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While investigating the health and wellness potential of CBD products, you likely discovered that cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of many non-intoxicating cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. While this observation is essentially correct, many people don’t realize that cannabis plants don’t directly synthesize CBD.

Cannabidiol is actually the byproduct of another plant-based cannabinoid, cannabidiolic acid, CBDA. Since CBD begins as CBDA, it is natural to wonder if one cannabinoid might be better than the other. Knowing the similarities and differences between these two cannabinoids could help you make an informed, confident purchasing decision.

What are Cannabinoids? 

Cannabinoids are lipids that transmit messages to the receptors of your Endocannabinoid System (ECS), the system that regulates nearly every function in your body.1

There are two types of cannabinoids your Endocannabinoid System responds to. The first type are the cannabinoids made in your body, your endocannabinoids. Your body makes two main endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG. These cannabinoids are made as needed and quickly broken down by enzymes.

The second type of cannabinoids your body responds to are the plant-based cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants. Although cannabis plants contain more than 100 different phytocannabinoids, the two main cannabinoids in hemp extract are CBD and CBDA. Plant-based cannabinoids have a stronger, longer-lasting effect on your body than endocannabinoids.

What is CBD? 

CBD is the commonly used abbreviation for the cannabinoid cannabidiol, a plant-based cannabinoid (phytocannabinoid). CBD is the most abundant of the phytocannabinoids in hemp extract but is not produced in the plant itself. CBD is the neutral counterpart of cannabidiolic acid.2 CBDA converts to CBD when raw cannabis is exposed to heat or sunlight, a process known as decarboxylation. The decarboxylation process converts acidic compounds and “activates” the cannabinoid.3  

How CBD Works 

Ideally, your body would create all the neurotransmitters needed to keep your Endocannabinoid System functioning at optimal levels. Under the strain of illness, stress, or injury, your body may not be able to generate enough endocannabinoids to relay vital information to essential systems. If your body is not producing enough messengers to interact with your ECS receptors, communication can falter, and essential processes may not function efficiently.

CBD mimics the effects of the cannabinoids produced in your body to keep critical processes functioning harmoniously. Through its interaction with key receptors, CBD is shown to have anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-psychotic potential.4

What is CBDA? 

CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD found in raw plant material, essentially CBD in its pre-evolved state. While CBDA was once considered an “inactive” cannabinoid, current research suggests CBD and CBDA have similar health and wellness potential.

Since CBDA is found abundantly in cannabis plants, some people consider CBDA to be the more natural of the two cannabinoids even though cannabinoids are not considered “active” unless they undergo decarboxylation. Juicing raw plants, medical marijuana in particular, is one of the most common methods of obtaining a product high in CBDA. Once dried, the plant is no longer suitable for juicing.5

How CBDA Works 

CBDA does not directly bind with endocannabinoid receptors but is believed to interact with the ECS by inhibiting the function of COX-2 enzymes and enhancing the function of serotonin-producing receptors. While CBDA is commonly found in raw cannabis, it can also be found in lesser amounts in full spectrum CBD tinctures, topicals, and CBD capsules.

How CBDA Differs from CBD

While CBD and CBDA are chemically similar, they are not interchangeable. CBDA converts to CBD during extraction and processing as temperatures rise, changing the molecular structure of the cannabinoid.  That makes CBD a byproduct of CBDA. CBD is easier for your body to utilize than CBDA.

While CBD is the predominant cannabinoid in full spectrum hemp products, the processes used to extract hemp oil do not convert all the available CBDA to CBD. CBDA is commonly found in small amounts in full spectrum products as a minor cannabinoid.

CBD and CBDA work together with the many other cannabinoids in full spectrum products and contribute to the Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect explains how the inactive elements in cannabis combine to magnify and multiply the effects of individual plant components. It’s because of the Entourage Effect that many CBD users believe full spectrum products more potent than products made with pure CBD (CBD isolate).

Which Cannabinoid is Better?

