Will CBD work for you?

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana a number of years ago and as our training group was preparing to depart the States for Africa, we  had all kinds of questions for our trainers—what will our jobs be like, what about our housing conditions, will we be in an urban or rural setting. Whatever the question, the answer was invariably the same, “It depends.” It was maddening.

Well, the answer to the question, “Will CBD work for me?” is also “It depends,” and can be equally maddening. After all, any medicine can affect two people differently, like Benadryl makes some people sleepy and others jittery. In CBD, as in most medicine, one size does not fit all.

Generally speaking, it doesn’t work overnight, but it could, and it may take weeks, but it might take hold right away. It depends. So while the chances are high that CBD will work for you—given its track record—you’ll need to be realistic, and consider a number of factors are at play.

 CBD Quality

First, a short primer about how CBD works. It’s thought that CBD binds to receptors in the brain and throughout the body to help balance the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which in turn steadies important bodily functions from sleep to mood to cravings.  A balanced ECS helps our body maintain homeostasis, or equilibrium, which, in turn, helps us feel better and, therefore, more adaptable to life’s stressors. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids to support the ECS, but our cannabinoids can get depleted, so supplemental CBD can help.

And this much is true: not all CBD is created equal. With so many brands and types of CBD available, the biggest variable may be the bona fide quality of the hemp and the CDB it yields. With Exact Nature products, you should put this in the “least-of-your-worries” column. Exact Nature’s supplier is PNX Botanicals, a pioneer and leader in the field of CBD manufacturing, who uses only Nevada-grown hemp, arguably the best in the country because it is grown in ideally arid conditions, and is uncompromising in its commitment to making all of its products to the highest industry standards.

Another factor is whether the CBD is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate. CBD isolate is as it sounds—the CBD has been isolated from the other cannabinoids found in the hemp. The downside to CBD isolate is that by eliminating the other cannabinoids, you are also eliminating the potential for the very positive “entourage” effects than can occur when the many cannabinoids and terpenes interact to magnify the therapeutic benefits any one could individually provide.

On the other end of the scale is full-spectrum CBD which contains CBD and all the other cannabinoids. The drawback here can be that it contains THC, though in very small (less than 0.3%) quantities.

Exact Nature’s CBD is broad-spectrum, meaning it has all of the cannabinoids with the exception of THC, the chemical that produces the “high,” which has been extracted in clear deference to our deference to our customers—people in recovery. In our formulation, Exact Nature contains the helpful cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids but without the THC. This allows our users to still reap the entourage benefits without getting any (or only microscopic levels of) THC. This is an important distinction for Exact Nature customers.

Proper Dosage

You’ll need to find the right dose and build it up in your system. The right dose can vary given our diverse biological makeups and the fact we all respond to CBD a little differently. The Exact Nature dosages and formulations are aimed at the “sweet spot” and provide an ideal starting point.

The idea is to stimulate your endocannabinoid system to get your body to equilibrium. CBD stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system and neurotransmitters—the serotonin and dopamine receptors—to help your body find this equilibrium and help lessen addictive cravings, improve mood, provide better sleep, and more.

You’ll want to find your optimal dosage and adjust it as needed over time, though the best baseline is the “Recommended Use” levels on the label. You may find it helpful to use a journal to log how much you’ve taken and how well that dose worked for you. Over time, this information will help paint a picture of the levels that are working best for you. It also bears emphasizing CBD is safe, even at the highest levels, and that cannabinoids are non-toxic.

Delivery Method

Exact Nature CBD products are available in capsule, tincture and drink powder forms.

Our capsules are taken orally twice a day. Our single-serve stickpacks are to be mixed with 0.5 ml of water or other liquid. Then our tinctures, which are our specially formulated oils, are to be taken under the tongue, or sublingually. Please review our Exact Nature product pages to determine which product and delivery form will be most suitable for your needs.

So, if you’ve been trying one delivery method without luck, it’s quite possible a different form would work better for you. One factor determining the overall effectiveness is the bioavailability of the CBD to your system, meaning the overall amount and speed with which the CBD gets into your bloodstream. For instance, taking tincture from an eye dropper under the tongue—is an efficient method of getting CBD into your bloodstream.

CBD gummies, by comparison, will first go through your digestive tract before you can absorb them and, subsequently, the amount that gets into your system will be lower. This means you’ll most likely get quicker, more noticeable, results by taking CBD under your tongue than from a gumdrop.

Give it Time

For some, their bodies respond right away, and then for others it can take CBD weeks before they feel a meaningful difference. No matter, it will require a thoughtful process to uncover the optimal odds for positive, significant long-term effects. Using a journal can help you keep track your dosages and the results. Patience is key, and while it can be trying, you could ultimately enjoy important success and be forever grateful you didn’t give up.

Ongoing Research

CBD may yet live up fully to its promise to boost our overall health in countless ways. This is especially true for its role in helping reduce the cravings and anxiety associated with addiction and recovery. So far, CBD's capacity to regulate the body's dopamine receptors has been recognized as a key factor in its effectiveness in providing relief.

CBD is not a magic elixir. It will not work identically for everyone—a person’s metabolism, biochemistry, and genetics are significant factors. Over time we’ll know more, but for now we’ll need a little faith and some amount of trial and error. The body of evidence so far is strong and getting stronger, but, alas, more research needs to be done.

-- Thomas White