Health & Wellness

How Do CBD Drops Work?

Their Benefits, Side Effects, and How to Use Them

By Justin Fowler-Lindner

As cannabis legalization gradually spreads across the United States, CBD has gotten a lot of extra spotlight.

Currently, CBD is an unregulated substance, meaning that anyone over the age of 18 can grab it off the shelf or buy it online.There are a variety of CBD products to choose from, including CBD drops, tinctures, gummies, concentrates, capsules and topical ointments.

But how do you know if CBD is right for you? Is it safe, what are the benefits, and are there any risk factors?

The truth is that CBD research is still in its infancy, especially considering that the endocannabinoid system was only discovered a few decades ago, so we still have a lot to learn about what makes CBD tick.

CBD sure has been around for awhile, though. In fact, ancient Chinese medical texts recommended cannabis compounds for joint pain as far back as 2000 years ago.

Now modern medicine is finally starting to catch up, and studies indicate that CBD may be an effective treatment for several health issues.

Here’s the current scoop on how CBD drops work, their benefits, side effects, and how to use them.

What Are CBD Drops?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 100 phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants.

In medical marijuana, CBD is one of two primary active compounds alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, CBD drops are typically extracted from the resin of hemp plants, which is why the packaging of CBD products usually says that it’s a hemp product.

The main difference between THC and CBD is that CBD doesn’t produce intoxicating effects. In other words, you can take as many CBD drops as you like without getting “high.” But if it doesn’t get you high, what does it do?

How CBD Works

Instead of making you feel high, CBD operates quietly behind the scenes of the central nervous system to produce its effects.

Here’s how it works:

The body contains natural compounds called “endogenous cannabinoids,” otherwise known as “endocannabinoids,” that bind to a network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Collectively, these receptors and cannabinoids are referred to as the endocannabinoid system.

While most systems, like the respiratory system, have highly specialized functions, the endocannabinoid system maintains the equilibrium and optimal functioning of all other systems.

When you place CBD drops below your tongue or ingest CBD capsules, the compound enters the body and interacts with the cannabinoid receptors. This is how CBD produces its effects, and helps many people alleviate symptoms for a variety of conditions.

Benefits of CBD Drops

This newly-discovered endocannabinoid system may play a critical role in overall physiology and health.

Here a few of the conditions that CBD may provide relief for:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation

Multiple animal studies indicate that CBD may reduce the pain caused by neuropathy, and the evidence is equally strong that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory effects.

The strongest evidence, however, is in regards to CBD’s anticonvulsant properties. Early studies show that CBD may be a powerful treatment for childhood epilepsy, especially with severe cases that don’t respond to typical epilepsy medications.

In fact, the FDA recently approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine called Epidiolex, which contains CBD and is used to treat epilepsy.

If you’re considering taking CBD as a wellness supplement, it’s important to receive professional medical advice before self-prescribing CBD for a medical condition.

Side Effects of CBD Drops

CBD is considered to be a generally safe substance, but that doesn’t mean it has zero side effects. In large doses, CBD can still produce the occasional side effect, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Blood-thinning

Due to its possible blood-thinning effects, it’s important to be careful when taking CBD drops with a blood thinner like coumadin. At the same time, CBD may elevate the levels of other medications in the blood.

This is because CBD inhibits the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme which metabolizes pharmaceuticals and eliminates them from the body.

As a result, CBD may cause prescription drugs to stay in the blood for longer than intended.

With that said, most individuals should have nothing to worry about when taking mild to moderate doses of CBD.

How Do CBD Drops Differ from THC Drops?

CBD and THC come from the Cannabis sativa species, which includes both cannabis and hemp plants. THC drops are extracted from the sticky trichome resin that layers the outside of cannabis flowers. CBD drops, on the other hand, are extracted from the resin glands of hemp plants.

While hemp plants do contain trace amounts of THC, the quantities are too small to produce any intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD users get to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD without the buzz. On average, oil drops from hemp plants contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

How Does CBD Oil Differ From Hemp Oil?

Hemp seed oil comes directly from the hemp seeds and contains no active CBD or THC.

It has a nutty taste that adds an interesting flavor to salads and other recipes, and contains important nutrients like polyunsaturated fatty acids, proteins, and terpenes.

Are CBD Drops FDA Approved?

CBD drops have yet to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And although all supplements have to pass certain requirements for cleanliness, there is no way to guarantee the purity or concentration levels of specific products.

In other words, the dose on the label may or may not be accurate, and without sufficient human studies, it’s impossible to know what the most effective therapeutic dose is.

Choosing the Right CBD Drops

CBD products are all the rage, and this means that new manufacturers are popping up every other day. This is both good and bad news for consumers. On the one hand, more competition means companies will have to try and outperform each other. However, it also means that manufacturers might be hasty in the race to make sales.

Because CBD oil is unregulated, medical professionals highly recommend following a few precautions when you’re browsing for new brands. As you shop for oil drops, make sure they have Certificates of Analysis (COAs) from an accredited third party lab that include:

  • Lab tests for chemical solvents like pesticides and heavy metals
  • Indicate CBD and THC levels along with other possible cannabinoids
  • Results for a terpene profile

One of the best ways to guard yourself against contaminants is to buy organic, that way you can be sure that it’s pesticide-free.

Hemp is a “bio-accumulator,” which means that it soaks up substances from the soil like a sponge. That’s why it’s also best if growers test the plants frequently while they’re still growing. All these extra steps take a lot of effort, time, and investment, so don’t be surprised if you have to pay a premium for high-quality CBD drops.

How To Determine Your Ideal Dose

Because CBD supplements are still unregulated and human tests are lacking, it’s important to play it safe when you’re trying out new products. Whenever you’re testing a new brand, read the label carefully, start with small doses and gradually increase over time. That way if the dose on the label is actually larger than estimated, you won’t be risking side effects.

Besides, some people are simply more sensitive to cannabinoids than others, so regardless of body weight there’s really no way to know how you’ll respond until you do a few test runs. On a similar note, you should always take CBD on an empty stomach until you know the effects because food can slow the onset.

The good news is that CBD drops put you in control of the dosage since you’ll be the one controlling how much is in the dropper. If all goes as planned, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the therapeutic effects of CBD.

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