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How To Choose The Right CBD Oil For You

When it comes to CBD oil, it’s fair to say they’re not all created equal. However, you don’t need to risk your hard-earned money on a product that isn’t right for you, so it’s best to get informed. Luckily, we’ve got all the knowledge you need to help you choose your perfect CBD oil. Follow along as we break down the main criteria.

Here’s how to figure out which CBD oil is right for you.

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Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become a bit of a wellness craze over the past few years, with many brands and retailers eager to capitalise on the boom. While they were once rare, there are now more CBD oils than we know what to do with.

Some have started to infuse their products with the essence of rose and vanilla, while others have worked to mix in other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG to enhance the oil’s scope of effects. Certain brands have even begun using liposomes and nanoemulsion to boost the efficacy of their CBD products.

But do all CBD oils do exactly what they claim? And how can you tell the difference between a legitimate CBD oil and an inauthentic alternative? There are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding which CBD oil is best for you. These factors, along with deceptive marketing, can make it very hard to actually pull the trigger and make a purchase.

In turn, we think everyone could benefit from a general guide on the ins and outs of being a discerning CBD oil customer.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING CBD OIL

The CBD industry is getting more regulated every year, but there’s still a long way to go. As a result, it’s worth noting that the quality and purity of CBD oils—and thus, their effectiveness—can vary greatly from one product to the next. So, how do you decide which to get? Let’s take a look.

SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR

When it comes to trying CBD oils for the first time, your doctor is your best friend. Regardless of the reason you’re taking it, CBD oil could have some cross-drug interactions you don’t know about. Therefore, a visit to the doctor is a must before starting a regular CBD regimen. After all, it’s their job to answer your questions when your health is at stake.

But what, exactly, could happen when CBD and another drug mix in your body? In short, CBD is broken down by the same family of enzymes as most prescription meds, forcing the substances to compete and interrupting their metabolism. This, in turn, could lead to some notable complications if introduced into your routine without a doctor’s guidance.

Even if you live somewhere cannabis isn’t legal, you should still speak to your doctor. Whether they’re receptive to the idea of CBD or need to learn more, they can still help. A good doctor with an interest in CBD therapies might even have some recommendations you wouldn’t have found out about otherwise!

SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR

CHOOSE A SUITABLE CBD CONCENTRATION

CBD oil products come in a range of concentrations, meaning some contain higher doses of cannabidiol than others. In short, the higher the concentration, the more potent the effect.

Whether in capsule or dropper bottle form, all reputable CBD oils will display that information on the packaging. Some brands will list the amount of CBD in milligrams—for example, 250mg—while others specify the percentage—for example, 40% CBD. Either way, the higher the number, the more potent the concentration.

If you’re new to CBD oils, we recommend starting with a low to moderate concentration. Then, you can gradually work your way up to higher doses if needed. No matter how you’re using CBD, it’s easier to increase your dose than it is to decrease it after the fact. Observe how it affects your body, and you’ll be better informed on how to adjust your dose in the future.

FULL-SPECTRUM CBD VS CBD ISOLATE

Full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are the most common types of CBD oil. Put simply, full-spectrum oils contain all of the active cannabinoids and terpenes found within hemp, while CBD isolates contain pure cannabidiol and nothing else.

Until recently, CBD isolate was considered an industry standard. However, full-spectrum oils have been found to offer a host of potential benefits. See, the compounds in cannabis are thought to build off each other in a theorised dynamic known as the entourage effect. According to this idea, cannabinoids and terpenes can boost or mediate each other’s effects when they interact in the body.

Considering that, unless you’re adverse to the other compounds, or only need CBD for some other reason, we recommend full-spectrum CBD oils for first-time users. That being said, however, both types have their benefits, and CBD isolate is equally valid relative to its full-spectrum counterpart.

FULL-SPECTRUM CBD VS CBD ISOLATE

FULL-SPECTRUM CBD VS CBD ISOLATE

CBD OIL VS CAPSULES

Almost as important as choosing the right concentration, it’s also worth considering how you’ll be ingesting your CBD. Plenty of oils are available in dropper bottles and meant to be taken sublingually (under the tongue). However, you can also get CBD capsules or gummies, which offer discreet, controlled doses that are easy to administer and work similarly to vitamins.

These products contain the same active ingredients, regardless of delivery method. However, the onset and duration of effects may vary. To be specific, when you take CBD oil sublingually, the cannabinoid has a direct path into your bloodstream via the oral mucosa, and the amount you receive in your system relative to your dose (in other words, your absorption rate) is far higher than it would be with edibles.

