Everything You Wanted to Know about CBD but were afraid to ask
I have so many questions about CBD, specifically, its use in various therapies, remedies, and supplements. As someone who doesn’t even like to take allergy medication unless my Doctor tells me I need it, I’ve been a little timid about branching into CBDs, even when many of my friends rave about their uses in daily life. I will admit that my trepidation is based on how little I know on the subject, so when BC-based Sunnyside Botanicals got in touch to offer a sample of their products, I needed some more info.
This is completely new ground for me. I don’t smoke, I don’t vape, and I really try to not overdo the carbs, so I’m going to need some hand-holding here. Having said that, apparently the CBD will help with my anxiety, so that’ll be handy for when I get a “Do you have time for a quick chat?” messages from my boss. Gulp!
Disclaimer: Before trying any new kind of supplement, medicinal product, diet, or routine,
consult your doctor.
The Interview with the Co-Founders
As with all the things I talk about, before I even think about recommending a product I have to try them first.
To keep things quick, but honest, I tried the following for 2 weeks and used as directed by the packaging. I’ve listed the products and a super brief review next to each.
- Full-spectrum CBD tincture (taken under the tongue): This has helped me sleep more soundly and I’ve just realised that it’s really helped my knee- pain! Seriously – I ran 10km yesterday and I haven’t done that in about 2 years.
- Cool release pain-relieving balm: Feels like an Icy-Hot or ‘Deep Heat’ product but without all the chemicals.
- Cool release NANO roller: Reminds me of a Saje Wellness Peppermint Roller. Very nice to put on my wrists and temples when I’m getting a bit hot at my desk.
- Bath soak: The orange spice scent smells like Christmas! It was a lovely addition to my bath, especially after a run.
- Hand sanitizer: As hand sanitizer goes, it’s actually pretty nice. A handy little bottle, not greasy, and smells nice. Better than the stuff you get when you go to the supermarket!
Luckily, they answered all of my questions and then some. They even put it in a Q&A format, which I’m eternally grateful for.
- What is CBD?
- What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
- Is CBD legal in Canada?
- Is CBD addictive?
- What are the benefits of taking CBD?
- How do you take CBD?
- Is CBD harmful to the body?
- Is CBD the same as weed?
- Can I take CBD and drive or work?
- Are there any side effects of CBD?
- Can I take CBD for back pain?
- Would CBD show up on a drugs test?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids (chemical compounds) found within Cannabis-Sativa plants – aka hemp, even marijuana.
Known primarily for its medicinal benefits – It’s a powerful natural anti inflammatory, has proven anti-oxidant benefits, and a remarkable ability to help with mood, including symptoms of anxiety, depression and more.
It’s neurological benefits are proven. In the United States, there is an FDA approved drug developed and prescribed to children with Dravet Syndrome, which has improved, extended, even saved the lives of thousands of children.
What is the difference between CBD and THC
Historically, when most people think of cannabis, they think of marijuana and its intoxicating effects – that’s due to THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC, too, has remarkable medicinal value, especially when it comes to those suffering from a greater degree of pain, or insomnia. In addition to being an anti inflammatory, like CBD, it also works by preventing ones nervous system from firing off pain signals.
Of course, it also has intoxicating effects. The ‘high’ is the appeal for many, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. THC acts as an intoxicant by binding to receptors in the brain that are responsible for such things as hunger, thirst, balance, and laughter.
CBD on the other hand, has a different reaction to those receptors – not only does it not fit in those same receptors, in simple terms, it actually changes the shape of those receptors so it can act as an antidote, or even a safeguard to THC intoxication when taken together in certain proportions.
CBD does have an impact on the brain though. It’s the relationship to triggering the production/regulation of serotonin is why it can be a calming agent, not only for bedtime but throughout the day in terms of a mood regulator. We can go into greater detail about this later.
Clearing up the miseducation:
You may have read somewhere that CBD is non-psychoactive. This is categorically false. Anything that affects one’s brain chemistry is psychoactive – the stimulation one feels from drinking coffee is a psychoactive effect. What CBD isn’t is intoxicating – the use of CBD at any point in the day should not impair your ability to function in any way. The hope is instead it would improve your capacity in some way. That is why we like to call it a wonderful ally on your wellness journey. As it does have an impact on your serotonin (which can be stimulating) it would absolutely be psychoactive.
