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    The Trilogía Guide To CBD (Cannabidiol)

    “Ma’am, we see a lot of people like you on this island,” said an EMT in the back of the ambulance. “What you need to do is go back inside, turn on some Bob Marley, and ask your husband to watch your kids while you chill for a few hours.”

    That happened to me last July. I took an edible to relax and ended up stoned out of my mind. I then convinced myself I was having a stroke, called an ambulance, and found myself being schooled on how to “be high” by three EMTs who were trying their best not to laugh at me.

    This is a cautionary tale for anyone out there who wants to try CBD but hasn’t yet. And also for people who may have tried it and didn’t get the results (or experience) they were after. This definitive guide will arm you with the info you need to make an educated choice at your dispensary or online when you’re ready to dip your toes in cannabis.

    Table of Contents

    Why is CBD So Popular Right Now?

    How Does CBD Work?

    Does CBD Get You High?

    What is the Entourage Effect?

    History of CBD for Pain

    CBD Oil Benefits

    CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Should You Take?

    The Difference Between Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil

    What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

    Is CBD Legal?

    Different Types of CBD Products

    Why is CBD So Popular Right Now?

    First thing’s first – CBD is everywhere right now. There is vape oil, CBD gummies, CBD leggings, CBD bath bombs. You name it; there is a CBD version of it. Never has a molecule infiltrated culture as rapidly and extensively as cannabidiol (aka CBD).

    Here are some reasons why:

    1. The legalization of recreational cannabis in individual states brought it into the spotlight
    2. The 2018 Farm Bill 1 legalized the growth of industrial hemp at a federal level in the United States – and within hemp, magical CBD molecules, now available to just about everyone.
    3. Emerging science that backs up the claims around the benefits of CBD – e.g., it actually does what everyone says it does. It’s amazing.

    So yeah, CBD is HUGE, and it offers a laundry list of mind-body healing benefits. But it’s important to know what you’re buying, how it works, and a bit of its backstory, so you don’t get lost in the sea of CBD products and also don’t end up with a subpar experience.

    How Does CBD Work?

    CBD (AKA cannabidiol) is a molecule found in cannabis plants. For clarification, even though “oil” is in the CBD’s full name, CBD is not the same thing as CBD Oil.

    People extract the CBD molecule in super high concentrations from cannabis plants. They mix that molecule with other stuff – like carrier oils (MCT, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, etc.) to make CBD Oil. They also put those CBD extractions into edibles, creams, and even lube.

    There are hundreds of esoteric science articles about CBD out there (and we at Trilogía have read A LOT of them).  The key takeaway? The right kind of CBD works to reduce pain and inflammation, improve your mood, help you sleep, and more – because your body has what’s called an endocannabinoid system.

    CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

    Your body is hard-wired to interact with (endo means “from within”) cannabinoids. You have receptors in your brain and your gut that allow molecules like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to latch onto them. This is called the endocannabinoid system. Think of it as a bunch of light panels. A THC molecule is the little light, and the flat panel is the receptor. When you plug the light into the panel, it lights up.  CBD works a little differently. It doesn’t actually connect to any of the light panels in the endocannabinoid system. But it does hang out nearby and blocks some of the THC from connecting. In doing so, it controls how many THC reactions ignite and quells some of THC’s side effects – like paranoia or how high you actually get.

    But CBD is so much more than just a THC blocker. It can actually light up other light panels (receptors) in your body – outside the endocannabinoid system – like those in the nervous system. In latching to these different light panels, it sparks an additional set of reactions. Together, they create chemical reactions like a mental chill zone or inflammation relief. When you consume cannabinoids, you’re supporting your endocannabinoid system. It’s sort of like taking vitamins to boost your immunity.

    The reason you have this system?

    1. Because humans evolved alongside the natural world with plants like cannabis.
    2. Because our bodies have a system of checks and balances. We call the balance homeostasis. When you fall out of balance, the endocannabinoid system steps in (with the help of CBD, THC, and terpenes) to level you out. Just like if you get sick, your immune system steps in and helps you get better. All your body’s systems, including the endocannabinoid system, work together to make you feel your best.

