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What is CBD? (The Plant Panda CBD Primer)

So you’ve heard the media hype, but you’re still wondering what exactly CBD is. We’re here to help. We want our customers to be informed about what they’re buying, so consider this your Plant Panda CBD Primer. Let’s start with the big question: “What is CBD?”

What is CBD? 

First, the basics. CBD is a cannabinoid, a naturally occurring type of chemical compound that can be extracted from a cannabis plant.

There are over one hundred cannabinoids that scientists have identified so far, but the most dominant are CBD and THC. Though these two cannabinoids are closely related, CBD differs from THC in that it is non-psychoactive.

That means that CBD won’t make you high.

It may seem like CBD is a new discovery, but scientists have known about it, and even studied it, since the 1940s. Most of the attention of the scientific community focused on THC, though, for the next several decades of the twentieth century. And the years of cannabis prohibition made research on any cannabis compounds difficult.

CBD really only came back into the spotlight in the last decade as cannabis laws began to loosen and research began to reveal CBD’s possibilities.

At that time, word began to go around that CBD-rich cannabis extracts could help with hard-to-treat epilepsy. And it was that grassroots movement that eventually led to an FDA-approved CBD based drug in 2018.

Is CBD Legal?

But, wait...isn’t cannabis...illegal?

Well, yes and no. 

Cannabis is an overarching term that refers to both hemp and marijuana. There are states in the US where both are legal, but only hemp is legal at the federal level. 

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, the legal definition of hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. At Plant Panda, we keep our CBD extracts well below that legal limit.

Since the passing of the Farm Bill, CBD has been removed from the DEA’s drug schedule, opening the doors for scientific research to go ahead in an unprecedented way. And, clearly, the CBD industry has been quick to respond as well.

Different types of CBD 

As you begin to look around at CBD products, you’ll find that there isn’t just one type of CBD oil. This may seem super confusing at first, but we can break it down for you pretty easily:

  • Full Spectrum CBD oil includes all the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the hemp plant. 
  • Broad Spectrum CBD includes many of the naturally occurring plant compounds, but with the THC removed.
  • CBD isolate (sometimes referred to as “pure” CBD) has had all the other plant compounds removed, and is usually 99% pure CBD.

All of these types of CBD oil have their own advantages, but we’ve chosen to use CBD isolate to completely remove the concern that many people have about failing a drug test due to THC.

How Does CBD Work?

We are very much in the early days of cannabis science, but there have already been some interesting findings on how CBD works.

The endocannabinoid system was discovered in the 1990s by the famed cannabis science pioneer, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. You probably didn’t learn about it in Biology class, but we now know that all vertebrates have this system - which is composed of inter-related receptors and chemicals, working as locks and keys.

Broadly speaking, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining balance within your body, and it influences everything from mood and sleep to pain regulation and appetite.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, though it doesn’t bind well with either of the two main receptors. Mostly, it seems to influence the endocannabinoid system by “upregulating” or “down regulating” other chemicals in the endocannabinoid system.

That being said, CBD is a complex molecule and scientists are a long way from totally understanding how it works. In fact, CBD seems to work on multiple levels, interacting with different systems at once.

This complexity means that CBD may be able to deal with more than one problem at once, but it also makes it difficult to isolate certain effects and to understand why exactly they are taking place. 

Because of the last century of prohibition, science is far behind where it should be. CBD was discovered in the 1940s and yet significant research has only begun taking place in the last decade. 

But with the legalization of hemp-extracted CBD, the research is really starting to ramp up.

What Can CBD Do for You?

With all that in mind, it is probably clear why we can’t make any definitive claims about what CBD will do for you. In fact, we’re prohibited from doing so by the FDA and the FTC. 

Suffice it to say that CBD is creating a lot of excitement in the scientific community for a wide range of possible benefits. New studies are getting started all the time, so do your research - you may even be able to participate in a study yourself!

But if you’re looking for a solid source of information on CBD’s possible benefits and the science behind it, we recommend checking out Project CBD.

CBD Safety

One of the great things about CBD is that it’s incredibly safe. The World Health Organization has found, after extensive research, that CBD has a “good safety profile” with no possibility of dependence and few side effects.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that, while CBD on its own is safe, it can interact with other medications - and especially those that are metabolized by your liver. 

Additionally, if you’ve ever experienced liver damage for any reason, CBD may not be for you.

If you’re not sure about either of these things, please do consult with your doctor. They can tell you if CBD is a good option for you, given your specific health history.

What Should I Look for in a High Quality Product?

The CBD industry is unregulated by the government. That means that it’s up to us, as CBD companies, to maintain a high bar of transparency. At Plant Panda, we take that responsibility seriously. 

Here are some things you should absolutely not compromise on as you CBD shop:

  • CBD should be grown from organically grown hemp (you don’t want to be putting pesticides and chemical fertilizers into your body).
  • CBD should be cleanly extracted. We use CO2 extraction, which is one the best, cleanest extraction methods available.
  • Only buy CBD from companies that make third party lab reports available. We are happy to share ours - in fact, we post them on our website!

