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An Introduction to CBD Oil and Its Benefits

Cannabis, or hemp, is a plant species that has been used in Chinese Medicine for over 1,500 years. It is listed among the top herbs in the first recorded Chinese herbal medicine textbook.

In modern times, breeders have created a strain of hemp which contains 0.3% THC. With the passage of the last Farm Bill, hemp products containing 0.3% THC are now legal under federal law. (This amount is trace and does not produce any psychoactive effects–the “high” feeling.)

We were a bit late to jump on the CBD bandwagon here at the clinic. But, after multiple clients regaled us with their CBD healing stories, and others encouraged us to stock CBD, our ears started to perk up. 

Top benefits of CBD

CBD is one of the major constituents of the hemp plant. It has become well known in recent years for its ability to:

  • Stop pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce anxiety and help with insomnia
  • Reduce stress and the effects of stress on the body
  • Relax muscle spasms
  • Reduce tremors and seizures

Cannabis, hemp and marijuana: what’s the difference?

All three words refer to a single plant species: Cannabis. There are many varieties of Cannabis, and there are two classifications of Cannabis that produce CBD: hemp and marijuana. 

In the US, the term hemp is used to refer to varieties of Cannabis that contain negligible amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). THC is the psychoactive chemical compound that produces a “highl” 

Marijuana refers to the variety of cannabis that produces psychoactive effects because of its THC content.

Why we chose Radical Roots CBD oil 

As we looked into the CBD available in the marketplace, we were drawn to the Radical Roots CBD brand. Radical Roots is founded by two acupuncturist-herbalists. They have created a unique CBD product that stands out for two reasons: 

  1. It’s the only CBD tincture on the marketplace that combines CBD with Chinese herbs to enhance efficacy.
  2. They use the most “whole plant” form of extraction available to produce their CBD products, in contrast to many CBD products which isolate the CBD molecule. This leads to greater clinical efficacy.

Radical Roots also uses a lot of care in selecting the raw hemp materials used in their products. They work directly with a single organic hemp farm in Colorado that uses eco-farming methods, which ensures that the plants are as nutrient-dense as possible. 

Radical Roots also runs extensive safety tests on all of their products (testing certificates available on their website). This is important because the CBD and hemp products industry is not well-regulated at this point, and you want to be able to trust that you’re getting a safe and potent product (because they are pricey).

How does CBD work?

CBD products work by interfacing with the endocannabanoid system in the human body. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors located primarily in the brain, nervous system, and immune system. These receptors are structured to interface with cannabinoid compounds. Such compounds can be found in plants (like hemp) and are also produced by the human body. 

It appears that the primary function of the ECS is to maintain bodily homeostasis. In other words, it helps create balance and harmony within the body in response to changes in the environment. The endocannabinoid system plays a strong role in modulating:

  • Pain and inflammation
  • Stress, anxiety and insomnia
  • Muscle spasms, tremors and seizures
  • Immunity

There are around 113 known cannabinoids in hemp plants. THC and CBD are the most well known, but new research into other cannabinoids show that they hold potential for great medicinal properties. 

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two natural compounds found within the hemp plant. They have similar chemical structures, but do not share the same psychoactive effects.

CBD is entirely non-psychoactive. This means that it does not create the “high” for which THC is well known. CBD is also generally accepted as non-habit-forming. 

THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain to produce the ‘high’ effects. CBD, on the other hand, binds very weakly to these receptors and can even inhibit the binding of THC to them. 

While they do not cause the same euphoric effects, CBD and THC share many of the same medical benefits.

Benefit of “whole plant” extraction 

The entourage effect is the concept that the combined effects of the various cannabinoids, terpenes and phytochemicals in the hemp plant are more effective when ingested together (rather than as isolated compounds). 

Because Radical Roots uses a “whole plant” extraction process (called spagyric extraction), their products contain a very wide range of the various cannabinoids, terpenes and phytochemicals in the hemp plant, and therefore offer you the added clinical benefits of the entourage effect.

What is spagyric extraction?

This method of plant processing is highly labor intensive, but produces some of the highest quality plant remedies on the market.

“Spagyric” comes from two Greek words: spaein (divide) and agarein (unite). Dividing plant constituents and then re-uniting them is the basis of spagyric processing.

There are three steps to spagyric processing:

  1. Separation: raw materials (plants) are divided into their constituent parts which consist of water, oil and pulp.
  2. Purification/Extraction: The water, oil and pulp each go through a purification/ extraction process. This releases all the principles of the plant, including the water-soluble, oil-soluble, non-mineral, and the mineral. In this way, the body can take the fullest possible advantage of of the entire plant’s healing properties.
  3. Reunification: Lastly, all of the purified and concentrated plant constituents are reunited back into one substance. 

