What are the best CBD products? Check out these suggestions from New York Magazine

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If you’re trying to figure out which CBD product is right for you, a careful analysis of some two dozen products published yesterday by NY Magazine could prove quite helpful. But aside from what to buy, the article begins with some sage advice on how to buy – four foundational facts everyone should keep in mind when looking for CBD, or a CBD-THC combination:

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Just like any other system in the body – nervous, immune, digestive, and so on – we also have an ECS, a three part harmony of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that, crucially, regulate all the other systems. That’s why cannabinoids such as CBD can have such a vast array of effects – when any one system in your body begins to break down, the ECS works to restore its proper functioning.

Trouble is, because the system wasn’t discovered until the mid-90s, medical schools have been slow to catch on and so doctors may know less than you. But as Harvard’s Peter Grinspoon, MD, points out, “there is emerging research that suggests CBD can be helpful in managing anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and even addiction.” In fact, a Mayo Clinic report called Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils lists 24 conditions, and also serves as a helpful primer on CBD and the ECS in general.

The Certificate of Analysis (COA)

There’s no CBD police out there, the market’s worth billions and so too often the product gives you something different than what’s on the label. Fortunately, there’s universal agreement that the best way to protect yourself is to look for a publicly available COA:

“A COA is an independent lab test verifying that what’s in the bottle actually matches what’s on the label – everything from type of CBD, to amount of CBD, to whether it is pesticide and heavy metal-free.”

In fact, a COA is something researchers look for when sourcing high quality product for their work.

Dosing

Dr. Grinspoon has this advice: “CBD affects everybody differently, so start low and work your way up.” Indeed, noted UCSF cancer specialist Donald Abrams, MD, says medical cannabis (varying ratios of CBD to THC) is a “different kind of medicine” and people are able to work out for themselves what works best:

I [don’t] say take this strain, this much, this many times a day. I don’t think cannabis is a medication that needs a package insert. Most people can probably figure out how much to use it. Every patient is different, every strain is different – I think the best recommendation is ‘start low, go slow.’

Bioavailability

Is a fancy word for saying how you put CBD into your body will affect how fast it works and, more importantly, how much of it will be available to do the work. The idea is to put CBD directly into your bloodstream which then carries all of it, immediately, to the site of action. The problem with taking it by mouth is it will pass through the liver which breaks a lot of it down – it’s no longer CBD. Thus, “pre-rolls [smoking it] will provide the fastest, strongest effects, followed by tinctures [it moves to the blood from under the tongue], topicals, and then edibles.” This is why you have to be careful comparing 10 mg of CBD in a cigarette to, say, 10 mg in a capsule.

If you follow these guidelines you should find yourself in the position of this woman who told NY Magazine:

I couldn’t help but notice that ever since I’d started my CBD regimen, the screams of my child weren’t as piercing; the lacrosse-ball-sized knot under my left shoulder blade was releasing. [It’s] the most calming thing I’ve done since yoga.

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