Hemp CBD has changed my life. Period. I have been an advocate for CBD for years, but after moving to Utah thought my days of plant-based medicine were over. Then, I found hemp CBD products casually sitting at the register of my local bodega, Jade Market. Could it be? CBD sold openly in politically prude Utah? A can of worms opened; I learned I could even order hemp CBD products online, I read up about the 2014 Farm Bill that legalized some industrial hemp, I traveled to West Virginia and purchased it there, I flew with it cross-country without any TSA problems–I was floored. Even professional climber Nina Williams uses CBD.
I am a believer in the power of plant-based medicine.
And I want to educate + empower you when it comes to CBD too.
Here’s the catch with this guide: it’s largely anecdotal, and you’ll be sick of the phrase “gray area” by the end of it–but that’s the reality of this burgeoning industry right now. And I say industry because, well, the hemp in question is good for more than just CBD oil. Hemp is a powerhouse plant that has potential to change the way we produce paper, clothing, biodegradable ‘plastics’, food, fuel, and more. Even Mitch McConnell is pro-hemp (and his 2018 legislation could help eliminate all of this ‘gray area’). But I digress…
I will strictly be discussing hemp-derived CBD in this guide. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, I recommend heading to a local dispensary to learn more about marijuana-based CBD. I find it to be more powerful and effective than hemp CBD, but, I live in Utah, so, here we are.
What is hemp CBD? And what is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Let’s get this out of the way: hemp-derived CBD is non-psychoactive and it will not get you ‘high’. Using CBD is not ‘doing drugs.’
First, what they share: both hemp and marijuana are plant species within the Cannabis family. Yes, both are cannabis plants. But hemp is not psychoactive and has a low THC (<0.3%) chemical makeup, while marijuana is psychoactive and has high THC content (typically 5-35%). This website helps lay out the differences in an easily digestible way.
Marijuana is primarily used for medicinal purposes, while hemp is used in everything from apparel textiles to creating biodegradable plastics. The plants look different, and have very different cultivation needs–marijuana is delicate and precise whereas hemp is typically grown in a more industrial setting. Hemp is one of the world’s oldest domesticated crops, it just unfortunately got lumped in as illegal with marijuana as part of the Controlled Substance Act in 1970. Thankfully, the Farm Act of 2014 is turning that around. You can read more about the different between hemp and marijuana–and why Mitch McConnell is pro-hemp–via Business Insider here.
A Quick Guide to Using Hemp CBD Oil
First, do your research–and I don’t mean just reading this post. What are you looking to address through using hemp CBD? Mental health, physical pain, general wellbeing, medical uses for your pets? Keep digging until you feel confident. As long as it is, this guide only skims the surface. Keep in mind, per the FDA, no CBD brand can currently make health claims about their products–but the World Health Organization has stated that CBD has no known adverse affects. Personally, I use it to ease my intense anxiety, alleviate pain in my knee from running, stop migraines, and get better sleep.
Your needs will help you determine what kind of product(s) to try. There are tinctures, oils, edibles, topicals, isolates crystals, salves, capsules, and more. In 2015, the hemp CBD industry reported $65 million in sales in 2015, and it’s estimated to hit 2.1 billion by 2020 (source)–so there are a lot of different products on the market to try.
Don’t assume all hemp CBD products are created equally. “Plant-based medicine” does not mean it’s always going to be organic, naturally sourced, trust-worthy, or free from junky chemicals. Check for brands that do third party testing, source from US-grown hemp farmers, use organic ingredients, and openly advertise being pesticide and herbicide free. Check out the latter half of the 2Rise Naturals FAQ for an example of the kind of answers you want when looking into sourcing. In Utah specifically, we recently had a string of folks getting very ill after buying knock-off CBD oil. Make sure you shop smart.
Let’s talk about dosing. How much should you take and how quickly will you feel the effects (if any) of hemp CBD? Unfortunately, we’re at another gray area. While most people, myself included, report instant or very quick results, it can take up to 2 weeks of regular usage for some users to begin to feel the effects of hemp CBD. Dosage is also very personal–I recommend experimenting and seeing what works for you. My daily routine is one dropper of my Alpen Organics 1000mg tincture, and an occasional 15mg Veggimins edible or half-dose of a tincture midday if my anxiety is really bad.
