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A Beginner’s Guide To CBD

Many have never explored and/or encountered cannabis, and since hemp is now legal, a CBD beginner’s guide is necessary! 

Picture it: the hemp and CBD isle at your local health shop. Likely, there’s a bit of hemp here, CBD over there — hemp and CBD everywhere! There are hundreds of products to choose from in just about every form, such as topicals, tinctures, bath salt, face cream, soap, detergent, and so much more. Now for the fun part — selecting the best product for your needs. 

What seems like a CBD craze could just be an awakening; people waking up to the truth about cannabis. Besides healing, there are many benefits that the plant offers. Many have never explored and/or encountered cannabis, and since hemp is now legal, a CBD beginner’s guide is necessary! 

My goal is to provide an overview that will make it easier for beginners to shop. Understanding CBD, hemp, forms, methods, and legality will make shopping for CBD easier. My hope is that by the end of this beginner’s guide to CBD, newcomers to the compound will feel confident when shopping and reading information.

The Difference Between Cannabis Hemp and Cannabis Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are, taxonomically speaking, the same plant. They’re basically just different names for the same genus (cannabis) and species. What makes hemp hemp, and marijuana marijuana is THC.

RELATED: Hemp: Marijuana Or Not Marijuana?

THC makes the difference and this difference is made at the breeding stage according to Kush.com, which explains:

Each of these unique goals require a specific species of cannabis bred for that goal. For example, almost all industrial hemp seeds produce very litttle THC. If extracting THC for recreation is your goal, it is going to be almost impossible to do this with industrial hemp seeds. Vice versa some THC dense strains of cannabis produce shorter & thinner stalks. This means that they would not be sought after for harvest hemp biomass fibre.”

Generally, cannabis-hemp flower is high in CBD and 0.3% or less THC.

The Difference Between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil

Hemp oil and CBD oil could be different, therefore, understanding what something labeled “hemp” means, and understanding what something labeled “CBD” means, is important.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Oil

CBD is found and is extracted from the leaves, bud/flowers, and stalks of the cannabis-hemp plant. Hemp, when discussed in oil, gummy, and extract, is generally extracted from the hemp seed, and seeds do not contain cannabinoids. When something is labeled “hemp oil”, you want to make sure that if you’re looking for CBD, that there is in fact CBD in the product. The label “hemp” doesn’t automatically mean “CBD”.

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Photo by viennetta/Getty Images

The Legal Status of CBD in the United States

The Farm Bill that was passed in 2018, removed hemp from the DEA’s Schedule I list of drugs. When this happened, hemp was reclassified as a ““agricultural commodity.” With this reclassification, CBD from hemp became legal. Important to note- CBD from hemp is legal. CBD from marijuana remains illegal.

RELATED: FDA And USDA Start Making Sense On Hemp CBD

Something else to note: this reclassification did not make it legal for anyone to grow hemp at home. Industrial hemp became legal and that means, licenses and business registrations are needed before a single seed is planted. Though- if in a legal Cannabis state, it may be legal in your state- to grow hemp at home. Definitely check state law before planting a seed. 

CBD Forms/Consumption Methods

There are multiple forms of consuming hemp-CBD:

Flower: smoking, dry herb vaping, and juicing.

RSO (Rick Simpson oil): allowing the oil to dissolve/swallowing, or adding it to a piece of food like a cracker or bread.

Oil tincture: usually through a dropper, place the oil under the tongue and hold for 60–90 seconds then swallow.

Edible: gummies, chocolate bars, beverages, etc.

Concentrate: vape pen, dab, infused bowl, and infused joint.

Topical: application to skin.

Each method has an effect a little different than the other.

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Photo by MysteryShot/Getty Images

Labels, Certificates of Analysis, and QR Codes

  • A good CBD label is informative provides information like:
  • The amount of CBD per bottle/package
  • Total CBD servings per bottle/package
  • The amount of CBD per dose
  • If the CBD is full spectrum, isolate, or broad spectrum (this is really important because a full spectrum CBD product will have very low levels of THC, whereas an isolate product is THC free)
  • Ingredients in the product

Your CBD product purchase should come with a certificate of analysis or a QR code. A certificate of analysis is a document from the testing facility and should: 

  • Be from a laboratory that conducted the testing
  • Tell the various cannabinoids found in the product
  • The amount (usually percentages) of each cannabinoid per bottle/package and per serving.
  • The terpenes found in the product/terpene analysis

Not all states require companies to provide a certificate of analysis. Instead, the use of QR codes is enforced. A QR code is a machine-readable optical label that provides important information about the product that it is attached to.

RELATED: Top 4 Predictions For Hemp And Hemp CBD In 2020

The QR code is usually on the product package. When scanning that code with a smart phone, you a redirected to a webpage with the product’s information:

  • Ingredients used
  • The certificate of analysis with all testing info
  • The third-party lab that tested the product

This quick overview is like a pre-requisite, an introduction to the very basis of CBD. This guide for beginners of CBD is a shopping tool, not a medical tool or guide. The goal is to help make the shopping experience and conversations with retailers a little easier by guiding you through the basics.

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