Here’s how you can find a product that really works
CBD. Those three magical letters seem to have taken the nutritional supplement world by storm in recent years. And when this sort of thing happens, I’m usually reluctant to embrace it. Because let’s face it, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
But there are always exceptions to any rule. And I’m thrilled to report that cannabidiol (CBD) is one of those exceptions.
While it may seem new and exciting, CBD is actually as tried-and-true as the cannabis plant it comes from. And I’ve been fortunate to have worked with both CBD and its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for about 12 years now, as a licensed physician in California—where these two substances have been medically legal for quite some time.
And let me tell you, having cannabis at my disposal revolutionized the way I practice medicine… especially now that CBD is legal across the country.
My patients are able to stop taking so many different types of medications—from anxiety and stress relief medications, antidepressants and pain medications, and in some cases, even blood pressure medications. All by taking CBD, whether it be in the form of a pill, cream, or oil.
So, once I saw CBD start to get a foothold in more mainstream health conversations, I knew it was only a matter of time before fraudulent and inferior products flooded the market… turning something truly remarkable into a worthless fad.
In response, I did what I always do: I took the matter into my own hands. And I started looking into making CBD products of my own—ones that would deliver exactly what you would expect to get when you see my name on it: a product of the highest quality that you can actually trust.
Why full spectrum hemp is the only way to go
First things first: You should probably know that developing top-shelf cannabis products is no easy task.
Cannabis has hundreds of different active components in it. In fact, science has yet to analyze all of the many different cannabinoids, terpenes, and other powerful substances that you’ll find in the whole plant.
So in my quest to make the highest quality CBD product you can buy, I leaned on the expertise I had acquired from practicing in California. The main takeaway being that—especially if you’re working with CBD alone—you better be taking a product formed from the entire hemp plant, to ensure that you’re getting all the plant has to offer.
In other words, because CBD has so many properties, the product you take must be full spectrum, not a CBD isolate. (To help put this into perspective, just imagine taking a probiotic that contained just one strain. It probably wouldn’t do you much good. This is the same principle in action with CBD isolates.)
In addition to using full spectrum hemp, it was also critically important to me that people were able to get their CBD in whatever form they felt most comfortable using.
So, I developed a product in capsule form first—because that’s a delivery method most people are already very familiar with and comfortable taking.
Then, many of my patients started asking about applying CBD topically—as they would any other cream for aches and pains. Which is how (and why) my CBD balm was born.
And last, but certainly not least, came my CBD oil. It’s my favorite product thus far… but it was also the hardest to source. (It seems I’m always on a quest for the right oil—if you recall the story behind macadamia nut oil and the Hampton’s Diet, then you already know what I mean.)
Oils are important—and if you get the wrong one, or a product that has been made incorrectly or inadequately, you run the risk of developing something that’s potentially harmful rather than therapeutic.
But before I go into why I love my new oil so much, I want to take a few minutes to answer some questions about CBD that all of my patients seem to be asking…
Every endocannabinoid system is different
First up: Can you use all three forms of CBD simultaneously? (Capsules, balm, and oil.)
My answer: Yes—because each form is better for different applications. For example, I would recommend one capsule, twice daily for everyday relief and comfort. And I would recommend the balm for any specific, painful spots that require immediate treatment. Meanwhile, the oil offers the best absorption and makes it easier to titrate to the specific dose you need for each individual concern. (I’ll return to that point in just a moment.)
Besides, as you may recall from last month’s article on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), you have cannabinoid receptors throughout your body, which govern a surprisingly long list of biological processes.
If you’re in a stressful situation, for example, your ECS instantly recognizes this and sends out natural endocannabinoids so you can relax. If you’re in pain, your ECS sends out endocannabinoids to soothe the body. Or if you’re having trouble sleeping… the ECS delivers endocannabinoids to lower your cortisol levels and help you drift off to sleep.
These are just a few ways in which your ECS works. So needless to say, phytocannabinoids like CBD are going to have a lot of different applications—and some of those applications differ depending on the delivery system.
