CBD Starter Guide

CBD Starter Guide

CBD has been in the spotlight lately and for good reason! The vast amount of research that has already gone into the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids is mind-blowing.  From cancer to skin diseases, there seems to be very little that cannabis cannot help with. And while there is still a long way to go in terms of understanding the hundreds of components that make up the cannabis plant, it is quite clear that there are very few recorded downsides.

“There are over 100 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the most well-known and well-researched being THC and CBD.”

It is becoming more and more difficult for doubters to argue *against* the benefits of cannabis, considering the assortment of evidence that has been accumulated and published. And of course, it seems like only a matter of time until researchers find out more about the lesser-known cannabinoids that are contained within this amazing plant!

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol which is one of the most beneficial compounds found in hemp (cannabis). Marijuana is also a part of the cannabis family, as is hemp which is what is being used to produce legal CBD products.  While marijuana is naturally higher in THC, hemp is naturally high in CBD and very low in THC.  

To keep things simple, we will discuss the potential benefits of legal, hemp-derived CBD which is what is inundating the market as of late. CBD oil is now being used by the masses as a safe, dietary supplement to balance body systems in order to create health, happiness and harmony!  Hemp is a beautiful plant and using it as a medicine may be just what you’ve been searching for!

Lets’ talk about why CBD seems to do SO MUCH! When I say “CBD” let’s assume I am talking about the multiple compounds and beneficial nutrients found within hemp (cannabis) from which CBD oil is made.

CBD interacts with your body’s own endocannabinoid system (or ECS for short). Your ECS regulates a huge range of bodily processes like appetite, pain, mood, memory, immune system activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, and so much more it would be difficult to type it all out!

The fact that our endo-cannabinoid system exists (it wasn’t even discovered by scientists until nearly 1990) may help explain WHY we need to supplement with cannabinoids (CBD). I encourage you to research ECS on your own and you will soon see why using CBD regularly may be a good idea for you! The system is complex and beautifully designed to maintain homeostasis. When we become deficient in cannabinoids, we need to introduce them back into the body by supplementing with CBD. By doing this, the cannabinoids interact with the receptors in our bodies and can correct imbalances in mood, sleep patterns, hormone fluctuation, inflammatory response and so much more.

Using CBD to support your endocannabinoid system function has incredible therapeutic potential for many human dis-eases.  

Pain and inflammation: A healthy ECS has the potential to significantly reduce or eliminate dangerous drug dependency for chronic pain (both over-the-counter and prescribed drugs). CBD has potent anti-inflammatory/analgesic effects. Many people report dropping their pills altogether in exchange for CBD.

Mental health: Anxiety, depression, ADHD and other conditions may be significantly improved when CBD is used to support the ECS.

CBD has protective effects on the liver, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the endocrine system… CBD positively impacts the whole body!

CBD is an anti-convulsant and may to help reduce seizures. Regular use of CBD may help gastrointestinal issues, drug and alcohol addiction, auto-immune conditions, and many other health conditions that we are commonly faced with today.

And while CBD is working hard in your body by supporting healthy endo-cannabinoid system responses, all that is needed from you is to sit back and let your body do the work! You may find that you need less CBD over time, not more so don’t let that old thinking of how some *other* medicines may work influence how much CBD to take!

TYPES OF CBD:

Full Spectrum – This type of extract uses the whole plant to extract a “full spectrum” of cannabinoids and other constituents from hemp including trace amounts of THC.  Full-spectrum hemp oil refers to when the oil extracted from hemp contains all the same cannabinoids and compounds found in the original hemp plant. Unlike isolated or synthetic cannabinoids, full-spectrum hemp oil contains an array of cannabinoids, as well as many essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins, chlorophyll, flavonoids and terpenes. A full plant profile allows for the “entourage effect”.

This phenomenon, the “entourage effect,” results when hundreds of natural components within a plant interact together and with the human body to produce a stronger influence than any one of those components used alone. It’s a synergistic effect. Whole plant medicine!

***While the legal limit in the US is .3% THC for hemp-based CBD oil, many oils contain much less than that since hemp naturally contains very low levels of THC. Even with full spectrum CBD oil, there is little chance of any “high” even at larger doses. However, if you are subjected to random drug screenings, Full Spectrum CBD is not for you because it will most likely cause you to fail a drug test. (which targets THC)

Broad spectrum – This extract is the same as full-spectrum hemp extract minus the THC. While broad-spectrum oil is free of all THC, it does deliver the entourage effect, as it contains all other cannabinoids and phytochemicals found naturally within the plant as mentioned above! Since there is no THC in broad spectrum hemp oil, this may be a better option for you if you are subject to drug screenings but it is always wise to discuss this with your employer.

