Plant Medicine Basics
Before we get into CBD basics, let’s talk plant medicine basics! Tea… just about everyone has had a cup of tea. Tea is dried plant matter that uses hot water to extract the medicinal and flavor components of the plant. Whether it is the caffeine derived from a black tea, or the menthol from peppermint leaves, tea represents a very basic plant medicine extraction method that most people can picture and comprehend.
Sure, one can make and enjoy a cup of cannabis tea to obtain a small percentage of cannabinoids, but this method of consumption is not very economical, nor is it easy to determine dosage, and totally not very discreet around the office.
Tinctures offer a much more user-friendly form of consumption, and tinctures are basically just a super concentrated tea, with a much more advanced and effective extraction method than hot water. Often alcohol is used as the extracting solvent and the remaining plant-infused alcohol is taken in small doses, usually mixed in juice or other beverage.
CBD oil is a form of a tincture where the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are extracted from the cannabis plant with a range of methods (CO2 extraction being the cleanest and most efficient). Raw cannabinoids are not an oily substance. They are thick and sticky like a honey or sap, extremely potent and not easy to dose. In a full-spectrum CBD oil, this complete extraction is then emulsified or suspended into a carrier oil or other fluid, creating a tincture and formula for easy consumption of the plant medicine.
What is CBD?
CBD is formally called cannabidiol, one of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Scientifically known by its genus, Cannabis sativa, is an ancient plant used for centuries by humans all over the world for many reasons, from industrial to medicinal. 100 years ago, humans weren’t considered hippies for using hemp. Fiber, textiles, insulation, plastics, fuels, food, cosmetics, medicine, etc. are just the general categories of all the products this one plant can provide.
Though humans have used cannabis for its medicinal qualities for a long time, it is only recently these medicinal molecules are becoming understood scientifically. The CBD molecule is non-psychoactive and will not cause a feeling of being stoned. In fact, the human body and all other mammals produce and process their own cannabinoids through what is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
If you’re one of the few out there who claims they will never take CBD, I love to be the one to break it to ya…but your body already produces this naturally. By taking full-spectrum CBD oil, you are supplementing a deficiency of these cannabinoids in your body. Like if your doctor prescribed you calcium, it is because your body is deplete in calcium and you need to take a supplement to achieve a healthy level of calcium in your body to maintain your health and prevent many diseases or serious health conditions in the future.
A well-functioning ECS is essential for homeostasis in the body, just like healthy bones or a functioning liver. This means taking full-spectrum CBD helps to bring the body into balance, and has reported benefits for managing pain, anxiety, and sleep issues for the average consumer, and even more miraculous testimonies from people with more serious conditions like cancer, seizures and schizophrenia. The dosage can vary drastically depending on the individual, so always check with your medical provider before adding a new supplement to your diet, but chances are taking a full-spectrum CBD oil could be good for you.
Marijuana (derived from Mexican slang “marihuana”) came about in the 1930s due to racial and anti-immigration fear campaigns against Mexicans, African Americans and Asians, funded by pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies like DuPont. Movies like “Reefer Madness” were pure propaganda to criminalize a plant, and the people who used it, even though cannabis has a hundred other valuable uses besides getting high.
In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed which outlawed cannabis on a federal level. This social and legal reprogramming about one plant created an entire drug culture that has permeated the last few generations, and is not easy to re-educate the masses.
Today, due to the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bill, under legal terms hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana is considered to be cannabis with higher THC content. Science is showing that trace amounts of THC present are important for the plant and the medicine derived from the plant to be fully activated and effective. This is known as the “entourage effect”. So, whether your CBD is derived from hemp or marijuana, if it is full-spectrum, there should be some THC present. At less than 0.3% THC, hemp derived CBD will not be psychoactive. Some people with medicinal marijuana cards (or who live in states where marijuana is legal recreationally) choose to get their CBD with higher THC, which can also have further medicinal benefits in addition to the “high”.
Since taking any product with THC can cause a possibility of testing positive on drug test, if you are in a position where you absolutely can not have THC in your system, then your options are CBD isolates or broad spectrum products with 0% THC. These products are not a good use of money to achieve the full benefits provided in a full-spectrum CBD product, and often they have much more serious side effects. Do your research and speak with your medical provider…more and more of them are able to provide some guidance about CBD.
Hopefully, as more and more people are using full-spectrum CBD oil with hemp derived, legal levels of THC, there will be less testing for this molecule that will effect our freedom to take the plant medicines we need.
When looking at hemp derived CBD oils or tinctures these are the questions that will help you determine if a product is quality and worth your money:
Is it 100% organic? I mean… duh. Don’t trust websites or labels. Call to verify and ask for 3rd party lab results. If you are throwing down the dollars for CBD, you want to ensure that it is nothing less than organically grown.
Where is it grown (sourced)? If the company does not obviously state where they grow or source their hemp plants from, then they aren’t even worth considering. (Doesn’t have to be the exact farm or city, but at least the state or region.)
Is it sourced from industrial or therapeutic hemp? Well, first of all what’s the difference? Industrial hemp is grown for the use of its fiber, not its medicinal molecules and cannabinoid content. It is both male and female with most of their energy used for establishing reproduction. While therapeutic hemp is solely female plants, grown specifically to product their flowers (buds) which contain the highest levels of cannabinoids.
