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Whether you are new to using CBD, or are a current consumer, there’s still plenty to know about CBD products and which may be best for you.

There are two cannabinoids present in large quantities in the cannabis plant. The cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in the plant that causes the high, and CBD (cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.

Recreational cannabis users usually seek out marijuana plants with high levels of THC, while others prefer to get the same benefits of the cannabis plant WITHOUT the psychoactive effects from THC, which is where CBD comes into play.

If you’re just starting to implement CBD oil into your lifestyle or just wanting to learn more, there is a lot to know about CBD. This guide will cover some of the most common questions surrounding CBD and help you find out everything you need to know about CBD and its applications, questions like..

What Exactly is CBD?
How Does CBD Differ From THC?
Does CBD Produce Any Side Effects?
Knowing How to Buy the Best CBD Products

Ready? Here we go!

What exactly is CBD?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants.

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that give the plant its therapeutic properties. CBD is one of the many cannabinoids that have been found in hemp. The effect that CBD has on the body is a result of how it interacts with receptors in the brain.

Individuals are able to feel the effects of CBD because of the naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors found in the brain that interact with the endocannabinoid system that’s responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. The main components of the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are located on the surface of many cells in the body.

Although plenty of both are found all over the body, CB1 receptors are the most prevalent in the central nervous system and in the brain, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system.

Unlike the THC compound, CBD does not have psychoactive effects and this is because it doesn’t have a direct effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors. This is why the majority of marijuana that is produced for recreational purposes is usually very low in CBD and much higher in THC.

How does CBD differ from THC?

CBD and THC are both derived from the cannabis plant and each interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). They also share a similar chemical makeup to the body’s own naturally existing endocannabinoids, allowing them to interact with the receptors associated with the system to control the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Each are found in large amounts and are the most abundant of all the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. And while they have both been found to have several health benefits, CBD and THC are very different.

Psychoactive properties.  One of the biggest differences between the two is the fact that THC induces psychoactive effects, which is what some individuals seek to get that high feeling. On its own, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive components.

THC is an agonist (a chemical that binds to a receptor and activates the receptor to produce a biological response) to the CB1 receptors of the ECS, which are predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system. The high that recreational marijuana provides is prompted by the activation of these CB1 receptors.

CBD doesn’t bind with CB1 receptors and is considered to be an enemy of CB1 agonists. That means CBD doesn’t possess any psychoactive effects, regardless of the amount that is consumed.

Legality. THC is deemed federally illegal, though some states have already begun to legalize recreational use of THC-laden marijuana. CBD derived from hemp is considered to be federally legal, however it may be prohibited in individual states.

The legality of cannabinoids in the U.S. is contingent to their source (or plant) and concentration. Since THC is listed under the Controlled Substances Act, it is federally prohibited. Presently, 29 states have made medical marijuana legal, and 9 states have made recreational marijuana legal.

However, legal CBD products must be derived from the hemp plant that is high in CBD and low in (or none) THC concentrations. In hemp-derived CBD products, the THC concentration must be less than 0.03% for the product to be legal.  

Source. CBD and THC are each located in the flowers, stalks and seeds of both hemp and marijuana, in varying proportions. THC is more abundant in the marijuana plant, while CBD is more abundant in hemp.

THC dominates the marijuana plant. It is considered illegal due to the psychoactive effects it produces. While in comparison, CBD dominates hemp. CBD doesn’t give users that high effect when used.=

Can CBD be detected on a Drug Test?

There’s many reasons why you may need to take a drug test. Sometimes when you begin a new job, getting in an accident at work, and participating in competitive sports are some of the more common reasons you may be required to go through drug screening.

Many people wonder if CBD will show up on test results if you take a drug test. And it’s something wise to be aware of, especially if you are first supplementing with CBD.

The most crucial thing to be aware of is the THC concentration in the CBD product, if there is any.  The legal amount is 0.03% and lower. If there is any more than a trace of THC in your product, it will be detected on a drug test.

High-quality CBD products that are derived from hemp have very minimal to zero THC present, meaning you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be able to pass a drug test despite having consumed CBD.  

