WHAT IS CBD AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? LEARN ALL ABOUT CBD
We get it -- you want to know what you’re putting in your body -- and not only what, but also why. At Highest Health Co we like to make things simple for you. We do the hard work so you don’t have to.
While there is a lot of research on CBD, it’s popularity is relatively new, which means a lot of the science behind it may be new to you, too. Below we outline what CBD is, what it isn’t, and how it can work to help you achieve your optimal mental and physical health. Happy Reading.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is short for Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid. A cannabinoid is basically a chemical messenger (a compound, if you will). Two cannabinoids you have likely heard of are THC and CBD, which are just two of the 113+ cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis plants.
While CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient in marijuana, it is the single most active ingredient in the hemp plant. Hemp is legal in all 50 U.S. states because it does NOT contain as much of the psychoactive compound THC, which is what makes you “high.”
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Before we go any further, let’s break down the endocannabinoid system.
Inside all of us we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is responsible for regulating pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, immunity, metabolism, and more.1 Our ECS is a complex network containing receptors, molecules, and enzymes that work together throughout our body and our brain to maintain optimal cellular balance in our bodies. This optimal cellular balance is also known as homeostasis (more on this below).
Cannabinoids not only exist in external sources (like in CBD and THC) known as exogenous cannabinoids, but also occur naturally inside our bodies. These are known as endogenous cannabinoids. That’s right. Our bodies (and all vertebrate species) create their own cannabis chemicals (and this is why cannabis can offer us so much relief! More on that in a bit.)
HOW DOES CBD AFFECT THE ECS?
The main job of our ECS is to help the body stay regulated and grounded, and control how our bodies react to things like stress, inflammation, and pain. When our cells are functioning at their optimal peak performance we are in homeostasis.
When we are homeostasis, our bodies produce a naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is also known as the “bliss” or “happiness” molecule. When we are functioning at our peak, it’s flowing freely through our bodies. We feel energized, alive, and like there is nothing in life we can’t do!
But as we go through life, our ECS gets worn down by all of life’s stressors (the air we breathe, the water we drink, the things we eat, the news, our surroundings, physical stress, etc.) When the ECS is tired, weakened or compromised, we experience an ECS deficiency and its symptoms -- and feel sluggish, stuck, in pain, uncomfortable, and exhausted.
All of our “feel good” remains stuck inside our cells behind these things we call receptors. The way we can unlock them is with special missing pieces. Naturally, these missing pieces would be a chemical molecule called an agonist, or the anandamide your body creates, but in a world where the majority of ECS systems are over-taxed, this special missing piece is--you guessed it-- CBD. When our cells find their missing piece (through consuming CBD), a message is sent throughout the body to achieve balance (or homeostasis) in these systems.
Finally, we have access to our cellular “feel good” again.
SO HOW CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM USING CBD?
CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.2 The anti-inflammatory properties are known to help with pain and can even help with arthritis.
- In a study conducted at UC Berkeley patients were tracked using opioids for pain relief. When they used cannabis instead of opioids, the majority “reported that cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects.” 3
CBD, when dosed appropriately, has the ability to help you combat insomnia and not only help you fall asleep with more ease, but help you sleep longer. 7
The FDA has approved the first cannabidiol-based medicine, Epidiolex, to treat seizures. 8
More extensive research has yet to be done, but there is some (growing) evidence that CBD can also help with heart health/vascular damage, cancer, and degenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and multiple sclerosis).
DOES CBD GET YOU HIGH?
No. When CBD phytocannabinoids (meaning they come from a plant) are consumed, they react with our endocannabinoid receptors and promote homeostasis inside of the body.
The biggest difference between THC and CBD:
- THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is “psychoactive” and gets you “high”
- CBD is NOT psycho-active and does NOT get you “high”
There are trace amounts of THC found in CBD products (more discussed later) but because CBD is an antagonist for THC, the minimal amount of THC has no psychoactive effects.
THC affects the CB1 receptors we have in our body (in our brain and central nervous system) and it’s this exact binding process that causes a psychoactive high.