    Related Article: WTF is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

    “It sounds like a blanket statement to say that [CBD] is overall good for the body. From a chemistry standpoint, alarm bells are going off in my head, thinking, ‘how could that be?’ But the fact is, these particular effects of CBD on the human body have been documented now. {They’ve been} deciphered in western medicine contexts and are real,” says Hardip Kalsi, Biochemist, and formulator at Trilogía.

    New science is emerging every day about the different endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. As recently as 2019, scientists were discovering new CB receptors and studying the effects of CBD on the body, so we still don’t have the full picture.

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    Does CBD Get You High?

    CBD and THC are two cannabinoid molecules among hundreds of compounds found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD will not get you high. It’s what you call non-psychotropic. You can consume CBD morning, noon, and night and never get stoned.

    But here’s where the confusion comes in and also how I ended up in an ambulance, blitzed out of my mind, thinking I was having a stroke.

    CBD works great on its own. Without THC, it can reduce anxiety, help with pain and inflammation, relieve stress, etc. But CBD works better when paired with other cannabinoids and terpenes. This is called “the entourage effect.” More on that below.

    Chances are, if you go to a dispensary and ask for a CBD product, you’ll be offered something that has both CBD AND THC in it. They aren’t trying to trick you – they’re trying to give you the most bang for your buck and help you feel better. If you don’t want to get high, ask for a CBD product that has very low (less than .3% THC). Often times, this will come from federally legal, hemp-derived CBD. Anytime you get Full Spectrum CBD, even if it comes from hemp, there will be a small amount of THC in it, and your tolerance for THC will dictate whether or not you feel high from a CBD product.

    More often than not, your budtender will ask you what ratio you’re looking for. The ratio just means the amount of CBD to THC per serving.

    Here’s a quick guide to CBD:THC proportions:

    CBD to THC ratio chart

    For reference, I have a very low tolerance of THC, and the CBD gummy I took was 1:1. Moving forward, I’d be more comfortable consuming something that has a higher ratio of CBD and a lower amount of THC. Something in the 8:1 range.

    So why bother with THC if you don’t want to feel stoned? Because when combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes, CBD can be even more powerful on account of the entourage effect.

    What is the Entourage Effect?

    The entourage effect is kind of like baking. You start with a bunch of ingredients (eggs, flour, sugar, oil), and depending on their proportions in the recipe, you can get a bunch of different desserts. Sugar is excellent on its own, as are eggs – but when you put them together, you can get a cookie. If you add in other flavor notes, you can get chocolate chip cookies or ginger snaps.

    The same thing applies to cannabis.  In this case, it’s called the entourage effect. It means that when you combine all the ingredients (compounds) in a strain or a product, you can get wildly different end results. So in this analogy, just taking CBD is like having a really fantastic, farm-fresh egg. It’s great, but it’s not a cookie. Adding THC, terpenes (the flavors and scents in plants), and the hundreds of other cannabinoids in any given strain can provide a much more rewarding cannabis experience (a cookie).  Even better, if you understand THC and CBD ratios, in addition to different terpenes and their benefits, you can choose your desired effect. These include fighting inflammation, reduced anxiety, or even deciding the kind of high you want to have2.

    Another thing to note: like cookies, not all CBD products are created equal. You can buy a 24-pack of chocolate chip cookies at a gas station or go to a Michelin-rated bakery and buy a single chocolate chip cookie for the same price. Don’t be fooled by mg’s listed on a package. That amounts to almost nothing. Particularly when taking into account the entourage effect, it’s how these products are designed, extracted, blended, cured, produced, and stored that make all the difference.

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    The History of CBD for Pain

    Before we get into the reason I took the CBD gummy in question, it’s worth noting that CBD and cannabis, in general, have an expansive and healing history.