When considering your cannabinoid options, it’s not quite fair to say that one cannabinoid is superior to the other, they each have unique potential. Each of the many plant elements in cannabis products works together synergistically to enhance the effects of the other. But if you were to find you had the option of selecting between a quality CBD tincture and a raw CBDA tincture, the CBD-dominant product would likely be the better option.

The processes used to extract hemp oil from the plant matter helps purify the extracted oil and ensure the final product is safe for consumption. Raw cannabis, whether sourced from hemp or marijuana, could contain any number of potential contaminants. For that reason alone, you may be more comfortable selecting a decarboxylated product, a product that is predominantly CBD.

Select Full-spectrum Hemp-Derived Products from a Reputable Source

While there has not been enough research to identify the function of every cannabinoid in hemp extract, there is an increasing interest in the similarities and differences between CBD and CBDA.

Decarboxylation converts cannabidiolic acid to its active form. Hemp-derived CBD products contain CBD and CBDA alongside trace amounts of numerous other cannabinoids, including CBDV, CBG, and CBC. While full spectrum hemp-derived products also contain trace amounts of THC and its precursor THCA, there is not enough THC to cause intoxication, even if you were to consume large quantities.

For a quality assortment of hemp-derived CBD products, visit CBDistillery™. CBDistillery™ relies on CO2 extraction, a food-safe extraction method that preserves the cannabinoid content of our naturally cultivated crops. All CBDistillery™ products are tested at an independent third-party facility to ensure the purity and potency of every item we offer.

  1. Biological Psychiatric Journal. H Lu and K Mackie. (2016 April 01) An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System.
  2. Molecules. R Pavlovic et al. (2018 May 23) Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations.
  3. Project CBD. (2019) Decarboxylation.
  4. Physiology.org. A Lingresti et al. (2016 September 14) From Phytocannabinoids to Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids: Pleiotropic Physiological and Pathological Roles Throughout Complex Pharmacology.
  5. Medical Jane. (2019) Introduction to Cannabis Juicing.

 

You may have noticed that the dosing instructions on most CBD tinctures recommend taking a full dropper of CBD once per day. While this amount of CBD is a good place to start for many people, there is no benefit to taking more CBD than your body needs.

While taking more CBD than you need is not harmful, it can significantly increase the cost of CBD use.  Your best option is to determine the smallest amount of CBD needed to achieve the results you are looking for, an amount you can easily determine with a method called microdosing.

What is Microdosing CBD?

Microdosing is a technique borrowed from the other side of the hemp family tree to avoid overindulging in THC, but the goal is the same.1 Microdosing starts with a very small amount of CBD, gradually increasing the dosage throughout the day until you find your minimum effective dosage. The end result is the optimal amount of CBD for your unique needs.

Finding Your Optimal Dosage

Everyone responds to CBD differently. Your ideal dosage will depend on your reason for using CBD, the product type, and the way your system responds to CBD. To find your optimal dosage with a CBD tincture, start with a single drop of CBD the first hour. If you don’t notice effects after 45 minutes, take two drops the second hour, three drops the third hour and so on, assessing your progress before the next dose. Keep track of how you feel, how much you take, and stay alert to any indications of the following:2

How to Find an Optimal Dose

The key to microdosing is to start with a very small amount of CBD, one drop of a tincture or a single puff of a vape pen, paying close attention to how you feel. If you notice your desired effect 45 minutes after your last dose, stop. Then total the number of drops you have ingested during the previous four hours to calculate the amount of CBD in your system. Try sticking with that dose two to three times per day (every 4-6 hours) adjusting the frequency of your CBD use to your needs.

If you don’t notice results the first day continue where you left off the next. If your last dose on day one is 10 drops, your second day will resume with 11 drops. Before you begin, consider the following suggestions:3

Three Tips for Microdosing with CBD

If you have been using a fairly large amount of CBD during the time before your microdosing experiment, consider waiting 48 hours since your last dose of CBD so you can start fresh. If you are new to CBD, it may take a few days before your system responds to hemp-derived products. The following suggestions could be helpful:

Microdosing with Pure, Potent CBDistillery™ Products

Experimenting with microdosing is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are not taking too little or too much CBD. Your patience will be rewarded. Microdosing will lead you to your optimal dosage.

