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The Most Definitive CBD Guide For 2024

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has exploded in popularity in recent years. From health supplements to skincare products, CBD is lauded for its many amazing properties and potential uses. But what exactly is CBD, and how does it work? That’s where our definitive CBD guide comes in.

With so many CBD products now on the market, it can be hard to know what to choose and how to use CBD safely and effectively.

Whether you’re a first-time user or a seasoned pro, we have aimed to provide you with the essential guide to CBD.

This CBD guide will provide you with all the information you need about CBD, from its safety profile and legal status to its potential benefits and risks. 

What is CBD?

CBD is one of many (possibly as many as 200) naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. Importantly, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that it cannot alter perceptions or get you high.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component in cannabis, and is present only in trace amounts in CBD products (or sometimes not at all.) 

Is It Safe? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that recreational use of CBD causes any health problems. CBD is also not addictive, meaning that there is no potential for misuse or dependence. 

In some cases, it can be dangerous to use CBD alongside certain medications.

CBD can cause adverse interactions with some of the enzymes in your body that are responsible for breaking down substances. This can change the levels of medication in the bloodstream and cause dangerous side-effects. 

Some experts recommend that CBD not be used with any medications that carry a “grapefruit warning.”

If in doubt, always speak to your healthcare provider before using CBD if you are taking any medications. This CBD guide is not a replacement for qualified medical advice.

Is CBD Legal? 

Marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes is still illegal under U.S. federal law, though many states have now individually legalized it. However, because CBD is non-psychoactive, it is legislated differently. 

CBD can be derived in two ways: from marijuana plants or from hemp plants.

In 2018, the U.S. federal government passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, colloquially known as the Farm Bill, which legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD. 

According to the Farm Bill, hemp is defined as any part of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. And as long as a CBD product is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal in the United States under federal law.

CBD is now also legal (under certain restrictions) in many other countries, including those in which cannabis is illegal. Just a few examples include the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Germany.

If you are planning to travel with CBD products or buy and use them outside of the United States, always check the local laws of the country or region you live in or are traveling to. Look for a CBD guide specifically for the relevant country if you are unsure.

Traveling with CBD 

It is legal to fly with CBD within and into the United States, and to drive across state lines with it in your possession. If you are traveling outside the U.S., check with your airline and check the rules of the country you are traveling to. Again, a country-specific CBD guide can help you if necessary.

Driving After Taking CBD 

As CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, it is highly unlikely that using CBD alone will impair your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.

Remember that some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, which could theoretically produce impairment if consumed in large enough quantities, and that CBD can have adverse effects if combined with alcohol or other substances. 

In general, though, it is perfectly legal to drive after using CBD in the U.S. Hemp-derived CBD with little or no THC also will not show up on a drug test

What is CBD Used For? 

One of the amazing things about CBD is that it has so many potential uses. Though scientific and medical research into CBD is still relatively young, studies and results so far are promising. 

According to both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence, there are numerous reasons why more and more people are incorporating CBD into their daily health regimen. Just some of its potential uses include: 

  • Pain relief 
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treating anxiety and depression
  • Maintaining a calm and positive mood
  • Improving sleep 

Preliminary studies have also demonstrated that CBD may have some benefits in the treatment of various health issues including epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neurological disease, arthritis, and some addictions. 

According to one clinicians guide to cannabidiol and hemp oils from 2019: “There is a growing body of preclinical and clinical evidence to support use of CBD oils for many conditions, suggesting its potential role as another option for treating challenging chronic pain or opioid addiction.”

It is important to note that CBD is not a substitute for professional medical care and should be used in conjunction with other modes of treatment. Similarly, this CBD guide should not be taken as medical advice for any particular condition.

How Does CBD Work? 

It’s believed that CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that regulates numerous physiological and cognitive processes.

In this section of our CBD guide, we’ll take a close look at what the endocannabinoid system is and exactly how CBD functions within it. 

Endocannabinoid System Basics

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a key role in regulating the physiological processes that impact a range of bodily systems and functions from mood, sleep, and appetite though to immunological response.

The ECS is composed of three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids are molecules produced by the body that bind to cannabinoid receptors, which are located throughout the body, including in the brain, immune system, and peripheral nervous system. Enzymes in the liver break down endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function.

Endocannabinoids

The anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) endocannabinoids are the two primary naturally occurring cannabinoids in the human body. 