    Technically, CBD was “discovered” in 1940 by British chemist Robert Cahn. But people have been using medicinal cannabis for thousands of years. Researchers found resin in 10,000-year-old tombs in Pakistan, South America, and Egypt. and it’s one of the five sacred herbs (Vedas) of ayurvedic medicine (the “science of life”), dating back to the 6th Century BC3.

    In the 19th century, Queen Victoria used CBD  to alleviate her PMS symptoms4.  Even Thomas Jefferson was a CBD fan. “We could never have guessed how incessantly [Jefferson] recommended CBD to his friends, family, and even strangers. He actually seems pretty obnoxious,” says historian Dr. Elyse Grippin5.

    Related Article: How to Have “The Talk” With Your Parents About Cannabis

    CBD Oil Benefits

    The WHO (World Health Organization) said it best: CBD is a useful treatment for several medical conditions.  Here’s the (growing) list:

    CBD for Anxiety

    Studies show that CBD (in partnership with your endocannabinoid symptom) can alleviate several different types of anxiety disorders  – ranging from social anxiety to OCD to PTSD6.

    Related Article: How to Enhance Your Mindfulness Routine and Reduce anxiety with Terpenes 

    CBD for Depression / Mood Disorders

    Both CBD and THC have shown antidepressant-like effects in studies7.

    CBD for Inflammation and Pain 

    Researchers have found that CBD is a solid natural alternative to prescription and over-the-counter drugs for pain. Studies show that it can “significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain” without causing addiction or dependency8.

    CBD for Sleep

    The effects vary on the ratio of CBD: THC. However, studies show that CBD can not only help you get to sleep but stay there on account of its anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects9.

    CBD for Cancer

    In some small studies, CBD has been shown to slow cancer cell growth and speed. Researchers have determined that CBD has the potential to even destroy some cancer cells. Still, they also admitted that they need to examine this further10.

    CBD for Memory Loss

    CBD “reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits” (AKA memory loss associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s)  and could even have greater success when paired with terpenes and THC11.

    CBD for Epilepsy

    People suffering from Epilepsy have long reported that CBD helps reduce the frequency of seizures. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex for seizure treatment12. It’s the only prescribable CBD product on the market so far, and it’s known to be an effective remedy for Dravat syndrome.

    CBD for Appetite

    CBD has been shown to both increase appetite and suppresses it, depending on your desired effect. By reducing inflammation that makes you not want to eat (e.g., inflamed bowels or chronic pain), CBD can help you get your appetite back. By getting you back into balance (homeostasis), it can help other systems (like your digestive system) be more effective at doing their jobs13.

    CBD for Type 1 Diabetes

    Type 1 Diabetes happens when your immune system attacks cells in your pancreas because it’s inflamed. CBD can reduce this inflammation, lowering your risk of suffering from type 1 diabetes in the process. Some studies show that CBD mixed with THCV (THC before it becomes psychoactive) can help with type 2 diabetes14.

    CBD Science vs. CBD Marketing

    Where science and marketing intersect is an incredibly controversial topic. I’ve personally wasted hundreds of dollars on products that amount to little more than olive oil in an $80 bottle. On the opposite side of the coin, I’ve tried CBD products that immediately alleviated my migraine headaches. The bottom line: it’s important to do your research when purchasing CBD. More on that below.

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    CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Should You Take?

    There are a few factors that contribute to finding the right dose of CBD for you: your weight, the problem you’re trying to solve with CBD, your personal body chemistry, and the concentration of CBD you’re taking. It’s not unlike figuring out your alcohol tolerance when you’re first introduced to wine or beer.

    Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about CBD dosing, and also plan to start slow. Up your dose as needed.

    Some products give you a single serving of CBD – and I like those best, because I know I’ll get the exact amount I want, every time. You can try CBD gummies, pills, lozenges, and even candies from your dispensary. The container will tell you how many mg of CBD are in each serving.

