Here are a few tips to help you find the best CBD oil:
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used for the treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy in children under 2—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both are exceptionally rare genetic disorders causing lifelong catastrophic seizures that begin during the first year of life.
Common symptoms include:
What to Look For
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
Outside of these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness in treating seizures is uncertain. Even with Epidiolex, it is uncertain whether the anti-seizure effects can be attributed to CBD or some other factor.
Medical marijuana is frequently prescribed to people with intractable (treatment-resistant) pain, including those with terminal cancer. There is some evidence that CBD contributes to this benefit.
CBD’s exact mechanism of action is unclear. Unlike THC, CBD has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These are the molecules to which THC binds to elicit its psychoactive effects.
“Quality is always an issue, especially in a relatively young market, such as the cannabis market,” Low Dog says. And she’s right. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that out of the commercially available CBD products, only 30 percent were accurately labeled.
CBD tinctures are generally made from high CBD strains of hemp, with 60 to 70 percent alcohol, and are primarily used to help relieve anxiety or ease pain. “Tinctures are convenient, have a long shelf life, and are absorbed easily when taken under the tongue. The dose can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of drops taken,” notes Low Dog.
And though there’s a lot of promise with CBD preparations of all kinds, Hill says there’s still a lot of research to be done.
CBD tincture vs. CBD oil—which is better?
At a plant level, the two chemicals operate as opposites, with CBD acting as a buffer of sorts to the effects of THC. “It’s sort of a ying and yang. THC is responsible for the high and CBD doesn’t do that,” Hill explains.
“Sometimes, you will find extracts called tinctures that use glycerin, vinegar, or oil as the solvent, instead of alcohol,” Low Dog says. “These offer the advantage of being alcohol-free, but may not always offer the same potency as an alcohol-water extract.”
The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemicals in it, including more than 120 cannabinoids, Hill explains. Of those cannabinoids, two are most familiar: THC, which produces the euphoric effects or “high” people experience from marijuana, and cannabidiol or CBD, which has some anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anxiety-relieving and analgesic properties, according to Low Dog.
Tinctures, though, remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, in part because of their old-school apothecary-style packaging, but more likely because of how they’re taken: a few drops at a time, under the tongue.
This biphasic idea may be new to some readers, but it isn’t all that uncommon. Alcohol, for example, is biphasic. Below a certain blood alcohol content (BAC), alcohol provides a stimulating effect. Above that blood alcohol content, it provides a depressant effect.
This is going to be a trial-and-error situation, although there’s really no “error” to speak of. There’s no danger of serious side effects or overdose. The most you’ll feel is nothing. That’s how you know it’s not working.
The first thing you’ll need — whether you’re using a homemade CBD tincture or a store-bought CBD tincture — is a notebook. You’re going to record your experience so you aren’t taking five drops one day, 20 drops the next day, and eight drops the third day.
Another variable that might be considered a side effect is that CBD is biphasic. That means that at certain levels, CBD provides a specific list of effects. At other — often higher — levels, CBD provides different effects.
For those of us who enjoy a good psychotropic substance, that may be a bummer. But for those of us with medical issues, it’s a life-saver.