Introducing CBD! A Straightforward User Guide for Beginners

May 15, 2019

Introducing CBD! | A Straightforward User Guide for Beginners

It’s all over the news, it’s in every health magazine you read, and you probably know a few people who use it regularly. CBD has been the talk of the town in the last few years, and it is not without reason.

Anxiety and depression, pain and inflammation, skin problems, sleep disorders, stress—people are using CBD for all kinds of reasons. You’d pretty much have to live in a cave to not have heard all the buzz about this one little-bitty cannabinoid making huge impressions. Your curiosity, like so many others, is positively piqued.

What is this CBD everyone’s talking about? Is this something you should try to help with your (insert ailment)? The answer: Maybe so. We’ve collected all the stuff you need to know so you don’t have to scour the internet to get the lowdown on CBD if you’re considering trying CBD products for the first time.

CBD 101: Introducing Cannabidiol

CBD, which is a shortened term used in place of cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD can also be harvested from other types of cannabis plants, including those that are high in THC. However, the majority of consumer CBD you find will be derived from hemp to keep concentrations of THC at a legally low level.

THC and CBD are two cannabinoids from the same plant, but they are highly different in nature. THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is that guilty little cannabinoid that marijuana is mostly known for—it causes that trademark euphoric state of mind. CBD affects the endocannabinoid receptors in a different way and is mostly known for its potential therapeutic benefits. If you’ve ever used, smoked, ate cannabis in the past, you likely got a hefty dose of both THC and CBD, but the CBD was probably acting in the shadow of the THC so you may have not noticed therapeutic effects of the cannabinoid.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

The human body has something known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is the collection of receptors that respond to cannabinoids when introduced into the body and has been called “…one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”

Endocannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-AG, are actually already in our bodies hanging out, but lacking endocannabinoids can disrupt important facets of brain activity and physical health. The receptors of the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CBD2 are the primarily studied two, can be found throughout the body, in the brain, in the central nervous system, and in the immune system. The proposed purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate homeostasis and maintain balance.

When you provide CBD for your body, it interacts with the different receptors in the endocannabinoid system, as well as other receptors in the body.  This explains why people can use CBD for different reasons and may see relief. For example, one person may try CBD to relieve anxiety and another may try it to relieve pain, and both may see relief for their symptoms. What’s taking place is the cannabinoid is interacting with the endocannabinoid system to help restore lacking balance, which can mean relief for various types of ailments depending on the person.

CBD—Scientifically Speaking

CBD is not much ado about nothing. There is actual hardcore scientific data to support the therapeutic properties of this cannabinoid. In 2018, the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, was even approved by the FDA for seizures. You don’t have to look far to find some reliable information on PubMed about CBD for a range of ailments. Even though studies on humans are still in earlier phases, just what we already know is enough to paint cannabidiol in a pretty positive, glowing-green, light.


Studies of CBD as an anxiolytic show this cannabinoid could be a promising treatment for people with anxiety disorders. CBD has already been proven to help reduce anxiety in people who had a social anxiety disorder, and animal studies suggest similar outcomes for other forms of anxiety. Brain scans of people in CBD studies showed that actions in anxiety-related brain areas seemed to support the claim CBD does indeed act as an anxiolytic in the brain.

Chronic Pain/Pain Relative to Inflammation

According to research published in 2012, certain cannabinoids, including CBD, suppress inflammatory pain responses and neuropathic pain. A conclusion drawn from that study was that cannabinoids like CBD could be considered as a therapy for people with chronic pain and glycine receptor dysfunction that is relative to neuropathic pain. CBD on its own is known as an anti-inflammatory agent, which makes it a logical supplement to try for things like arthritis and pain relative to inflammation caused by injuries. 