How Do I Use CBD Oil?

You can read about CBD and listen to all the reviews in the world, but it can still be intimidating to take your first dose. And there’s lots of conflicting advice on how to use CBD oil,  which doesn’t help. 

We want you to feel like you know what you’re doing before you get started - so read on for the basics of how to use our Plant Panda CBD oil. 

CBD Basics

Before we get into dosing advice, we want to make sure you understand what you’re taking. Plant Panda CBD is made from 99%+ pure CBD isolate. That means that there’s no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or other plant compounds in our tincture. 

Most importantly, it means that there’s no THC. If you are subject to drug testing for any reason, that’s going to be very important. Feel free to check our third party lab reports for your own peace of mind! 

We start with organic, domestically grown hemp and extract the CBD-rich oil via CO2 extraction technology. This is one of the cleanest and safest extraction processes available, so you know there’s not going to be any harmful solvents left in the product.

Once the oil is extracted, we continue the purification process until all that’s left is a fine white powder called CBD isolate. We then emulsify the isolate in high quality MCT oil, known for its many health benefits and easy digestion.

How Much Should I Take? 

This is one of the most common questions we get, and - spoiler alert! - there’s no one simple answer.

This is really frustrating to many people since we’re used to reading the dosing instructions off a bottle of medicine. But we can’t do that with CBD for a couple reasons. 

For one thing, CBD is a complex molecule interacting with a complex system. Our endocannabinoid systems, which CBD interacts with, are truly unique. Cannabinoids like CBD impact our bodies in very different ways. 

So while we can give general guidelines - your actual dose could end up looking very different from someone else’s - even given the same age, sex, and gender.

Secondly, the science is in the very early stages on CBD. So even if there is a dosing range that might pertain to certain groups of people, we do not have that information yet. 

What we can do is help you get started looking for your CBD sweet spot.

Finding Your CBD “Sweet Spot”

CBD operates on a bell shaped curve. This means that up to a certain dose, it continues to increase in efficacy. But after you reach the maximum dose, it doesn’t produce stronger effects. We’re used to the “more is better” approach to life, but that just doesn’t apply to CBD.

Your “sweet spot” refers to the dose where you achieve maximum efficacy, before it starts to decline. And there’s only one way to find it: trial and error. 

To get started we recommend you start with a relatively small dose - say 10 to 15 mgs per day. Take it at the same time every day for five days and note any effects you might experience. This is a very low dose, so you may not notice much, but it’s worth doing since some people only need very little.

After the first several days, you can increase that by 5-10 mgs and keep it at that dose for a few more days. Again, pay attention to how you feel and make note of any changes. It may take a while to find your optimal dose, but it’s really worth taking the time to experiment, slowly increasing your dose. 

How Do I Measure my CBD Oil?

Many CBD companies make this really difficult, but at PlantPanda, we put measurements right on our droppers, so you can see how much you’re taking.

This may seem like a small thing, but if you’re wanting to take a precise dose, it makes a big difference. 

Here’s how the measurements work out in mgs CBD:

For our 750 mg tincture, you’ll get 25 mgs CBD per milliliter, which is basically a full dropper. That means that there’s 12.5 mgs CBD in ½ ml and 6.25 mgs per ¼ mi.

For our 1500 mg tincture, there’s 50 mgs CBD per 1 ml (a full dropper), 25 mgs per ½ ml, and 12.5 mgs per ¼ ml.

How do I Dose Sublingual CBD Oil?

The word “sublingual” just means “under the tongue” so that pretty much gives this method away! Once you’ve measured out your dose of CBD oil, you just put it under your tongue and hold it there. 

We recommend that you keep it there for at least 30 seconds, and some people like to keep it there up to a full minute or more. There’s plentiful blood vessels under your tongue and the CBD is able to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream, bypassing the slower digestive process.

So it’s worth it to keep it there for long enough that as much CBD is absorbed as possible. The CBD that is in the oil that you swallow will be digested and continue to be released into your bloodstream, but some of the CBD will be lost in that process. 

How Often Should I Take CBD Oil?

It’s totally up to you how often you take CBD oil. If you take it as a sublingual tincture, you can expect the effects to last around four hours. So if you want to keep a steady dose of CBD in your bloodstream, you might want to take smaller amounts every few hours. That being said, most people take it once or twice per day.

However, if you just swallow it instead of taking it sublingually, less of it will be absorbed into your bloodstream (since digestion will destroy some of it), but what makes it there will last longer. That’s the benefit of edibles over tinctures.

Who Shouldn’t Take CBD Oil?

CBD has a good safety profile, according to the World Health Organization. But it’s not for everyone. 

If you’re pregnant, recent research suggests that you should stay away from cannabinoids in general: both CBD and THC.

