The Hemp renaissance is truly upon us. Historians will look back on this time and marvel at the explosion of hemp-based intellectual thought, art, and culture… Well, this may be slightly hyperbolic, but considering the lightning speed at which trends flutter past our usually preoccupied eyes, CBD hemp oil and hemp based products have managed to grab hold of our interest in an unprecedented way.
Why, you may be wondering, has hemp seen such an explosive rise in popularity? Well, much of it has to do with that fact that in 2018, the Farm Bill removed CBD hemp oil from the Controlled Substances Act Schedule 1 designation, allowing the sale and purchase of hemp oil products.
But it’s still early days in terms of standardization and regulation when it comes to hemp oil based products, and this has caused a minefield of half truths and misinformation, misleading labelling and grandiose claims. If you’re new to the world of CBD and hemp oil, it can seem almost impossible not to trip up.
So let Rogue Bear Farms steer you in the right direction with our straightforward guide to the most crucial and current info you need to become a critical, intelligent hemp oil consumer.
What Is CBD Hemp Oil?
Step one: know your product. Now we know that CBD, hemp oil, cannabidiol, and even endocannabinoid are all probably terms that don’t require lengthy introductions, or even explanations. We also know that if you’re reading this post, even as a true beginner, you probably have a bit of background knowledge regarding the wide world of hemp.
So instead of a lengthy and potentially overcomplicated lesson, we’ve compiled this list of the most important things for first time buyers to know about what hemp oil is:
- Hemp CBD (cannabidiol) oil, as you could have guessed, comes from the hemp plant. The hemp plant is one type of Cannabis Sativa plant, the other being the marijuana plant. While marijuana contains high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) with very little CBD, hemp contains very little THC and high amounts of CBD.
- CBD, unlike THC, will NOT get you high and is not psychoactive.
- While THC is illegal in the United States (except under certain state regulations) CBD is available to purchase and consume almost everywhere in the country.
- Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, or compounds found within the cannabis plant that interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) through specialised receptors called CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, this interaction is very different between the two, and is the reason why THC causes euphoria and CBD does not.
- CBD comes from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, whereas hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant – so be sure to read that label carefully!
How Is CBD Hemp Oil Made?
Step Two: Really know your product. But don’t worry, we’re not going to test you on the finer details of the CBD extraction process(es). However, did you know that having an understanding about how CBD hemp oil is made can give you a big advantage when looking for the best quality CBD products?
It’s true! So what do you need to know to become a CBD connoisseur and a buying expert?
From Hemp Seed to Hemp Plan
Well, obviously you need to grow the plant before you can get the extract, of course! At Rogue Bear Farms we use not just any seeds, but seeds sourced from the best seed producer in the country – Oregon CBD Seeds – who use world-class genomics and research programs that aim to increase the collective understanding of cannabis agronomy in a transparent fashion.
Once we procure these beautiful little seeds, they’re not just planted in any soil – Rogue Bear Farms knows that the key to happy, healthy, top quality hemp plants has absolutely everything to do with the environment in which they are raised. Our crops are situated on a small, hand cultivated farm in Southern Oregon where the temperature, moisture level, and overall conditions are world-renowned for producing the world’s best hemp.
The Hemp Growing Process
Hemp is, by and large, pretty easy to grow – and this easy going nature has a potentially hidden benefit for the environment. The easier something is to grow, the less interference it needs from things like man-made pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. This in itself is a great thing, but there are ways to make the growing of hemp even more beneficial for both the plant and the planet:
- Using organic fertilizers
- Not using artificial pesticides
- Using naturally clean, pure water
- Employing regenerative agricultural practices
Rogue Bear Farms is forging the way for sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly growing practices – and if you’re interested to know exactly how, check out our blog on ‘Sustainably Grown Hemp’!
The Hemp Cannabinoid Extraction Process
When hemp plants have reached the perfect amount of maturity, they are harvested – but that hemp oil is still trapped within the leaves and flowers of the plant (well, mostly). So, a process of separation between hemp plant and cannabinoid(s) must take place before you can enjoy their sweet sweet goodness. There are several different techniques that can be used to extract this oil from the plant. Here are a few of the more common methods:
- CO2 Extraction: This involves using supercritical carbon dioxide (basically, CO2 that’s both a liquid and a gas) to separate CBD from plant material.