Knowing how to buy the best CBD products

There are many CBD products available for purchase. As the popularity and acceptance of CBD oil continues to grow across the country, more and more CBD products are being manufactured.

But with so many different products on the market, knowing how to decipher which products are superior versus those that are not as high-quality, can be difficult.

As a consumer, you want to be sure that you’re making the most informed purchasing decision you can. You want to make sure that the product you’re going to buy and consume will provide you with maximum benefits with minimal side effects.

Some aspects to consider when purchasing CBD products:
How was the compound extracted?

Before CBD is placed on the market and available for purchase, it needs to first be extracted from a hemp plant. However, there are several different methods of extraction that manufacturers use.

The following are the extraction methods most typically used:

CO2 Extraction: This is perhaps the best and safest method of CBD extraction. This tactic uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull out the CBD, along with other chemicals, from the hemp plant. Using low temperatures and high pressures, carbon dioxide serves as a solvent with no hazards that other extraction methods can cause. Resulting in a pure, potent CBD product that lacks any potentially hazardous residues. However, this method of extraction requires expensive equipment, which means the product will likely cost more.

Ethanol Extraction: This method of CBD extraction uses ethanol to remove the CBD from the hemp plant. The hemp plant and ethanol are heated up together and once the solvent evaporates, CBD is left behind. This method is much less expensive than CO2 extraction method, however the product is not as pure or potent. Chlorophyll may also be left behind which can cause negative side effects. Though chlorophyll can be removed, the final CBD product itself will not be as strong.  

Butane Extraction: This method is similar to ethanol extraction, butane is used to extract CBD from the hemp plant. This product is sometimes chosen over ethanol as it leaves behind a CBD oil that’s more potent. However, it can also leave behind residues that can affect users negatively.

Dry Ice Extraction: Many DIY and at-home CBD oil users may extract their own CBD using the dry ice extraction method. This is due to the fact that it is a relatively easy process and simple equipment is required.

Choosing the Best Product Manufacturer

Similar to any consumer product, the quality of CBD oil products tends to rest in the hands of the manufacturer. There are several CBD oil manufacturers out there, and more keep popping up as the product continues to gain popularity. But not all manufacturers are created equal, which means their products are not all the same quality.

It’s important to do some homework into the manufacturer you intend on buying CBD oil products from. Ideally, the manufacturer should use high-quality hemp plants that are cultivated using an innovative hemp breeding technique that result in higher CBD concentrations. These plants can be grown in all types of soil, however they should be cultivated in airy soil that is not overly saturated with water or acid. Also, the plant should be sowed at low temperatures.

Manufacturers should also be very transparent with their labeling, making it easy for consumers to know how much CBD is their product as well as if there are any traces of THC.

Manufacturers should also use superior extraction methods to ensure potent, pure CBD products. Of course, experience and reputation also play a key role in the decision process.

The CBD Concentration

Another important factor that should be taken into consideration before purchasing, is how much CBD is actually included. Different CBD products will have varying levels of CBD concentrations, and it’s important to know exactly what that is before making a purchase.

We buy CBD products so we can take advantage of its amazing medicinal and therapeutic benefits, so the product should contain a relatively high level of the cannabinoid. Labels should indicate this information clearly, but consumers should also be sure to check with the manufacturer and look for any lab reports that comes with the products.

You should also be looking for any traces of THC when checking for CBD content. Since THC has psychoactive effects, it’s important that the product contains no more than 0.03% THC, if any at all. This will avoid getting “high” and the risk of purchasing a product that may actually be illegal, depending on your state’s laws.

CBD’s lack of psychoactive properties makes it ideal to be implemented into various treatment protocols due to its healing properties. As more research is conducted, the more we will know how it can help reduce negative symptoms and improve our quality of life.

If you’re just learning about CBD and are considering adding it to your daily regimen, it is recommended to research the different products available. Similar to many other health products you buy, be sure to do your homework on the manufacturers who supply CBD to ensure high quality and potency. It is also recommended to consult your doctor before using.