CBD on the other hand, affects both CB1 and CB2 receptors, just like anandamide (our natural bliss molecule) does. CBD increases your body’s natural levels of endocannabinoids and allows your body to use more of what it naturally produces. 9 CBD also has the ability to change the shape of your receptors so they are much harder to overstimulate with excess endocannabinoids. 10 In this sense, CBD is adaptogenic -- it is able to sense what your system needs and act accordingly. (You can learn more about CB1 and CB2 receptors here if you’re interested.)
So while CBD doesn’t get you “high” the way consuming typical THC-based cannabis would, it definitely elevates your internal systems and their functionality. All you’ll feel is good, well, and better. Not high -- even if you smoke straight CBD hemp buds.
WHERE DOES CBD COME FROM?
CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp plants. However, hemp is superior for CBD and is the source of all the CBD found in Highest Health Co’s products. THC, the chemical responsible for the psyco-active effects of marijuana, usually registers between 5-30% in marijuana plants. 11
Hemp plant’s makeups are dominated by CBD and are regulated to only contain, at maximum, a THC level of 0.3%. 12
As a consumer, it’s important to know that CBD oil is NOT always the same as hemp oil. CBD oil is extracted from the whole plant (including all of the cannabinoids) and is then combined with a carrier oil. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is extracted from just the seeds of the plant, and therefore does not have any cannabinoids. This means that generally hemp oil does not contain any CBD. If something is labeled as hemp oil, it does not contain the beneficial properties of CBD.
HOW MUCH CBD DO I NEED?
Your optimal dose and delivery depends on your body and the product and will be different than your mom or neighbor’s dose. Your needs, metabolism, and the formulas all play a factor. The best way to find your optimal dose is through careful experimentation.
We do, however, recommend that you start slow. Even amounts as low as 2.5mg of full-spectrum CBD can be therapeutic thanks to the entourage effect 13, which we will dive into below. There are also cases in which different doses of CBD can present different effects. Say you take a little bit of CBD and as a result, you feel alert. If you take a lot more CBD, you might feel tired. This is why it’s important for you to personally experiment first starting at low doses and then increasing and taking note of how you feel. You will soon learn your optimal doses for your desired outcomes. Start low, and increase your dose if and when needed.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CBD?
You can take it many ways. You can take our tinctures sublingually (drop it under your tongue) for the most efficient and direct consumption. This method is great to take as part of your daily regimen to continuously help ease your mind and body over time. You can also mix our tinctures into drinks or food, but the amount your body will absorb is much less. You can smoke a vape cartridge that is full of vape nectar. You can get one that is prefilled, or buy the nectar and fill your own. Vaping is generally absorbed more quickly and delivers a more immediate effect. You can also smoke the actual flower bud itself in glass, or papers, or whatever your preferred smoking method is. There are pills that are swallowed in capsule form, gummies and other edibles, as well as topical ointments and salves that can be applied on the skin.
HOW FAST DOES CBD WORK?
This depends on your unique body and needs and the manner in which you are consuming CBD. If we are only referring to HHCo’s products, our fastest acting products would be our vape cartridges, our nectar, or our flower. Contrary, our tincture has a relatively slower absorption and will do it’s work over time.
Terpenes are fragrant oils that give fruits, herbs, and plants their signature scents (for example, citrus fruits have limonene terpenes and lavender has linalool terpenes). In the cannabis plant, terpenes are secreted from the sticky resin glands and actually work together with the cannabinoids in the plant to produce and enhance the effects cannabis has on our bodies. (This is one reason different strains of cannabis feel like they are making you feel different things.)
FULL SPECTRUM vs. BROAD SPECTRUM vs. ISOLATE
Full spectrum: the CBD product contains ALL of the important characteristics, properties, and phytochemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. If a full-spectrum product is good quality, they will be high in CBD, very very low in THC, and have only a trace amount of minor cannabinoids. All of Highest Heath’s products are full spectrum!
Broad spectrum: the CBD contains cannabidiol and other components within the plant and all of the THC is removed after the initial extraction.
Isolate: the purest form of CBD that you get by extracting it from its source and “isolating” it from all other material.
