I hate to admit that I’m “aging,” but I’ll confess that, as of late, I have begun taking personal health and wellness recommendations more to heart. Just north of 50, I’m now following my doctor’s recommendation for exercise (minimum 5 hours a week), the USDA’s dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables (5 to 13 servings per day), and the American Cancer Society’s recommendation on daily sunscreen (SPF of at least 30). Honestly, I’ve been aware of these guidelines for years, but I was just too busy, active, and pain-free (enough) to care.
New on my personal health radar, however, are CBD products. Studies show it’s one of the safest ways to treat illness, disease, and disorders like anxiety, with few, if any, side effects. And with 29 million Americans using CBD oil, now seems like a good time to be learning more about it!
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid, a type of natural compound found in cannabis and hemp. It has been used for centuries to successfully provide pain relief, address sleep issues, and aid skin conditions like eczema, even sunburn, and bug bites when used topically.
How does CBD work?
All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for helping homeostasis and balance within the body. The body naturally produces cannabinoids to help regulate functions like mood, pain, and sleep, but these can become diminished due to internal imbalances or external stressors. Supplementing the body’s natural cannabinoids with hemp-derived CBD oils and extracts helps bring the body back to balance, and in doing so, may optimize whole body wellness.
Will CBD make me high?
Short answer: no. While “marijuana” and hemp are both Cannabis sativa plants, they are different varieties. Marijuana plants are typically smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. Most of the time, marijuana has a high amount of THC, the stuff that causes the “high” feeling, and a very low amount of CBD. Hemp plants contain little or no THC. Extracts from CBD oil and hemp oil are both legal, as long as they are derived from hemp and their level of THC is negligible (legally, less than 0.3% THC, any more than that and it’s considered marijuana and classified as a schedule 1 drug by the DEA), so if you purchase CBD or hemp products online or at a local retailer, as long as it’s manufactured to meet those requirements you won’t get busted.
Can I take CBD every day?
Not only can you, but for the best effects, in most cases you actually should take CBD on a daily basis,” says Alex Capano, chief science officer for Ananda Hemp, a Kentucky-based health and wellness brand specializing in CBD products.
“You can’t overdose on CBD, and it’s lipophilic (or fat soluble), which means it compounds in your body over time, adding to potential health benefits.”
How do I use CBD?
The two most common ways to take CBD are orally and topically. CBD can be ingested using capsules, gummies, or tinctures creating a systemic effect, meaning they work on your whole body. For a more targeted effect, topical applications, like creams, lotions, and massage oils are sometimes preferred. If properly stored (away from direct sunlight, with low humidity) CBD products have a 1-year shelf life.
Currently, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of CBD products. Look for validation that the products you’re using have undergone independent, third-party lab analyses so that you can be sure the amount of CBD claimed to be in your products is actually there AND that there is less than 0.3% THC. Check out Zuna Brands Certificate of Analysis.
The abrupt arrival of CBD in the mainstream marketplace has provided new, plant-based remedies for millions of people. It has also spawned an industry full of opportunists with little regulation to ensure product policies and practices are safe and transparent. Until the industry is better regulated, plan to work a little harder to find a company you can trust. Find out about their farming practices. Are they sustainable? Can they back up their dosage claims with independent, third-party lab analyses? Check for a Science Advisory Board. How committed is the CBD company to engaging credible, licensed physicians in optimizing the efficacy and the clinical applications for the hemp plant?
While I don’t really believe there’s an elixir of life, I’m motivated now more than ever to stay sharp, energetic, and pain-free. As I take healthy living to heart, CBD is playing an increasing role in my daily routine—from calming tinctures and mineral soaks to pain relief and skin care. Harnessing the facts about which CBD products are safe and right for you requires educating yourself about a company’s practices. Enjoying CBD is the reward for doing your homework.
Elizabeth Roper is an education consultant and lifelong learner. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Chico, California.
 Fairwinds. “More than 29 million Americans are now using CBD oil.” Seattle Times, December 4, 2019.
 Rachel Lapidos, “Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil: Two Totally Different Things – Here’s What to Know,” Well + Good, February 12, 2019, accessed February 25, 2021, https://www.wellandgood.com/hemp-oil-vs-cbd-oil/
 Zuna Brands. “FAQs,” accessed February 21, 2021, https://www.zunabrands.com/frequently-asked-questions
 Laurel Leicht, “An Expert Answers All Your Questions About CBD,” Marie Claire, April 11, 2019, accessed February 26, 2021, https://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/a26933414/cbd-everything-you-need-to-know/#daily