Skin Conditions

Topical CBD products are in high demand these days. From gels to rub on sore acne spots to creams specifically formulated for things like eczema, there are a lot of products with CBD in them that are designed for certain skin-related ailments, and there's scientific evidence that they could work. Psoriasis could potentially be treated with CBD because cannabinoids inhibit keratinocyte proliferation. CBD is also a promising therapeutic agent for those who have problems with acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Smoking Cessation

If you've been looking for a natural way to help yourself kick the dirty habit of smoking cigarettes, CBD may be the answer. Studies ​have found that cannabidiol reduced the pleasantness of cigarette cues. Basically, cravings were not so substantial for the participants when they were taking CBD. 

Sleep Disorders 

CBD affects wake-inducing brain areas. In general terms, this means CBD can actually help people with enhanced wakefulness in the daylight hours. On the flip side of that benefit is the fact that CBD could also be used to help people get better sleep at night if they are feeling restless, stressed, or uneasy. People with anxiety (a common factor in sleep disorders) in one study reported better sleep with CBD. 

Heart Disease 

Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in the United States, so the idea that CBD could potentially be a therapeutic supplement for certain heart conditions is exciting news. Additionally, CBD influences things like platelet aggregation and the survival of white blood cells.

While the clinical data to support CBD as a treatment for a lot of ailments is currently lacking, there is bound to be a lot of new info showing up in the near future. CBD is currently being tested for things like addiction, high stress and more. 

Are There Side Effects or Dangers to Worry About?

This is probably going to be one of your top concerns when you decide you want to try CBD for yourself. How will CBD make you feel, or will it hurt you? The good news is this: CBD is considered to be relatively safe for most people. There are actually very few side effects to mention, but the most common include things like: 

  • Changes in overall appetite
  • Diarrhea or slight nausea 
  • Dry mouth or increased thirst 
  • Drowsiness 

For the most part, people do not experience major ill effects with CBD unless they are taking larger doses or have a sensitivity or allergy to hemp-based products. There can, however, be interactions with certain types of prescription medications. Therefore, it is best to discuss CBD with your doctor if you are currently taking prescriptions. CBD will not make you high as long as you make certain you are taking a high-quality, hemp-derived CBD product that has only trace amounts of THC. 

How to Find Quality CBD Products

CBD is probably one of the easiest things you can find these days. Stop in at a gas station, there are CBD products at the counter. Pick up medications at the pharmacy, there’s a full line of CBD products to pick from. Google CBD, and you’ll get inundated with new products you can order. As a beginner, you’re going to be asking: How do you know what CBD for sale is best?

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study in 2017 that stated about 70 percent of hemp-based CBD products sold online were mislabeled. Assessing 84 products collected from 31 different companies brought researchers to state:

“Only 30 percent of CBD products purchased contained an actual CBD content that was within 10 percent of the amount listed on the product label,”

It’s a bit scary to be a beginner interested in using CBD at a time when CBD oil is not yet regulated. If you pick up a CBD product that’s not what it states it is, you may not get to experience the full beneficial effects, which means you may think CBD isn’t working when the problem is simply the quality of the product. There are some guidelines to follow to help narrow down the choices so you know you’re getting the best CBD out there.

The CBD Source Should Be Obvious

Sourcing your CBD is the first thing you should learn as a new consumer of CBD products of any kind. You should first know what type of plant the CBD used in the product was harvested from. If you’re trying to steer clear of that buzz-inducing cannabinoid THC, it is best to stick with hemp-derived CBD only. Beyond that, the best product manufacturers will gladly display where the hemp they used was harvested from. For example, you’ll likely see a lot of products sourced from Colorado-grown industrial hemp, which tells you the baseline source is reliable.

The Product Is Best When Made with Quality Ingredients

You really don’t want a lot of unnecessary junk in your CBD, no matter what form the CBD may be in. All those extra additives can detract from the effectiveness of the cannabinoid. For example, if you pick up a CBD oil for anxiety and that product has a ton of added artificial flavoring ingredients, it may not be the best option. Natural CBD products are good, organic CBD products are awesome as well. But the main thing is you can clearly see the ingredients, and they are not a bunch of artificial stuff.

