One of the biggest obstacles that the CBD industry is coming up against in its quest to be available to anyone who needs it is the stigma that is attached to it – due to the fact that it is a compound which is present in the cannabis plant.
Although it hasn’t actually been that long since the cannabis plant was classified as an illicit drug, and we are now seeing changes in the law which are making some aspects of the plant legal in a growing number of places, there are still a lot of people around the world who see cannabis as plain bad.
It takes time to change attitudes which have been planted in people’s heads for generations, and really, the only way that these are going to change is with an increased amount of medical research, people in the industry being responsible and trustworthy in their products and what they claim, and by people showing and proving to each other that CBD is safe.
What is CBD and what are the dangers?
CBD is a compound which can be extracted from the cannabis plant. It is found naturally in the plant along with over 100 other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. CBD stands for cannabidiol and can be helpful in giving our general well-being a boost and promoting good health. There are also other, more specific health issues that scientists believe that CBD can help with.
There is more information about CBD here.
You will hear claims all the time about the fact that CBD is safe to take, and, essentially, this is true. No-one has ever died from taking CBD, it doesn’t have any dangerous or long term side effects, is completely natural, non-intoxicating and is non-addictive. In fact, its ‘bad’ label is purely down to the fact that some strains can get you ‘high’.
However, there are some things that you can do to make it safer and more effective for you and your needs.
Getting the right dosage
When it comes to getting the right dosage of CBD for you, a bit of trial and error is involved. The issue is that everybody is different and are looking for different effects. What is effective for one person, therefore isn’t so effective for the next, meaning that it can be difficult for anybody to give specific dosage amounts to people.
There are a number of factors which can impact the amount of CBD that you might want to take, including your weight and build, genetic disposition and tolerance.
In addition to this, CBD is biphasic. This means that its effects can change according to how much you take. So, if, for example, you are hoping that CBD will help you with anxiety  you might need one dose, whereas if you are hoping that it helps you with nausea  you might require a different dose.
If you are trying CBD for the first time, it is recommended that you start off with a very low dose – around 2.5mg – and increase it slowly (every three days or so) until you find the dosage that gives you the best effects. It is true that no-one has ever died from taking too much CBD, but you will notice that it is less effective once that you have passed your optimal dosage. Some people find it easier to note down their CBD doses to help them keep a record of what is best for them.
Getting Legitimate CBD
Due to the fact that the CBD industry is still a relatively new one, it is still largely unregulated – except by people within the industry. This, unfortunately, means that there is the potential for abuse, and there are some dishonest ‘CBD producers’ out there.
It is important therefore to make sure that you are getting the best and most effective product possible for you, ensuring that you are getting what you are being told that you are getting. It is sometimes the case that levels of cannabinoids are wrongly labelled, resulting in more, or less CBD or THC than you have been sold.
To ensure that you are getting what you have been told that you are getting, the best way is to check whether the product has been independently lab tested, by a laboratory with an ISO 17025 mark.
The lab certificate will be able to tell you exactly what is in the product and in what quantities.
With this information, you can check that the CBD and THC levels match the claims being made by the CBD company, as well as ensure that there are no other nasty chemicals, pesticides or toxins in the oil.
Independent lab test details should be made available to anyone who wants to see them. They are often found on a company’s website or on request.
Another way to ensure that the CBD company is legitimate is to check what accreditations it has from regulatory bodies. In the UK, for example, the Cannabis Trades Association go some way to helping to regulate the CBD industry.
CBD drug interactions and medical advice
Although it is safe to use, CBD can have a strong effect on the human body. It can affect some of the enzymes in the stomach and this can impact on the way that certain medications are broken down. It is therefore essential that if you are taking any medication you speak to your doctor first, before trying CBD.
For some medications, CBD will have no impact, but for some, it can inhibit its breakdown, leaving larger quantities of the medication in your bloodstream, effectively making it stronger, and for other medications, it can have the opposite effect. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot take CBD, but it might mean that you need to adjust the medication that you are taking.
Of course, this also works in the opposite way. If you are taking CBD and your doctor wants to put you on medication, make sure that they know that you are taking it.
THC and other compounds
THC is another prominent compound that is found in some strains of cannabis. Although it can also have some benefits to your health, it is illegal in many places in levels above 0.2% or 0.3%. High levels of THC can make you feel high, which can affect how you feel and act.
It is therefore important that you are aware of the other cannabinoids which are present in the CBD product that you are taking.
CBD side effects
It is important to be aware that there can be side effects to taking CBD. These include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Whilst these side effects exist, they will not affect your long term health.
To make your CBD as effective as possible for you, there are some things which you should consider when you are administering your CBD dose:
- If you are taking an oil or tincture, use the dropper to be able to accurately measure your dose. You might find it easier, instead of counting drops, to fill the dropper up with the correct dose and then take the whole lot in one go.
- If you prefer to vape your CBD, it might be easier to fill the chamber of your vaporiser up with the correct dose and smoke that, to ensure that you don’t go over or under what you need.
- Make sure that you shake the bottle before you take you CBD oil to ensure that its ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Check the product itself for guidelines about whether it should be taken before, with or after food.
CBD can be powerful and highly effective for some people, but it is important to make sure that you treat it with care. CBD effects everybody slightly differently, but by being aware of how to take it safely, you can be sure to get the best effects for you and for your own particular needs.