Isolate—A CBD isolate is just one cannabinoid, cannabidiol, nothing else.This process isolates one cannabinoid (CBD) so there are no other cannabinoids, no THC, no terpenes, proteins, fatty acids, etc. There is no entourage effect available with CBD Isolates but this form can still work well for your needs. A CBD Isolate (sometimes referred to as ZERO THC OIL) is another option for those subject to drug tests.

Topicals— There are many topical applications of CBD as well. CBD can work beautifully on your skin to help relieve pain and help improve skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, eczema and wounds.

~Edibles and vape oils are common forms too.~

What to look for in a CBD oil

CO2 extraction

With a boom in CBD production, it’s very important to look for a reputable company because there are many brands that just aren’t worth wasting your money! They are made cheaply and recklessly and can be harmful. There are many reputable companies as well! Look for one that uses a CO2 extraction method to produce their CBD oil.  CO2 extraction is an expensive process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull the desired phytochemicals from a plant.  CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method and it is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Third Party Testing

This testing ensures that you are getting what is advertised. Third party testing can measure the cannabinoid content, (and other plant constituents), whether or not there are pesticide residues, metal and other contaminates. 

No Fillers or Artificial Ingredients

CBD extract is a concentrated product so in order to make it easy to take orally, companies blend this potent extract with hempseed oil, MCT Oil (which is a liquid coconut oil) or other vegetable oils in their CBD oil “tinctures”.  These carrier oils are acceptable and commonly used. But watch out for added preservatives, sweeteners, etc because these will “dumb down” your product are not necessary.  A lot of CBD oils do contain flavoring which makes the CBD experience more pleasant! Just make sure the extracts being used are pure and not synthetic. Mint, orange, vanilla, all of these are common flavors used and are acceptable if you want a little natural flavor in your CBD.

Made in the USA

Look for a CBD oil company that boasts US grown and processed. We have organically run farms right here in Kentucky, Colorado and other states. When working with foreign farms, brands lose their transparency and quality control. And when it comes to hemp, its cultivation environment is critically important.  With the Federal Farm Bill of 2014, state governments were allowed to start piloting hemp farming in their individual states. In the past few years, hemp farming has grown quite significantly in some states, including in Colorado and Kentucky. These states have now set up a legitimate license and certification process for its farmers to go through. The process entails working with the state department of agriculture to ensure that each individual farm and the hemp seeds and crops are registered. The governance by the state programs creates an unmatched barrier to entry. The process required to obtain licenses to grow hemp shows the extra due diligence required by hemp brands working with farmers in the United States.

DOSAGE

Dosage can vary widely among users. Take note of how your body has adapted to hemp CBD on a weekly basis and make adjustments accordingly. It is wise to start with just a few drops 1-2 times daily going up in drops to a full dose if needed. Many people find that 3-5 drops works well for their condition and other may need a full dropper (full dose) multiple times a day. This will depend on what your goals are. Don’t be afraid to experiment with dosage!

Generally, CBD oil drops are taken under the tongue and held there for up to a minute for better absorption but the drops may also be added to food or beverages if needed.

In Conclusion…

Using CBD as a nutritional supplement can be very rewarding especially if other means have failed you. Most anyone can use CBD for health and happiness! We are just scratching the surface here with this information I have provided so I encourage you to continue your education on the subject if you want to navigate the wonderful world of CBD!

Tinctures, what are they anyway? And Can I give them to my children?

Tinctures, what are they anyway? And Can I give them to my children?

One question I get quite often is this “Is it ok to give my child a tincture?” The short answer is yes, but let’s explore this, shall we!? Take a look, then you decide!

First, let’s talk about why tinctures are so wonderful and learn a bit more about what they are!

What is it?

Tincture definition: A concentrated herbal extract made by soaking (macerating) herbs in solvents like alcohol and water and then pressing the liquid out for medicinal use.

Herbalists commonly use alcohol as medicine making medium because it is so effective at extracting herbal constituents. We also use water (when making herbal teas) and vinegar sometimes to extract certain herbal compounds, as well as honey and vegetable glycerin. A tincture made with vegetable glycerin as the menstruum is known as a glycerite. Glycerites are popular for children and pets because they are mild and sweet, and there is no alcohol involved. Glycerites are nice and useful, but they are not as potent as a tincture made with alcohol.

Why use it?

These other mediums are acceptable and useful in certain situations, but nothing beats alcohol as a menstruum (the solvents or solvent used to make a liquid extract, usually a blend of alcohol and water).

