How do I know what I'm getting?
This is probably the most important question that I answer. You must protect yourself, ask questions, ask to see lab reports. Any company producing a quality product will always have lab reports to back up their products. In these reports you can find things such as: CBD %, THC %, residual solvent content, heavy metals, etc. There are many products out there that have been tested privately revealing low levels to no CBD, higher than legal amounts of THC and all sorts of nasty things you do not want in your body. As with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. You are taking CBD for the health of your body, make sure it has nothing in it that will harm you and don't make a decision on CBD because it's cheap.
How is CBD taken?
There are many ways to take CBD and methods that work for some better than others.
- CBD Oil Tinctures: taken under the tongue and held for several minutes for max absorption.
- Water Soluble CBD: Our bodies are mostly water and anything we put in our bodies that is not water soluble will not absorb as efficiently.
- CBD Paste: Highly concentrated full extract paste can be used orally as well as topically and is fast acting,
- Edibles: My favorite is the gummy, swallowing it mostly whole allows the cannabinoids to absorb like a time release as the gummy digests.
- Creams and Salves: Helping with symptoms of pain & skin conditions when applied topically. Hemp Dropz pain cream is wildly popular and my personal favorite for putting where it hurts.
- CBD Vape: Vapable CBD is used by many for anxiety and is the fastest absorbing method although not the longest acting.
- Bath & Body products: Your skin is the largest living organ on your body. Use a CBD bath bombs, soaps, and lotions to relax sore muscles, reduce inflammation, and decrease pain.
- CBD Pet Products: CBD oils, roll ons, and treats for pets to help with everything from seizures to separation anxiety.
CBD can decrease or slow the way some medications are broken down in the body. "That means CBD may increase the levels of some medications in the blood," Dr. Grinspoon says. The big concern is with the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin), but there are other medications that may be affected as well, including the heartburn drug omeprazole (Prilosec, Omesec) and the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil).
What's in your CBD product?
The FDA does not test CBD products. This means that you don't really know what's in the CBD product you're buying — just like supplements you purchase in a drugstore. The risks? First, the product may not have the expected amount of CBD in it, or any at all. Second, it may contain THC without your realizing it. "The THC content is concerning. If you don't know you're taking THC and get behind the wheel, your driving could be impaired," Dr. Grinspoon says.
Which kind of CBD is best?
Hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD are widely available online, in retail stores, or in cannabis dispensaries, depending on your state's laws. Which type of CBD is best? "It certainly is safer to start with hemp-derived CBD, as there won't be the psychoactivity associated with THC," Dr. Grinspoon says. On the other hand, a small amount of THC added to marijuana-derived CBD may aid the CBD's effectiveness, even though it also increases the chance a person will become a little high and have problems functioning.
Should you try it?
Only you and your doctor can decide if CBD is right for you. If you get a green light, Dr. Grinspoon recommends using products made from cannabis grown in the United States or in Canada (which both have stricter safety regulations than other countries) that list the amount of CBD and THC on the label, and do not make claims to cure anything.
How should you take it?
Start with a low dose,. How much CBD you use depends on the delivery system (whether it's an edible, tincture, or pill, for example) and your individual needs. And of course, as with any new drug, try it first in a safe environment, when you know you'll be home and you'll have someone there to make sure you're okay. Write down side effects and report them to your doctor if they're concerning.
Does it work?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes there is some evidence that CBD helps reduce pain, anxiety, and symptoms of psychotic conditions (such as schizophrenia). However, the NIH points out that we don't yet have enough evidence to prove that CBD reduces anything except epileptic seizures. Most evidence comes from studies with lab animals. In his clinic, Dr. Grinspoon sees CBD making a difference for people with insomnia and anxiety. "It seems to take the edge off people's anxiety. And for insomnia, it seems to help you get to sleep and stay asleep," he says. But not everyone who uses CBD has success. "The feedback I am getting is mixed. I have one patient who feels the CBD cream she uses every day for her hands has gotten rid of the pain. Another said it did nothing," says Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Is it safe?
While the World Health Organization maintains CBD is considered generally safe and well tolerated, it's not clear yet what quantity of CBD is safe and for how long.