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CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids in marijuana. It has become quite the trendy supplement lately.

And it doesn’t even get you stoned.

This compound leaves you feeling relaxed, but clear headed, helping to melt away anxiety and pain, without leaving you in a paranoid stupor. It also may bring a bunch of other benefits, helping with everything from arthritis and anxiety to cancer and sleep disorders.

As you may have noticed, the demand for CBD, or cannabidiol, has absolutely blown up in the past few years.

As more states go fully legal and with federal laws relaxing around CBD, this wonderful compound is becoming more accessible.

However there is one subtle but very important difference in the way CBD is actually produced. Some are given a “hemp derived” source while others are created from whole cannabis flowers. The latter is called “whole plant CBD”.

First, let’s explore a basic difference at the heart of the matter…

CBD from hemp vs CBD from cannabis

  • Legally speaking hemp must contain less than 3% THC while cannabis can have as much as 10-20% or even higher levels of THC. So yes, a full spectrum tincture of CBD can still have enough THC to feel an effect.
  • A much smaller amount of cannabis flowers is needed to make CBD compared to hemp.
  • Without the cannabis flowers, hemp lacks the additional terpenes and cannabinoids that may work in synergy with cannabidiol.
  • Hemp is an industrial grown crop in the US and Europe, harvested primarily for its fibers and oils.
  • Industrial hemp is a “bio-accumulator” meaning it naturally pulls toxins from the soil. Given the huge amount of hemp needed to produce a relatively small amount of CBD this is concerning, as other unhealthy, even toxic compounds might make their way into the final product.

Where does CBD come from

CBD is found in Marijuana and hemp. It represents about 0 to 12 percent of cannabinoid found in either plant. Cannabis rich in CBD offers high therapeutic benefits without the lethargy experienced in THC-rich cannabis. When the two are present, they have a synergistic effect. CBD has the power to counter anxiety, sedation, and hunger, which are the usual effects of THC and is often used to control severe epilepsy.

High CBD strains include:

  • AC/DC
  • Harlequin
  • Dancehall
  • Suzy Q
  • Ringo’s Gift
  • Remedy
  • Sour Tsunami
  • Hawaiian Dream

The entourage effect

Unfortunately a lot of people try a CBD supplement that has little or no THC and find it doesn’t work that well for their ailment. The problem could be it lacks the complementary compounds that make it effective. Most experts believe there exists a definite a synergy between THC and CBD in particular, and various other compounds like THCa, THCc, CBN and CBGa may also work together to enhance effects. Although scientific research is still lacking on the exact mechanism behind this entourage effect, and most reported benefits are anecdotal since marijuana remains a schedule I drug.

A hemp field in the Netherlands. Photo by Rene Nijs.
A hemp field in the Netherlands. Photo by Rene Nijs.

The ratio of CBD to THC is important

The ratio of CBD to THC seems by all accounts very important.

The creator of Jayden’s Juice found a ratio of 11:1 worked much better1, with 22:1 being the optimal ratio he settled on to help ease the pain of his son’s cerebral palsy. These two aren’t the only important compounds; you have all sorts of other cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. The exact role these play is unclear. Though it seems very likely they have some impact, however small, on the overall performance of CBD products.

Common ratios

  • 2:1
  • 8:1
  • 4:1
  • 1:1

The closer the ratio, the more likely you are to feel “high” from the product. Something with a 10:1 cbd to thc ratio won’t have much psychoactive effect. While a 1:1 strain will definitely get you high.

“Israeli researchers found that a small amount of CBD in the clone extract (whole plant) was needed for significant pain relief compared to the much larger amount of pure CBD (isolate) required to achieve the same analgesic effect.”

Further consideration

  • A 2015 study by Israeli researchers looked at the effectiveness between pure CBD isolate vs “whole plant” CBD. They found the pure CBD had a bell shaped dose-response curve. Meaning it had a much lower ceiling of effectiveness. The whole plant based CBD performance increased with dosage, while the isolate basically plateaued.
  • The Israeli researches concluded “It is likely that other components in the extract synergism with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD”
  • There are 400+ other active compounds in cannabis, including 420 additional compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, fatty acids, sugars, and so forth.
  • The Hemp Industries Association took aim at products labeled CBD hemp oil, saying they were basically false advertising. “CBD is not a product or component of hemp seeds, and labeling to that effect is misleading and motivated by the desire to take advantage of the legal gray area of CBD under federal law.” Why not? According to HIA, during the production of hemp oil some leafy byproduct and flowers make it way into the mix, which is where the trace amounts of CBD come from.

