It’s everywhere, but does it *actually* work? Why your body loves CBD and all the other questions you’re wondering.

AKA: Your most-asked CBD questions finally answered. 

If we had a dollar for every time someone googled ‘what is CBD‘, we’d be currently chilling in the Bahamas and only eat tacos for life. Sometime in the past year or so cannabidiol, or CBD, the naturally occurring molecule found in all forms of Cannabis went viral. Like, swimming-in-an-ocean-full-of CBD-infused products kind of viral. Basically, it’s everywhere. CBD makeup? Yep. CBD honey? Yes! CBD sparkling water? Sure. We’ll be real and say that as a conscious CBD brand & farm some products are really good, some eh, and some not so good, like, at all. We’re finding CBD in our lattes at our favorite coffee shop, in sugary gummy bears touting health benefits (vegan or not), dosed in dark chocolate, infused into pretty packaged drinks, at our favorite neighborhood bar’s new trending mocktail menu. But what is CBD and how do you know it’s actually good for us?

Laura here, founder of Soul Addict. I’m not one to dive into trends, but after launching a conscious CBD brand and hemp farm, seeing so many people share how significantly it’s helped them, I guess you can say I’m not surprised everyone’s buzzing about this magical molecule. We’re well on our way of witnessing the wave of legal plant medicine as a movement for all of cannabis. What matters is access to truly understanding the ‘whys’ behind how this plant is so special to so many. We want you to feel empowered with the know-how to find products that are worth the hype and understand exactly what CBD is and how it works within our body. Sometimes CBD can be fun (aka: that CBD Mezcal Mule I downed wondering how many milligrams were actually added but convinced myself I felt something). Yet, sometimes you just want your CBD to really work while feeling good about what you put into your body. Ya’ know?

 Rainbow free icon The Science of CBD 

Where does CBD come from?

Let’s get technical here: Flowers! All the pretty flowers. Well, CBD comes from cannabis flowers that is (not daisies, duh), also known as ‘buds’. These buds grow beautiful spike-y (and super sticky) resin on the sides of the flowers known as trichomes. 

These trichomes are milky white in color and look like tiny crystals containing all the highest amounts of medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. Such as the mood-boosting and, at times, mind-altering cannabinoids, like CBD and THC. When we hear about ‘whole plant CBD’ this means the company utilizes this flower in the end product and all the cannabinoids found within it to create a ‘full-spectrum’ CBD. We decided to consciously chose to ensure we only create full-spectrum CBD here at Soul Addict, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What is CBD, exactly? 

CBD is just one small part of a whole big family of feel-good cannabinoids, aka naturally-occurring molecules found in both hemp and high-THC cannabis. The reason why CBD and THC are the most talked about cannabinoids is most likely because they’re the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis. 

Besides CBD and THC here are over 118 known cannabinoids found in the plant. While research is still being navigated, we do have science-backed limited research that these cannabinoids work best when they are together in regards to what is known as the ‘Entourage Effect’. A product that is *just CBD* is known as an ‘isolate’, which is kind of like one part of a whole food group- you really want to eat the colors of the rainbow, not just broccoli. Just sayin’. 

How does CBD work with my body? 

CBD works with a highly complex system in our body called the Endocannabinoid System. This system acts as the sacred link between our mind and body, sparking connections with everything from our mood, appetite, pain, anxiety, immune response and so much more. When we ingest CBD or apply it topically, our Endocannabinoid System has a channel of receptors that recognize it and then break down CBD’s information.

It is then distributed across our body’s unique receptor channels (mainly being between what’s called CB1 and CB2 receptors) depending on how CBD can be best utilized specific to our own needs. This means when each of us uses CBD, our bodies may do different things with it- how cool is that? For me, it may be used to help ease pain, for you it may be to help you sleep. Our Endocannabinoid System is magical like that and essentially takes the information that CBD gives it as it sees fit. Pretty amazing stuff, right? 

So why doesn’t taking CBD get me high? The difference between hemp and high-THC cannabis

Because CBD in itself is a non-psychoactive molecule, not the plant itself and not the high-THC cannabis variety. The only psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis is THC, which is what makes us high and is found in more abundant amounts like in Marijuana, aka high-THC cannabis varieties. 

However, CBD is found in both high-THC and hemp cannabis plants. Yes, hemp is cannabis and cannabis is hemp. Remember, Cannabis is a *species of plant*, not the plant itself. Both hemp and high-THC cannabis are a part of this umbrella. Cool right? Genetically, though, in terms of thinking of CBD in an *end-product from one of these plants* like a tincture, a smokable or edible, we like to say that hemp is kind of like the little sister to high-THC Cannabis as hemp naturally has a much lower count of the psychological-enhancing cannabinoid known as ‘THC’ that gets us high.

What is CBD?

Wait, how can industrial hemp contain therapeutic cannabinoids? Isn’t it for things like paper, clothing, etc.? How can that be medicinal?

The answer is, you’re right, it doesn’t. Well, not exactly…

This is a huge misconception in the industry among those who aren’t directly growing and working with cannabis plants. We get it, so that’s why we really pride ourselves in helping people get excited about growing this beautiful plant. Here’s the breakdown: Just like there are different varieties (indica / sativa) and cultivars (varieties maintained and/or created by a certain organization / person) of high-THC medicinal cannabis, this is also true for hemp. Using hemp for inflammation vs. using hemp for a tire means that two totally different varieties of hemp are being grown for one versus the other. The conversation really is about whether or not the hemp is a male or female plant. This is where industrial + medicinal hemp goes separate ways as they’re not cultivated and grown in the same ways.