Hemp-derived CBD tinctures and vape pens are an easy way to microdose with CBD. A CBDistillery™ Vape Pen averages 2 mg of hemp-derived CBD per puff. The amount of CBD in a drop of CBDistillery™ CBD Tinctures will depend on the total cannabinoid content in the bottle. If you divide the number of mg per serving by 40, you will know how much CBD is in each drop. Holding your tincture under your tongue 30-90 seconds before swallowing will allow the CBD to enter your bloodstream faster than if you swallow immediately or add your CBD to foods or beverages.

Visit CBDistillery™ to view our assortment of CBD tinctures, vape pens, CBD Softgels, and topical products. CBDistillery™ has more than 31,000 verified reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers and proudly displays the U.S. Hemp Authority™ certification seal.

  1. Rolling Stone. S Davidson. (2017 April 20) Why Microdosing Is Taking Over Medical Marijuana.
  2. Green Entrepreneur. (2019 July 04) Microdosing Is How You Learn How Much CBD You Should Be Taking.
  3. CBDOilUsers.com. B Peterson (2019 August 21) CBD Microdosing to Find Your “Sweet Spot” Dose.

During the early years of your education, you likely learned about the many important processes in your body. You may remember studying fascinating details about your circulatory system, immune system, or nervous system and how these essential systems worked together to keep your body healthy and strong.

Not that long ago, researchers discovered another important system that helps keeps all your other systems functioning harmoniously. They named this essential regulatory system the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Since the Endocannabinoid System was not discovered until the early 1990s, many people are unfamiliar with this vital communication network. Once you know how the Endocannabinoid System works, it’s much easier to understand the significance of hemp-derived CBD.1

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)? 

The Endocannabinoid System is a communication system comprised of chemical messengers and receptors. The receptors of the Endocannabinoid System are located throughout your body and your brain. This essential communication network controls numerous processes throughout your body, including your memory, mood, appetite, temperature and more. Researchers believe the ECS significantly helps to regulate the processes of homeostasis.2 

What is Homeostasis?

Homeostasis is the internal stability and balance that all living organisms need to maintain for survival. When internal processes function outside their appropriate range, it’s the process of homeostasis that directs organs, muscles, and glands to correct the disruption and restore function to acceptable parameters. Homeostatic systems help your body adapt to changes in situation and environment.3 In a state of homeostasis, all internal system function normally.

The Two Cannabinoid Receptors

Your Endocannabinoid System is a network of neurotransmitters and receptors that facilitate communication between your body and your brain. The messengers of this system are called cannabinoids. Your body makes two main cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG.4

It’s the chemical composition of the message that relays instructions to the endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.5 Both of these receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout your body in varying concentrations, for example:

 How Does Your ECS Work?

The receptors of your Endocannabinoid System are more abundant than any other receptor system in your body. In each organ system and every tissue, your ECS performs a different task, but the goal remains the same: to maintain homeostasis.

The endocannabinoids produced in your body are made as needed and quickly broken down by enzymes. If there are not enough cannabinoids to interact with the cannabinoid receptors, communication breaks down. Fortunately, your Endocannabinoid System also responds to plant-based cannabinoids, particularly the non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Here’s what can happen in your body when you consume hemp-derived CBD: 

Can You Be Deficient in Cannabinoids?

Yes, it is quite possible for your body to produce fewer cannabinoids than it needs. Your internal environment is continuously changing. The cannabinoids produced in your body are made as needed and quickly broken down by enzymes. When internal or external conditions create a need for more messengers than your body creates, essential balance is threatened. The symptoms of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) can vary depending on the systems affected.8 

How CBD Could Benefit Your Endocannabinoid System

While researchers once believe that endocannabinoid receptors were primarily found in the central nervous system, today, we understand that ECS receptors are dispersed throughout the body. It the communication between the ECS messengers and receptors that can help keep your immune system strong, your memory sharp and your digestive system functioning smoothly. Since your body also responds to the plant-based cannabinoids in hemp oil, there are many ways CBD could benefit your ECS, including:

