utilise them at different speeds and in different quantities.
Vaping works with your respiratory system so your body absorbs CBD as rapidly as it would oxygen - you’ll absorb up to 70% of the CBD you inhale in around 6 seconds. Tinctures work by absorbing through the mucous membranes in your mouth and will enter your bloodstream quickly. The CBD will spread from your mouth throughout your system in around 20 minutes and you’ll absorb around 40% of the dose. Edibles and capsules have to work their way through your digestive system so take around 2 hours and you’ll absorb between 4 and 20% of the stated dose.
CBD doesn’t equal THC and there’s a big difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.
Industrial hemp and marijuana are from the same family but chemically are two very different plants. Industrial hemp has naturally high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that induces a high. Marijuana plants have much higher levels of THC particularly due to selective breeding and have minimal levels of CBD.
Even the plants themselves look different. Hemp is much taller and thinner while marijuana tends to be shorter and more bushy. When hemp is harvested for CBD, there are different processes used to extract the cannabinoids that allow any traces of THC to be removed, leaving pure CBD isolate.
CBD is suitable for pets too.
Our pets have an endocannabinoid system too, just like us. While the research is still in its infancy, dog owners have started using CBD for things like arthritis, pain and stress. It’s important to speak to your vet first and make sure you’re using THC free drops or CBD infused dog treat, but the potential to treat our furry companions with a plant based anti-inflammatory is worth looking into.
CBD is just one cannabinoid - there are over 100 in the hemp plant alone.
Most people have heard of THC and CBD - these are the two most well known cannabinoids because they occur in the highest concentrations. Industrial hemp has almost no THC but is naturally rich in CBD. It also contains a number of other cannabinoids that are found exclusively in the cannabis sativa plant. Some of these include CBG, CBN and CBC. While many CBD products are made with CBD isolate (the CBD compound on its own) the broad spectrum options will often contain these cannabinoids too that may contribute to the entourage effect.
CBD is becoming increasingly common in people’s lives and it’s also more accessible.
t’s also legal in more countries than ever. Medical marijuana is still heavily regulated and only available with a doctor's prescription, this comes down to its THC content. CBD has to contain less than 0.2% THC to be sold in the UK but many products are totally THC free. Since the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 came into effect in the US, hemp agriculture has increased significantly to meet the demand for hemp products across the globe.
CBD oil isn’t the same as hemp oil. While some CBD tinctures may come in a hemp seed oil base, hemp seed oil alone won’t typically contain those same levels of CBD. CBD is the cannabinoid derived from hemp while the oil is just that - an oil that’s pressed from the seeds. People commonly use CBD infused hemp oil as a dietary supplement for things like mood support and to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Hemp seed oil won’t make you drift off more quickly but it is rich in omega 3 and 6 and makes a great addition to your favourite recipes and salad dressings.
There are different kinds of CBD extract.
While all CBD tinctures, vape liquids and capsules will contain the CBD compound, there are three kinds of extract - isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum. CBD isolate is just that, the cannabidiol compound on its own. Broad spectrum will contain other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG as well as terpenes that will give it a naturally herbaceous flavour and fragrance. Full spectrum is less common as these extracts may contain more than the legal 0.2% amount of THC. If you’re unsure of which you have, you can check the lab testing results of your CBD product.
CBD can conflict with other prescription medication.
If you’ve ever picked up a prescription before, you might have noticed some medicines can be affected by something as ordinary as grapefruit. The reason is certain chemicals that occur naturally in foods and dietary supplements - including CBD - can affect how your body breaks down and absorbs other medicines. This is why we always advise speaking to your GP before taking CBD products if you’re on any other prescription medication.
- An Archaeological and Historical Account of Cannabis in China p.446 - jstor.org
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