Cannabis sativa L., which includes both marijuana and hemp, has long been a controversial plant species. It has been both demonized and celebrated for its effects on the human body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has largely played a leading role in shaping the public’s perception of the plant. This compound is psychoactive, and it’s responsible for inducing that “high” feeling. Now, Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana and hemp, is taking over the spotlight.
Eric Steenstra of the Vote Hemp advocacy group claims that at least half of all hemp grown in the U.S. is used for its CBD compound. In fact, some people think of the sudden mass search for CBD as a modern-day gold rush. Despite the fact that it does not induce a high feeling, there are other reasons behind the compound’s sudden popularity.
Usually, when people talk about the benefits of CBD, they are referring to its potential benefits. According to HealthDay News, the strongest evidence of CBD benefits revolves around its ability to treat epilepsy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved of using a CBD-based drug to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two types of epilepsy in children, but research is still in progress in regards to the compound’s other medical uses.
This being said, here are a few of the potential benefits:
It’s possible that CBD can alleviate pain by interacting with the brain’s receptors. People suffering from chronic pain, such as the discomfort and inflammation associated with arthritis, might find this useful.
Some early studies hint that CBD might be able to reduce anxiety and depression disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. It could one day prove to be an acceptable alternative to addictive drugs such as benzodiazepines.
In addition to reducing stress, CBD might provide a way to lower blood pressure. In turn, it could help prevent life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks.
CBD could potentially alleviate symptoms of cancer as well as certain side effects of chemotherapy, including vomiting and nausea.
Despite promising studies, keep in mind that CBD usage can also come with side effects, including drowsiness, low blood pressure, diarrhea, and changes in appetite that could lead to weight gain or loss. Both the compound’s benefits and side effects continue to be researched, so consumers use these products at their own risk.
Adventurous consumers who have decided to try CBD often find themselves with yet another decision to make. Is it better to buy CBD oil or edibles?
Before making the decision, it’s important to understand how each type has been created and how they differ in application.
CBD oil is often extracted from hemp since this type of plant often has .3 percent or less of the psychoactive compound THC. In fact, in some areas, if the hemp has more than .3 percent of THC, local laws require the grower to destroy the plant.
There are multiple ways to extract the oil from the plant. Three common methods include extraction through the use of CO2, ethanol, or olive oil.
Novices often avoid this method. It involves using sophisticated equipment and pressurized, temperature-controlled CO2 to extract the CBD from the plant. When done by an expert, the result is potent and safe-to-use oil that’s free of contaminants.
Ethanol can extract the desired compounds from a plant, but it might pull some unwanted substances, like chlorophyll, from the plant as well. Of course, ethanol is flammable, so this is method comes with a risk. Butane can be used instead of ethanol, but it has similar drawbacks.
In this method, the plant is heated to a certain temperature and then added to olive oil. Additional heating will lead to oil extraction. Using olive oil to extract CBD has a few advantages over the other methods. It’s less expensive than using the CO2 method and safer than using ethanol. However, it doesn’t result in much oil, and the oil it does produce needs to be carefully stored in a dark, cool area, otherwise, it’ll go bad.
Once extracted and cleared of undesirable components, the oil can be made into various forms, ranging from capsules and powders to CBD gummies and brownies. When simply shopping for the oil form, keep this information in mind:
CBD oil itself is quite a market driver. According to PotNetwork, in 2017, the oil contributed to a 16 percent growth in the overall hemp industry. The industry is expected to continue growing in the future, driven largely by online oil sales. Of course, online shoppers are bound to want more than just CBD in oil form.
CBD oil can be used in all sorts of recipes for edible goods. The best part is, many of these can be made at home with basic kitchen tools and ingredients.
CBD oil mixes well with butter when combined in a saucepan over low heat. The process takes several hours, but the resulting product can be put on popcorn, potatoes, bread, and plenty of other common foods. The process of heating and infusing CBD oil into other ingredients also works with sauces for pasta as well as curry.
Heat isn’t always needed to infuse CBD into a recipe. For example, the oil can be combined with smoothies, salad dressings, and dips for quick, non-cook snacks.
CBD fans who have a habit of browsing the Internet while hungry will find many CBD treats available, including gummies, chocolates, and hard candies. Consumer Reports warns that shoppers should practice diligence when ordering these snacks, as the industry is not yet well regulated. Consider these tips for shopping for edibles:
In addition to following these tips, consumers should be wary of products that claim to cure or treat medical conditions. As previously mentioned, CBD has not officially been proven to treat conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, or mental disorders. In fact, these companies should include disclaimers that reveal the Food and Drug Administration’s current stance on CBD.
The decision whether to buy CBD edibles or just the oil is largely a matter of personal preference and intended use. Here’s how the two forms stack up against each other.
CBD edibles like candy and pastries are great for social events. Edibles are also more discreet. Unfortunately, it’s also more likely that children will mistakenly confuse CBD snacks for run-of-the-mill treats.
While CBD edibles are easy to make at home, extracting CBD oil from the plant tends to be a more difficult process. Anyone who likes to experiment in the kitchen might want to go for the oil. On the other hand, anyone who plans on extracting oil themselves should first read more in-depth guides or consult an expert before proceeding.
Information on CBD oil labels tends to be more specific than CBD edible labels. This makes it easier to control the dosage when you’re making your own snacks.
In oil form, CBD can also be used topically. Some people believe this can help treat localized pain or inflammation. While this remains to be confirmed, adventurous consumers can try it for joint and muscle pain relief.
CBD edibles take longer to take effect than oil. For many shoppers, this is the most important distinction between oils and edibles. When CBD oil is applied under the tongue, it’s absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Edibles, on the other hand, must pass through the digestive system. In some cases, the effects of the edibles can take several hours to kick, but those effects can also be long-lasting.
Whether buying oil or edible, consumers should get to know the legality of CBD products and the science behind them. The legislation is constantly under reformation, and test studies are continually conducted, so staying up to date is crucial for anyone with an interested in the Cannabis plant industry.