How CBD can help you

CBD for Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is by far one of the most common types of anxiety disorders, and one of the hardest to treat with traditional pharmaceutical therapies. As a result, a significant number of people struggle with social anxiety disorder, obtaining unreliable relief from prescription medications commonly prescribed for this condition. They end up bouncing from one prescription another, obtaining no real relief. In fact, the very act of having to try multiple medications actually increases the level of anxiety in some patients.

A research study reported by the National Institutes of Health stated:

“CBD has the potential for relieving the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.”

This particular study involved subjects with social anxiety disorder who were involved in a mock public speaking scenario.2

Public speaking generally is something individuals not suffering from social anxiety disorder fear. The study involved a set-up where participants were lead to believe that they were to participate in an event that involved public speaking. Individuals with this condition oftentimes are unable to marshal through a public presentation. Indeed, their anxiety can become so profound that even the thought of speaking in front of other people becomes overwhelming.

A group of patients received nothing, a group received a placebo and a group received CBD. The results of the study revealed that individuals provided CBD experienced notable less anxiety, even when faced with the prospect of what purported to be a public speaking experience.3

In addition to the double-blind clinical study involving simulated public speaking, generalized social anxiety disorder and CBD, another research study involved neuroimaging. Neuroimaging in this instance was utilized to analyze the impact of CBD on cerebral functioning and how that might relate to regulating or controlling anxiety in some individuals.4

“The neuroimaging research did reveal that the utilization of CBD impacted the functioning of the parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus. These are all areas that do play a role in brining on the symptoms associated with social anxiety disorder.”

In other words, this neuroimaging research indicates that the use of CBD can be demonstrated to have a physiological on a person’s brain functioning in a positive manner sufficient to assist in lessening or eliminating the symptoms of social anxiety disorder in some individuals.

CBD helps ease nausea

CBD helps lower inflammation

CBD helps reduce blood sugar levels

A study posted in the American Journal of Medicine found participants in the

CBD helps ease pain

Our country is currently in the middle of a war against opiod abuse, and finding reliable sources for pain relief is a major concern for the health and well being of our friends and loved ones. CBD might hold the answer.

CBD can safely be used to relieve pain caused by a wide range of ailments from arthritis, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, migraines, spinal injury, and inflammation, to name just a few5. CBD has more than 400 active chemicals that help to relieve pain and reduce tissue inflammation. According to researchers at the Temple University School of Pharmacy in Philadelphia, “CBD helps to relieve pain without the psychoactive effects of marijuana and other types of cannabinoids”.

Among other ailments CBD is thought to help with: enhanced blood circulation, protecting damaged brain cells, stimulating bone growth, killing cancer cells, and killing bacteria and viruses. In addition, CBD eases chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, general pain and nausea, and boosts the appetite of cancer patients as well as patients suffering from other forms of illnesses. It is also an effective antioxidant that helps to control muscle spasms and minimize the effects of Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease6.

According to, “CBD can help reduce the effects of several conditions including alcoholism, neurological disorders, cancer, PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, antibiotic resistant infections, and diabetes”. In addition, CBD can help treat anxiety and nausea. The neuroprotective properties of this type of cannabinoid regulates blood pressure and makes it cytotoxic, especially to breast cancer.

CBD for sleep

In addition to relieving pain, CBD is often used as a natural sleep aid. This is especially helpful for people suffering from pain which keeps them up at night7.

Recommended CBD products

Broadly speaking, CBD products can be grouped into two piles. On one side you have the 100% legal in all 50 states products, and on the other you have stuff that’s only legal in medical/recreational states. The latter kind usually contains higher amounts of THC.

One problem though, is that means more fly by night schemes are cropping up too.

Legal in all 50 states

From a legal standpoint it’s much easier to sell CBD without, or with only trace amounts of THC. The federal legal limit is 0.03% which is generally not enough to show up in drug tests, and certainly won’t produce the “high” feeling of smoking a joint.

In states where marijuana is legal or allowed for medicinal use, you can easily find a host of whole plant CBD products at dispensaries and collectives. We’re talking balms, vape catridges, flower, wax, drinks, edibles, bath bombs. You name it. If you can infuse it with CBD it’s out there.

There’s a lot of stuff out there. We spent hours researching threads on the r/cbd subreddit and found some of the most trusted and heavily recommended products:

In my opinion CBD from hemp and CBD isolate is probably not as effective as a product made from whole cannabis flowers or even a full spectrum extract.

Of course your mileage may vary, and you certainly might find pure CBD isolate works to lessen pain, reduce anxiety, or treat a host of other symptoms.

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