How many milligrams (mg) of CBD are there per milliliter (ml)? The easy equation is to take the total mg of CBD divided by the total ml of fluid in the product. Ensure that they have 3rd party lab results that confirm this potency. (Soon to come: a blog about CBD Math and Labels!)
Can you see the 3rd party lab tests (Certificates of Analysis) to verify the cannabinoid content, and purity of the plants? If the answer is no, than the company is not legit. However, even if the answer is yes, there is more to consider when determining a company’s authenticity. Please see all other points included in this post.
Is it full-spectrum, broad spectrum or an isolate? Full-spectrum CBD oil will have THC present, as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes. Broad-spectrum typically is CBD isolate with a couple other cannabinoids and terpenes added back in, with 0% THC. CBD isolate is just like what it sounds like, the isolated CBD molecule without any THC or other cannabinoids or terpenes present.
Imagine a vitamin C tablet versus an orange. When you eat an orange, you get all the vitamin C you need plus a lot of other vitamins and minerals that help your body absorb and use that vitamin C much better than if you were to just take a vitamin C supplement. Similarly, this is why it will always be better to take a full-spectrum CBD oil than a CBD isolate. With the full-spectrum the body is getting the CBD it needs along with all the other supporting cannabinoids, where as with an CBD isolate the body is processing an isolated form of something that doesn’t naturally occur that way.
If there is not a trace amount of THC, it is not worth it. Unless you are in a position where you absolutely can not have THC in your system, and your employers/drug test administrators would not accept you taking a legal hemp-derived, non-psychoactive CBD product. If you can not have THC in your system whatsoever, than your option is a CBD isolate product or broad spectrum with 0%THC, however, be aware that these products will not be nearly as effective, and pose far greater negative side effects. The legal level of THC in hemp derived products is less than 0.3%. This level of THC will not get you high, but will work to help activate all the other cannabinoids and produce the most effective CBD product.
What other cannabinoids besides CBD are present? Terpenes? As mentioned previously, you are looking for that “entourage effect”. We are still learning all the benefits of other cannabinoids like CBC, CBN and CBG and terpenes like B-caryophyllene, A-bisabolol, and Humulene, but the potentials are there for whole body healing and true preventive care when there are all these factors at play.
What extraction method was used to obtain the cannabinoids? CO2 extraction products are really the only ones to consider. Especially if subcritical and supercritical pressures were used in order to obtain the most cannabinoids and terpenes possible. If butane or ethanol were used, walk the other way.
What is the carrier oil/fluid/base? Extracted raw cannabinoids are not oil. They are a sticky, molasses or honey type substance. This is not a suitable substance for most enjoyable human consumption. So, companies have a choice with what to do with this substance. Toss it in a bunch of sugar, flavoring, food color and gelatin and call it a gummy, or make it into a tincture, where that concentrated extraction is emulsified into an oil or other fluid. Many companies choose oils like coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, etc. or other liquids like vegetable glycerin or alcohol. Hands down the best carrier oil for a hemp extract is hemp seed oil! The symbiosis between these two forms of the same plants is innate.
What are the other ingredients? Just Say No to artificial flavorings, preservatives, emulsifiers, additives, and ingredients you can’t read. Always. No matter what the product. Please.
What type of bottle is it in? If it’s plastic or transparent, the immediate answer is hell no. Plant botanicals are light sensitive. This is something you should know when purchasing any herbal product or quality plant oil. Go check your olive oil right now… what color bottle is it in? Is it a glass or plastic bottle. These decisions are important no matter what plant-derived products you are purchasing, and an absolute priority when purchasing CBD oil. Always look for dark glass bottles, and the darker the glass the better.
Passionate about Plant Medicine
At the same time I was falling in love with honey bees in Hawai’i, I was also diving deep into learning about different plant medicines like turmeric, noni, red clover, cleavers, mullein, aloe and so many more. My plant medicine mentor lived on the side of the volcano Haleakala at 3,500 ft. elevation, and I helped her create and build a sacred apothecary garden which overlooked both the north and south shores of the island.
My mentor taught me about the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant and that there were many more cannabinoids than just THC, each with different medical benefits. Since CBD had yet to hit the scene, at the time finding cannabis growers or strains that were higher in CBD than THC were extremely hard to come by. However, in the last five years, the CBD market has exploded and now everyone and their grandmas have heard about this new miracle medicine (that has been around for centuries).
Since there are so many CBD companies out there now, I’m literally begging you to do your research. I am blessed to work for the best CBD oil company that I’ve been able to find, and let me tell you… after working their customer service department for almost 6 months… I have compared dozens of other companies to ours, and I have heard hundreds of horror stories about other brands…and for me, there is no better CBD oil on the market than NuLeaf Naturals.
NuLeaf Naturals is leading the industry with everything listed on my CBD Checklist and more! Whether you have average anxiety, you’re terminally ill, or you are 100% healthy, full-spectrum CBD oil is one of the most important herbal supplements and plant medicines you can add to your life. If you think you are ready to add CBD oil to your daily supplements, I highly recommend NuLeaf Naturals, and I’m happy to help you compare your current CBD product to help you understand the differences.
For all my honeys, please use coupon code: HONEY20 to receive 20% off NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil, always. The small commissions I make from these sales I use to invest in Honey Huntress adventures, in order to continue bringing awareness to our environment, protecting honeybees and other pollinators, and organic and mindful consumption. Take your health into your own hands and help the planet by making better choices for your body and the bees. Thank you.