Have you ever wanted to try CBD but aren’t sure where to start? Do you have questions about what CBD is and how it can be beneficial to your health? Then look no further than our CBD for Beginners Guide.
Our brief but informative guide will help you understand what CBD is, how CBD works with your body, how to get started with CBD in terms of product selection and dosing suggestions, and what conditions CBD can potentially be beneficial for, among other topics of interest. If you’ve been curious about CBD and what it can do for you, then our CBD for Beginners Guide is a great place to start.
In this guide, we will give you most all of the vital information you need to know to get started on your path to using CBD as a health-boosting remedy. As always, you should continue to do your research after reading our guide, as well as touch base with your primary care doctor if you have any further questions or concerns.
Table of Contents
- What is CBD & How does it work?
- Getting started with CBD (Dosing Guide)
- How to choose the right CBD
- Different Strengths & Types of CBD — Isolate vs. Full Spectrum
- Side Effects & Drug Interactions
What is CBD & how can it help?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant that will not make you feel that euphoric high like THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, will. Both CBD and THC are two of the more commonly known cannabinoids in cannabis, though there are well over 100 different cannabinoids in the plant. For beginners, CBD is the main compound to pay attention too, but we’ll touch on some other aspects of the plant.
“Marijuana,” which we often refer to as psychoactive cannabis, and “hemp” are too different forms of the same plant. While psychoactive cannabis, and products made from it, remain illegal at the federal level, hemp is legal in all 50 states. As a result, you can get CBD oil, at least by online mail order, just about anywhere in the U.S.
There are many well documented benefits associated with regularly taking CBD. Among them are:
- Anxiety relief including stress reduction, improved sleep, and improvement in the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- Decreased pain from arthritis, chronic pain, muscle aches, and multiple sclerosis, or MS, among others.
- Reduced acne inflammation.
- A possible reduction in seizures associated with epilepsy, as studies have found.
- CBD may also help relieve pain associated with cancer treatment as reported by the National Cancer Institute.
In fact, clinical studies are finding that CBD can help with a host of other conditions. Though research is still in the beginning stages, many are hopeful that CBD will continue to grow in popularity as a strong and effective alternative treatment.
How does CBD work?
Put simply, CBD (including THC and all the other cannabinoids in cannabis) works synergistically with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a complicated cell-activating system, to bring about relief from pain, nausea, and a host of other symptoms that stem from various diseases.
The endocannabinoid system seems to help the body maintain homeostasis (a fancy word for balance). It works to regulate:
- Fertility and Reproduction
Homeostasis is important to many aspects of our body’s healthy functioning. As such, the system is pivotal in the body’s ability to handle certain processes such as:
- Appetite and digestion
- Learning and memory
- Motor control
- Liver function
- Bone growth and remodeling
- Functioning of the reproductive system
- Nerve function
- Skin function
- Formation of muscles
- Chronic pain
- Immune system responses including inflammation
- Functioning of the cardiovascular system
That does not mean that taking CBD can instantly heal issues with any of the above. But it does offer intriguing evidence of how closely tied the endocannabinoid system is to our well-being. Compounds like CBD mimic the body’s natural chemicals (the endocannabinoids), potentially supplementing the body’s own processes.
Getting Started with CBD: Dosing CBD for beginners
Just like with any other natural supplement, proper dosing of CBD is also important.
Before you start to worry about what the best, exact dosing is, you should know that everyone’s body is different. Therefore, there is no right dose for any single person. In short, a dose that is effective for you might not be as effective for someone else.
Also, with CBD, higher doses are not always better. Most experts will tell you that mid-range doses will offer you more benefits than lower or even higher doses of CBD. That’s especially true for beginner’s to CBD. Taking too much could make you sleepy or a little spacy.
“Low and slow is the key with CBD.”
For beginners, start by taking a single 5mg dose of CBD daily for about one week before reassessing and increasing your dose. It’s important to remember that when you increase your dose, do so gradually. Low and slow is the key with CBD.
Each time that you increase your dose, stay on it for at least a week before increasing again. The body needs time to adjust to the new dosage.
If you have never tried CBD before, begin by taking a ½ dropper of a reputable 300mg CBD oil once per day. This should be the equivalent to about 5mg.
After a week has passed, check in with yourself to see how you feel. If you feel like you need more CBD oil, then move up to a ½ dropper full twice a day, or 10mg a day.
Different types of CBD products
Sometimes beginners are nervous about using CBD oil tinctures. CBD also comes in different forms such as gummies, chocolates, capsules, vapes, and even creams, salves, and lotions. Some companies are even coming out with CBD-infused water, coffee, and seltzer. The best way to know which type of CBD product to choose is to select the one that best suits your needs and your lifestyle. Some forms, like edibles or capsules, can make it easier for beginners to take an exact dose of CBD.
It’s also a lot less complicated when it comes to CBD creams, lotions, and salves. You can use as much as you need as often as you need to without fear of taking too much or too little of something, because they are absorbed differently by the body.
Choosing the right beginners CBD brand & product
It’s important to remember that all CBD brands are not created equal. Sadly, the rise in popularity of CBD also created an influx of poorly crafted products. So, take the time to do your research before buying from the first brand you see online.
In researching CBD brands, be sure to look at:
- Where does the company get its hemp? Hemp sourced within the United States is more likely to be regulated, held to higher standards, and pesticide-free.