The really cool part: All medicinal varieties of cannabis must be female plants to produce flowers for abundant CBD and cannabinoid content. Their male counterpart cannot produce any therapeutic cannabinoids and are only relied on for the most appropriate definition of what ‘industrial hemp’ brings about in a mental picture. Tires, ropes, those hideous necklaces that were cool circa 2005. 🙂 Feminized seeds and plants from hemp can create beautiful cannabinoid profiles and varieties, but again, with a much lower THC content. 

How is it legal across all 50 states?

Whether we source CBD from hemp or high-THC weed, the CBD component is the same. The difference is whether or not you can sell the CBD across all 50 states depends on which plant your sourcing it from.

In “non-legal” states, producers who operate CBD companies across the country must stay within .3% THC limit and must source CBD from Hemp. For instance, our products at SA are sourced from organic hemp-only, are full-spectrum meaning they contain the whole-plant concentrates, and contain .3% of THC or less- which is well within the legal limit of THC. So, we, for example, can sell in all 50 states.

Producers in “legal states” can source their CBD from both Hemp and Marijuana and can essentially create varied CBD-based products that either contain low or high THC content. It’s up to each producer what products they create as long as they have a state license.  For example, Whoopi & Maya, a cult favorite brand, is only available in Colorado and California because the THC level is higher than .3%. For the record, I’ve heard wonders about their bath soak for menstrual cramps if you’re in either state…

Is CBD safe to use? 

In a nutshell, yes. In November 2017 the World Health Organization, the leading organization in the world for public health matters, deemed CBD safe and non-habit forming

What can CBD help with? 

Arguably the most asked question here at SA, so we’ve spent time on helping more people really understand its wonders. I like to say CBD is like a multidimensional adaptogen. 

What is that? Well, while adaptogens are herbs known for their ability to help us create bodily balance and destress over time for certain uses, CBD acts like this in the same way- but seems to help with multiple issues (hence: multidimensional adaptogen). To break it down for you we could take CBD to help us with anxiety and it could still help with the pain from when you broke your arm in the third grade. 

While CBD still has a long road of peer-reviewed medical research ahead of it (fun fact: Israel is the world leader in Cannabis research), what we do know is that it’s a promising natural alternative to help us navigate health conditions such as anxiety (it helped in this fear of public speaking study), epilepsy, inflammatory disorders, pain management, autism, autoimmune disorders.

How do I source trustworthy CBD that *actually works*?

Knowing how your CBD is sourced is crucial, especially as the industry continues to grow (and thus becomes tainted by cheaper operating practices). It’s an agricultural product after all, so we like to share sourcing quality CBD is much like sourcing organic veggies and fruits at the grocery store. 

Always make sure that you’re sourcing your CBD products from a company you can trust – one that values transparency (ahem, like Soul Addict). Most credible CBD companies will consistently back up the purity and potency of their products by conducting third-party lab testing and showcasing a commitment to sourcing their hemp from organic-practicing and/or certified organic farmers. It’s important to note that the USDA has just begun to select farms for ‘USDA organic’ labels for Hemp crops for the first time, ever, in 2017, but it’s actually still pretty hard to apply for until the crop is more abundant across the board. Smaller companies and farmers are still in the process of ensuring the label, which isn’t cheap. We have to remember as consumers that this is a newly-budding industry and it is just getting its footing in regards to regulations. Doing your research and asking for COAs (third-party lab tests) on products you’re not sure of is the only way to guarantee credible sourcing and high-quality CBD.

How do I use CBD to get the most out of it? 

The fun part! We tell our clients that the possibilities are truly endless- from tinctures, edibles to inhalants- there’s something for everyone to experience CBD. The biggest hurdle is sharing something we’re not used to hearing, though, and that’s CBD isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ supplement. You have to always listen to your body and start slow to really see what works best for *your body*. 

To decide how to get the most of your CBD you must first decide how you want to utilize it. This is key to understanding what method is best for you. As I mentioned, CBD won’t make you feel ‘high’, but I’ve personally coined what I like to call the ‘zen shift’ as the best way to describe how CBD helps me. Tinctures are easy-to-use sublingually (taken under the tongue) and while takes longer to get into our system, will actually provide longer relief times. Smoking and vaping can provide quicker and stronger effects, but will not last as long. 

You can also add tinctures to your smoothies, coffee, tea, raw recipes (I personally don’t like to heat CBD too high and treat it like a raw food!), and superfood cocktails (this one from Goop is perfection) for a fun way to utilize it in your routine. 

Pro tip: When adding CBD oil to your recipes remember it contains high natural fatty acids so it mixes best with other fats when drinking in a beverage or adding to most recipes. I tend to mix with a high fat-based milk or ghee/coconut oil and blend in a blender for best results.

Canna-curious to try CBD? We create high vibrational, whole plant and small-batch CBD clean beauty and wellness. Full-spectrum, third-party lab tested (twice, always) and always organically grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides or solvents. 

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We hope this sheds a little more light on adding CBD to your self-care ritual.  For me, CBD is a potentially potent and powerful wellness tool to empower health for all, naturally. I have witnessed so many clients share positive results and believe that we can continue to de-stigmatize this industry through shared conversations like this. Also, for any agriculture enthusiasts out there, we’re seeing a resurgence of family farms across the country become revived as Hemp Pilot Programs launch across the country. To learn more visit the NCSL State Industrial Hemp Statutes

We encourage questions and connections with you above all. Let us know if you have any questions we always want you to reach out to us! Say hi over at [email protected]

Author Laura White

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