The below information has not been evaluated by SHAPRA, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This Guide to CBD contains information that will help you make educated decisions about why and how to use CBD oil. It is not intended to provide medical advice.
CBD is short for cannabidiol and it is just one of many different molecules called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants and account for most of the benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids and they mimic compounds that are produced naturally by all mammals which are called endocannabinoids.
CBD oil is a natural oil which is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is used by people all over the world for a variety of purposes including helping with stress, anxiety, depression, inflammation, insomnia, nausea, pain relief, skin allergies, a number of other ailments and health conditions. For many it forms part of their daily wellness routine.
Terpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds produced by the cannabis plant as well as most other plants. However, cannabis is currently the most terpene-dense plant known to humans. Terpenes readily evaporate at room temperature and our noses are highly sensitive to them.
Terpenes are recognized as safe for human consumption and are used in a wide variety of food and cosmetic products. Although terpene molecules are all very similar, each has its own unique scent and flavor. Various combinations of terpenes are responsible for the distinct aromas of different cannabis strains.
Terpenes can also have powerful effects on our bodies. In fact, terpenes have been utilized by humans for millennia in what’s commonly known as aromatherapy. For example, the scent of citrus is produced primarily by a combination of limonene and pinene, both of which are thought to elevate mood.
Some common terpenes include linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, citronellol and camphene. The traditional uses of these terpenes and others vary, but they include use as support for muscle and joint function, mood and overall wellness. In cannabis, terpenes are produced in the highest concentrations in the plant’s female flowers. Terpenes also act on cannabinoid receptors and are known to modify the effects of cannabinoids.
Not all CBD sources are equal and in order to understand the different quality of CBD available in the market it is important to first understand the Cannabis Plant itself and the use it is grown for.
Cannabis is one of a genus of flowering plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two main species of cannabis that are cultivated for human consumption, namely Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.
The plant is also known as hemp however this term is currently mostly used when referring to varieties of Cannabis that are cultivated for industrial use.
Sativa plants are taller and produce more fiber and are therefore the species from which hemp cultivation for industrial use arose. Indica plants are shorter and bushier and less suitable for farming for either industrial purposes or for production of food, but well-suited for producing medical or recreational cannabis. Both species produce strains containing THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the principal psychoactive cannabinoid of the Cannabis Plant.
Cannabis grown for industrial purpose vs medicinal or recreational purpose
Cannabis grown for medicinal or recreational purposes is high in the psychoactive compound THC, the compound in the cannabis plant that causes a sensation of ‘high’. Both indica and sativa strains, as well as hybrids of the two, are used to grow cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Cannabis containing THC has been made legal in South Africa when grown under an official licence or when grown privately for recreational use in a private space only. Trading Cannabis containing THC or consuming it in public spaces remains illegal in South Africa.
Cannabis grown for industrial purposes also referred to as industrial hemp contains very small amounts of THC. In fact, in order to be legally cultivated for industrial use, the cannabis strains must contain less than 0.2% THC. Hemp is also grown as an industrial crop for the use of fibers in textiles and even building materials. Most industrial hemp is grown for its fiber and contains relatively small concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, so it is NOT the most desirable source of CBD oil.
CBD rich strains
While many of the CBD products on the market are produced from cannabis strains used for industrial purposes the CBD oil in our products is made from a CBD-rich strain known as PCR hemp. PCR is short for phytocannabinoid rich — it contains as much as ten times the concentration of CBD as generic industrial hemp. It does not cause a high while ensuring high concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. This is the Premium Broad Spectrum phytocannabinoid rich CBD oil you will find in our products.
Some of the most well known CBD rich cannabis strains according to Leafly.com are ACDC, Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami, Remedy and Harle-Tsu.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Earlier we mentioned another class of compounds called terpenes. Raw PCR (phytocannabinoid rich) hemp extract contains terpenes as well as other cannabinoid compounds similar to CBD. Because it retains the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant, including the THC, we refer to these products as full spectrum oils. Full Spectrum CBD oils containing THC are currently illegal in South Africa unless the THC level is less than 0.0001%.
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to a full spectrum oil. Full spectrum CBD oil, as we mentioned, retains the original concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes found in raw PCR (phytocannabinoid rich) hemp extract. Broad spectrum CBD oil also contains these concentrations of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but has all trace amounts of THC extracted. This is ideal for those who want absolutely no THC in their CBD products but benefit from the entourage effect.
CBD can also be isolated and purified. Pure CBD is known in the industry as CBD isolate. In their pure form, and at room temperature, cannabinoids are solid crystals. Purified cannabinoids are colourless and odourless. CBD isolate can be consumed directly or used as an additive in other preparations such as edibles and beverages; however, the beneficial terpenes and other cannabinoids found naturally in the plant have been removed.
