Beginner's Guide to CBD

Now that cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) are widely available across Canada, dabbling in either product may’ve piqued your interest. 

Despite the fanfare, most people are still unsure exactly what CBD is, the short- and long-term effects it has on the body and mind, if it’s safe, how much they should be taking, and…you get the idea. 

If you’re looking to try CBD but aren’t sure where or how to start, this quick summary will provide everything you need to know before ordering your inaugural supply of CBD products.

What is CBD?

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many active compounds derived from the cannabis sativa plant. The other common compound is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has the psychoactive properties that ‘gets you high’. 

CBD, comparatively, offers many of the same medicinal and wellness benefits of THC, but without the psychoactive effects.  CBD is a safe, natural, and affordable alternative to pain and inflammation relief, making it excellent for post-athletic recovery.

How do I take CBD?

How to take CBD

 

CBD products are versatile and come in a number of forms. The most popular on the market today include, but isn’t limited to:

Depending on your experience with CBD, you may opt for products like oils and tinctures if you’re comfortable managing your dosages; if you’re new to CBD, you may be better off with capsules, pills, or edibles, which are produced with very specific CBD dosage amounts. 

Edibles aren’t available in Canada just yet, but should be on store shelves by the end of 2019 or early 2020. 

The health benefits of CBD

Health Benefits

 

The benefits of CBD for athletic performance and recovery are well-known, which is pushing it into the mainstream as competitive athletes, like MMA fighters, adopt CBD products into their training diets and routines. 

CBD has been touted as way to treat or even prevent a number of physical and mental conditions, the former ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer, and the latter including depression, anxiety, and addiction. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a prescription drug made primarily of CBD oil, as a treatment for different types of epilepsy. 

Having said that, a lot more testing needs to be done on the long-term benefits of using CBD as a treatment for physical and mental health conditions.

What CBD dosage is right for me?

CBD Dosage

 

The best rule of thumb when you venture into CBD is starting low, and going slow with your dosages. 

CBD products can have slight variations in their compositions, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution when trying a new product or upping dosages. You should have a firm understanding of how your body will react to CBD; so, you’re best off starting with the product packaging’s recommended dosage first, unless your doctor has advised you on a different, stronger dosage. 

Choosing the best CBD products for your lifestyle

Choose a CBD Lifestyle to Fit Your Lifestyle

 

There’s really no ‘best CBD product’ that everyone will agree tops all other CBD alternatives. The easiest way to find the CBD products that fit your goals and lifestyle is choosing the one that provides an optimal dose for your desired length of time. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering some of the more popular CBD products on the market in Canada: 

  • Oils are arguably the most versatile CBD product, allowing you to lower or increase the dosages as needed. If you’re feeling extra sore on a particular day, oils usually come with a 1 milligram per drop dropper, making it very straightforward to add a controlled amount of CBD to your daily dosage. 
  • Gummies are another way to consume CBD in a controlled manner; gummies often contain 5 milligrams of CBD per candy. This is also a good alternative for people that want to consume their CBD discreetly. 
  • Vaping CBD e-liquid juices and oils are becoming more popular, but can be tricky when it comes to dosage. That all depends on how much you inhale, and the CBD concentration of the product. This is best for CBD veterans that want to graduate to a different method of CBD consumption.
  • Test CBD relief rubs and creams on a small area of your skin before applying it to larger, inflamed or sore areas. 

What’s better for me – THC or CBD?

CBD v.s. THC

 

CBD and THC are like chocolate and peanut butter – excellent on their own, but so much better together. 

They have a strong synergy that complements each other’s effects. CBD improves the pain-relieving properties of THC, while CBD mitigates the psychoactive feelings of THC, as well as the anxiety or ‘paranoia’ that can sometimes come along with taking too much THC. 

If you manage to find the perfect equilibrium between THC and CBD, you’ll enjoy a relaxing but not intoxicating feeling. 

Related: 5 Common Myths About CBD

Are there negative side effects to CBD?

On its own, CBD is a safe substance – but it can interact with other pharmaceuticals for unintended effects. Taken in higher dosages, CBD can deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes. In plain English, that means it can affect how our body processes and metabolizes pain killers, blood thinners, insulin injections, and more. If you’re taking anything of the sort for an existing health condition, consult your physician before jumping into CBD. 

These CBD-drug interactions aren’t fully understood, which can make them dangerous. If you’re taking pharmaceuticals, be sure to monitor changes in your blood levels and adjust dosages accordingly. Problematic interactions more often occur when a person is consuming very high doses of CBD isolate products, which are usually near- or 100%-pure CBD.

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