Here at HHCo, we really recommend and fully support a high- quality full-spectrum CBD. A second runner up would be a broad-spectrum CBD. And last on the totem pole would be CBD isolate. Why? This very special synergy between the small amount of THC and the large amount of CBD, called the entourage effect, and you simply don’t get as good of therapeutic benefits from the single-molecule isolate. 14
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
The entourage effect is the phenomenon that refers to the synergy that takes place when all of the plant compounds are available as opposed to when you have just one. Studies show that the synergy of the plant compounds found throughout the entire hemp plant deliver enhanced therapeutic effects when used together. This means that although CBD is helpful on its own, when paired with THC, it works even better. This is the reason some CBD companies, like us at HHCo, make products using the “whole plant” and that are “full spectrum.” In doing so, the 0.3% of THC is enough to provide the health benefits of the entourage effect, but isn’t enough to “get you high”.
NOT ALL CBD IS CREATED EQUAL
Not all CBD is created or cared for equally. The CBD market is still unregulated which means that as consumers, you must be very diligent in what you purchase and consume.
Before buying CBD you want to make sure you look into the following:
- Is the product third-party tested? Is there a potency report or a COA (certificate of analysis) on the company’s website?
- Is there ACTUALLY CBD and other cannabinoids in the product or are they selling you an alternative, ineffective oil like hemp seed oil.
- You can find COA’s for our products here.
- Is the product full-spectrum?
- If you want the full benefits, make sure you’re choosing a “full-spectrum” or “whole plant extract” label. If it just says “CBD oil” it is likely just CBD isolates and there are no other cannabinoids present.
- All of Highest Health’s products are full-spectrum.
- Does the company believe in sustainable practices?
- As with anything, quality falls on a spectrum. Does the brand you’re considering take pride in being a top-notch, high-quality brand operating to sustainable standards?
- Hemp is a bioaccumulator that can absorb anything the soil contains -- from toxins to pesticides to fertilizers, etc. American-grown hemp (especially in states that produce both medically and recreationally, like California), are typically much safer and are held to much higher standards than international products. 15
At HHCo, we do the hard work so you don’t have to. We understand that the healing properties of the hemp plant comes from having the best practices, every step along the way. We don’t take shortcuts. We do what it takes to make sure we’re maximizing the properties of the plant for optimal benefit for the people they're made for….that’s YOU! From seed to shelf, we use small-batch, California sun-grown hemp sourced from farmers who value organic and regenerative practices. No additives. No chemicals. Just pure goodness. Our products are family-farmed, small-batch, and high-quality. All of our products are made in the USA and our flower is non-GMO and pesticide free. All of our products are third-party tested for quality and potency (these are listed on our website for you to view, too). You can trust our products never contain any trace metals or solvents.
CBD Vape Nectar: HHCo’s CBD vape nectars are a careful blend of small-batch, sun-grown, California hemp-derived CBD concentrate and strain-specific terpenes so you can experience full flavor while enjoying all benefits of CBD. Because CBD concentrate is usually low on terpenes, we add a hand-crafted, plant-derived terpene blend to provide the full flavor of the strain and all the healing benefits the plant has to offer.
CBD Cartridges: HHCo’s CBD cartridges are discrete and delicious, smoke-less and odor free, smokeable everywhere and anywhere. They’re created for daily use and made with two simple ingredients: full-spectrum hemp CBD distillate and our proprietary blend of plant terpenes - both are good for your body and good for your soul.
Hemp CBD Flower: HHCo’s hemp CBD flower is hand-harvested and processed with lots of care. Beautiful top buds are given an extra trim so you’re only getting the good stuff.
WHERE SHOULD I START WITH CBD?
If you’re just looking to get started for the first time, we recommend you take a small daily dose, like you would a multivitamin, of our full-spectrum tincture. Our full-spectrum tincture is designed to be taken on a regular basis and has ongoing anti-anxiety and relaxation benefits. If you’re looking for an instant-fix, our vape cartridges have more of a short-term immediate effect on calming your nerves and easing your body.
It’s important that before starting anything, you talk to your doctor. If you plan on trying CBD and are taking prescription medications, please check with your doctor. Some natural supplements can interfere with prescription medications. If you're considering using CBD as a replacement for your current mood disorder or mental health medication, first consult with your psychiatrist and/or physician.
As always, if you have ANY questions that aren’t for your doctor, please shoot us an email here.