The term CBD-infused can be used to describe either a product which has been infused with purified CBD isolate or a product which has been infused with a CBD-rich, full spectrum or broad spectrum concentrate. A properly labeled product will specify which ingredients were used. If the ingredients include “CBD isolate,” then the product is not full spectrum. If the ingredients include “CBD-rich hemp oil (or extract)” or “full/broad spectrum CBD oil,” then obviously you’re getting a full/broad spectrum product. It’s important to know which is in a product because they produce different effects.
Hemp Seed Oil
This is an oil produced from hemp seeds which does not contain any CBD whatsoever.
With CBD gaining popularity and the CBD market expanding it is most important to know exactly what you are buying. You want to know that what it says on the product is actually in the product.
Your trusted supplier should lead with transparency and below information should be readily available on their website:
- Where was the hemp grown
- Was it grown naturally
- Were CBD rich strains used
- How was the hemp processed
- How was the CBD extracted
- Was the CBD extract lab tested by the manufacturer
- Was the final product lab tested by a 3rd party independent lab
- Are lab tests readily available for you to view
- Does the product conform with the current legislation
- What other ingredients are added and listed
All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by ‘communicating’ with certain receptors. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It also has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain.The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, memories and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
Researchers once believed that CBD attached to these CB2 receptors, but it now appears that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it seems to direct the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
The same is true for our furry friends, as they, along with all other mammals, also have CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Aside from cannabinoids, the cannabis plant has many other valuable components like terpenes and flavonoids. The overall effect of the combination of those components is known as the entourage effect meaning they produce a range of effects which is thought to be greater than the sum of its individual components.
More research is needed in this field to determine the exact role that terpenes and flavonoids play in the overall effect of CBD oil, but recent findings suggest that they work together with the cannabinoids to produce a richer effect than pure CBD alone.
We therefore do not recommend CBD products that are made from CBD isolate or are infused with pure CBD as research suggests that they do not have the added benefits of terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids and do not produce the entourage effect.
The most important thing to know is that our Premium Broad Spectrum CBD does not contain any THC and will therefore never get you ‘high’. THC acts upon particular receptors in the brain, which changes brain chemistry and therefore alters consciousness. CBD does not trigger these receptors. In fact, it may actually prevent them from reacting to THC and thus minimise its effects.
CBD oil may have different effects depending on the serving size. It has what are called biphasic properties meaning it has different effects on the body depending on concentration levels in the blood. Taken in nominal servings, CBD is unlikely to cause drowsiness, however it is important to note that all human bodies are different and, if taking very large amounts of a product, CBD may cause drowsiness. We recommend always starting with the recommended serving size, monitor your body's reaction and adjust it from there.
The ideal serving size of CBD will vary from user to user as it depends on a variety of factors including the concentration of CBD in the product used which can vary greatly from product to product. The type of product used - tincture, capsules, edibles, topicals etc. The genetic make up, sex and weight of the user and most importantly why it is being used. A person using it for a general wellness regimen will use a different serving size than someone using it to help maintain a good night’s sleep or manage pain.
These are some general guidelines that can help figuring out your ideal serving of CBD oil:
Stick with one product - this allows you to adjust the serving and monitor its effect which is much harder if you keep switching between different types of product with different levels of CBD content.
Use the Up-Titration Method - This gives you a chance to observe your body’s reaction to CBD and adjust it with time.
The Up-Titration Method can be followed in five easy steps
1. Determine an initial baseline dosage as instructed on your product of choice. Take this dose for seven days, paying attention to any changes in your symptoms. For example, if the recommended dose is 1 dropper, take just that for an entire week. A week will allow time for the CBD to build in your system.
2. If you do not experience results after seven days, increase the dose by adding half of your initial baseline dose. In this case, you would raise it to 1 ½ dropper full.
3. For the next three to four days, take your increased mg of CBD, carefully noting any changes in your symptoms again.
4. Repeat. If you still haven’t found relief after the fourth day of taking the new dose of CBD, continue to increase the dose by half a dropper full until you obtain the desired results. This may take a bit of time so be patient and stick with it.
5. Refine. Once you are at a dose that works for you, stay there. If you experience any undesired effects like making you drowsy, reverse the process by lowering the amount of CBD in small increments until you have found just the right amount that works for you. You may want to divide a bigger serving size and break it into small doses several times a day.
Up-titration will lead you to the best dosage which is not only perfect for your body weight but also takes into account your body chemistry, level of pain and discomfort, and the condition you are trying to treat.
Note: This method works as well for CBD capsules as it does for a bottle of CBD oil. Ultimately the best way of choosing the right dose is to listen to your body.
Start before bedtime - ideally about one - two hours before bedtime. This way you can observe your body’s reaction and if it makes you in any way sleepy or drowsy. If you don’t experience any issues you can take another serving the next morning to see how it impacts your day.
Note: Everybody reacts differently to CBD and the time to feel the effect can also vary greatly from person to person, even if they take the same product and dosage. Typically edibles will take longer to take their effect than tinctures, for example.