    If you prefer something with less flavor (sugar can increase inflammation and some people don’t like to pair their CBD with sugary candies), a tincture or elixir might be a good option for you. In this case, you’ll typically purchase a dropper bottle. This can be trickier to measure, because the mg amount on the bottle is typically for the whole bottle, and not just one serving size. Look at the serving size and you can calculate the mg of CBD from that.

    I started with about 20 mg of CBD to deal with anxiety and worked my way up to about 40 mg, which is a pretty standard dose for people suffering from chronic pain. You probably won’t feel anything too intense from CBD at first – but pay attention to how your joints feel in the morning when you wake-up and how you respond to stressful situations and when you find that those challenges are diminished, you’ll know your right dosage. Learn the best CBD and Terpene combinations for stress here.

    The Mayo Clinic released this review which offers a lot of additional information for THC and CBD dosing.

    Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil

    Not all CBD is created the same, and as such, some of the CBD you buy online won’t give you the benefits listed above. That’s because it might not even be CBD.

    A lot of that is due to murky marketing and the two types of cannabis plants we see in the US: hemp and cannabis. Think of marijuana and hemp like two different types of tomatoes – heirloom and grape.  They’re both tomatoes, but they look and taste a little different because of their different chemical make-ups. Similarly, cannabis and hemp are two varieties of the same species of plant: Cannabis Sativa.

    Cannabis has medicinal and psychotropic (the ones that go to your brain) chemicals like THC. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC; it’s the stuff that’s federally legal. Both varieties of cannabis contain CBD.

    Here’s a table to help you make sense of the nuances:

    chart explaining the differences between cbd oil, hemp oil and hemp seed oil

    The third column in the chart is where a lot of confusion comes in and duplicity. Because hemp seed oil and cannabis are from the same species of plant, some companies market them as the same thing – which they are not. Hempseed oil does not contain CBD – even though it might indicate that it’s a CBD product on the packaging (or by use of imagery, like cannabis leaves). Hemp seed oil is used in skincare and as a carrier oil for real CBD. It has a lot of great benefits for your skin, but it does not have the same anti-inflammatory benefits as CBD.

    Here’s how to tell the difference: 

    Your budtender will know the difference and help you find the product that’s right for you in a dispensary. But if you’re shopping online, on the ingredients label, CBD is called “cannabidiol,” “full-spectrum hemp,” or “hemp oil.” In contrast, the hemp seed oil is often called “cannabis Sativa seed oil.”

    Moreover, federally legal CBD oil comes from hemp (not hempseed), which has little to no THC. It’s also called Hemp CBD Oil.

    What you should know: CBD from cannabis and CBD from hemp is the same CBD, at a molecular level. The main difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD is the other chemicals alongside them in the plants (like THC) and the amount of THC in the product you’re buying. Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD but is often used in CBD oil tinctures as a carrier oil.

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    What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

    I will preface this by saying that there is still a lot of research to do in the cannabis space – A LOT. Because of this, it might take a while for your doctor to tell you to try CBD as the first plan of attack against your inflammation or anxiety.  That said, I’ve had doctors tell me it’s perfectly safe to use.

    Here are the facts: to date, no one has overdosed on CBD15.

    There are a few side effects you should know about:

    1. It might make your mouth dry. When you use cannabis, the endocannabinoid system stifles your salivary glands16. You can combat it by drinking a lot of water before consuming cannabis.
    2. It might make you feel tired. This is not to say it makes EVERYONE who tries it tired. Some people have the opposite response, and it makes them more alert and awake. However, if CBD should actually be called CBZZzzzz, in your opinion, it’s best not to take it if you’re planning on driving – to be safe.
    3. You might feel lightheaded. That’s because CBD can actually lower your blood pressure 17. So if you already have low blood pressure (this is the case for me, my blood is as cold as ice), talk to your doctor before trying it.
    4. CBD can sometimes lead to changes in appetite and weight. Tiredness, diarrhea, and weight/hunger changes happened for some patients when using CBD in a 2017 study18 Now researchers are wondering if this could have been related to how CBD interacts with your hormones.
    5. If you’re taking pharmaceuticals, talk to your doctor about CBD before trying it, as it can impede how well they work. Some of the drugs CBD interacts with are steroids, antihistamines, HIV antivirals, NSAIDs, antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers.