Is CBD Legal In Canada?
There is a short answer and a long one.
- Yes it is.
- Yes it is, but the market is contains both regulated and pre-licenced producers
When Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, it focused on the recreational user, those who were looking to consume marijuana. Their initial rollout plan was to be a paced, progressive introduction and adaptation of the Cannabis Act as time went on and Health Canada (and of course, the large, multi billion dollar companies whom they more or less exclusively provided licensing to). Part of this initial roll-out was not separately defining hemp from the rest of cannabis, which meant CBD products were initially supposed to be controlled and regulated through the legal-dispensary network.
In 2018, in the United States where there’s been a costly, more prohibitive war on drugs including cannabis – hemp, and its main extract, CBD was separately defined and became a more or less unregulated supplement which allowed for the proliferation of hemp being grown and extracted, and sold without regulation nearly everywhere! CBD everything from supermarkets to your gas station.
A number of companies started hemp CBD extract with the optimism that Canada too would soon follow suit and separately define hemp for purpose of deregulating. With the support of many progressional medicinal colleges, and even some lobbyists, it appeared this was on the way – a nominated team of advisors was scheduled to meet in the spring of 2021 to advice Health Canada on how to proceed.
… and then COVID happened. It seems Health Canada had some bigger priorities. The team did eventually meet, but the initiatives still haven’t been born.
As a result, there are a significant amount of pre-licensed hemp extract companies serving todays market, just waiting for the regulation to adjust. While there aren’t as many in BC, there are unregulated brands with their own flagship stores throughout Ontario who comfortably operate. The pre-licenced brands serve the many people do not want to have to go to a “weed” dispensary to find CBD tinctures, or bath products even and choose to visit local boutiques, spas, pet shops, or online retailers
Is CBD Addictive?
There is no evidence that CBD is addictive. Its non-intoxicating effects eliminate the reward element of an addictive substance. It can be habit-forming to a degree though – in the sense that if you were to take it as a sleep-aid every evening for a few months, and then suddenly stop, it is likely you may have trouble sleeping for an evening or two.
What are the benefits of CBD?
There are so many different health benefits to taking CBD, many of which are still being studied and discovered, and many of the benefits are anecdotal. The first legal and pharmaceutical use has been to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures and a CBD drug has been approved by the FDA and prescribed to many children with amazing results. However, without anecdotal evidence, the FDA would never have pursued CBD as a realistic treatment for such a serious condition – especially for children. What else is known to date is that it can help individuals who are experiencing nausea and vomiting because due to chemotherapy or any other type of necessary, but difficult medical treatment.
There is also strong evidence to suggest it can be of great assistance to those who suffer with any of the following:
- depression and other mood disorders
- insomnia and other sleep disorders
- chronic pain
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- neuropathic pain
- skin conditions like eczema and acne
- gastro-intestinal diseases/disorders like IBS or Crone’s
- neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s
- opioid withdrawal
While many of these ailments are very serious, even life threatening, CBD is an absolutely wonderful daily supplement for those of us just seeking some aid as we go about our wellness journey.
Some often overlooked, but remarkable benefits are:
- It’s an amazing anti-oxidant, with many studies noting it is 30-50% better than both vitamin-c and vitamin-e at ridding the body of free radicals. (https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/1/21/htm) This has positive health implications throughout the body, not just for routine health, but for healthy skin benefits such as regeneration and repair, and anti-aging.
- Regular CBD use also promotes homeostasis within the body, which is crucial in maintaining one’s day-to-day health.
- Its ability to help your body produce serotonin can help not only relieve tension and nerves but help you focus on the day and tasks on hand
- It’s a marvelous sleep-aid, without being a sedative! It calms you down so your body’s natural sleep cycle can take over. Further, it encourages REM sleep, which is where your best rest and recovery occurs. An ideal setup for you to wake up and start your day.
How do you take CBD?
This is Crucial!