Using alcohol as the menstruum extracts fat soluble and water soluble herbal constituents, including resins, minerals, and vitamins. No wonder alcohol is the preferred method in tincture making!

Another benefit of using alcohol in tinctures is this – alcohol is a fast delivery system! Not only is an alcohol-based extract (aka tincture) a convenient, shelf-stable medicine, our bodies absorb a tincture very quickly and effectively. Tinctures can be taken under the tongue, but as a rule, most experienced herbalists recommend taking a tincture dose in a shot of warm or room temperate water (or in juice – in the case of giving to young children). Taking supplements sublingually can be done, but when using an alcohol-based tincture, this may not be a good idea because it can burn the delicate tissue under the tongue, no matter your age! In a pinch, take on the tongue, not under it if this concerns you.

What’s the shelf life?

Tinctures have a very long shelf life, usually 5 years or more if it’s made properly, so you can keep a tincture in your cupboard for years and years, and when you’re ready to use it again, it will still be potent and fresh, thanks to the alcohol.

Tinctures travel well. Since they need no refrigeration, you can simply toss a bottle in your bag whether making a trip across town or across the country. Tinctures aren’t “fussy” so take them with you wherever you go if needed. One other thing I find lovely about tinctures is you can leave your favorite ones on your bedside table without the worry of refrigeration. This comes in really handy if you are sick and cannot easily get out of bed to go after your herbal medicines. They do just fine on the nightstand, and I always leave a bottle of my Dream Faerie Tincture right there because I take it every night before bed and once again if I wake up in the middle of the night.

Now that you understand what a tincture is let’s move on to the question of alcohol being given to children.

Foods containing ethanol (alcohol):

Are you aware that many foods that kids eat regularly have measurable amounts of alcohol?

Bread and other baked goods, ripe bananas and fruit juices in particular. Some foods, per serving, contain more ethanol (alcohol) than a child’s dose of herbal tincture. Reference: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Alcohol is a naturally occurring constituent of fermented foods such as bread, yogurt, kefir, vinegar and kombucha and non-fermented foods as well such as fruit juices.

Orange, apple, and grape juices had the highest amount of ethanol. Some of these foods tested contained 2-4 times more ethanol than exposure to herbal medicines.

We don’t worry about these low levels of alcohol in popular children’s foods, (you probably didn’t even know it existed!) so there is no need to worry about it when using an herbal tincture on occasion. We can provide this information to you, but ultimately, you decide what is right for you and your family.

Ethanol is even present (in low concentrations) as an endogenous substance in the blood of humans, probably produced in the intestinal tract!

Now let’s discuss dosage and hear from some experts!

Tincture Dosage for Children and Adults: Tincture dosage can vary widely from person to person, but the general rule (as stated by acclaimed herbalists and natural health professionals) for children is this:

  • Age 9 months to 3 years: 2-5 drops per dose
  • Age 4 to age 10: 5-15 drops per dose
  • Older children and teens can usually take an adult dose.

*An adult dose varies but 30-60 drops is a typical adult dose, titrating up or down as needed. Experimentation is often called for when using plants as medicine.

There is no hard and fast dosage for everyone!

We always take into account the age, weight, and overall health of the individual when giving herbal tinctures and other medicines. But using this guideline, you can feel comfortable using herbal tinctures at home.
Many herbalists and others familiar with these types of medicines, use tinctures with children without hesitation.

But if you are new to this idea and are unsure, let’s hear what Dr. Aviva Romm has to say on the subject. Dr. Aviva Romm is not only an experienced herbalist of many decades, but she is a medical doctor (Yale-trained), midwife, and educator!

Dr. Romm states,Used appropriately, liquid herbal extracts—tinctures—are among the most valuable and effective botanical tools for treating children’s health concerns. They are very concentrated, so only small doses are required. Tinctures can be hidden in water or juice with practically no detection for most herbs that you’d use with kids.

Dr. Romm is my go-to expert when I need correct advice on herbal medicine, particularly for women and children… she has it all!

In conclusion: Alcohol-based herbal tinctures are an effective, time-tested method of delivering remedies to children of all ages. (Adults in the AA program and other sober individuals may also enjoy these plant medicines without the worry of compromising their health or sobriety!)

The dosage of a tincture is equal to or much less than the alcohol found in commons baked goods, some fruits, fruit juices, and fermented foods.

Many well-known, revered herbalists and health care professionals recommend alcohol-based herbal tinctures to kids of all ages.

If you still aren’t comfortable using herbal tinctures with your kids, there are other preparations to consider…herbal teas being the most common and easily accessed. (but that is a whole other blog post!)