That said, once the effects of edibles and capsules do come on, they last longer than if you took CBD under the tongue. As you can see, each method has benefits the other can’t offer. Capsules are covert, convenient, and exert longer-lasting effects, whereas sublingual intake offers a faster effect and better bioavailability. Basically, there’s no right or wrong answer.

Capsule

EXTRACTION METHOD

There are a variety of ways to extract CBD from the cannabis plant. That said, some methods offer a more pure and high-quality product. Some companies aim for quality as a priority, while others cut corners. While certain extraction processes are far cheaper than others, the savings aren’t worth the risk of using inferior methods.

The best CBD oils are created via supercritical CO₂ extraction. This method uses carbon dioxide that’s been pressurised into a simultaneous liquid and gaseous state, acting to swiftly separate cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter. Products made using this method are more expensive as a result, but you’ll know you’re getting quality for your money.

When looking at CBD oils, check to see if the method of extraction is listed on the packaging, or on the brand website. Reputable manufacturers are usually transparent about this. If the extraction method is nowhere to be found, you should be cautious before buying.

CARRIER OIL

Plant-derived carrier oils—also known as base oils—are used to help carry the active components of CBD oil into the body. Look into the different types of carrier oils popular manufacturers use. Two of the most common are hemp seed oil and olive oil, though there are plenty of others, including MCT, grapeseed, sunflower, and avocado.

HEMP SEED OIL

Hemp seed oil is made by pressing hemp seeds to release their natural oil. Hemp seeds are considered a superfood, and are known to offer a comprehensive range of nutritional benefits.

As a carrier oil, hemp seed oil adds a distinctive taste to your CBD oil, which some might not like, but others will deeply enjoy. The fact that it comes from the same plant as the cannabinoids and terpenes within makes hemp seed oil an appropriate fit as well. It’s also worth noting, however, that some companies out there try to sell hemp seed oil as CBD oil, which is just plain lying.

CBD oil can have many impressive benefits, but how can you know if a certain kind is right for you? Read on for our full guide on choosing the right CBD oil.

A buyer’s guide to CBD

Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.

In recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has grown in popularity due to increased research and interest in its potential health benefits. However, the sheer quantity of products on the market may overwhelm many of those wishing to try it.

Before purchasing CBD, there are several factors to consider, including the type of CBD product, its potency, and the provider or manufacturer.

People wishing to try CBD products must also be aware that it may interact with some medications. Anyone uncertain about CBD and its effects should speak with a doctor or healthcare provider.

Keep reading to find out what to consider when shopping for CBD.

CBD on display in a shop

Share on Pinterest An increasingly wide range of CBD products is available online and in health stores.
Image credit: Kevin McGovern / Shutterstock.com

CBD is one of over 120 compounds , or cannabinoids, unique to the cannabis plant. CBD is typically the second most abundant cannabinoid after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabinoids act in various ways on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which may cause one of several different effects.

As noted in Cancers , CBD may have the following properties:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anticonvulsive
  • analgesic (pain)
  • anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
  • sedative
  • antipsychotic

The scientific research behind these supposed medical benefits of CBD is at various stages. However, anecdotal evidence shows that people who have used CBD have found relief from a variety of conditions.

A study of CBD users in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research noted that about 62% of people used CBD for medical symptoms. The most common of these conditions were depression, anxiety, and pain.

Because CBD might contain so many beneficial properties, it has the potential to be an important medical compound.

There appear to be very few adverse side effects, and most people tolerate it well. CBD does not lead to abuse or dependence, provided people do not mix it with other potentially addictive substances.

As well as cannabinoids, the cannabis plant contains many other compounds, such as terpenes.

Many plants contain terpenes, and they are generally responsible for a plant’s specific scent. Cannabis products may contain terpenes in varying strengths.

Although scientists do not fully understand the role that some compounds in cannabis play, they think that terpenes might also offer some therapeutic benefits. However, this depends on the type of terpene present and its strength.

A study in Chemico-Biological Interactions notes that limonene, one of the more abundant terpenes in nature, which is responsible for the fresh scent of lemon, has shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and other health benefits.

The ‘entourage effect’

The ‘entourage effect’ hypothesizes that the presence of multiple compounds from the cannabis plant and its extracts maximizes its health benefits.

A study in Frontiers in Plant Science notes that there is some current evidence for the ‘entourage effect.’

So, when purchasing CBD oil, for example, some people might prefer to select a product that contains some of these other compounds as well.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.

A certificate of analysis, or COA, is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a CBD product. Essentially, it is a form of quality control that confirms whether the product contains the quantities of CBD that the manufacturer claims or advertises.

A COA should come from a third-party source and not the manufacturer or brand to ensure accurate and unbiased results. A third-party COA will generally have a few different sections.

