Success stories like Oliver’s are everywhere, but there’s not a lot of data to back up those results. That’s because CBD comes from cannabis and, like nearly all other parts of the plant, is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug—the most restrictive classification. (Others on that list: heroin, Ecstasy, and peyote.) This classification, which cannabis advocates have tried for years to change, keeps cannabis-derived products, including CBD, from being properly studied in the U.S.
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The plants are cultivated and then sent for extraction. Some CBD oil-based products come from whole plant extracts. Others are derived from isolates. Whole plant extraction is self-explanatory. The entire plant is part of the process. Those in the medical communities prefer this method. They believe that a broader spectrum of cannabinoids yields during whole plant extraction. According to medical specialists, capturing the entire cannabinoid spectrum stimulates the endocannabinoid system. They call this the “entourage effect.”
Buying online is less reliable still because there’s no regulation or standardization. What you see on the label may not be what you are getting. A 2017 study in JAMA found that of the 84 CBD products researchers bought online, 43% had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less, and some had unexpected THC. “There’s a 75% chance of getting a product where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors.
Cohen has found that chronic conditions including autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes can be helped with a 6-mg under-the-tongue tincture (the fastest delivery system) or a 25-mg capsule taken twice a day. Dosages for topical products like lotions are especially hard to determine—there’s no clarity on how much CBD gets into the system through the skin.
While cannabidiol (CBD) is all the rage at present, it is often hard to understand what you are getting. Furthermore, with so many different CBD products on the market, it’s hard to tell which are full spectrum, which are not and which products are made from CBD cannabis or CBD hemp. In this article we will try to clear up any confusion, focusing the major part of the post around Full Spectrum CBD oil.
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Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
“There’s no oversight,” says Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the JAMA article. Beyond the label, he adds, “There’s no consistency. You know that every Hershey’s bar you buy and every Coke you buy will be exactly the same. But that’s not the case with the majority of CBD products. It’s not unexpected to see variability within a given brand.” This means that you may notice improvements the first time you buy and try a particular product, but none the next.
Not much, as far as humans are concerned—at least not yet. The vast majority of studies have been on animals, as of yet, and there are few high-quality studies on humans. Even the oil’s effect on pain—something that CBD oil is popularly used for—isn’t proven. “The studies available are small or not well designed,” says Dr. Devinsky. “There’s a lot of religion out there, but not a lot of data.”
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.
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