  • Anandamide: Anandamide is a neurotransmitter with an extremely similar structure to THC. Its name, ananda, comes from a Sanskrit word for “bliss, pleasure, or happiness.” Anandamide plays a role in numerous important biological functions including higher thinking processes, memory, motivation, pain, body temperature control, hunger, and fertility.
  • 2-AG: 2-AG is the most prevalent endocannabinoid in the body, and displays similar properties to anandamide. It has been shown to play a role in pain relief, hunger management, and immune system function. It has also been demonstrated to help with mood, stress, and addiction.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors

The behaviors of the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids are regulated by CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are located throughout the body.

  • CB1: CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain. They impact an array of functions including cognition, memory, motor movements, and pain perception. They also play a role in sleep, mood, and hunger management.
  • CB2: CB2 receptors are found primarily within white blood cells, the spleen, and the gastrointestinal tract. Immune responses such as inflammation, pain control, reward, and addiction are all affected by CB2 receptors.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

CBD is believed to interact with both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body as well as other receptors and neurotransmitters including serotonin and vanilloid receptors. This interaction is thought to be the primary cause of CBD’s array of potential health benefits, from reducing anxiety and improving sleep to reducing inflammation and pain. 

However, unlike THC, CBD does not bind directly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead, it appears to modulate the activity of these receptors indirectly, potentially by enhancing the effects of endocannabinoids such as anandamide, which bind to these receptors.

CBD is also believed to affect the levels of endocannabinoids in the body by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down. This can lead to increased levels of endocannabinoids in the body, which may help to regulate and manipulate various physiological processes, giving CBD its effectiveness. 

Using CBD Guide: What Type of CBD Should I Take? 

Now that you understand how CBD works, it’s time to learn about the many different ways you can use it. CBD is available in various forms, and different forms will suit different needs and users. 

The most popular and widely accessible forms of CBD are as follows:

CBD Oil Tinctures

A tincture is a mixture of CBD, a carrier oil, and sometimes a flavor. CBD tinctures can be taken orally with a dropper, or mixed with food or drinks. They are available in a range of flavors and strengths.

Some people may also choose to apply a tincture to their skin, though you may find it very greasy if you choose to do this! 

CBD Capsules

Capsules are one of the most popular ways to take CBD as they offer a set dosage in an easy-to-swallow form. If you choose to take capsules, remember that they take longer to start taking effect than tinctures, so you’ll need to be patient. 

CBD Edibles

CBD edibles are food products that come pre-infused with CBD. The most popular CBD edible product is gummies, which provide a tasty and efficient way to take a set daily dose of CBD. Cookies, candies, and gum are just some of the other CBD edible products you’ll find on the market. 

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are CBD-infused products that you apply directly to the skin, including lotions, creams, balms, and salves. They can be used to keep skin, muscles, and joints in good shape and to relieve pain and inflammation. 

CBD Vaporizers

CBD vaporizers, colloquially known as vapes, work similarly to e-cigarettes except that they dispense CBD rather than nicotine. The fastest-acting CBD benefits come from vaping, but the effects wear off quickly as well. Vapes are a great alternative for people who want to carry CBD around and use it throughout the day. 

How Much CBD Should I Take?

This isn’t a simple question to answer, because people use CBD for many different reasons and everyone responds to it slightly differently. For this reason, there is no single correct dosage. Your age, weight, gender, and any existing health conditions can also impact how CBD affects you.

So if you’re new to CBD what should you do?

Each CBD guide will offer a slightly different recommendation. Here’s ours. For a simple formula, 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 lb of body weight gives you a good range to aim for.

Start at the lower end of this (so around 15-25 mg for a 150 lb person) and work your way up slowly, adding a few milligrams at a time until you get the desired effect. Remember that it can take anything from 15 to 45 minutes for CBD to take effect.

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If you’re new to the world of CBD, welcome! We’re delighted to have you and we hope that this CBD guide has provided you with all the information you need. To learn more, check out our blog and particularly our most commonly asked CBD questions. 

And if you have any additional questions about CBD or any of our products that we have not covered in this CBD guide, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. 

About the Writer

Donny V.

Don is a freelance lifestyle writer currently based in Los Angeles and focused on discovering and introducing new BIPOC entrepreneurs and businesses to the world. His interests include hiking, mastering the perfect taco and becoming a brewmaster.

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