There are many ways to take your CBD, and each may provide different results and benefits. Common products and their intended ingestion method are:
|Product||How to Ingest||Efficiency|
|Gummies / Edibles||Gastro Intestinal||Extremely Poor|
|Vaporizers / Pens||Inhalation / Smoke||Average|
|Topicals||Rub on||Below Average|
|Suppositories||Anal or Vaginal||Very High|
As you may note, one of the most popular ways is via edibles such as gummies. Unfortunately, many who start with gummies usually come away from their CBD experience without noticing positive results. This is due to the extremely poor efficiency (bioavailability) of CBD-oil being absorbed through the digestive system.
Most studies show that a maximum of only about 4-9% of your CBD dose will be absorbed if taken as an edible. That means in a 10mg gummy or capsules, 1mg might make its way into the blood stream to provide medicinal benefit. The rest is wasted during first-pass metabolism via the liver. This also is the case if you drop CBD-oil tinctures into a beverage. Additionally, any benefit will take about an hour to take effect. Not ideal for anyone seeking pain relief. A simplified explanation: your body is made of water, and it has a difficult time absorbing oil.
On the other hand, if you ingest CBD-oil via the sublingual glands under your tongue, you can get much better absorption, and the results will be felt much quicker. To get the most out of your CBD products, simply hold the oil in your mouth for up to a minute, and swallow. Results can be felt in as little as 30 minutes, and most of it isn’t going to waste. Additionally, with tinctures, you can adjust your dose easily upwards or downwards as needed.
This is crucial as everyone’s CBD experience is different. The ailments they seek remedy for, their own individual circumstances (metabolism, body structure, cannabis enthusiasm), and when they take their CBD can all impact how it benefits you.
One key thing to remember: like many supplements, it can take up-to 2 weeks of consistent daily dosing for full benefits to be realized!
Is CBD Harmful to the body?
While there hasn’t been any significant long-term studies on the long term use of CBD due to decades long prohibition on cannabis, there haven’t been any compelling anecdotal, or other evidence to show any harm. Certainly, in comparison to the long term use of anti-inflammatories, melatonin, over the counter sleep aids, or other pharmaceuticals.
Seniors are the quickest growing cannabis user demographic and it’s because they’re seeking natural alternatives to their ailments after the prolonged use of other medications are proving to be damaging.
Is CBD the same as Weed?
As noted originally, CBD is one of many cannabinoids found within cannabis, THC being the more famous one. Generally, ‘weed’ is more potent in THC, but many strains have CBD, and some even have just as much CBD as THC, if not more! Weed is just a cool name for the cannabis plant that was grown to be THC potent, but it comes in 1000s of varieties!
Can you take CBD and drive to work?
Yes – taking CBD should not impair your ability to do anything! However, everyone is different, and we wouldn’t be covering our bases if we didn’t suggest one give oneself some time after their first dose to ensure all is well. And of course, if one has any concerns, consult your physician. (Pharmacists are actually a great resource too!)
Are there any side effects of CBD
The most common side effect can be dry mouth, however this usually tends to clear up after a few weeks of regular use. Some report to have a subtly reduced appetite but sometimes that can be attributed as much to the MCT oil that is found in the tinctures as well.
Some find lightheaded ness or a subtle change in mood when they first dose, especially if it’s too much at first – stimulation due to serotonin. It just means your next dose should be a little less.
There are some medications that shouldn’t be taken while on CBD. The rule of thumb is the ‘grapefruit rule’ where if you’re on a medication where consuming grapefruit juice is discouraged, you probably shouldn’t take CBD either. Again, consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist.
Can I take CBD for back pain?
Sure can! Some would suggest taking it sublingually so it works ‘from the inside’ as an Advil would, and then using a topical from relief from the ‘outside’!
Would CBD show up on a drug test?
It depends – some CBD products, inducing all the CBD tinctures found at the regulated dispensaries contain subtle amounts of THC. Their use, especially after prolonged use is likely to trigger a THC positive on a drug test. These products, known as ‘full spectrum’ are generally 99% CBD to 1% THC
The pre-licensed market has the ability to work with pure CBD products though, working with what is called CBD isolate. We test ours regularly to ensure purities of 99.7% with ZERO traces of THC.
I hope that clears up as much for you as it did for me. It’s really incredible to hear about the regulated work that is going into using the power of plants in healthy ways of dealing with many ailments and treatments.
Disclaimer for those who didn’t see it before: Before trying any new kind of supplement, medicinal product, diet, or routine, consult your doctor.
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