Advantages of spagyric processing

  • Provides maximum extraction of the raw material
  • Provides access to the healing components found mostly in the pulp, and only available by this means of extraction. 
  • Creates a product that is more concentrated and bioavailable than the original raw material, while leaving all the original trace minerals and elements from the water-soluble, oil-soluble, non-mineral, and mineral components intact

This means that spagyrically-processed medicinals are clean, concentrated, and easy to absorb.

Chinese herbs to enhance the effects of CBD

Radical Roots CBD formulas also distinguish themselves by their use of Chinese herbs. The Chinese herbs add clinical benefits to the CBD oil, enhancing the desired effect on the body. The section below outlines each Radical Root product and what symptoms they’re good for. 

Complete Spectrum

This is Radical Roots’ hemp-only CBD formula (it does not include any Chinese herbs). This can be used by anyone wanting to experience the broad range of benefits that CBD can offer. Complete Spectrum helps to:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation, including fibromyalgia
  • Alleviate stress, anxiety and insomnia
  • Boost energy and immunity

Rest & Relax:

This CBD formula includes Chinese herbs that have a focus on calming the mind, emotions, and spirit. Rest and Relax is good for:

  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Overwork
  • Heat sensations at night
  • ADD & ADHD

Revive

This CBD formula includes Chinese herbs that have a focus on revitalizing and rejuvenating the body. Revive is good for:

  • Low energy
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic stress
  • Immune deficiency
  • General vitality

Relief

This CBD formula includes Chinese herbs that stop pain. Relief is good for muscle and joint pain, especially:

  • Back pain
  • Back weakness
  • Low back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Leg pain and cramps 
  • Fibromyalgia

Remy’s Revenge

This CBD formula includes Chinese herbs that strongly calm the mind and nervous system. Remy’s Revenge is good for:

  • Tremors and seizures, including Parkinsons, MS, and epilepsy
  • Some forms of hypertension and vertigo 
  • Persistent anxiety and insomnia
  • ADD
  • Some forms of migraines
  • High strung personality types with anxiety and insomnia, especially those who wake up between 1-3 am with insomnia
  • Severe panic attacks and anxiety

Topical Relief

This CBD topical formula is a cream with Chinese herbs that stop pain. Topical Relief is good generally for any muscle and joint pain.

What is the proper dosage of CBD for me?

The basic idea is to start with a lower dose and build up if needed. For many people, the dosage for full spectrum CBD falls into the range of: 0.5 ml – 1.5 ml per day. (The bottles come with droppers that clearly demarcate the number of milliliters drawn into the dropper.) 

Start with 0.5 ml once or twice per day for one week, and observe how you are responding. If you do not notice much of a response, then… 

  • Increase the twice daily dosage by 0.5 ml, and try again for a week.
  • You can raise the dosage incrementally until the effects plateau or it starts having the opposite of your desired effects.
  • Remember: less can be more. 

We recommend keeping a simple journal to help document your observations- this will help as you determine the optimal dosage. Here are some sample questions that you can use to help you track your progress: 

  • What is my baseline for my symptom(s) on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being least and 10 being most intense)?
  • How did I sleep? Did I fall asleep more easily? Did I stay asleep better?
  • How did I feel upon waking? 
  • How is my energy level?
  • What is my stress level? 
  • What is my pain level on a scale 1-10?

Given the general guidelines outlined above, you may want to take other factors into consideration. These factors include:

  • Your sensitivity levels
  • Your body size
  • Other medications you may be taking
  • Your reason for taking CBD 
  • Strength of your CBD product 

More on these factors and dosage on the Radical Roots website in their article How To Dose CBD

Are there any drug interactions with CBD oil?

Generally it is best to take CBD two hours apart from any other drugs you may be taking. Drug interactions include:

  • Statins
  • Warfarin
  • Opioids

… for more on drug interactions, see the “Medical” section of  How To Dose CBD on the Radical Roots website. 

CBD oil: a great place to start

The world of plant medicine definitely holds promise if you are dealing with:

  • inflammation
  • chronic pain 
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • low immunity 
  • stress
  • tremors
  • spasms
  • seizures

Products derived from the hemp plant have proliferated because of the way they effectively interface with our body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s pretty amazing to think that the human body comes with an in-built system designed to interface with cannabinoid compounds!

That said, the variety of hemp products available on the marketplace is dizzying. There are so many products out there, emphasizing different compounds (such as CBD vs THC) and also delivered in different ways (oils, gels, gummies, supplements…). It can be difficult to figure out where to begin. We feel confident recommending the Radical Roots brand because of their incredible hemp sourcing, as well as their extraction process, which enables the “entourage effect.” 

A certain amount of experimentation may be required. The thing we like about CBD oil is that it is very effective while also taking a conservative approach. CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, nor do you need to worry about it being habit-forming. 

If you have questions about the CBD oil products we carry, or about CBD in general, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

About the Author

Jeremy Riesenfeld, L.AC., M.AC.

Jeremy has a passion for helping people transform their lives and health in ways that are safe, gentle, and sustainable. Since 2004, he has successfully helped clients with a wide variety of emotional, mental, and physical health complaints. 

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