    CBD is Safe

    Despite what I would have told you from the ambulance, CBD is totally safe. I felt fine the day after the great-ambulance-high-of-2019. CBD is not addictive, it’s non-toxic, and if you buy your CBD with the right ratio to THC for you, you won’t get high. There has been a lot of press lately about CBD related illnesses; this is due to bootleggers and synthetic and unregulated products infiltrating the black market. It’s like buying Tylenol from a guy wearing a trenchcoat in an alleyway. I’d never do that, but I’d absolutely buy Tylenol from a trusted source.

    In the months since I tried the CBD gummy, I’ve tried different CBD tinctures and products – most recently a Full Spectrum CBD tincture which had very low THC and 50mg of CBD per serving. I put the tincture into an edible – and then devoured several servings. I won’t say that I felt “high,” but I did experience a feeling of bliss and a heady-ness that made me feel like I probably shouldn’t drive. This was a tricky one because the ingredients said “hemp seed oil,” but the bottle said it was Full Spectrum. Full Spectrum means that the CBD oil contains THC, even if it’s a minimal amount, and even if the CBD is hemp-derived. This means that if you take too much of it, you could end up feeling a little stoned.

    You Can’t Overdose on CBD

    Even if you end up feeling a little heady, it would be tough (and expensive, the high dose is considered 20,000mg) to take too much CBD. If you somehow do it, the Department of Health and Human Services says that there are “no signs of toxicity or serious side effects [that] have been observed” by healthy people using CBD19.But you could feel some non-toxic side effects. I’ve experienced dry mouth, drowsiness, and lightheadedness. Some people report lowered blood pressure and increased tremors.

    Cannabis Allergies

    Others are allergic to cannabis. Additionally, certain CBD oils contain other ingredients that people are allergic to (like coconut or MCT oil if you’re allergic to tree nuts). The best advice? Look at the ingredients before you consume and start slow. The DHHS agrees and recommends you start by taking lower doses of CBD to see how your body will react2021.

    The bottom line is everyone’s CBD experience will be different, and if you’re wanting to give it a try, but worried if it will work for you, talk to your doctor to be safe.

    Is CBD Legal?

    When I told my baby-boomer aged mom, I was working for a cannabis company, her first question was whether that was even legal.

    Here’s the truth: eleven states (and counting) have legalized recreational cannabis, though it’s still federally illegal. This means, in those 11 states, you can walk into a dispensary and legally buy cannabis products that have high and low levels of THC – just like you’d legally buy alcohol with varying potencies at a bar. Also, like a bar, you must be 21 or older to enter a dispensary. They check your ID at the door.

    Hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, and legal hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC. There are almost no restrictions on the hundreds of other compounds – like CBD and terpenes in hemp – just THC.

    What gets tricky is that both cannabis and hemp can produce CBD. It’s the same compound in both plants. If your CBD comes from hemp plants, it’s federally legal. If it comes from the cannabis plant, it’s currently illegal in non-recreational states.

    Federally, cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 substance. To be Schedule 1, the Feds say it’s a drug that has no medicinal value. These are the same feds that legalized a CBD pharmaceutical for seizure relief. Therein lies the paradox.

    “The fact that cannabis is still considered a schedule one substance, which in essence means it has no medical value, is completely fabricated,” Kalsi states. “Since the Farm Bill [of 2018] passed, CBD derived from hemp is considered a legal substance in most states in the United States. The exciting thing here is that CBD as a molecule is identical, whether it is extracted from hemp plants or whether it’s extracted from marijuana. This is where the disparity comes in. How can you make an argument one way to suit yourself, but then in another way, you refute that same argument?”

    Right now, the gray area really happens when you’re shopping online.

