Unfortunately, you don’t. Even though more than half of all U.S. states now allow marijuana for medicinal purposes—and nine of those, plus Washington DC, allow it for recreational use—the Drug Enforcement Agency still views CBD as a banned substance and therefore doesn’t regulate it (since, in the eyes of the law, CBD shouldn’t be on the market). “I can start a company, put oil in a jar and sell it as CBD oil,” says McLaughlin—and no one has to vouch that what’s in there is for real. You have only the manufacturers word for it.
Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
If you live in a state where CBD is legal for your condition, it’s best to buy it from a state-regulated dispensary. But even there, oversight is uneven. “I feel safe being a cannabis consumer in Colorado, since the state tracks everything from seed to sale, but I didn’t the first few years after cannabis became legal,” when the rules were still taking shape, says Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the Boulder author of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features recipes for cannabis edibles.
That being said, though, CBD isolate still has a very relevant place in the cannabis market. A lot of people, for instance, use it to concoct their own personal daily CBD remedies – they mix the pure powder with oil, or they add it into their coffee, or they make edibles out of it. Since it comes in an easily-measurable powder, it’s a great option for those individuals who are trying to calculate exact personal dosages of CBD medication by the milligram.
‘I recommend starting with a low dose and slowly building up over a few weeks, to find the dose that works best for you,’ agrees Dr Brewer. ‘For example, start with Healthspan High Strength CBD Oil 6.4mg Capsules, taking one to three daily. Then, if needed, move up to Super Strength CBD 15mg Capsules, taking one to two daily. CBD is not psychoactive and is not addictive. I prefer capsules, as CBD drops have a strong taste, although filter-clear peppermint flavoured drops are available.’
For applications where pure CBD isn’t required, full spectrum CBD oil is the better alternative, as it provides patients the ancillary benefits associated with the many other cannabis compounds. However, important to note, is the issue of what medical conditions are best treated by either pure or full spectrum CBD oil, given the research is in its infancy.
Full spectrum CBD also contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and fiber. When referring to CBD in the hemp plant, it’s important to understand that hemp contains a large number of cannabinoids (in trace amounts), but the main compound is cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). As CBDa is more abundant in the hemp plant, firms must decarboxylate the oil. This process heats the oil and changes CBDa into CBD.
Because the FDA considers CO2 extraction to be GRAS or “generally regarded as safe” for commercial extraction, this method is popular in the food industry. The stability of supercritical CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage. In the coffee industry, supercritical CO2 is already widely accepted as safer than traditional solvents to extract the caffeine from decaffeinated coffee beans.
There are thousands of unique varieties of hemp. The cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of CBD than others. Using these uniquely potent plants, it is possible to extract cannabis oil that contains significant levels of cannabidiol, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.