CBD Oil— Benefits + 5 Criteria for Choosing the Best Brands & Products
Cannabidiol (CBD) is all the rage right now, and for good reason. Numerous scientific studies reveal hemp’s potential positive effects on migraines, sleep problems, joint pain, anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases and more. Unfortunately, the vast majority of information out there is not only misleading, but inaccurate. Similar to supplements, my goal in writing this post is simply to provide information based on scientific research to equip you with the right knowledgeable to pick and choose a quality CBD and hemp oil for you and your family.
What is Cannabinoids (CBD)
CBD is one of 100+ cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant, which is also used to produce hemp and marijuana. Hemp is extremely low in THC, the compound in marijuana that makes you high. The hemp strains used to create hemp oil extracts are typically grown and manufactured (if it is from a reputable brand and source) to be high in CBD. Cannabinoids are a special class of chemical compounds that show potential for treatment for a wide treatment of health conditions, with demonstrated neuroprotective and neurogenic effects.
CBD’s Affect on the Body
CBD works by acting on the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a system involved in a host of homeostatic and physiologic functions, including modulation of pain and inflammation. This system’s main job is to maintain homeostasis and help the body adapt to outside stressors.
There are two main types of cannabinoids—endo (produced naturally within the body) and phyto (produced from a plant). CBD is a type of phytocannabinoid, allowing it to mimic the endocannabinoids produced naturally within the body. As a result, CBD is able to act like a supplement and support the body with what it is lacking.
The human body has two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 is the most abundant in the brain, while CB2 is the most abundant in places like the immune system. Both are found throughout the body and serve as important receptors for the immune system, glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and blood formation, as well as cognition, memory, mood, motor function, sensory, autonomic and neurocrine responses. Think of them as regulators of homeostasis and equilibrium.
CBD impacts the CB1 and CBD2 receptors indirectly to produce a variety of potentially positive outcomes, through the activation of TRPV1 Receptors that work to control important functions such as pain perception, body temperature and inflammation. CBD can also increase the amount of molecules in the body that play a role in the neural generation of calmness and motivation.
In short, CBD stimulates the ECS system to promote immune homeostasis, reduce the sensation of pain, decreases inflammation and more.
CBD & the FDA
It’s important to note that federal laws prohibit any company from making health claims. Laws also prohibit doctors in the United States from prescribing cannabidiol (CBD) or hemp oil extracts as medication. However, there are numerous studies showing how CBD oil can have an extremely positive impact on pain management. More and more studies are being undertaken to explore the therapeutic benefits of CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent and for a variety of conditions including migraines, sleep problems, joint pain, anxiety, depression, ADHD, autoimmune diseases and more.
CBD oil is not approved by the U.S. FDA for any medical condition, which means that the products discussed and statements made in this post have also not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Numerous studies throughout the world reflect positive therapeutic trials using cannabinoids to mitigate the negative effects of a variety of health conditions, studies that show how cannabinoids might help, but the research is also very new and there have not been long term effects studied.
As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I would be doing a disservice to my education and work if I did not make it clear that CBD oil does not help or treat the underlying root cause of why or help fix the disease or pain that manifested in the first place. For example, it is proven that ingredients in personal care products are linked to cancer, and it is proven that autoimmune diseases stem from leaky gut; therefore, taking CBD oil will not help treat the underlying root cause of why the disease or “dis-ease” developed in the first place. The underlying root causes must also be addressed, which is what I do everyday in my practice as an NTP.
Below, you will find a number of published studies regarding CBD’s potential role in a variety of medical ailments:
Migraines - source
Headaches - source
ADHD - source
Depression - source
Insomnia - source
Tics - source
Sleep and sleep-related apnea - source
Symptoms associated with neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease - source
Bipolar disorder - source
PTSD - source
Asthma - source
Chronic painful conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Chronic NP Pain Conditions, Brachial Plexus Injury, Peripheral NP Pain, HIV, Acute Pancreatitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis - source
Relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation - source
Regarding Cancer, it’s important to mention that, “cannabinoids show anti-tumor activity in cell lines and in animal models of cancer, but we still do not have data concerning their efficacy and safety from well‐prepared clinical trials. Moreover, antitumor effects of cannabinoids have to overcome their known immunosuppressive effects which can be potentially protumorigenic. The interactions between cannabinoids and classical cytotoxic agents have to be precisely defined. These observations lead us to the conclusion, that further profound studies are doubtlessly needed to verify the idea of introducing cannabinoids into the cancer treatment.” - source
Motion sickness - source
Obesity - source
Seizures, partial or generalized - source
Autoimmune Myocarditis and organ transplantation - source
Autoimmune Disorders, including but not limited too: Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis and Hepatitis - source
Endometriosis - source
Relaxation - source
This short list only touches the surface regarding the potential benefits of cannabinoids. We are only now discovering the capabilities of CBD.
Choosing a CBD Oil - The Basics
CBD oil is fixing to be “hype” in the health world, especially here in America. With all the noise and promising claims, it can be overwhelming as a consumer to trust different information and claims online to be able to choose a quality CBD or hemp product. Not to mention, the majority of posts include a purchase button at the bottom of the post, like here, here, here and I’m sure plenty of others, which makes it even more confusing for people. Before mentioning the 5 criteria, I want to mention few obvious, must-have basics of a CBD or hemp oil:
3rd Party Tested
Potency & Purity Tested
Accurate labeling— A study of 75 products purchased (47 different brands), 17% were accurately labeled, 23% were underlabeled, and 60% were overlabeled with respect to THC content.