- Steam Extraction: Superheated steam is used to create clouds of CBD-rich vapor, which are then condensed and blended into an oil.
- Solvent Extraction: This method involves soaking the hemp biomass in a chemical like butane or propane, which pulls out the CBD from the biomass.
- Olive Oil Extraction: Hemp biomass is soaked in the oil, and the result is a clean, CBD-infused olive oil concoction.
- Ethanol Extraction: One of the most ancient techniques, hemp is first soaked in an alcohol solution. The ethanol naturally evaporates very quickly, leaving an undiluted cannabinol extract behind.
As you can imagine, some extraction processes are favored over others for a handful of reasons – some are cheaper, some are more simple to implement, and some are in themselves eco-conscious. Here at Rogue Bear Farms, we prefer to use ethanol extraction. It’s clean and natural, safe, and kind to the environment (for more info about our ethanol extraction method, check out our blog, ‘What is Ethanol Extraction?’).
The Hemp Cannabinoid Post-Extraction Process
After the initial extraction, hemp extract isn’t quite ready for consumption. Depending on the type of CBD being produced (see below!), the initial extraction might be the first step in a lengthy process of refining. However, beyond this, all types of hemp extract usually undergo two other processes:
- Winterization: Removing unwanted waxes and other compounds from the CBD-rich extract.
- Decarboxylation: If the initial extraction is cold, the CBD and other compounds have to be heated up before they become “active” in a process known as decarboxylation.
CBD Hemp Oil – Full spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs Isolate
You mean there’s more than one? Why yes, the landscape of CBD hemp oil is vast and varied, but luckily not confusing. The first thing to know is that hemp doesn’t just contain CBD, but all kinds of excellent extras. These include:
- Other Cannabinoids: CBD is just one of 100+ cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. THC is of course the other ‘big player’, but there are many other ‘lesser’ cannabinoids, such as CBG (cannaberginol), which has gained some much deserved attention as of late!
- Terpenes: Terpenes are found in many plant species, but they might be best known for their role in cannabis. They produce the many different odors associated with cannabis, and may also have their own health benefits!
- Flavonoids: Again, these compounds are found in many plant species, and as the name suggests, contribute to both the distinctive taste and smell of cannabis.
So now that we’ve established what hemp extract can contain, let’s take a closer look at the main types of CBD. And, indeed, if you can distinguish between these three types of CBD oil, you’re well on your way to becoming an expert, and an expert shopper:
Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Oils
As the name certainly implies, full spectrum CBD oils offer you a total buffet of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavinoids, and all the other naturally occurring goodies the hemp plant has to offer.
But why would you want all that other stuff along with your CBD, you might wonder? Well, it’s widely believed that taking all of these compounds together enhances the natural efficacy of CBD. This is known as the ‘Entourage Effect’ and the reasoning behind it suggests that all these cannabinoids and terpenes and flavinoids work together synergistically. The whole is better than the sum of its parts, right?
Broad Spectrum CBD Hemp Oils
Broad spectrum CBD oil is a lot like full spectrum CBD oil, with one very important difference – it doesn’t contain THC. And, when you think about the legal atmosphere surrounding this particular cannabinoid, broad spectrum CBD oils begin to make a lot of sense. Many people opt for broad spectrum oils to avoid the potential for THC to show up on a drug test. So while you get much of the same benefit of full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD eliminates the worry associated with THC.
If you’ve caught onto our theme here, ‘isolate’ CBD oil shouldn’t be too hard to figure out – it’s literally undiluted, isolated CBD. After the initial extraction process, hemp extract is further refined to remove all other compounds except for CBD. CBD isolate comes in a crystalline form which can and is easily added to many of the CBD-infused products you know and love.
How Can You Use CBD?
As you’re probably very, very aware by now, there are endless ways in which CBD can be used and enjoyed – CBD has found its way into everything from eye cream to beer – but there are a few broad categories that can be useful for any beginner to become familiar with:
CBD Hemp Oils/Tinctures
Probably the most popular and well known, CBD Hemp oils combine CBD extract with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used to help the body better digest and absorb as much CBD as possible into the system. Oils are by and large placed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream sublingually.
