What Is CBD and What Can It Do for You?
Let’s clear some things up.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:45 AM
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By now, CBD has become a bigger buzzword than practically any other wellness ingredient. It’s no longer hard to find, having become federally legal through a Farm Bill that passed in December 2018, and it’s only bound to pop up even more. That means CBD lattes, tinctures, vapes, oils, lotions, gummies, and the like are showing no signs of becoming scarce. But the ingredient is still shrouded in some mystery. What, you may ask, does CBD really do for me?
Thankfully, CBD curatorial company Standard Dose is making education a key component of CBD usage and stressing the many benefits of this once under-the-radar ingredient—and even clearing up why, when you’re trying CBD for the very first time, you might not feel anything at all.
CBD can work for you, but it all comes down to a proper understanding of the industrial hemp–derived (not marijuana-derived) ingredient. Here, Standard Dose founder and CEO Anthony Saniger clears up some confusion.
Yes, It’s Totally Natural
It turns out that humans are more similar to plants than we might realize—and that’s precisely why CBD has an effect on us. “We have cannabinoid receptors in our body, just like the cannabis genus of a plant does, and CBD is one cannabinoid found in that genus, especially in industrial hemp,” Saniger says. “CBD doesn’t have a psychoactive effect like THC, but it does have the medicinal benefits—though there are no medical claims regulated by the FDA.” CBD, of course, does not make you high.
Studies on the benefits of CBD have come from outside the United States (in particular, Israel and Canada) because industrial hemp has only recently been legalized in all 50 states, but it’s been promising. “What we’re seeing from the research is a few key areas that people keep talking about: anti-anxiety (which also helps with sleep) and inflammation and nausea reduction,” Saniger adds. Studies, he says, also show that CBD is not an addictive substance and it cannot cause an overdose.
Still, there’s admittedly a lot to learn, and as the U.S. becomes more open to this ingredient, more scientific backing can be drawn. “This is a space where we are still learning and this is a space where, over the next few years, people are going to be discovering and researching more,” Saniger says. “We promise, as a brand, that as we learn more and understand more about different blends and cannabinoids, we will be able to bring that knowledge to the consumer.”
Not All CBD Products Are Made Equally
CBD is not (yet) federally regulated, which means that there is no standardized testing among CBD products. So when Saniger decided to enter the business, he devised a way to ensure that the products Standard Dose would carry would only be those of a certain quality.
“I realized there was a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication about CBD,” he says. “There were a lot of products that were placebos and really didn’t do anything because they contained such a low dosage. I tried about 200 brands and I curated that down to my favorite products. Part of our vetting process is asking brands to provide us with their lab tests and then, in addition to that, we send them for third-party testing, so we get our own independent information before we go to the consumers with it.”
When testing products, consistency and accuracy of information are paramount—e.g., Standard Dose wants to ensure that a product that says it contains 1,000 mg of CBD actually does contain that amount and that quality is controlled in a small brand’s output.
They Also Don’t All Have the Same Effect
CBD generally has a reputation for being relaxing, but that’s not its only effect. Its stress-relieving properties also help with sleep, but if you use, say, a CBD-infused skin-care product, you’re going to just get the topical benefits. Every CBD product is not a one-thing-does-all deal. Depending on what you’re seeking, the method of application varies.
“CBD is an adaptogen, so it adapts to what our body’s needs are,” Saniger says. “But it depends on how you’re utilizing the CBD. If it’s a topical product, you might not have a high absorption rate, but you can get some different topical benefits. CBD also has some great anti-inflammatory properties, but if you’re putting it in a place that doesn’t have a high absorption rate, you won’t feel those benefits.”
There’s No One True “Standard Dose”
The trickiest thing about CBD has become a common joke on the Internet: If you’re using a low-quality product or not using the right dosage for your body, chances are that it’ll just have a placebo effect or you won’t necessarily feel anything. The work-around for that issue, though, is to be open to experimentation and taking the time to find out what’s right for you. “I think being educated on applying the product is important,” Saniger says. “Really look at the milligrams and the dosage—the average dose where you’re actually going to feel something is about 1,000 mg in a 1-ounce bottle. If you don’t feel anything, you should consider upping your dosage and figuring out what’s right for your body.
After all, not every wellness antidote works the same way for everyone. And when it comes to CBD, it’s not necessarily going to be the cure-all that intense marketing can make it out to be. Education is crucial, as well as patience—and with enough testing and research, you very well may find the ideal way CBD can work for you. “I think people should start by trying something with a low dosage and work their way up,” Saniger says. “Each body is unique, so everyone’s going to react a little differently to CBD. People need to figure out what their standard dose is—it’s not for us to decide that.”