CBD is like the popular girl in high school: No one can stop talking about it, everyone seems to universally agree that it’s great, but you still have some questions (like what makes it so popular in the first place?). Over the span of a few years, CBD went from a controversial new ingredient on the market to a wellness must-have that almost every member of our team swears by for a variety of reasons. By now, you’ve probably seen the super-ingredient in anything and everything from food to skincare to wellness products. But what really is CBD, what are the benefits, and why, oh why, is every person raving about the once-controversial ingredient?
Because there’s still so much confusion surrounding the benefits of CBD and uncertainty about whether it is right for you or if it’s just another passing wellness fad, we went to the experts for answers. Beyond our team’s own FAQ surrounding our beloved CBD, we polled you, dear readers, in hopes that we can provide some much-needed clarification by offering answers from a CBD education expert. We talked to Autumn Mehl, the senior manager of Member Education and a CBD Dosage Specialist at our go-to source Equilibria, to find out how to shop for CBD, the real difference between CBD and marijuana, how to know if it’s right for you, and more FAQs. You asked, and we answered: Read on for clarification from an expert for the most frequently asked questions about the sometimes-confusing wellness ingredient.
What is CBD and how does it work?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of over 150 naturally occurring compounds (AKA “cannabinoids”) found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The Cannabis sativa plant is bred and grown in two different ways: either as “industrial hemp” with less than 0.3% THC content (which makes it a completely federally legal agricultural crop in the U.S.) or for “THC-dominant cannabis or weed” that’s bred and grown to contain more than 0.3% and up to 30% THC content.
THC is the psychoactive part of cannabis, and a product tends to need about 10% THC content or more to cause intoxicating, “high” effects. Hemp that has lower, federally legal limits of THC has historically been grown for industrial use, such as rope and other materials. The Cannabis sativa plant can also be bred to have higher, more therapeutic amounts of CBD while maintaining the lower, federally legal limit of THC, which is where Equilibria comes into play!
How do I know if a CBD brand is legit or certified? What makes a reputable brand?
CBD products are made from hemp plants, so just like many other products on the market, it’s important to investigate how the source material was treated to determine its overall quality.
At Equilibria, we are partnered with an incredible farm just outside Boulder, Colorado that follows rigorous measures to offer our members pure, organic, full-spectrum CBD extract without any surprises. We hand harvest the flower portion of the plant and test its quality throughout the entire process.
A reputable CBD company will always publish its testing Certificate of Analysis, or its COA. The best COAs test for both potency and purity, meaning they test to determine the percentage of beneficial, therapeutic cannabinoids in the product as well as the purity of the plant, ensuring it is free of harmful levels of pesticides, toxins, metals, or other harmful chemicals.
How do I know if it is a quality product before purchasing?
Quality CBD products will always have a COA testing for both purity and potency. Companies should be transparent about their testing results as well as their farming practices.
Additionally, full-spectrum CBD contains federally legal, trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) and can help induce the entourage effect. The entourage effect happens when THC and CBD are combined to create a synergistic effect, thus the product becomes more potent and powerful!
Oftentimes, you’ll see smaller dosages with full-spectrum CBD bottles as opposed to other forms such as isolate CBD. Isolate CBD product is exactly that—it contains only CBD and no key additional cannabinoids to induce the entourage effect, so it takes higher doses to achieve noticeable effects. Because Equilibria has a powerful, full-spectrum product with a variety of cannabinoids to induce the entourage effect, members often see benefits with smaller doses, typically starting between 20 mg to 30 mg of CBD each day.
What is the difference between CBD and marijuana?
When talking about cannabis products, “marijuana” typically refers to THC-containing cannabis at higher levels beyond what is federally legal. Medical dispensaries will offer a variety of medical-grade products with higher levels of THC. Some products include tinctures, gummies, chocolates, topicals, and even the actual flower, or “weed,” itself.
A CBD product must have a smaller, federally legal limit of less than 0.3% THC to be sold nationwide. Remember, CBD and THC are both molecules that come from the same type of plant and are both present in each plant, but the percentages differ based on how it was bred.
What is the difference between CBD and hemp oil?
While oil can be extracted from hemp seeds, this oil—commonly referred to as “hemp seed oil”—is not the same as CBD. It generally contains no CBD at all. CBD oil is extracted from the hemp flower using a different process from extracting hemp seed oil and, in Equilibria’s case, using only the flowers of the hemp plant for the purest CBD possible. The therapeutic compounds that provide benefit are within the flower, which is why it’s important that your product is a CBD oil, not a hemp seed oil.