CBD Hemp Topicals
CBD topicals are products intended to be applied to the skin that are infused with CBD. Because we have endocannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies, including close to the surface of the skin, topical CBD products interact specifically with those receptors that lie beneath where it’s applied.
CBD Hemp Capsules
For those who aren’t so keen on the idea of tasting their CBD, and who are looking for an exact way in which to measure, dose, and track their CBD intake, capsules are a great choice.
CBD Hemp Edibles/Infusions
Edibles and infusions are, as you can guess, eaten. Rapidly becoming something of a revolution, CBD edibles and infusions are insanely delicious and insanely popular. They also have exact doses of CBD within each, so they can be a great way to accurately track your dosage.
CBD Hemp Distillates and Isolates
Usually bought in bulk to infuse into other products, distillates and isolates are, as we saw above with CBD isolate, highly concentrated forms of either hemp extract (distillate) or highly refined isolate powder.
CBD Hemp Oil – Dosage, Strength, and Bioavailability
So how do you know which CBD product to try for yourself if you’ve never had it? This question is by and large something that everyone who wants to try CBD should ask, but the answer can very much depend on individual factors. No, I swear this isn’t a riddle.
CBD Hemp Bioavailability
You see, the way in which you use CBD will affect how it enters your system and/or bloodstream. This can then be compounded by the dosage and strength you choose as well. The amount of CBD that eventually makes it to your bloodstream, and the rate at which it does so, is known as the amount of Bioavailability the CBD has. Depending on how you use or take your CBD product, this bioavailability can be higher or lower. Let’s take a look at how this works:
CBD Sublingual Bioavailability
Sublingual CBD administration, better known as placing drops of CBD oil under the tongue, is a highly bioavailable method of ingestion. This means that a large percentage of the CBD that you take in this way will make its way to your bloodstream – and quickly!
By holding CBD oil under the tongue, it is absorbed through the sublingual glands – these work like a backstage pass to the bloodstream. With no need to pass through the digestive system, which can lower the rate of bioavailability, taking CBD sublingually is a great way to optimise its effectiveness and the speed at which it begins working.
Time until effective: 10-20 minutes
CBD Oral Bioavailability
As we’ve already touched on, when you eat or swallow CBD, either in a capsule or in food or drink infusions, it must first pass through the digestive system before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Digestion is a lengthy, time consuming process. Moreover, as CBD makes its way through the digestive process, some of it is ‘lost’ to the intestines and liver that work to purify the things we ingest. So by the time it does reach the bloodstream, which can take up to 2 hours, there’s less CBD than you started with.
Time until effective: 1-2 hours
CBD Topical Bioavailability
Topical bioavailability is something different entirely. And indeed, ‘bioavailability’ might be a bit of a misleading term since CBD administered in this way doesn’t actually reach the bloodstream. Instead, CBD interacts with endocannabinoid receptors located close to the surface of the skin in the area which it is applied, or the peripheral nervous system.
Because CBD’s effects are localised with topical application and it doesn’t enter the bloodstream, topical CBD products are best used for targeted relief of sore joints and muscles. If, however, you require that all-over CBD effect, oral or sublingual administration is your best bet.
Time until effective: 10-20 minutes
How To Determine CBD Strength & Dosage
So with a bit of rudimentary knowledge of CBD bioavailability, I’m sure you can see that there exists a close relationship between bioavailability and strength/dosage. If you’re using a CBD oil taken sublingually, you might need less, at a lower strength, to get the same results as you would if you orally ingested a product containing more, and stronger, amounts of CBD. And moreover, your needs will be different again for whatever you’re using topical CBD products for.
This variability, coupled with individual characteristics such as body weight, make dosing CBD and figuring out an ideal strength very much person-specific. Some things to consider before making your CBD decision include:
- Your body weight
- The type of CBD product and how you will be using/administering it
- Your individual body chemistry
- What you’re using CBD to treat
That being said, it’s fruitless to attempt to find any kind of universal CBD dosing/strength chart. But, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:
Start low and slow
Always start with a low dose, even if you’re just eating some CBD gummies. CBD takes upwards of 2 weeks to become fully incorporated into your system, so don’t jump the gun if you’re not experiencing the results you’re after right away. Increase incrementally and slowly.
