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An Exploration of This Years Hottest Cannabis Trend, Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is exploding nationwide, but mystery and misinformation are preventing consumers from realizing its benefits.

This year, cannabidiol products, more widely known as CBD, have taken the country by storm. Despite, or more accurately because of, the attention these products are receiving, a growing number of consumers are unsure of what CBD is (and does), and how it differs from the more commonly understood cannabinoid, THC.

As CBD becomes more widely known among a population of consumers, most of which are new to cannabis, it is essential to take a close look at this emerging category of products and lift the veil of mystery to eliminate confusion and misinformation.

Let’s dive in.

CBD: A Basic Definition

Let’s begin with the basics. What is CBD?

Cannabis is packed with hundreds of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are responsible for the range of effects commonly associated with the plant. CBD is one of these compounds.

Most consumers, until recently, have been familiar only with THC, the chemical compound responsible for our favorite plant’s psychoactive effects. Our bodies absorb cannabinoids via the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a group of receptors found within the brain and central nervous system that make it possible for us to realize its effects (psychoactive or otherwise).  

Other cannabis compounds include CBN, CBG, and THCV, to name a few. Each compound owns a unique set of properties and interacts with the ECS to produce a broad range of effects.

CBD alone, is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. This fact is the primary point of difference between CBD and THC. This is not to say CBD has no effect on the body, to the contrary, CBD has a range of effects that while different from those offered by THC, are equally impressive (we will get to those later).

Cannabinoids - CBD and THC - Lightshade Dispensary DenverMarijuana CBD vs. Hemp CBD

There are two primary types of CBD; marijuana-derived and hemp-derived. To understand the difference between the two, we need to first understand the difference between marijuana and hemp. Both are varieties of the cannabis plant, however; they have very different attributes, both chemically and visually.

Looking at the two plants side by side, you’ll see the hemp plant has thin leaves with tall, slender stalks. Marijuana, on the other hand, has broader leaves with a shorter stalk and large buds. The most significant difference between hemp and marijuana, however, isn’t in appearance, but in the make-up of their cannabinoids. Marijuana typically has very high levels of THC and lower percentages of CBD, while hemp, as you may have guessed, contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC.

When looking at the difference between marijuana-derived CBD and hemp-derived CBD, it all has to do with the percentages of each cannabinoid the plants produce. While each plant will have percentage of both THC and CBD, hemp plants will have an extremely low percentage of THC, which is why hemp-derived CBD is legal in most of the U.S. and marijuana-derived CBD products still remain legal only in medical and recreational states, such as Colorado and California.

Hemp-derived CBD and Marijuana-drived CBD - Lightshade Dispensary DenverIf it doesn’t get you high, what does it do?

CBD on its own may not produce any psychoactive effects, but it makes up for that with many other qualities. CBD has a therapeutic effect on the body and has been shown to help with nausea, inflammation, stress, pain and anxiety relief. Many consumers actually prefer CBD to THC for this reason. They can get many of the benefits of cannabis without having to have the head-high that comes along with THC so they can consume throughout the day while remaining alert and focused on their routines.

Further research is needed on CBD, but there have been many studies that suggest CBD can be helpful in the treatment of illnesses such as cancer and epilepsy.

Effects of CBD - Lightshade Dispensary DenverWhy get CBD products at a dispensary?

If CBD is legal in nearly every state (be sure to check your local laws), why bother going to a dispensary to purchase CBD products when you can just order them online? There are multiple reasons why a dispensary is the way to go.

First and foremost, you have the option of buying cannabis-derived CBD products. As we mentioned before, cannabis-derived CBD products also contain different levels of THC in addition to CBD, and here is where things get really interesting.

By many accounts, THC and CBD work best when they are utilized together. What is known as the “entourage effect” in the industry, this concept suggests that cannabinoids work better together, with THC and CBD enhancing one another’s characteristics and benefits while downplaying adverse side effects of the other, such as CBD reducing paranoia symptoms that could be brought on by THC, for some people. This is something you just won’t be able to get from CBD-only products sold online.

The confusion around CBD has grown as more products find their way to market, sold online (as we’ve mentioned above), and at local farmers markets and boutiques. CBD purchased outside of a dispensary has been known to include chemicals which could be harmful when consumed. Additionally, in countries like China, where a large percentage of the world’s CBD-only products are produced, dubious testing practices and vague regulations increase the chances that your purchasing products with unhealthy additives. You can rest assured that products purchased at a licensed Colorado dispensary, have been through rigorous testing for chemicals, microbes, and other potentially harmful additives.

Dispensaries offer a wide range of products, with varying ratios of THC to CBD. Whether you want a 10 to 1 ratio of ‘CBD-heavy’ gummiesan even ratio of 1 to 1 THC/CBD bath soak, or a 20 to 1 CBD/THC tincture, these are all options you’re only going to find in a dispensary.

At Lightshade, we carry a full offering of the highest quality CBD products available, from full CBD vape pens to THC/CBD edibles, we’ve got it all. Our knowledgeable budtenders are trained and ready to answer any questions you have about CBD or any and all things cannabis related. Stop by any of our eight Denver-metro locations and discover what the CBD movement is all about.