Supporting Your ECS with Products from CBDistillery™

Your Endocannabinoid System helps regulate nearly every essential function in your body and helps keep critical processes running smoothly. Once you understand how your ECS works, it’s easy to understand the health and wellness potential of hemp-derived products. If you would like more information about the messengers and receptors of your endocannabinoid system, download The Ultimate CBD User Guide at CBDistillery.™

CBDistillery™ offers a variety of fairly priced CBD products sourced from non-GMO hemp grown using natural farming methods. You can verify the quality and purity of CBDistillery™  tinctures, topicals, capsules, vape pens, and pet products by viewing the third-party test results of every product we offer.

  1. 1British Journal of Pharmacology. R Pertwee. (2006 January 09) Cannabinoid Pharmacology: The first 66 years.
  2. Journal of Young Investigators. C Sallaberry and L Astern (2018 June 01) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator.
  3. Advances in Physiology Education. H Modell et al. (2015 December) A Physiologist’s View of Homeostasis.
  4. Oxford Academic. F de Fonseca et al. (2004 November 18) The Endocannabinoid System: Physiology and Pharmacology.
  5. News-Medical.Net. A Mandal. (2019) Cannabinoid Receptors
  6. 6. LibreTexts. (2019 June 05) Hepatic Portal Circulation.
  7. Project CBD. (2019) How CBD Works.
  8. Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes.

CBD is derived from cannabis plants. While there are two potential sources of CBD, most of the CBD available to the general population is extracted from the stalks and stems of industrial hemp, not marijuana. Full spectrum hemp extract contains all the cannabinoids, plant terpenes, and flavonoids found in the original plant source.

Since hemp and marijuana are closely related, you may not be too surprised to learn that CBD is also concentrated in the flowers of the plant. While hemp flower is a legitimate source of CBD, you may have noticed that many reliable, reputable CBD companies are not offering this alternative – with good reason. Once you understand why tinctures, topicals, edibles, and vape products are the better options, you may want to avoid hemp flower altogether.

What Is Hemp Flower? 

Hemp plants produce small, yellowish-green flowers. It’s the spike-like flowers that produce hemp seeds.1 Dried hemp flowers, commonly called “buds,” can be smoked or used as a food additive.

What Is the Difference Between Marijuana Flower and Hemp Flower?

Although hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) flower both contain CBD, flowers cultivated from marijuana plants are significantly higher in THC, the cannabinoid that causes the type of intoxication marijuana is known for. Hemp flowers contain only trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less). Smoking or ingesting hemp flower will not cause intoxication.

The CBD Flower in Local Smoke Shops Might Not Be What You Think

When you purchase hemp products, it’s important to know how crops were cultivated. While CBD flower may look completely natural, the buds sold at local gas stations, vape shops, or smoke shops may not be as pure or natural as they look. Many hemp flowers are heavily processed to protect their shelf life. Unless you have access to third-party test results, there is no way to know if those “nugs” are contaminated with heavy metals, chemicals, or mold.

Why CBD Flower Isn’t the Best Option

While some people may initially believe hemp flower the more natural option because the buds appear less processed, smoking hemp flower could cause more problems than you realize. In a side-by-side comparison, hemp and marijuana flowers look and smell very much the same. Since they are most often used in the same manner, when compared to other products, CBD flower is not your best option for the following reasons:   

The Four Best Alternatives to CBD Flower 

Every day unsuspecting consumers are being targeted by numerous companies trying to drive sales by using CBD as a buzzword to sell products. You may have noticed that varying amounts of CBD can be found in everything from candles to toothpicks. That’s why it’s important to be able to differentiate between legitimate products and sales gimmicks.