- Did the company use a clean extraction method to extract its oils? Unclean methods could leave dangerous chemicals and solvents in the final product. CO2 extraction is the most common “clean” method on the market.
- Whether the products are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate extracts. We explain more about this below.
- The THC levels of the products — by law all hemp-based CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC in order to be legally sold within the United States.
- Did the company use a third-party lab to test its products and did it make those results easy for its customers to find on its website? Third-party lab results are important so that you will not only know the quality of the CBD product, but also what exactly it is that you will be putting into your body.
- Overall, look for brands that have great communication, an easy to navigate website with clear information on it, and are transparent about how they make their products.
The short version:
To sum up, reputable CBD companies will not only use hemp that is grown and cultivated within the United States, but will also use clean extraction methods and have all of their products tested by an independent (and impartial) reputable third-party laboratory. Finally, these companies will make their test results easy for customers to find on their websites. Reputable CBD brands are extremely transparent about their production process, testing, product types, and customer benefits such as discounts and free shipping.
CBD Oils and Strengths
CBD oils and extracts come in a variety of different strengths and varieties. Some of the more common CBD oil strengths are 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg. CBD tinctures also can come in a host of flavors such as berry, vanilla, mint, citrus, and natural.
Generally, lower strengths such as 300mg or 600mg are perfect for individuals that are trying to manage low-level pain and discomfort, annoying and irritating life stresses, or minor sleep issues. Higher doses such as 1200mg and 2400mg are typically used by people who are trying to alleviate painful symptoms from deeper issues such as arthritis, chronic pain, PTSD, MS, fibromyalgia, and other serious conditions.
Buying a high potency CBD tincture can also be more cost effective, just make sure to adjust your dosage accordingly. If you’re just getting started, however, a bottle of a lower dose CBD oil will probably last you long enough to figure out if it will help.
A Word About CBD Formulations
CBD oils come in many cannabinoid spectrum options. Some companies only sell full-spectrum products, while others only sell broad-spectrum products. Still others offer customers CBD isolate options.
What’s the difference?
Full-spectrum CBD products are often considered to have the best benefits. These extracts contain CBD, THC, and other beneficial natural compounds like other cannabinoids and terpenes. By law, these products must contain less than 0.3% THC in order to be sold throughout the United States.
Full-spectrum products are still non-psychoactive, so you will not feel any sort of “high” while taking them. Be aware, though, that full-spectrum products are most likely to produce a false positive on a drug test out of all the types of CBD products. That’s especially true if you are taking a higher dose of CBD oil each day.
Full-spectrum oils contain all of the cannabis plant’s beneficial phytochemicals that work together in the body to create what’s known as the “entourage effect.” Briefly, the entourage effect means all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals that have been extracted from hemp work in conjunction with each other to boost the health benefits of all the individual cannabinoids.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other beneficial cannabis cannabinoids, except THC. Even though there is no THC present, these products can still create an entourage effect in the body.
People worried about drug testing often seek out broad spectrum and isolate products. While they may be less likely to return a false positive, there are some drug tests out there that are very inaccurate. When in doubt, check with your employer or a legal professional before starting CBD, especially if your job or livelihood are on the line.
Products that are CBD isolates only contain CBD. They are considered to be the purest form of CBD because all other compounds and terpenes are removed during the extraction process. A majority of the CBD gummies that you will find out on the market today are typically crafted from 99% pure CBD isolate.
Many people still report real benefits from CBD isolate, while other people say that full spectrum works better for them. The only way to know for yourself is to try a variety of CBD products.
Potential CBD Side Effects and Drug Interactions
First, it’s important to know that there is absolutely no way anyone can ever overdose on CBD. And though there aren’t many side-effects associated with CBD, some that are possible include:
- Low blood pressure
In general, experts agree that CBD is extremely safe and has no potential for abuse.
Drug interactions with CBD
When it comes to using CBD along with other medications, drug interactions are rare but not impossible.
If you can’t eat grapefruit with your prescription, then check with a doctor before starting CBD.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that if it is not safe to eat grapefruit while taking your prescription medication, then you probably shouldn’t take CBD oil as well. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating grapefruit with some medications can cause a higher concentration of the medication to be in your bloodstream, and might potentially trigger adverse side effects or even an overdose.
Grapefruit is known to interact adversely with over 85 types of medications. And like grapefruit, CBD has the same potential to interact with medication levels in your blood. Therefore, if your prescription label warns against eating grapefruit with your medication, just to be safe, you might want to steer clear of CBD. If you have questions and concerns about this, then you should definitely consult with your primary doctor or specialist before taking on a supplemental CBD regimen.
A Beginner’s Guide to CBD: Closing thoughts
The world of CBD can feel confusing and overwhelming at times. But just as with anything new, the best place to begin is by doing your research. First, take the time to decide what it is you will be using CBD for — insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis, mood regulation, stress relief, etc., then go from there. Beginners might find it helpful to search the CBD subreddit too, and see if other people use CBD for your condition.
Next, do some research on the brands that you are most interested in trying. Look at third-party test results, extraction methods, production practices, customer services reviews, product reviews, etc., and then narrow it down to the company you feel the most strongly about.
You might also want to decide if a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate product will best suit your needs and lifestyle.
Finally, once you are ready to begin, start low and go slow. Gradually increase your dose each week as needed.
As always, if you are unsure or have further questions about CBD, feel free to consult with your doctor or specialist.