One section will typically detail how much CBD, THC, as well as other, less abundant cannabinoids, such as CBN or CBC, the product contains. These readings indicate the potency of a product.

Another section will focus on possible contaminants in the form of pesticides or microbes in the product.

A further section will list any possible contamination from heavy metals or chemicals, such as residual solvents.

CBD company websites should also have a COA available so potential buyers can check out a product before making their purchase.

It is also important that the COA comes from a trustworthy lab. If possible, check for accredited labs that followed the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines.

The potency of the CBD product is another important factor to consider, as it varies greatly depending on the individual’s needs.

CBD products usually display dosages in milligrams (mg). However, it is important to remember that there is little human research to guide suitable dosing for various conditions.

It is best to start with lower doses and slowly increase them to find the minimum effective dose with minimal side effects. Once a person has found the right dosage for their needs, they should continue to use it.

The dose a person requires may vary according to their metabolism, tolerance levels, and the method of intake.

There is a confusing variety of CBD extracts on the market. The following are the most widely used terms.

Please note that CBD and some of the terminology around it is not heavily regulated, and some manufacturers use the following terms interchangeably:

CBD isolate

CBD isolate products only contain CBD from the cannabis plant. There are no other compounds, such as THC, present.

Some people want the certainty that the CBD product they use is devoid of THC. CBD-only products can help a person to gauge the effectiveness of the CBD itself without interference from other substances and compounds.

However, as previously mentioned, some research indicates that CBD that contains other compounds may actually increase its effects.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD products contain other compounds and cannabinoids found in the plant, such as CBC, CBN, or terpenes, such as myrcene, limonene, or pinene.

Broad-spectrum CBD typically contains no THC. However, some products will contain trace quantities.

Full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum products contain the same compounds as broad-spectrum products. However, they usually also contain low quantities of THC, usually under 0.3% as mandated by federal law. This amount of THC is not enough to create the ‘high’ effect that many people associate with cannabis.

Because full-spectrum CBD contains other compounds, including THC, the previously mentioned ‘entourage effect’ may increase its effects.

Another aspect to consider is the type of product. Although the effects tend to be the same, some people may prefer one type of CBD over another, depending on how or when they plan to use it.

Oils and tinctures

CBD oil and tinctures typically have a glycerin, oil, or alcohol base. People can take these extracts on their own, usually through a dropper or add them to food and drinks themselves.

Various strengths and flavors of CBD oils and tinctures are available.

Edibles

CBD edibles contain the above extracts but in a food form. CBD edibles are available as drinks and food items, such as teas and chocolate.

Gummies are a common form of CBC edible. They come in various strengths and flavors.

Vaporizers

For quick action, vaporizers can deliver CBD extracts through inhalation. However, vaping comes with added risk, including lung damage. Sublingual extracts placed under the tongue may offer some of the quick action provided by vaporizers without the risk of vaping-associated lung injury.

Creams and lotions

CBD also comes in the form of topical oils, creams, and lotions. Some people may feel the effects immediately, where others may not notice any effects for several hours.

It might be best to try out a few different types to identify what provides the appropriate relief.

Some companies may add other ingredients to their products to work alongside the CBD.

Always check the product for other ingredients before buying. Added chemicals, flavoring additives, or other compounds may not be right for everyone.

Some ingredients may also cause reactions in some people. Keep an eye out for other allergens in food products, and search for any unknown ingredient names before buying any CBD product.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate CBD products, so it is up to the buyer to choose quality products. To ensure the best quality extracts, check that the product has a COA, and a reliable laboratory has carried out third-party testing.

Many online retailers will provide third-party lab results and COAs to their customers.

Many larger health food stores also carry a range of CBD products. Reputable companies such as these should also provide third-party lab results.

Avoid products from manufacturers who are not willing to provide the information or use vague labeling on their packaging.

CBD is a natural compound. There is little risk to people who take CBD alone provided they are not taking any other medication.

CBD may interact with a range of other drugs and lead to increased side effects. Anyone regularly taking prescription or over-the-counter medications should check with their doctor before using CBD.

Some people may also experience mild side effects while taking CBD, including fatigue and an upset stomach.

Scientists do not yet know if CBD is safe for use during pregnancy, so pregnant women should abstain from CBD.

CBD is one of over 120 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Research into CBD is still in the early stages, so scientists know relatively little about its benefits and risks.

However, from the available scientific and anecdotal evidence, it appears that CBD may have numerous health benefits.

People should always exercise caution when using CBD, and should never use it in place of their usual medication unless a doctor or healthcare professional advises them to do so.

When shopping for CBD, always choose a product with a COA, which outlines the compounds the product contains.

The type of CBD in a product, its potency, and the provider, may all play an important role in helping a person choose what is right for them. Learn more here.