CBD is everywhere. It’s being infused into everything from beverages to beauty products to pillows. What was once an underground trend is quickly becoming mainstream, and we’re probably all a little bit canna-curious as to how we should be using it.
But how do you know where to start? What questions should you be asking to verify that what you’re purchasing is the real deal? We’ve got 6 key CBD terms that will help you sort through the noise and get a consistent, high-quality experience.
- Hemp – Hemp is not just slang for cannabis. There’s actually an important regulatory difference between hemp and marijuana, both of which are types of cannabis. The CBD products you find on store shelves typically use CBD derived from hemp plants, which by definition contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight (as defined in the 2018 Farm Bill). Cannabis plants that contain more than 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana. With that said, it’s best to just call it “cannabis” rather than “marijuana” (so yes, cannabis is a type of cannabis…). The term “marijuana” has a pretty sordid history in the US.
- Cannabinoid – Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, the most notorious of which are CBD and THC. While both compounds are known to offer therapeutic benefits, CBD is more often associated with health, wellness, and therapeutic usage, and THC is better known for its psychoactive effects – i.e., THC gets you high, CBD doesn’t.
- Extract – What’s the difference between CBD and hemp extract? Maybe a lot, maybe nothing. “Hemp extract” means just that, an extract from the hemp plant, while “CBD” is a specific type of extract. Be wary of “hemp extracts” that aren’t quite what they seem to be. Which brings me to the next key term…
- COA – Ask for a Certificate of Analysis(COA) when purchasing CBD products. This is a report produced by an accredited laboratory that shows actual results of independent lab testing on a product. This document will tell you how much CBD (and other cannabinoids) the product actually contains, so you know what you’re paying for. If the manufacturer can’t provide a COA, run for the hills. Here’s a link to an example report from Tempo.
- Bioavailability – Not all CBD is created equal. Bioavailability measures how much CBD actually gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and that number can vary based on the quality of the extract and the product format you’re using, as well as your body’s own physiology and metabolism. Think of it like this – if you purchased a product with 25mg of CBD, how much of that is your body actually using? As noted in this report from CBD Awareness Project, the oral bioavailabilty of CBD oil typically ranges between 6% and 20%, although higher tech and water-soluble CBD emulsions sometimes indicate bioavailability well above 50%.
- Therapeutic Window – Cannabinoids are known to have a biphasic effect, meaning that increasing consumption at smaller dosages will result in a stronger effect, but consuming more at higher dosages can counterintuitively weaken the effect (or have unwanted effects). This means that there’s a sweet spot for dosing, a “goldilocks zone”, or “therapeutic window” for each person. Check out this study or this video for a deeper dive into the biphasic attributes of cannabis.
If you’re interested in learning more, or want to try some high-quality CBD products that aren’t overloaded with mysterious chemicals, check out Tempo’s CBD-infused sparkling teas – now available in raspberry matcha, ginger green tea, and blackberry hibiscus flavors.