What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol aka CBD is an extract from the cannabis plant. CBD can be extracted from both the marijuana or hemp plant. While some CBD extracts do contain THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana that gets you high), most contain no THC or only trace amounts. For this reason, many see CBD as a non-intoxicating alternative to marijuana for helping to manage pain, stress, anxiety and improved sleep without the “high” or feeling an altered state of mind. CBD is available in many forms, such as a tincture, edible, ointment, vapor or flower.
Is CBD Legal?
The 2014 Farm Bill allowed for cultivation of hemp for research purposes under the supervision of state pilot programs, and the 2018 update goes a step further, permitting broad cultivation—provided it’s in compliance with the regulations set forth in the Farm Bill (i.e., you can’t just grow it in your backyard). The bill also legalized the transport of hemp products across state lines. Furthermore, people can now sell and possess cannabis goods, including CBD, as long as they abide by the bill’s rules.
The Farm Bill clearly states that hemp products are not to be treated as drugs anymore as long as their THC content is below 0.3% (and CBD generally is) states still have the right to regulate them as they see fit. They can maintain laws that restrict CBD production and sales.
CBD, along with all other hemp products, are still totally illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. There are 10 states that permit CBD, derived from hemp or marijuana, for medical and recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. In the remaining 37 states, CBD taken from hemp is legal, but the particulars of the law still vary by state. To add to the complexity, the FDA technically doesn’t permit CBD in foods or supplements. You’ve no doubt seen commercial signs for CBD supps in public places, and on the Internet, but that doesn’t necessarily imply legality. CBD is approved by the FDA as a drug, mainly for the treatment of epilepsy, and the law states that if a substance is an active ingredient in a drug product, it can’t be used in a food or supplement, unless the ingredient was previously marketed as a supplement or food—a loophole that CBD providers are trying to slip through.
If this is confusing to you, you’re not alone. The government is still trying to sort out what it means by these conflicting laws. But understand this: as it stands, companies that market CBD as a dietary supplement do so at their own risk.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. This is an important signaling system for human health that’s involved in almost all physiological processes, and especially with the hormonal, neuronal, and immune systems. CBD also works with the serotonin, dopamine, and opioid receptors as well as receptors that control genetic transcription. As CBD was illegal in the U.S. for decades, research on CBD’s potential benefits are still in the infant stages. As more research comes out, it's showing a lot of promise.
CBD and your Heart
A 2017 trial showed that one dose of CBD oil promoted healthy resting blood pressure in male subjects. When the men were given stress tests designed to increase their blood pressure, the rises were small, which scientists credited to the same CBD dose.
CBD for Skin
CBD is thought to play a role in supporting a healthy complexion and controlling breakouts. A 2014 test-tube study demonstrated CBD oil’s ability to aid in the prevention of sebaceous gland cells from secreting the oils that clog your pores and lead to pimples. It also helped to turn off agents that promote acne. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470879/
Research from 2016 drew similar conclusions, indicating that CBD may be an efficient and safe way to help control skin problems. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27094344
Side Effects of CBD
CBD is believed to be well tolerated by most people, but some have reported adverse reactions, including diarrhea, fatigue and effects on appetite. It can also sometimes interact negatively with medications. If you’re new to CBD it is recommended to take a small dose to start, and gradually build up over time.
Will I Fail a Drug Test If I Take CBD?
CBD products that are derived from hemp rather than marijuana plants should not contain much THC, and therefore probably won’t raise a red flag on a drug test. However, it’s still possible. Any person or athlete who cannot test positive, because they participate in a zero-tolerance sport or tested for employment, should use with caution or avoid CBD.
Different Ways To Take CBD (oil, cream, tincture, gummies, vaping)
CBD is available in many forms, and the main difference between them is the speed at which they take effect. Tinctures or sublinguals are excellent because, while they might take 20 minutes to fully enter the body, they usually provide hours of support. Edibles, on the other hand, can take up to two hours to get into your system, but the effects tend to last longer than tinctures. Vapes or smoking the hemp flower work very quickly and reach full potency within seconds, but generally the effects don’t last as long. Topicals are great for targeting a part of the body that needs more support.
Ultimately, your own individual metabolism will determine how quickly CBD starts working, and how long it lasts.