You’ve heard the three magic letters over and over again: CBD
But what is it exactly? Why is everyone (including us) suddenly obsessed with this molecule?
And most importantly, can you get it in a gummy?
Here’s our guide to the most important facets of the CBD phenomenon.
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Ok, so first let’s lay a little groundwork: we want to know exactly what CBD is, where it comes from, and what it’s doing when we put it in (or on) our bodies.
Why would I take it? Is it safe? How much should I take? Will it get me hiiiiiigh?
Take our hand, we’re headed into the CBD wormhole…
What are Cannabinoids?
CBD (aka “cannabidiol”) is part of a family of molecules called cannabinoids. These molecules are produced naturally by the plant genus cannabis, hence the name “cannabinoids,” as you might’ve guessed.
Cannabis is marijuana, basically, although it’s important to note that there are different species or strains that contain varying amounts of the different cannabinoids.
There are actually 144+ different cannabinoids identified to date! The cannabinoid responsible for getting us high, for example, is the (in)famous THC, not CBD, which has an altogether different effect.
Fascinatingly, our bodies have “endocannabinoid receptors,” which are parts of our cells that respond specifically to the presence of cannabinoids.
Wait, why do we have those? Turns out, our bodies, like a lot of other plants and animals, actually make cannabinoids naturally.
You read that right, we naturally make cannabinoids inside ourselves. It’s crazy. And it’s why the plant-based cannabinoids can have such a profound effect on us when we take them or rub them on our skin.
Also turns out, the endocannabinoid system is actually implicated in a really broad range of human health and wellness.
What’s so special about CBD?
Ok, that’s great about the receptors and all, but we’re here for the CBD. What makes it stand out among the other 100+ cannabinoids?
Interestingly, CBD doesn’t really seem to bind to our endocannabinoid receptors all that much. What it does seem to do is interact with a number of other receptors and processes in the body.
They (the scientists) are still figuring out exactly what’s happening physiologically, but we’ve got a relatively solid understanding of a handful of exciting and important pieces of the puzzle.
How does CBD work?
Without getting tooo far into the weeds 😏, essentially, CBD seems to work in a few different ways:
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- It binds to and activates seratonin receptors. What is seratonin? That’s a big question, but essentially it’s a hugely important neurotransmitter that is involved with a regulating a lot of processes, including mood, anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, and nausea.
- It binds to and interacts with vanilloid receptors. What are these? They’re receptors that mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature, among other things. (They’re called vanilloid receptors because they also bind with compounds from, you guessed it again, vanilla.)
- It interacts with GABA-A receptors, which can play a big role in our nervous system, especially with regards to anxiety. It’s similar to how things like Valium work, for example.
Is CBD Safe?
Basically, the answer is yes. While, again, research is ongoing, it seems like there’s a small list of potential side effects like dry mouth, reduced appetite, and drowsiness. But it’s also worth noting that those side effects are mostly reported by subjects taking either very high doses, or taking the pharmaceutical-grade, prescription medication Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures.
The potentially bigger issue is that CBD supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, which means that unscrupulous supplement manufacturers could be providing you with less CBD than they advertise, or extracting their CBD from hemp grown with pesticides or other undesirable junk.
Not to fear though! We’ve got a running list of our favorite, trust-worthy brands a little further down, brands that do independent testing and provide clean, full-strength CBD gummies.
Is CBD legal?
It’s a little bit of a weird situation right now. CBD is legal at the federal level in the US, as long as it’s derived from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC.
But it can vary some from state to state, depending on local laws. Most states allow CBD consumption, but some of those may require a medical marijuana prescription to access CBD.
You’ll want to check your state’s laws, as it’s an ever-evolving conversation right now.
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How many CBD gummies should I eat?
Kinda depends. Everyone’s body is different, so you’ll probably want to experiment a little to find your sweet spot.
Research studies can involve anywhere from 20 to 1,500 milligrams (!!), so there’s a huge range. Most gummies contain CBD on the low end of the spectrum, so it makes sense to start at the recommended dosage, see if you like what happens, and then tailor your CBD intake to achieve your desired effect.
If you’re taking CBD for general wellness support, in our experience, you’ll probably be happy just taking a small amount daily.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a medical professional familiar with CBD if you’re hoping to treat a particular issue or condition! They’ll be able to provide specific guidance.
Do CBD Gummies contain THC?
Will I get high?
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Like we just mentioned, because legal CBD is derived from hemp plants, it only contains trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%), if any.
CBD isn’t psychoactive on its own, and in fact, it actually plays a regulating role on the effects of THC: you get less high from THC if CBD’s involved. Fun fact: the OG CBD-heavy strain of cannabis was originally called “Hippie’s Disappointment.”