CBDistillery’s™ Gimmick-Free ad campaign is highlighting the misuse of CBD throughout the industry and helping consumers recognize these marketing ploys for what they are. If you are looking for a safe, reliable, gimmick-free CBD product, an alternative to CBD flower, consider the following suggestions:

Why CBDistillery™ Chooses Not to Offer Hemp Flower

CBDistillery™ is a leader in the hemp industry. While we offer a variety of product options, hemp flower is not one of them.  Although hemp flower is available in most states, the flower of the plant looks and smells like marijuana buds. The resemblance to marijuana could create a significant number of problems for law enforcement agencies and our customers. Possessing and using hemp flower could cause more problems than it’s worth for everyone involved.

To view our selection of high-quality, gimmick-free, hemp-derived products, visit CBDistillery™. CBDistillery™ vape pens, tinctures, gummies, and CBD isolate are crafted from non-GMO hemp crops grown using natural farming methods. All CBDistillery™ products are tested by an independent third-party facility to ensure product quality, potency, and purity.

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019 August 06) Hemp Plant.
  2. American Lung Association. (2019) Marijuana and Lung Health.
  3. Marijuana Break. (2019 August 07) Decarboxylation: The Best Guide You’ll Ever Read.
  4. Indy Star. (2019 February 18) CBD Flower is Legal in Indiana. But It Could Still Get You Arrested. Here’s Why.

By George Mouratidis, Guest Contributor

There has never been a better time to be a hemp farmer, provided you know what you’re doing. Since hemp cultivation has recently been legalized in the United States, farmers understandably have a lot of questions about breaking into this exciting (and lucrative) field. Let’s go over the top four hemp-related FAQs to help you get involved in this budding industry.

Are hemp and marijuana the same thing?

Oftentimes people mistakenly conflate the words “marijuana” and “hemp.” Yes, both of these plants are a part of the cannabis family, but they have very different chemical compositions.

To legally be considered hemp, this plant must have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) count of no greater than 0.3 percent. THC is a primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana that causes users to feel “high.”

Although U.S. hemp cultivation was legalized in 2018, the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug. This means if tests reveal a hemp farmer’s crop has greater than 0.3 percent THC, it cannot legally be sold.

What are the ideal growing conditions for hemp?

Interestingly, hemp tends to grow best in climates closer to the north or south poles compared with the equator. The best growing season for hemp varies by area, but farmers usually plant their seeds in mid-spring and harvest around November.

Growers say hemp enjoys long, hot summer days and cool nights. The more sunshine you can give your hemp plants, the better. Growers should try their best to give hemp at least 12 hours of sunlight exposure per day for the best growth potential.

As for water, hemp requires an average of 25 inches of rainfall during its growth phase. The most important time for water saturation is between the plant’s vegetative and flowering stages. Some growers say the soil during this phase should be around 80 percent saturated.

Speaking of soil, hemp tends to do best in highly aerated soil with a pH of between 6 and 7. Hemp growers also tend to prefer soil surfaces without too many hills.

Is there a difference between growing hemp for industry vs. CBD?

Since manufacturers traditionally only cared about hemp’s industrial uses, farmers have tended to focus on producing a high quantity of hemp biomass. In recent years, however, there’s been an ever-increasing demand for farmers to produce smaller yields of high-quality hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) extraction.

For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past year, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in high quantities in the hemp plant. Many potential benefits of CBD continue to be discovered as regulations are widening internationally.

Farmers who want to maximize CBD content will have to grow their hemp in a similar fashion to marijuana. This means only using female seeds and closely monitoring the growth of each plant. Industrial hemp farmers, however, can use both male and female seeds and plant hundreds of thousands of plants per acre.

How do I register as a hemp farmer?

Legally speaking, hemp is in the exact opposite position to marijuana in the United States. While hemp is federally legal and faces different restrictions at the state level, marijuana is federally illegal and has a different legal status depending on the state in question.

With this in mind, the first step farmers have to address is whether their state has a hemp cultivation permitting process put in place. If the answer is yes, then they will have to follow registration requirements per their state statutes.

To better understand the complexities of applying for hemp cultivation, be sure to check out specified regulations in your state or refer to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

George Mouratidis is a full-time cannabis writer and journalist. He works with Industrial Hemp Farms and he is the founder of WeedCopywriter.com, a bespoke content marketing agency.   

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