One of the Edit’s main focuses is on how to go about living healthier lives. Whether we’re looking into supplements for our morning smoothies, or researching the latest trends in health and wellness (like CBD oil in, well, everything), we approach each topic with a healthy dose of both interest and skepticism.

We did just that when researching the usefulness and effectiveness of CBD oil. With some digestible knowledge and fast facts, we’ve created a Beginners Guide to CBD Oil, if you will. We hope to inform you of more ways to live life more fully, and if nothing else, provide some more knowledge on the topic. After all, knowledge is power.

While I’m usually not one to break the rules, all this fuss about CBD oil had me wondering, what is all the buzz about?

So, What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil has become increasingly popular, and you may be interested in hopping on board with this wellness trend that’s proven itself effective and here to stay. With the CBD craze in Nashville, we’re now seeing CBD products available for purchase just about everywhere, from your yoga studio to your grocery store. Even my favorite neighborhood produce shop—Produce Place in Sylvan Park—sells CBD oil for both humans and pets.

At first, I avoided the CBD hype because of the number of products and trying to understand what to buy overwhelmed me. It turns out with a little research and learning about some great local brands here in Nashville was all I needed to feel good about trying CBD oil out for myself.

When buying CBD products, it is especially important to understand how CBD works and why it is beneficial, but it is also helpful to know how to compare products, shop for CBD, and ultimately choose a high-quality product from the wide variety of choices available.

So, why CBD? We actually have a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system that responds positively to CBD for homeostasis in the body.

Benefits of CBD: Understanding The Endocannabinoid System

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of approximately a hundred cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and it works by binding to a network of receptor sites that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a biological system found in the human body and throughout the nervous system. It is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. The purpose of the ECS system is to correct anything that gets out of balance—your mood, sleep, hormones, fertility, memory, energy, anxiety, immune response, appetite, and any pain in the body. Think of CBD as a way to return your body to balance when any of these areas get out of whack.

The ECS is made up of millions of cannabinoid receptor sites, including CB1 and CB2. When CBD oil is applied, the CBD molecules bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors sites to produce positive biological responses and bring about homeostasis in all of the body’s systems.

CBD works well when used topically because the CBD goes directly to the cannabinoid receptor sites without having to go through the digestive system. This is why skincare products with CBD oil are in higher demand.

Comparing Products

When comparing CBD oil products, make sure to look at the specific amount of milligrams and milliliters. Often times a CBD product may appear much cheaper than another, but it’s simply because it has half the amount of CBD.  Typically 500mg/30mL and 250mg/30mL products are less expensive, but they contain far less CBD than a high-quality product and may not be as effective. If you’re in the market for high-quality CBD oil, look for products with amounts closer to 750mg/30mL.

Consider the Source

In the same way you might prefer your vegetables to come from an organic farm, your CBD products should be organically sourced, too. Local brand Ology Essentials sources their hemp from organic farms in the southern region to ensure that their products are free of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. Organic farms must prove that their farm has been free of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides for at least ten years.

One of the high-quality components to look for in products is if the company uses a CO2 extraction method since this leaves you with a solvent-free product. Solvents are considered processing aids and will not be mentioned on the label. Ology Essentials avoids using solvents by using a C02 extraction method. This method allows their products to remain solvent-free, all natural, full spectrum, alcohol-free, vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. CO2 extraction preserves the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the hemp.

Research-Backed and Tested

Dig into your own research when looking for the right CBD product. See if brands can point to studies or science to explain the design behind their products. With something so new and trendy, it’s important not to take a CBD product for face value. Find out who makes your products and see if they really know their stuff. Another sign of a high-quality CBD oil brand is a website with plenty of information and research.

Another brand I love is LabCanna out of East Nashville—a brand that has done extensive research on CBD before launching their products. The co-founders of LabCanna participated in Tennessee’s Industrial Hemp Research Program and were awarded the first ever Hemp Processing License in the state. LabCanna was one of the first brands in Nashville to receive a hemp growers’ license, and they currently have a farm in Franklin.

More Than Just CBD

What makes a CBD product top-shelf? In addition to containing high-quality hemp CBD, all of the other ingredients in the product should be made of the best quality. Many brands, like Nashville’s Ology Essentials, produce CBD skincare products. These skincare products should be just as effective as your favorite luxury skincare brand. It’s not just about CBD, but everything in the package!

Look for companies that are transparent and have a Certificate of Analysis available upon a customer’s request. It is also important to take a good look at labels, just as you would for your makeup or skincare products. Make sure all of the ingredients are listed visibly. West Nashville brand, Nashville Hemp has a Certificate of Analysis readily available to customers for every CBD ingredient they use.

One important ingredient to look at is the carrier oil. The carrier oil determines both the shelf life and stability of a CBD product. If a CBD product used hemp seed oil in their products, the shelf life would only be 3-6 months if refrigerated. Fractionated coconut oil has an indefinite shelf life, provides energy, and is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT oil has many nutritional benefits of its own, which makes the combination of CBD and MCT a high-quality product. The fat from the coconut oil also helps improve absorption and bioavailability. Try to avoid products that use palm oil as the carrier oil because palm oil has been linked to deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced.

CBD Oil for Kids (and pets, too!)

CBD is safe for both kids and pets. Research has shown that CBD is effective for pediatric insomnia and anxiety. Just like humans, your pets have an endocannabinoid system. Many companies create products specifically for pets with lower dosages appropriate for the size of your dog or cat.

Our Favorite Products and Where to Buy Them

Give CBD oil a try for everyday use and for specific ailments.

As a yoga instructor, my muscles tend to get sore, and I love Ology Essentials’ CBD Muscle Gel for releasing tension in my muscles. The muscle gel is an everyday essential for me because it keeps me active on a daily basis, shortening my recovery period.

For another great everyday use product, I recommend the Full Spectrum Total. This product smells and tastes amazing in chocolate mint, made from CO2 cocoa and mint. For tinctures like this one, take a drop underneath your tongue to reap all of the benefits of CBD oil, particularly homeostasis in the body.

LabCanna has a Headache & Stress CBD Roll-On that I love using to relieve anxiety. Rub this product on your temples, forehead, and neck. This roll-on has an essential oil blend that smells incredibly calming, too.

While skincare is one of my favorite ways to enjoy CBD, I also love LabCanna’s CBD teas. My favorite tea is the calming and herbal Mellow Mint CBD Hemp Tea. This is a great tea to kick off your morning on a stress-free note, and the tea also soothes stomach pain.

If you’re like me, you already take several vitamins on a daily basis, so why not take your CBD the same way? Nashville Hemp sells full spectrum CBD capsules that are vegan and gluten-free if you’re looking for something incredibly convenient.

You can order all of these products online, or both LabCanna and Nashville Hemp have storefronts. My one-stop-shop for everything from food and vitamins to skincare and CBD oil is Turnip Truck. They currently have a location in the Gulch and in East Nashville, and have soon-to-open store coming to Charlotte. Talk to one of their vitamin experts about their wide selection of CBD oil products available. Or, try Lemon Laine in East Nashville. They have amazing, all-natural products, and their staff is as friendly as they come!

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Nashville Edit.