Unless you've been living under a rock you've likely heard people talking about CBD and CBD based products. In the past year more and more companies have been developing products with a focus on CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and with good reason; CBD offers untold potential health benefits and doesn't produce the "high" feeling you get from THC.
We wanted to better understand CBD and why it's attracting so much attention right now so we went to Donna Shields, MS, RDN, and co-founder of the Holistic Cannabis Academy which is a digital platform designed to educate the health community on the benefits of medical cannabis.
What health benefits does CBD offer?
As it's often marketed as an additive in health and wellness products we first asked Shields what potential health benefits one could expect from using a CBD enriched product. Donna explained that the anti-inflammatory properties alone are reason enough to consider checking out CBD if you suffer from or want to treat symptoms associated with pain or inflammation.
There is also something called an "entourage effect" whereby cannabinoids work together to provide optimal results. What that means is that while CBD can be a wonderful addition to your wellness routine you may find that the inclusion of THC ramps up those positive benefits. However, Donna also points out that many people live in areas where access to THC and whole plant medicine is restricted and in those cases CBD alone would still be a great way to gain therapeutic benefits.
What Should Consumers Be Aware of When Shopping for CBD Products?
In the States, there is no standardization and companies are forced to self-regulate so consumers need to ask the right questions. According to Shields, those questions start with:
Has this been tested for pesticides or mould? This question is particularly important for those dealing with compromised immune systems. Clean products are key.
Does the product really have what the label says? Sometimes cannabinoid profiles don’t add up so be sure to look for opportunities to view lab reports associated with the products.
Where is the hemp or cannabis-derived CBD coming from? Is the cultivation/extraction company vertically integrated? Is the supply chain well controlled? It's always best when people understand exactly where the product they are about to consume comes from.
What is the extraction method being used? Some methods use butane which can be tricky to purify, leaving a residue.
Be conscious of other medications that you are taking and whether or not CBD will interfere with those. For example: "If you are taking a drug that is contraindicated with grapefruit, CBD would fall into this category because there is competition for the same endocannabinoid receptors." Shields points out.
One Last Thing to Consider When Taking CBD
"I think people should think about it," Shields says. "It's not all or nothing, and people will often abandon all other treatments in favour of cannabis. We would like people to think of it as one part of a wellness plan." CBD can be great for maintaining wellness, keeping eco functioning as it should be as part of a healthy lifestyle but do remember to discuss it with your physician and always do your homework on cultivators and distributors.