Talk to your family doctor
This is especially important if you have a pre existing medical condition or are taking medication(s).
Listen to your body
Take note of how CBD is making you feel. Keeping a daily CBD diary for the first 3 weeks of your CBD journey can be a great way to keep track of good or bad changes to how your strength/dosage is working.
Keep track of the strength and dose
Note down the amount and strength of the CBD you’re using and any changes you make to this. If you’re worried about accurate dosing, CBD edibles or capsules are perfectly dosed for you, so these might be a good place to start.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
Luckily, there are few recorded adverse side effects of taking CBD. However, it’s still early days when it comes to CBD research, and the side effects of taking CBD, say, side by side with other medications, is still in its infancy.
Side effects of taking too much CBD, as we know them, can include diarrhea, appetite changes, and sleepiness/fatigue.
How Can You Buy CBD Intelligently?
So looking back at all we’ve discussed, how can you make sure that when you take the plunge into the wide world of CBD, you’re buying intelligently? There are several ways you can ensure you’re getting the best quality CBD, even if it’s your first time:
- Look for and learn to read CBD Certificates of Analysis/3rd party lab report – produced by neutral third parties, COAs will give a full breakdown of the compounds within the CBD you want to buy so you can ensure you’re getting everything you paid for and nothing you didn’t!
- Check the THC content carefully on that COA – make sure the limit does not exceed the legal limit in your area.
- Read the ingredients list – look for ingredients that you know (and can pronounce!) and trust. Look for keywords like ‘sustainable’, ‘organic’, ‘locally sourced’, etc to make sure you’re looking out for you and the planet.
- Understand CBD terminology such as full or broad spectrum or CBD isolate so you know the type of CBD you’re getting.
- Look into the brands you’re interested in trying CBD products from – what cultivation methods do they use? Are their hemp plants grown in the USA? Do they have any customer reviews and if so what do they say? Do they have a dedicated means in which to communicate with customers?
Why Rogue Bear Farms Ticks All The Boxes
At Rogue Bear Farms, we’re more than just a pretty name. We want to give you the knowledge to buy CBD Hemp Oil from any brand you trust, but we want to also show you that transparency, trustworthiness, and eco friendly practices are the bars of excellence that we hold ourselves to – always. Here are a few of the things you can count on with us at Rogue Bear:
Our Organic Growing Methods:
The term ‘Organic’ shouldn’t be thrown around lightly, and at Rogue Bear, when we say organic, we mean it. We use only organic biomass composting, for example. This increases Volatile Organic Compounds which in turn increases fertility.
Furthermore, we fertilise our fields without any animal manure to ensure that our hemp plants are grown in the purest, cleanest soil for the healthiest organic hemp plants.
Our 3rd Party Lab Testing:
You can check out everything our Hemp Oil contains (and doesn’t contain…) via our easily accessible third party lab tests. The state of Oregon requires mandatory testing, and these tests are carried out by third-party laboratories which report directly to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to comply with the state laws and the 2018 Farm Bill.
To ensure the highest quality and purity of our products we go the extra mile and obtain third-party testing on all of our products. In addition to that we conduct vigorous and thorough full field pesticide testing.
Our Regenerative Farming Research Pilot:
We are researching permaculture, regenerative farming and complementary farming of hemp alongside fruits and vegetables (Blackberries, Plums, Pears, Grapes & Pumpkins). We have to thank Oregon State University’s SOREC center for helping us optimize our soil fertility via organic composting to help us reach our goals!
CBD Hemp Oil: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, using CBD should be taken as seriously as taking any other supplement, no matter how adorable those CBD gummies are or how delicious that CBD chocolate is. So get informed, do your research, and know your product!
Look for brands that are trustworthy and willing to communicate, that care about the environment in which their products originate from, and who aren’t making grandiose medical claims that can’t be substantiated. Transparency is key – can you discern the journey your CBD product has gone on to get to you? At Rogue Bear, we aim to bring the end users of our products as close to the farm as possible so that your hemp product’s journey is well documented and easy to decipher.
With the right knowledge, Rogue Bear Farms believes that even a beginner can make informed choices when it comes to CBD hemp oil!