    How To Make Sure You’re Getting Legal, High-Quality CBD

    1. Make sure the CBD you’re buying contains less than 0.3% THC
    2. Confirm that you’re buying hemp CBD oil, not hemp seed oil
    3. Look for CBD oils that contain MCT or avocado oil (these are the good-for-you carrier oils) and avoid products with thinning agents
    4. Read up on the brand, learn about the farm, and educate yourself on their farming practices

    Can I Take CBD On a Plane?

    Cannabis is prohibited federally, but CBD is – sort of – an exception. If the THC content is below 0.3%, the DEA, and the FDA, then you’re good to go.

    A lot of CBD oil – especially the CBD oil sold in dispensaries – comes from the cannabis plant. This means that the THC concentrations may be higher, so it’s always worth double-checking before taking it with you to the airport. Here are the current TSA guidelines for bringing cannabis products on a plane.

    Can I take CBD and drive?

    In a word, yes. That said, if CBD makes you tired, don’t get behind the wheel. And if you tried a Full Spectrum CBD and you’re sensitive to THC, give yourself some time to see how it affects you before driving. While you’re waiting to drive, you might be looking up CBD online or considering visiting your dispensary. You now have an idea of the ratio you’re looking for, and you know your desired effect. What next?

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    Different Types of CBD Products

    CBD Oil

    The most popular (and probably most common) form factor for CBD is in oil.

    It’s easy – you take the dropper (and if it’s a graduated dropper, you’ll know exactly how much you’re consuming) and place the oil underneath your tongue. You can also use them in your morning coffee, or smoothies, or bake edibles with them. If you drop it under your tongue, you’ll likely feel the effects faster.

    CBD Edibles

    Edibles are my CBD form of choice. When I drink a glass of wine, I know exactly how I’ll feel – and the same goes for edibles, provided I’ve paid attention to the ratio and ingredients. If you’re worried about dosing and want to try cannabis, and you’re a control freak like me, edibles like mints and gummies are a great place to start. One note, edibles do take longer to kick in, so start really small and work your way up.

    CBD Vape Pens 

    You might associate vaping more with THC, but CBD vape pens are growing in popularity. You can get a variety of flavors based on the CBD’s terpene profiles. And you can even start off by getting a disposable pen if you’re unsure if vaping is right for you. The effects of vaping CBD will hit you faster than with edibles, but it’s also challenging to measure. Your dosage will vary based on the thickness of the oil and how long you’re inhaling.

    CBD Dabs

    Dabbing is like vaping for experts. When you ingest CBD through dabbing, you are inhaling it in small, concentrated quantities. Dabs come in multiple forms based on appearance, such as wax, sugar, and shatter (like shattered glass). They also usually require more sophisticated equipment, like vaporizers or water pipes – which are like slightly more complicated bongs. The effects of dabbing are almost instantaneous. They allow you to hit the peak effect right out of the gate, and then the effects slowly taper, vs. edibles or tinctures that slowly ramp up and then down.

    CBD Topicals

    If you’re suffering from acute pain, or have itchy skin, etc. – Topicals are the CBD option for you. I’ve used salves for sprained ankles and lip balm in the wintertime. The list of topical options is growing, but the general rule is that the longer the topical stays on your skin, the more effective it will be, which is why putting a salve on your swollen joints at night can be so therapeutic.

    Related article: How To Enjoy Cannabis Without Getting High

    CBD and You

    The human experience with CBD (and all cannabis) is 100% personal. The good news is there are hundreds of options, and one of them will be just right for you. If you know what you’re buying, what your desired results are, and start slow, CBD can be healing, relaxing, and can enhance your life.

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    2. Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects
    3. Origin and Development of Ayurveda
    4. Reynolds, J. Russell, 1890. Therapeutic Uses and Toxic Effects of Cannabis Indica, Lancet 1 (March 22,1890), 637-638
    5. Historians Discover Thomas Jefferson Grew, Aggressively Blogged About CBD Oil
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    21. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51841989_Safety_and_Side_Effects_of_Cannabidiol_a_Cannabis_sativa_Constituent)ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129319