I also want to address the privilege and accessibility issues with hemp CBD. Put simply: it’s expensive. Cost is a major barrier to access with CBD, and while I don’t have any quick answers, I wanted to acknowledge that here while spewing my undying love for it. I hope it will become more affordable as the industry matures.
Products I’ve Tested:
This is the first round of hemp CBD product testing–stay tuned for more. I wanted to sample a variety of products and brands, some of which I bought personally and some of which was provided for testing. And yes, per popular request there are a few discount codes in here (and a few affiliate links). I also rated each product on a scale of 1-to-10.
- Alpen Organics MIND Tincture–1000 mg: If I could only recommend one hemp CBD product to folks looking to try it, the Alpen Organics MIND Tincture would be it. This is my daily go-to product, and it is the only ‘natural’ remedy I have found for my intense, ruins-your-entire-day migraines. I was hesitant to try this for my migraines, because I get super queasy, but took one dropper and instantly felt relief. It doesn’t cure me everytime, but it’s powerful stuff. If you’re new to hemp CBD oil and want to start with a lower strength, check out the Alpen Organics MIND tincture in 600mg and 300mg If you want to try Alpen Organics, use the code KATIEBOUE for 30% off your purchase! (12/10)
- Charlotte’s Web Everyday Plus Olive Oil – 30mL: You’ve heard of the Charlotte’s Web brand before. Remember this video? Charlotte Figi is that young girl whose extreme grand mal seizures were treated by the Stanley Brothers’ proprietary hemp products–which sent then the world into a frenzy over medical marijuana. This also happens to be the first hemp CBD product I tried, thanks to the recommendation of my acupuncturist. It’s an excellent dropper-style oil and worked great to help alleviate my general anxiety. (10/10)
- Queen City Hemp Oral Tincture – 250 mg: This was my least favorite hemp CBD oil product, but it still got the job done. I purchased this in West Virginia while on a solo road trip because I was having pretty bad work-related anxiety, and it calmed me down. However, I didn’t love the minty-ish taste and it upset my stomach ever so slightly. (5/10)
- Physicians Preferred Night Time CBD – 250mg: I discovered this product through a family member in Miami, who swears by it for helping with sleep. I purchased it for myself at the local Pinecrest Farmers Market and love it, though I wish I could try the ‘extreme sleepiness’ 1000mg dosage to compare (it’s a doozy at $119!). I take this about 20 minutes before bed, sleep like a rock, and tend to wake up a touch earlier than usual feeling rested. (10/10)
- 2Rise Naturals Extra-Strength Capsules – 900mg: While I personally prefer tinctures and oils, these capsules are a great product for folks who want to make hemp CBD part of your everyday routine. Just pop one and go. They’re easy to swallow and this is a great product if you’re someone who has found that the ‘instant relief’ method of CBD doesn’t work for you. 2Rise recommends allowing 7-14 days for the cannabinoids to activate in your body. I love all the information provided by 2Rise on their product pages too. If you want to try 2Rise Naturals, who has excellent sourcing and a variety of products, use code KATIEBOUE at checkout for 30% off! (8/10)
- Alpen Organics BODY Topical–600 mg: I was turned onto the idea of topicals by a family member who uses it for chronic knee pain. I too suffer from knee ailments due to trail running, so I used this product testing as an excuse to drag my lazy toosh out onto the trails to generate some pain. I rubbed it into my aching knees before bed, and felt immediate relief. Keep in mind, this is more like taking an ibuprofen than going to a physical therapist. Don’t expect a magical cure to your pain, just relief. I also rub this onto my temples when I have a migraine and it feels incredible. (9/10) Again, use code KATIEBOUE at checkout for a 30% discount.
