How do you distinguish between different brands, concentrations, and types of CBD edibles? The more popular cannabidiol becomes, the more options you have when it comes to choosing edibles, oils, topicals and more. No matter why you’re interested in CBD edibles, understanding cannabidiol, hemp, and the main factors that affect CBD quality is key.
CBD Edibles 101
Not to be confused with their THC counterparts, CBD edibles are non-psychoactive gummies, baked goods, and various other foods infused with cannabidiol. In simple terms, they won’t make you feel high and won’t affect your day-to-day activities.
Though anything can be infused with cannabidiol, CBD gummies are the most popular type of edible.
Though cannabidiol is the second-most researched cannabis and hemp compound behind Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it produces vastly different effects. In fact, CBD can actually inhibit THC from having its full effect. This is because it can influence the way that THC binds to receptors within the body. More on this later.
Where Cannabidiol Comes From
A major distinction between CBD vs THC is their origin: Legal cannabidiol is sourced from hemp, a plant genetically related to cannabis but with different effects. Following the re-classification of hemp as a non-Scheduled substance per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal to produce and export in all 50 states.
Hemp, by definition, contains a maximum of 0.3 percent THC. This is not enough to produce any psychoactive effects.
By contrast, THC occurs in more concentrated amounts in cannabis. Typically, concentrations range from 1o to over 30 percent. In other words, there is no risk of feeling any psychoactive effects from CBD alone or from cannabidiol made from hemp, as it contains little to no THC.
Why People Take CBD Edibles
Aside from providing a sense of balance and calm, why do people take CBD edibles? Cannabidiol is increasingly used medically and medicinally, meaning that some people take it to target specific conditions, whereas others use it as a daily supplement.
Keep in mind that because hemp was only recently legally distinguished from cannabis, research is in the early stages. To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued guidelines on how to take cannabidiol. With that in mind, here is what research in animal models shows about its benefits.
One of cannabidiol’s best-understood application is as a treatment for people suffering from seizures. CBD oil first came to public attention with the story of a young girl named Charlotte Figi who used it to effectively suppress her seizures. The only FDA-approved CBD medicine is called Epidiolex and is a treatment for epilepsy.
A common day-to-day application of cannabidiol is as a treatment for pain. For example, the European Journal of Pain published a study that found that CBD, when applied to the skin, could reduce inflammation and pain in animal models suffering from arthritis.
Cannabidiol can also function as a method of reducing anxiety. Two studies published in 2011 and 2010, respectively, found that cannabidiol can help reduce social anxiety. Similarly, research published in 2015 judged that it could serve as a potential treatment for panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder. post-traumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety.
Another area of significant research concerning CBD edibles, tinctures and other methods is as an anti-depressant. One study shows that cannabidiol can produce “antidepressant” and “anxiolytic” effects.
More specifically, CBD can activate serotonin receptors within the brain such as 5-HT1A, similarly to anti-anxiety medications such as buspirone that are already on the market. The compound can also increase BDNF levels within the brain, which can mediate depressive symptoms.
As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, cannabidiol can benefit many biological processes and reduce acne, protect against neurodegenerative diseases, stress, and so much more.
How CBD Edibles Work
Why can CBD edibles and other forms of cannabidiol produce such effects on the human body? Cannabidiol interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, a complete network of neurotransmitters and receptors. The Endocannabinoid System affects crucial processes such as:
THC also interacts with the Endocannabinoid System but produces different effects.
Choosing the Best CBD Edibles
The only way to experience any type of benefit from CBD edibles is to choose a high-quality product. Here’s what to look for:
What Type of CBD Does It Contain?
Though all legal cannabidiol is derived from hemp, there is more than one way to extract it from the original plant. Specifically, there are two types of cannabidiol:
- Full Spectrum
Full Spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and other compounds such as THC, CBG, and CBN, along with terpenes. Though cannabidiol is still the main ingredient in full spectrum CBD edibles and oils, it benefits from a process known as the Entourage Effect.
This means that CBD’s positive effects are amplified by the presence of these other compounds, as shown by a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Isolate contains only cannabidiol. Some people prefer isolate because they want to completely avoid THC. However, most believe that isolate is less potent than full spectrum alternatives.
Where Do Your CBD Edibles Come from?
The majority of global hemp comes from China, which accounted for $1.8 billion in hemp sales in 2018 alone. Similarly, other hemp programs in Europe are more developed than American ones due to recent legal restrictions.
All this means that there is more than one place to source hemp, and hemp quality laws vary between countries. The best way to know that the hemp from which your CBD is derived is to choose all-American grown hemp.
Are They Third Party Lab Tested?
Since CBD edibles are a new phenomenon, there is little quality regulation surrounding their contents. Luckily, many companies provide third-party lab testing results. These are the most accurate way to understand how much cannabidiol is actually in the product you’re consuming.
If companies will not provide third-party lab testing results, it’s best to find another retailer.
What Are the Other Ingredients?
In addition to terpenes and cannabinoids, the other ingredients within CBD edibles matter, too. Edibles can contain additives, artificial ingredients, and excess sugar. Though these do not affect the quality of CBD, they’re important to understand if making cannabidiol apart of your daily routine.
Do Your Research Before Choosing CBD Edibles
There are many ways to benefit from CBD edibles, but the best way to experience the effects you want is to do your research before buying. This means considering other ingredients, THC and CBD content, third-party lab testing results, and where the product comes from. It also means understanding how cannabidiol and hemp work within the human body.