Cannabis and Health

21 March 2019

CBD Oil for beginners: What is it and how do I use it?

If you've heard about CBD, but still not quite sure what it is or if it is something for you, then let us explain the basics of what you should know

By Mell Green

CBD, one of the best known compounds found in cannabis, has a wide range of uses and methods of consumption. Although the list of available products is long, it’s most commonly consumed in the form of oil.

The good thing is that CBD oil is for everybody and has opened up a lot of doors for the cannabis industry. It has also opened a lot of eyes. The global conversation we’re having right now is the realization that the human body has evolved to respond to the cannabis plant and its compounds in a beneficial way. So, whether you want to alleviate anxiety and pain or sleep better, your experimentation should start here.

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil

When it comes to CBD oil, there are a ton of misconceptions. Some products contain a pure CBD extract – like CBD crystals, others may contain CBD in its natural form, along with other cannabinoids and terpenes. Then there are those that contain hemp extracts derived from the leaves and stalks of the plant, with or without CBD as their defining ingredient. At a glance, hemp oil and CBD oil may appear to be the same, but it’s important to understand how they differ. This controversy is largely due to two different things: the vast amount of mislabeled products on the market for both oils and, the fact that they both derive from the same cannabis plant species.

Simply put, CBD oil contains beneficial cannabinoids, extracted from the flowers (and to a lesser extent, leaves and stalks) and is used for medicinal purposes. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is made from hemp seeds (which do not contain any cannabinoids) and mainly used for nutritional purposes. Think of it more like olive oil.

What is CBD Oil and How Do You Use It?

Known as one of the easiest and most effective ways to get CBD into the body, oil is the most straightforward method of consumption. People are using it on their skin, putting it under the tongue, eating it as a chewy edible, and drizzling it into their drinks.

CBD oil is essentially free of the psychoactive compound THC and made with CBD (cannabidiol), which is one of more than 113 different chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. All science jargon aside, just know that the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is to thank for CBD’s impact. Whether applied orally or topically, cannabinoids and terpenes (compounds responsible for the scent of cannabis) in CBD oil help the body maintain homeostasis by influencing various functions in the body.

For wellness and good health, homeostasis must be achieved, and CBD oil influences this through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system by affecting the central nervous system.. The list of ailments CBD oil has helped is lengthy, and (of course) varies from person to person. In the past several years, studies have suggested that CBD can help with anxiety, inflammation, migraines, and chronic pain — all of which are among the most notable things CBD oil is said to help relieve.

Although there’s neither an exact dosing for  CBD or CBD “overdose” established, the known side effects remain considerably less problematic and lower in risk at any dosage, compared to pharmaceuticals.

Everyone’s different, and we each have our unique history with the things we put into our bodies. And because we all have different body chemistries, our reactions to CBD oil will also be different. That said, you can determine a personal dosage by your weight and then gauge how your body reacts to that amount. Over time, you may gradually increase your intake, but be sure to continue monitoring how your body reacts until you’ve achieved the right dosage for you.

CBD Oil Extraction Methods

It is important to understand the different ways CBD is extracted, as they have a major impact on the quality of the end product. CBD oil can be extracted from cannabis or industrial hemp plants. However, considering the current legal standing of CBD, many CBD oil products are extracted from cannabis plants that contain less than 0.1% THC, considered to be “industrial hemp”. Here are three commonly used methods:

Carbon Dioxide Extraction: Believed to be one of the cleanest methods for human consumption, Supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures. This catches CO2 in a fluid state, which efficiently draws out and preserve the purity of CBD along with other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Supercritical Co2 extraction setup

Liquid Solvents: This method is appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. Plant material gets placed into a container along with high-grade solvents (usually butane, isopropyl alcohol, hexane, or ethanol), which strip it of cannabinoids and flavors. This transforms it into a liquid that will evaporate away from the mixture, leaving only concentrated chemicals and flavors in the form of an oily substance.

Carrier Oil Extraction: For this method (which is the oldest form of cannabinoid extraction), plant material undergoes decarboxylation. This is a heating process to activate cannabinoids in the plant. For cannabinoid extraction, plant material is then added to a carrier oil (usually olive, coconut or hemp oil) and heated again to 100°C for about 1-2 hours. This process ‘infuses’ the carrier oil with the cannabinoids from the plant material.

Any downsides to CBD Oil?

As the old saying goes, “not all CBD oil products are created equal.” Because there are so many CBD sources and production techniques, some CBD products may not only contain CBD. Side effects, if any, could potentially come from the ingredients a product is mixed with (which may or may not be labeled). Also, how products are consumed affects how they’re absorbed in the body, so performing a little research first might help better determine which CBD product is right for you. To get the most out of your CBD oil, explore our online menu here!

Post author
Mell Green
Mell Green is an enthusiast of all things cannabis and writes content that represents some of the best things that we as a people can strive for: good health and happiness.
See more from Mell Green

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