Cannabidiol or CBD is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940.

It is one of some 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. CBD is naturally occurring and is found in the resinous flower of cannabis.  It’s important to note that CBD is ONLY one of 113 cannabinoids that can be called phytocannabinoid and that CBD only comes from the flower of the cannabis sativa plant.  Another cannabidoid that only comes from the flower of the plant is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Both CBD and THC have therapeutic attributes. CBD, however, does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.

CBD and THC interact with our bodies in several different ways. One significant way is that they impact us is by mimicking and augmenting the effects of the compounds in our bodies called “endogenous cannabinoids” – so named because of their similarity to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. These “endocannabinoids” are part of a regulatory system called the “endocannabinoid system”.

These two compounds are the primary ingredients of the chemical makeup of the cannabis sativa flower, along with some terpenes and trace other chemicals (including some that are contaminants) with CBD making up more than 40% of the whole.

What this all means to somebody looking to purchase CBD online because they’ve heard of all the wonderful benefits is that It’s not as simple as it looks!!

CBD companies have sprouted like mushrooms in the past 12 months or so, and many of them aren’t exactly providing what consumers are expecting.  One of the reasons that can happen is because using the letters “CBD” or the words “phytocannabinoid” or just “cannabidiol” isn’t regulated and can be used in advertising or on labels as long as they aren’t part of the official ingredients.

This adds to the already large consumer confusion and misinformation that surrounds CBD and CBD products.  One way to evaluate products, there efficacy (how well they work) and what to buy is to look at what products have been FDA approved.  That might be hard since only ONE product has FDA approval.  That is the regulated and by prescription only Epidiolex from the pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals.

Epidiolex uses what it calls  “…a highly purified form of cannabidiol (CBD) that comes from the cannabis plant; the active ingredient is nearly 100%.”  This almost 100% pure CBD is what is known as CBD Isolate, which is refined from CBD oil and usually contains 99.5+% CBD and no other compounds or contaminants.  This makes for a very controllable substance, which is tested for purity and can be administered with exact amounts of dosage.  It’s not in oil form but is in a crystallized state.  It IS an oil however and won’t suspend well in water or alcohol.  That is why Epidiolex suspends the CBD in a carrier oil, which in their case is sesame seed oil, and because it’s intended for children it contains strawberry flavoring and sucrose to aid in taste.

If we use that as a benchmark, we have to understand that Epidiolex, the only FDA approved CBD type of product, is NOT CBD Oil, but rather CBD INFUSED oil.  That is because CBD oil, has many ingredients (over 113 remember) and is more difficult to measure and control compared to refined CBD isolate.

This means that there are really 2 different types of products on the market, and explains in part why a recent study by the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) reported that over 70% of tested products that contain CBD were mislabeled with either more than labeled CBD, less than labeled CBD (some with none) and some with THC above the limit allowed.  Many of these brands were not tested by the manufacturer and that means the consumer can’t be sure of what they are buying and consuming.

Next time we will look at the two types of CBD products. CBD Infused and Full Spectrum.

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