- Veggimins Dark Chocolate Cacao Bites – 300 mg: Oh, these little hearts of dark chocolate CBD bliss. These cacao bites are my favorite hemp CBD edible I have tried thus far. They’re delicious and effective for me. I nosh on one of these in mid-day if I need a little extra boost of CBD healing. Could be a great every-day product for someone preferring edibles over oils. (10/10)
- Veggimins Dark Chocolate Bar with Hemp CBD–15 mg: Similar to the cacao bites, these chocolate bars are delicious, and this snack-sized treat is a great addition to a girls night, picnic, treat-yo-self evening, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to try CBD edibles for the first time. This product was the first time I was able to get an anti-CBD (due to stigma and ignorance) loved one to try it out, so it’s great for newbies! (8/10)
Got additional products I must try for the next round? Leave a comment letting me know your favorites!
Additional Frequently Asked Questions:
The most common question of all (besides ‘Will it get me high?’): Which brand do you recommend for dogs? I wish I had a better answer for this, but I was dog-less while doing my initial testing. Anecdotally, I know of multiple people who use Alpen Organics’ PETS Tincture for dogs with anxiety and older dogs with chronic pain–and love it. Spaghetti suffers from some major separation anxiety issues, and I will be testing it out on her ASAP. Stay tuned for updates. Here is an in-depth resource about pups + CBD if you want to do more digging on using hemp CBD oil for your dog.
Where do you buy it? You can purchase it online, all of the products I mentioned have links! I also purchase mine in Salt Lake City at Jade Market–they carry the Veggimins brand and edibles, tinctures, and more. For pets, if you head to the Healthy Pets on 11th and 17th, you can a small selection of top quality products for your furballs.
Will hemp CBD show up in a drug test? Like most answers about hemp CBD, there’s an answer, but it’s not definitive. Basically, it’s very highly unlikely. If you consume a high dosage of 1000-2000 mg per day of hemp CBD oil, there is an unlikely 11-23% percent chance your drug test may result in a false positive. You can read more about the possibility of CBD hemp oil and drug tests here.
I tried it and it didn’t help me with ____. I can’t tell if it’s working. Hemp CBD is not a miracle cure for everything for everyone. If you are treating muscle pain or soreness, tinctures may not help as much as a direct topical. Want to ditch medication for this natural alternative? Fantastic–but while many people have success doing that, it’s not for everyone. I mentioned using it for migraines, and while 9/10 it provides nearly instant relief, once it didn’t do much at all besides ease my belly so I still took Excedrin. Experiment with dosage and products. Again, if you live in a state where marijuana is legal, I recommend trying marijuana-derived CBD products–they’re stronger and more effective.
Can you take it on a plane? Surprise, surprise, I don’t have a definitive answer here, but I have traveled with it over a dozen times through international and regional airports and have never had a problem with it going through TSA.
Can I get it in ______? The blanket answer given by most brands is that they’ll ship to all 50 states. However, there are four states where CBD is still explicitly illegal: Idaho (which has medical marijuana on the ballot in November!), South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. Internationally, I can’t give you answers–do some Googling to see where your country stands.
Does it help with menstrual cramps? I experience very mild if any cramping due to my IUD (thank you birth control!) but it does help ease my pain when I do have it. I’d recommend a combo tincture + topical.
What are the side effects of too much? Anecdotally, not much. I took the Queen City Hemp oil in mega quantity once because I was having an anxiety attack alone in the middle of West Virginia, and it just gave me a belly ache and put me right to sleep. As mentioned previously, the World Health Organization states no known adverse effects of CBD.
I know there are more questions, and I want to answer as many as I can. This guide is quite comprehensive (read: long AF) and yet barely scratches the surface when it comes to CBD education. I intend to write a part 2 of this guide, so please leave your additional questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to see covered, and anything else CBD related in the comments. And if you want more education on CBD (and if you’re curious about cannabis), follow my sister Sarah Boué, who is an incredibly knowledgeable cannabis educator in Colorado.
Disclaimer (it’s a doozy): I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional, nor a CBD expert. The information you received from this blog post is anecdotal and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualified health care provider. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As a consumer, it is your responsibility to know your local, state and federal laws before making any purchases.