Choosing the BEST CBD oil
Similar to supplements, the FDA does not regulate the distribution of CBD, which is why choosing from a quality CBD company is vital. There are quite a few CBD companies that are able to place checkmarks next to “the basics” listed above; however, very few companies fit all 5 of the criteria below.
Before continuing, please read the following:
This post is not intended to convince you to buy a specific product through a funnel approach like so many articles on the internet (i.e here is what to look for and now, click here to purchase our product). My goal in writing this post is merely to educate and better equip you with the knowledge for how to choose the best CBD oil or hemp product for you, your friends and your family.
Since the goal of this post is not intended to convince you to buy a specific product, I’ve decided to not share the company I personally trust, use and plan to purchase for clients in my nutrition practice within this post.
However, since this company is the only one I have found that fits all 5 of the criteria below, I am willing to provide you with the information if requested; simply use the ‘Request More Info’ form at the bottom of this post.
UPDATE: When I first published this post, there were 2 companies I recommended. However, due to the nature of one of their business structures, I can no longer recommend it. Therefore, there is only one company that I feel confident in recommending now that fits all 5 of the criteria below!
5 hemp/cbd Oil Criteria
1. Origin of Hemp & Drying Methods
Hemp should be sourced and grown from the organic farms in Colorado, USA. Colorado’s legendary pure mountain water and unpolluted soil and air make it the best place to cultivate and grow hemp. A lot of companies will grow hemp out of Kentucky, which requires them to artificially dry their products… no good!
Currently, there is such a high demand that it is becoming harder and harder to meet, resulting in numerous companies taking short cuts in their drying methods. Typically, it should take about 2 weeks to air dry a product; if a company does not state their drying method or lists something like, “we dry and seal our products within 3 minutes”, then that typically means they are utilizing an unnatural drying method.
Best Origin: Organic farms of Colorado, USA
Best Method: 2-Week Air Dry Time
2. Entire Plant Versus Just The Flower
Despite multiple companies claiming that the whole plant is better, this is not the case. Unless the company owns the fields, they have zero say in how the product are made. Moreso, research shows that extraction from the whole plant will only get you more oil, not necessarily more potency. Although it may be more costly to use just the flower, the potency and quality is superior. A quality company will till the remainder of the hemp plant not being used back into the ground after hand separating the flower. This also increases the quality of fertilizer for their hemp products.
Best Source: Just the Flower
3. Extraction Methods
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is naturally present in humans and is the safest way to create products. CO2 outpaces all other forms of processing since it is able to extract out more of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in hemp than any other extraction method. Supercritical CO2 extraction labs are able to produce the most potent oils in the market. Again, unless the company owns the lab, they have no control over the extraction process. A majority of companies might use extraction CO2 methods; however, they use chemicals to dry out the product and dry ice to extract it. Why? Because it is cheaper and at the end of the day, it all comes down to money and this method is cheaper than true CO2.
Best Extraction: True Supercritical Extraction CO2 (from a lab the company owns) where no hydrocarbons pass through the material during the extraction process
4. Seed to Sale // Soil to Oil
Ask yourself, does the company own everything? In other words, do they own the fields, plant the seeds, harvest, till, extract, manufacture, label and proceed to sell? This is where 99% of companies fail. Almost every company out there partners with the same farmers and fields to supply a white labeled product, where they have zero control over any of the farming or growing methods (I.e what is put on the crops, how the hemp is dried out, the process used to prepare the plant, etc.) If you’ve invested in a company that does not own everything and their distributor cuts ties, you are out of a CBD oil or business.
Best Process: Total Ownership, from Seed to Sale and Soil to Oil (in other words… does the company own everything and manage the entire process?)
5. Carrier Oil & Added Ingredients
Cannabinoids are hydrophobic, meaning they hate water. This is why water soluble is not better. A quality hemp oil will be infused with organic coconut oil, a medium chain triglyceride. MCT’s deliver the benefits of cannabidiol faster than other oils because of its ability to break the brain barrier. Ever wonder why bulletproof coffee makes people feel amazing and lift brain fog? It’s not the coffee, it’s the MCT oil blended into it.
In terms of added ingredients, it should be completely free of fillers, such as xanathan gum, potassium sorbate, natural flavors, glycerine, etc. and only contain the cannabinoid, MCT, therapeutic grade essential oil ad stevia if it is flavored.
Best Carrier Oil: Coconut Oil (MCT)
Best Label: Hemp Oil, coconut oil, essential oil, stevia (if flavored); Should not contain— glycerine, purified water, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, natural flavors, other carrier oils like grapeseed oil, olive oil, or any other fillers.
Other Criteria Worth Mentioning
SMELL: Hemp doesn’t naturally smell like marijuana; if it does, this is a sign of poor quality. The oil should be practically odorless.
SIGHT: The oil should be completely clear. Is the oil a brown or green color? That’s called “winterized” meaning it’s basically raw extraction.
TASTE: The oil should be practically tasteless, minus a slight taste of pure essential oil. It should not contain ’natural flavors’. The oil I personally use contains an essential oil company that’s been producing essential oils for 35 years.
TRANSPARENCY: Will the company answer all your questions? Will the company let you see the Hemp fields? Will they answer who their hemp provider is? The company should provide you with any and all information you ask and have it listed on the website. Do not be afraid to ask questions!
CBD can potentially help a number of symptoms and health conditions. However, though research is promising, CBD is not intended to treat or cure disease. If CBD oil is something you are interested in taking, I highly recommend choosing an oil that fits all of the 5 criteria listed above. I am more than happy to provide you with the company I personally use, that fulfills all of the criteria listed in this post when you are ready to order CBD oil. Simply reach out below.