Third-Party Testing Results Are Open for Consumers to View

The best CBD manufacturers have new products tested by unaffiliated laboratories for things like:

  • Potency levels of CBD in the product
  • Accurate ingredient listings
  • The presence of contaminants

These third-party tests offer consumers an unbiased reassurance that they are getting what they pay for. Therefore, most reputable companies make third-party test results available to the public.

There Are Not Unwarranted Health or Healing Claims

CBD product manufacturers are not legally allowed to boast and brag on the packaging or in advertisements that CBD can heal certain ailments. If you find any product on a website that is giving definitive health claims, it is best to go another direction. These health claims are actually prohibited by the FDA, and if a company is breaking rules in this fashion, they really shouldn’t be trusted.​

Best​ Practices to Remember As a New CBD User

Now that you know what CBD is, where it comes from, and all the ways it could potentially be used, you are well on your way to being an educated consumer ready to dabble in the world of CBD. Let’s get started!

CBD and All Its Forms

This is where the fun really starts. CBD is available in a multitude of different ways, so no matter what your preferences may be or why you’re choosing to join the CBD club, you’re going to find a product that suits you. Of course, most people start out with something like CBD oil or CBD capsules, which both make dosing and controlling your dose easy to do. However, beyond the typical stuff, you can find CBD-infused Everything.

CBD Edibles - CBD Edibles are a lot of fun to experiment with as a beginner. cbd gummies, CBD lollipops, and CBD soft chews are a few good examples of edibles.

CBD Topicals - Topicals with CBD are pretty awesome for people who are using CBD for pain because the formulation gets absorbed into problem areas quickly to get right to work. Topical lotions, muscle gel, lip balm, and CBD transdermal patches allow you to put CBD where you need it.

CBD Hemp Flower - Just like cannabis, hemp sprouts its own flowers or “buds.” These buds, however, have less than .03 percent THC. Nevertheless, the dried cbd hemp flower can be smoked, and there are numerous flavors to try.

CBD Vape Juice - If you’re already a cloud-creating vaper, adding CBD to your vaping routine is an easy way to fit it in and try it out. CBD Vape Oil, like our line of Koi CBD vape, works well in low-wattage vapes and gets into your system faster than ingesting CBD.

CBD Tinctures - Generally speaking, CBD tinctures are CBD oil by a fancier name. Tinctures or oils are actually very popular among new CBD users because they are so easy to dose slowly. Just place a few drops under the tongue, hold it there, then swallow.

In addition to the usual CBD products, you’ll also find some pretty cool things like CBD-infused water, face masks with CBD, and even cbd oil for dogs

CBD Dosing Guidelines for Beginners

You’ve settled on a particular CBD product type, so now comes the big question: How much CBD do you need? The answer here is a little tricky because there are no set guidelines in place from the FDA for CBD dosing just yet. BUT there are a few professional guidelines to follow.

One useful dosing guide to help newbies get started with CBD in a safe way was harvested from the multiple studies and trials that have been completed to date. This guide, initially published by the Mayo Clinic and later referenced by CBD Oil Review, recommends adjusting dosage amounts according to the reason you’re taking the supplement. For example, those taking CBD for chronic pain should try 2.5 to 20 mg. as a starting point.

A more general suggestion when starting out with a CBD regimen is to start low and work your way up gradually. CBD Oil review offers a serving standard of 25mg taken two times a day and gradually increased every three or four weeks until you reach a desirable point or experience positive effects of CBD. To keep tabs on your progress, jot down notes about the dose you take and how you feel. Keeping track of your progress on paper will give you a good reference as you adjust your dosage levels. 

Doctors can’t specifically make dosing recommendations for CBD, but what they can do is let you know if trying CBD could be a positive thing for your condition. Plus, you can ask if CBD will interact with any current prescriptions you may already be taking.

In Closing

The world of CBD is a big one, and it’s ever growing. Don’t let the plethora of CBD product choices overwhelm you if you want to see what the fuss is all about. Sometimes, it takes a few tries and attempts with different products to find what you prefer, and there is nothing saying you can't try several. Check out the extensive list of high-quality cbd products available on AndHemp, and reach out to us if there’s something you want to know as a new CBD user.

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