But here is the kicker: Endocannabinoid systems aren’t uniform—in the same way that our gut microbiomes aren’t all the same. Just as we each have a unique colony of microbes we’re working with, our ECS will have different needs and react differently to different treatments.
That’s why some patients find that they simply respond better to capsules vs. balms or oils. Or they find they get the best results from a combination of different forms. But one thing remains universal—and that’s the benefit of full spectrum hemp.
Key benchmarks of high-quality CBD
As you may recall, most CBD comes from industrial hemp, allowing for a higher CBD content. But full spectrum hemp means that the product comes from the entire hemp plant. Here’s why that’s so important…
Different states have different standards for CBD, and federal oversight has been extremely lacking. Meaning manufacturers are currently policing themselves when it comes to everything from quality to safety.
And, well… even in the cannabis industry, we all know where that leads.
For instance, you’ll find a lot of supplements on the market that say they are made from 100 percent hemp. But in most cases, the product is only being derived from the seeds. And surprise, surprise… the seeds just don’t provide all of the phytocannabinoids that you would get from the entire hemp plant.
Not only that, but China accounted for over 11 percent of the entire CBD market as of 2018—which means you have a lot of products out there with a pretty opaque foreign supply chain.
That’s why, when I added a CBD oil to my product line, I made sure I chose a product that was made entirely in the USA, from certified farmers to a state-of-the-art processing facility.
But that’s not all. According to a recent study, some 70 percent of all CBD products don’t contain the advertised amount of CBD in each bottle. And let’s just say, I’m not too surprised. Which is why I ensure my product is tested up to three times so that you can rest assured you are always getting what you pay for.
I also ensure proper absence of THC—the cannabinoid that has psychoactive effects (i.e. the one that gets you “high”). A true CBD-only product must feature less than 0.3 percent of THC, but many brands deliver higher amounts. So, again, I’ve made it a top priority to ensure my finished product is one you can trust.
You determine the right dose
Now, let’s talk a little bit more about how to find and use a CBD oil. Because, as with most CBD products, the overabundance of options on the market can be overwhelming—and downright confusing.
Just do a quick search on Amazon… you’ll get 4,000 different hits for CBD oil alone! That’s a lot for any consumer to try to sift through—so let’s talk about some key points to look for.
If the bottle says “hemp oil,” be wary. This is not the same as CBD.
Hemp oil is usually shorthand for “hemp seed oil.” But again, the seeds of the hemp plant don’t make CBD. On the contrary, CBD comes from the flowers, leaves, buds, and stems of the hemp plant.
In fact, “hemp oil” contains virtually no cannabinoids at all—the active constituents that give cannabis its incredible range of benefits. So, I strongly recommend staying away from “hemp oil” products.
That said, there is a very critical distinction between hemp oil and full spectrum hemp extract.
Unlike hemp oil (and CBD isolate or CBD distillate), full spectrum hemp extract contains all the phytochemicals naturally found in the hemp plant. And as I’m consistently reminding you, that makes a huge difference in any CBD product—because when you have all the components of the plant working together, it only enhances the plant’s natural benefits.
Again, different patients will experience different results. But that’s exactly the reason I chose to put my latest CBD product in liquid form. Capsules are convenient and effective, and balms are ideal for quick applications. But oils are really the only delivery method that allow you to determine for yourself exactly how much you need to achieve the effects that you want.
Again, each and every ECS is different. You may need more for pain, less for stress, and somewhere in the middle for sleep. So I wouldn’t begin to try to determine what dose you, individually, need.
To find the dose that’s best for you, I recommend starting out with a small amount and working your way up until you reach the desired result. (This process is known as titration.)
Luckily, CBD is safe and non-addictive—meaning you can’t overdose on it. So you have free rein to experiment—with dose as well as with combinations of different products and delivery methods—and, ultimately, see results you may never have thought possible. Because when it comes to CBD, at least in my opinion, the possibilities are endless.