So any trace amount of THC that may be in your gummy (again, we’re talking tiny tiny quantities, if any) won’t have any effect on your state of consciousness.
Current Research on CBD
CBD + Anxiety and Stress
There have been numerous studies on the anxiety-reducing properties of CBD, and initial findings suggest that CBD can potentially help with conditions ranging from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety, and even PTSD.*
Remember the endocannabinoid system? There’s evidence that chronic stress eventually impairs our endocannabinoid receptors, and produces a breakdown in our body’s store of certain cannabinoids that help regulate emotional processes.
Like with everything CBD, more research is needed, but giving our endocannabinoid system a little support seems to us like it might be a good idea, especially these days.
CBD + Inflammation
While inflammation might be part of your body’s natural response to injury or illness, and protective in the short term, chronic inflammation is a whole other thing.
Chronic inflammation creates a vicious circle involving free radicals, leading to oxidative damage to organs and other tissues.
CBD has so far been promising as an anti-inflammatory in animal studies, and this is actually one of the more intensively researched areas of CBD science. The results indicate that CBD might be useful in modulating your body’s immune response, affecting inflammation pathways generally.* Once again, stay tuned.
CBD as an antioxidant
Even beyond chronic inflammation, free radicals are unavoidable and can ultimately wreak havoc on our bodies, potentially leading to illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Antioxidants reduce the number and impact of free radicals in your body, and play an incredibly important role in maintaining the health of our organs, tissues, and even DNA.
The antioxidant properties of CBD are well-established, and it is believed that the entire endocannabinoid system plays a role in decreasing oxidative stress.
Some studies seem to indicate that CBD in particular has a neuroprotective effect, shielding our neurons from free radical damage, leading to speculation that it could be effective against neurodegenerative diseases.
Of course, more research is needed. But it’s clear at least that CBD can provide a potentially potent antioxidant support role for overall wellness.
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CBD + Focus
In addition to being neuroprotective, it also seems that CBD can have an effect on a number of neurological functions. Remember earlier when we said that CBD interacts with your seratonin receptors?
CBD’s ability to potentially modulate our brains’ seratonin uptake means that it can also potentially lead to calmer mental states and gently help support focus.* There’s some preliminary research out there suggesting that cannabinoids can even be effective in reducing adult ADHD symptoms.
Fun fact: we wrote this article with the help of some CBD + B12 gummies, and personally, we find that it’s like drinking coffee without the jitters. Def hits that sweet spot.
CBD + Sleep
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And speaking of personal experience, we can’t believe we went so long in life without taking a combo CBD + melatonin gummy before bed. Pure, deep blissful sleep.
It seems a little contradictory because CBD is often touted as improving wakefulness, while also improving relaxation!
Looking deeper into the mechanisms here, it turns out there’s not a lot of research that’s been done on the effect of CBD on sleep. There are some interesting results indicating that CBD seems to help symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder, while another preliminary study indicated reduction of anxiety and improvement in “sleep scores” in a significant number of participants.
So it’s up to you to see if CBD has an effect on your sleep, but if you’re taking our word for it, CBD + melatonin is the stuff dreams are made of.
Alright, finally asking the important questions: what is the best way to take CBD?
Well, you’re in the Gummy Galaxy, and we might be a little biased, but the answer is obvious to us: in a gummy!
One of the big allures of gummies are all kinds of fun, interesting and delicious flavors and textures.
Hemp and hemp-derived CBD can have a strong taste, and while we actually like it, for some people it can be overwhelmingly dank.
Gummies to the rescue! The taste of hemp in CBD gummies can range from the super-dank to the practically unnoticeable. It’s a matter of personal preference, ultimately, and we make sure to always include tasting notes in our reviews & recommendations.
P.S. upcoming review: CDB gummies that taste like…pickles 🤔 Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know how the pickle goes.
They allow you to control how much you’re taking
No eyeballing an eyedropper full of oil, just grab a gummy or two with the dosage that you want. And it can be easier to experiment with increasing or decreasing your CBD intake when you’ve got these sparkling little increments at hand!
Also, because a gummy has to be digested, the release of CBD into your body can take place more slowly, which means both a little longer wait until it kicks in and a longer duration of the effects.
Gummies also allow for pairing CBD with a whole bunch of different, collaborative ingredients.
If you’re taking CBD to achieve a particular effect, it can be really helpful to synergize it with supplements like B12, or 5HTP, or L-theanine, or melatonin…the list goes on!
We’ve got our eye on an immunity CBD gummy with Elderberry, Zinc, Vitamin C, magnesium, and B vitamins, for example. Keep your eyes peeled for that review too!
We hope this was helpful in understanding the vast cannabidiol cosmos!
More blogs soon! In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter and follow us across the Gummy Galaxy!