The popularity of high-CBD cannabis oil has lit up in recent years, especially since the CNN documentary “Weed” captured the miraculous story of 5-year-old Charlotte Figi, whose seizures decreased significantly with the orally-administered concentrate. Using hemp or high-CBD cannabis strains, CBD can be extracted and rendered into a non-intoxicating oil. This oil can be ingested, added to a capsule, or mixed into food or a smoothie.
Another interesting observation was the presence of high levels of non-decarboxylated cannabinoids in multiple samples. It is well known that CBD and THC are not produced as such by the metabolism of the cannabis plant. Instead, cannabinoids are excreted in the form of carboxylic acids such as CBD-acid and THC-acid . The physiological effects of these “acidic” cannabinoids have been studied only to a very limited extent. Only after proper heating (e.g., during smoking, vaporizing, or baking with cannabis) are these natural precursors rapidly converted into the more well-known CBD and THC, respectively. This process is called decarboxylation . Although decarboxylation also takes place during the production of cannabis oils (e.g., during the evaporation of solvents, or during a separate decarboxylation step as part of the production process), 7/46 samples (15%) contained > 25% of its cannabinoid content in the form of acidic cannabinoids, indicating poor control over the decarboxylation process. To address the issue, some producers simply add up the content of CBD and CBD-acid in order to boast a higher “total CBD” content on the label, while advertising this as “raw CBD.”
Ingesting — think CBD lattes, edibles, or just a drop of oil on the tongue — is likely much less effective than inhaling, says Blessing. When CBD-containing oil is ingested, it wants to join the other fat in your body; most of the CBD taken this way will just stay in that fat, inert and never getting to the brain. When inhaled, CBD bypasses the digestive system, which wants to store fat.
Effective in January 2017, the DEA (which typically refers to marijuana by the plant’s scientific species name, Cannabis sativa, or the Reefer Madness-era spelling “marihuana”) made a rule stating its marijuana scheduling includes “marihuana extract.” In the rule, the agency defined “marihuana extract” as an “extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis”—which would include CBD.
Topicals are applied right to trouble areas so that the CBD oil can work directly where it’s needed most. Ingesting CBD products orally causes CBD and other compounds to enter the blood stream, which elicits full-body effects and takes up to 2 hours or more before those effects are experienced. With CBD topicals, the healing compound and other hemp-derived nutrients are almost immediately absorbed directly through your skin, allowing them to be target the affected area for quicker and more focused effects.
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Our Editor’s Pick is the tincture from CBDistillery. This tincture is available in five strengths ranging from 250mg to 5,000mg, which accommodates a wide range of THC preferences, as well as 15 and 30 milliliter containers. The tincture has a price-point that is slightly below average, making it a good option for value seekers. The tincture, which is non-flavored, routinely undergoes third-party testing to ensure safety and high quality; the testing results are available on CBDistillery’s product pages.