Can CBD impact a drug test?
Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so drug testing is kind of a gray area; we don’t know for sure how your body will metabolize our products. However, it is possible to test positive on a drug test with daily and consistent use of full-spectrum CBD.
Think of it like consuming alcohol. If a beer is 5% ABV/Alcohol By Volume (like how our products contain 0.3% THC or less), the amount you consume determines your BAC/Blood Alcohol Level (or in this case, THC level in the bloodstream). So the more you ingest at a time, the more likely it will be detected on a test.
If you’re worried, I’d recommend grabbing an over-the-counter THC test at your local pharmacy to find out for sure. When possible, we also recommend asking for a blood test rather than a urine test if you have the opportunity, as blood tests tend to be more accurate than urine tests. All of our products are federally legal, so you can also supply your employer with our lab results if they have further questions.
Does CBD get you high?
Since all of our Equilibria products are made with full-spectrum CBD, they do contain small trace amounts of THC—but always less than 0.3%, which means they are federally legal! We find the average dosage among our members overall is around 20 mg to 50 mg of full-spectrum CBD per day, which is not considered enough to elicit psychotropic effects (or in other words, won’t get you high!).
However, if you have a history of being sensitive to THC at very low doses, we always recommend starting slowly and easing into a routine with one of our Regular Strength products that offer dynamic dosing options (Daily Drops or Daily Gummies). This way, we can start low and slow, only increasing when needed. You can always add doses, but you can’t take them away!
Remember, the main advantage of including trace amounts of THC is that it will help induce the entourage effect, making your product more powerful and potent.
Due to each individual’s unique body chemistry, full-spectrum CBD may affect everyone a bit differently. With that being said, any time you plan to try a new product, a new dosage routine change, an increase to your dosage, or any other modifications to a personalized routine, we strongly advise trialing any changes on a day when you can be at home and closely observe how you feel. This will help you better understand how your body is responding and avoid any surprises as you adjust.
Where should a beginner start with CBD?
Before starting your CBD routine, it’s always a great idea to reflect and journal about the benefits you’d like to experience with your CBD routine, like “I’d like to finally get a full night’s sleep without waking up” or “I’d like to feel less stressed and more productive at work.” Being clear about why you’re using CBD will help you determine the best products and the best time of day to take your doses.
For example, if you need help sleeping through the night, a slow-release option like a softgel or gummy might be a good option, and taking those closer to bedtime can help support you through the night. If you need help feeling focused and less stressed at work, our fast-acting Daily Drops, which offer flexible, dynamic dosing options, can be useful for small, calming daytime doses and even extra, episodic doses if your workday goes awry!
Our members typically find positive benefits by starting a CBD routine with about 20 mg to 30 mg each day.
If you’ve been trying CBD for about a week and aren’t seeing the results you want, that’s OK! We typically recommend trying your CBD products for around seven days, then meeting with your Dosage Specialist to talk about your experience so far and make any changes. We like to see positive benefits in the first one to three weeks and often see the best results after three months of consistent use.
The full effects of CBD may only remain in your system for four to 12 hours, so it’s important to be thoughtful and consistent with your CBD intake. The goal is to maximize the strength and effectiveness of the body’s endocannabinoid system. Consider your health goals to determine the best time of day to take your CBD—you may find it’s best to dose at night before bed and again in the morning during breakfast.
How do I figure out what CBD dose is right for me?
To get started on your CBD journey, we recommend taking our Get Started Quiz. This quiz will recommend products to address your specific health needs. Once you purchase, you’ll also have access to a personalized routine page that’s designed just for you!
Your ideal CBD dose has a lot to do with the amount of stress and cortisol you’ve experienced in your lifetime. Chronic issues like discomfort, stress, or sleep problems over several years can cause our body to deplete its own endocannabinoids, our body’s regulatory molecules. So folks who are under a lot of daily stress or dealing with chronic issues may benefit from a larger CBD dose.
When asking yourself, “how much CBD should I take?,” remember to start low and go slow. This means starting with a low dosage of CBD and slowly working up to increase the dosage over time. The best results with CBD come with time, so it’s best not to rush into things. Think of your daily CBD dose as a marathon, not a sprint!