Also, if you’ve had issues with your liver, you should definitely talk to your doctor before taking CBD.  And because CBD is metabolized by your liver, it can interfere with other drugs that are metabolized by the liver. 

So please talk to your doctor to make sure that CBD won’t be a problem for you! The more complex your medical history is, the more important this is.

What's the Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

With the explosion of the CBD industry in the last few years, there’s been a lot of new language introduced that ten years ago was mostly unheard of. 

So it’s no wonder that people feel confused about what some of these terms mean - and it’s also not so surprising that there are companies willing to prey on that confusion.

The truth is that CBD oil, hemp seed oil, and hemp oil all offer health benefits, but they certainly do not refer to the same thing

So let’s differentiate these terms, and clarify what exactly it is that Plant Panda is selling.

What is CBD Oil?

To that end, we’ll start with Plant Panda’s signature product - CBD oil. 

CBD is a cannabinoid, or a chemical that is extracted from hemp. Our CBD comes from US grown hemp, and is extracted with CO2 technology (which is one of the cleanest, but also the most expensive type of extraction available).

What we initially pull out of the hemp plant is often referred to as CBD-rich hemp oil. But we further refine this oil, to remove other cannabinoids (like THC) as well as other plant components. 

By the time we’re finished purifying the oil, we’re left with pure CBD isolate. It looks like a fine, white powder. Our pure CBD isolate is fat soluble, so we then mix it with MCT oil to create our tinctures in various concentrations. 

Other companies choose different carrier oils for one reason or another - there are many oils that can be chosen (including hemp seed oil, which we’ll talk about below). We choose MCT oil because it has a long list of health benefits of its own - and it may even help the CBD be digested a bit more easily.

But whatever the carrier oil is, CBD oil is called CBD oil because it contains high amounts of…you guessed it, CBD. There are three main types of CBD oil:

  • Full Spectrum: Contains the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids
  • Broad Spectrum: Contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but no THC
  • CBD Isolate: 99%+ pure CBD (no THC, no other cannabinoids or plant components) 

You may find companies that refer to their CBD oil as hemp oil, which we’ll talk about further on. That’s fine as long as they are clear about what exactly they are selling, and how much CBD you can expect in the oil.

The whole extraction and formulation process for a properly dosed CBD oil is what makes it more expensive than the next product on our list, hemp seed oil. 

So whoever you buy your CBD oil from, make sure to check those third party lab reports to ensure that they are selling you what you want.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Okay. On to the next word in our glossary: hemp seed oil.

Hemp seed oil is basically self-explanatory - it’s the oil that is extracted from the seeds of a hemp plant.

When we at Plant Panda extract CBD from our hemp plants, we don’t use the oil from the seeds - and that’s for a very good reason. There is no CBD, or only trace amounts, in hemp seeds. There are, however, varying amounts of CBD in the bud, leaves, and stems, and they can all be used for CBD extraction. 

But hemp seeds? Basically nothing.

This is why hemp seed oil has been sold legally for many years, while CBD was only explicitly legalized in 2018. Hemp seed oil has basically no cannabinoids, so the government hasn’t been interested in regulating it.

On the other hand, hemp seed oil shouldn’t just be dismissed since, with its abundance of essential fatty acids, it has lots of health benefits of its own. 

You can cook with it, or frankly just take it on its own. And it’s used in tons of beauty products because it doesn’t clog pores and is very moisturizing. There’s also evidence that it is anti-inflammatory.

So, yay for hemp seed oil! 

But just don’t mistake it for CBD oil. It doesn’t have any CBD in it, and you can’t expect the same effects as you would from a high-quality, properly dosed CBD oil.

What is Hemp Oil?

Now we’ll move on to what is by far the most ambiguous term: “hemp oil.” 

Hemp oil can mean pretty much anything a company wants it to mean, which makes it by far the most confusing term available. And there are many companies willing to take advantage of that ambiguity. But why?

Well, there’s really nothing easier than adding hemp seed oil to a product and highlighting the word hemp - perhaps adding a hemp leaf to the label. As a consumer, the immediate assumption is that this is a CBD product. And can be priced as one.

In this way, a product can be sold at the price point of a CBD product without any CBD or other cannabinoids present. The company may not even be making any false claims about their product - but they are preying on consumers’ lack of information about what these terms mean.

This doesn’t mean that using the term “hemp oil” is wrong. It’s actually fine, providing that the company is clear about what they mean by it. But if you, as a consumer, are at all unclear about what is being sold it’s never a bad idea to contact the company directly and ask some questions.

Markers of Quality

Because the CBD industry is still so unregulated, at Plant Panda we’ve taken it on ourselves to maintain a high bar of quality, while still delivering some of the best prices available. 

This means that:

  • We source domestically grown hemp
  • We use clean CO2 extraction technology
  • We test our products thoroughly for both purity and potency
  • We make third party lab reports available to the public
  • We offer ethical pricing
  • We provide a 100% money-back guarantee

And we’re always happy to answer questions about our company or products!