Most Equilibria members start with a CBD daily dose of 20 mg to 30 mg. This gives us a good starting point to gauge the effects in your body. Here at Equilibria, we want to empower our members to listen to their bodies and tune into the impact they’re experiencing.
CBD has what’s known as a biphasic response, meaning that if you take too little or too much CBD, your CBD likely won’t provide the effects you’re looking for. Therefore, it’s best to try to find your “sweet spot” dosage, which is the dosage where you’re seeing the benefits you’re looking for without tipping over into feeling groggy or drowsy. Some of our long-term members take anywhere from 20 mg to 50 mg of CBD each day.
Do you feel a difference right away?
CBD does take time to build up in your system, so whether or not you start out with the right routine, this is not wasted time! We love seeing positive benefits in the first one to three weeks but often see the best results after two to three months.
Some people may feel the effects of their first few doses more strongly than others. This is typical, especially of those who have never tried a CBD product before. Once the body adjusts and “understands” CBD better, your experience will evolve! Connect with a Dosage Specialist to help you adjust your dosage and routine.
If I am taking CBD and not noticing a difference, what should I do?
If you’re taking between 20 mg to 30 mg of Equilibria CBD each day for more than fourr weeks and have not noted any benefits, it may be time to adjust your routine’s dosage and/or timing. Members with more severe, long-term health goals may need more time to see the benefits of CBD.
For example, if you’ve been dealing with sleep issues for over 10 years, it will likely take more than 4 weeks to improve with a plant-based product. Give it time to build up! And amplify your results by connecting with a Dosage Specialist to help steer you in the right direction. We are here to help!
Is it possible to use too much CBD?
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) published a safety report stating that you cannot overdose on CBD, more CBD is not always better! CBD has a biphasic effect, which means that too little or too much could be ineffective. To find your “sweet spot” dose, we always recommend going low and slow with your doses and journaling to record your reaction to your doses.
Typically, our members start with an average of 20 mg to 30 mg of CBD per day to gently ease into a routine. Overall, our members with more established routines take between 20 mg and 50 mg on average. However, if you notice any of the following signs, you may want to consider decreasing your dose:
- A sustained increase in drowsiness or sedation during the daytime hours that doesn’t taper off after the first five to seven days of starting your routine
- An increase in intensity and/or frequency of headaches that does not lessen after the first five to seven days of starting your routine, even after increasing your daily water intake
- GI upset that does not lessen after the first five to seven days of starting your routine, even after pairing your CBD dose with food and increasing your daily water intake
- Noticing that CBD seems to elicit the opposite effect of what you were hoping to accomplish (e.g. instead of helping you wind down for sleep, you notice that CBD energizes you)
Can CBD cause long-term health effects?
Because CBD was made federally legal in 2018, there are not enough long-term studies on CBD and side effects to fully address this. CBD influences the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that works to help our bodies achieve balance. As the body rebalances itself and adjusts to CBD, some members experience side effects at the beginning of their routines, which usually fade with time.
The presence or absence of side effects may depend on many variables such as your body chemistry, environmental considerations, health conditions, and any medications you might be taking. Therefore, it’s essential to talk to your health care provider before incorporating CBD into your routine to understand if CBD is a good fit for you.
Common side effects include drowsiness, nausea, headaches, dry eyes, or dry throat.
If you’re noticing some of these effects as you start your CBD routine, you’re not alone! Some of our members tell us that they see some side effects when they first begin their CBD routines and find that the effects typically go away on their own after a few weeks.
Cannabis in general can be dehydrating, so when starting a CBD routine, it’s important to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Can CBD make you sleepy during the day?
Drowsiness during the daytime, or anytime when you are normally alert, is an indication that the CBD dosage you’re taking might be more than needed. If you ever find yourself more relaxed in the daytime than intended, consider decreasing your dosage by half and reaching out to your Dosage Specialist for additional support!
Can pregnant women use CBD?
We work with a number of women who are interested in trying CBD while trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. At this time, there is simply not enough research in this area on pregnant and breastfeeding people for us to have a strong stance in one way or the other. Ultimately, whether or not you use CBD during this time comes down to a discussion between you and your health care provider in order to make a safe and informed decision before introducing something new, like CBD, into your daily routine. If you decide to take CBD during this time, we are here for you! Otherwise, you can always adjust your subscription to allow for this time.
This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.