CBD for Dummies

written by Alexandra Arnett, photographed by Nina Compeau

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding cannabidiol, or CBD, and while the FDA still restricts its use in food and beauty products, hundreds of new products have begun popping up since the enactment of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.  So with all these products filling the shelves, what is the deal and what exactly is legal? How can one tell a quality hemp CBD product from an inferior hemp CBD product? 

As of August 2019, the DEA has retracted the status of CBD derived from cannabis from the Schedule 1 list, which means many new (and old) companies are hopping on the CBD bandwagon. At the end of October, the United States Department of Agriculture sent out interim rules for hemp production and testing. Currently, farmers can be issued a license for hemp production under their state or tribes’ own hemp regulation program or through the USDA. Individual states still have the right to make the production of hemp and hemp products illegal. Even though some states still have hemp production bans in place, the USDA reassured producers in legal states that interstate transfers of hemp may not be seized in states where hemp production is illegal.

While people often confuse hemp and cannabis, they are the same species of plant. Hemp has served as a legal definition for cannabis with less than 0.3% THC for the better part of its cultivation in the United States. Both cannabis and “hemp” varieties have the ability to produce high amounts of CBD. Hemp can also be grown for seed and fiber, which produce oils for beauty and food products and material for cloth. CBD products can come in many different forms, some of the most popular being edibles, tinctures and topicals, such as lotions and salves. CBD has also been seen in hair care products, beauty products, beverages and even clothing. To note, products using hemp seed oil will not always contain CBD. If the product has only hemp seed oil, then there will be little to no chance of CBD being present in the formulation. If the product uses hemp seed oil as a carrier for the CBD oil, then there will be CBD (and potentially other cannabinoids) present.

So what exactly is it that makes a CBD product worthwhile? CBD products can be made using three different CBD infusions: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate. Full-spectrum CBD is made using whole-plant extract and will contain at least the legal limit of total THC, 0.3%, and may contain other amounts of cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD, but with an extra step of extraction to pull out any THC that may be present. Isolated CBD is made from an extract that has had all other cannabinoids pulled from the oil and is typically at 99% purity. The number one thing consumers should look for in a CBD brand is those who have both full and broad-spectrum CBD products. While full-spectrum is highly recommended for help with pain, loss of appetite and nausea, it can also cause anxiety in some, as well as a positive drug test. If you are worried about a drug test, look for either broad-spectrum or isolate based products. Quality products include brands that source their flower from a trusted farm. Farms in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington all have rigorous testing standards for their hemp and many of the “craft” hemp farms are located in these states. In addition to this, companies that can supply you with a verifiable lab report from an ISO 17025 certified lab are at the top of the list for having a higher quality product.

Now, how exactly do these CBD products work? 

First, let us start by saying that there are two types of cannabinoid receptors present throughout the body, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found all throughout the body and are mainly located in the brain. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the peripheral nervous system, gut and immune cells. CBD has a weak binding affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors and instead plays a more indirect role in regulating cannabinoid receptors. 

CBD is also known to mediate the intoxication affects many people feel with THC. This happens because CBD blocks THC molecules from binding to more receptors by attaching to what is called an allosteric binding site. Think of it as if you were trying to put a key into a keyhole that a substance like gum had been stuffed into.

Indirect pathways in which CBD interacts with include those involved in anxiety, depression, pain, cancer cell growth and even heart health. For anxiety, CBD has various mechanisms of action by which it may contribute to combating the symptoms. CBD can mediate the 5-HT1A receptor, which is one that serotonin interacts with. Serotonin is involved in a variety of actions such as anxiety, addiction, nausea, sleep, pain perception and vomiting. 

In addition, CBD can inhibit the reuptake of adenosine through the GPR55 receptor, which helps contribute anti-inflammatory effects, as well as the anti-anxiety effects. This inhibition increases the amount of adenosine within the synapse of a neurotransmitter, allowing for more transmission of adenosine through your system. Because of this, CBD can also help regulate coronary blood flow and oxygen flow throughout the heart muscles. Referencing back to the GPR55 receptor, when it is activated, it promotes the growth of cancerous cells. CBD is able to help fight the growth of cancerous cells by blocking the activation of the GRP55 receptor. Activation of the GPR55 can also be thought of as like a key fitting into a keyhole while blocking it can be thought of as the gum that blocks keys from fitting.

Overall, CBD is a wildly new research topic with human clinical trials just beginning to pop up in various countries. There is so much that we don’t know about the cannabis plant and scientists are itching at the possibilities for treatments of epilepsy, anxiety, psychotic disorders, cancer and pain. Everyone has their own unique endocannabinoid system, so it is important to remember that cannabis products are not a one size fits all deal. It may take some trial and error to find that perfect product, so don’t be afraid to try various quality brands. Now, this doesn’t mean that the products that didn’t work for you aren’t quality products, maybe there was just too much of a certain terpene or cannabinoid that your body doesn’t like, or maybe it was grown with outdoor flower and was contaminated with an allergen your body is sensitive to. Consumer safety is very important, and thus education is key. Brands that I personally recommend include; Sun God Medicinals, Angel Hemp (Angel Industries), Empower, grön and Wyld.

Mile High Club

words by Josh Delzell
photos by Connor Cox

Sex is a wonderful thing, but it is also a frightening thing as well. It puts you in one of the most vulnerable places you’ll ever be. It can bring doubts about your sexual performance, your body image or, for the guys, if you’re well endowed enough. Sex is also a terrifying place for those who have experienced sexual violence, with sexual encounters bringing anxiety attacks or PTSD flashbacks.

For anyone that is affected by these issues: your problems are valid and not altogether uncommon. It can be frustrating to struggle with intimacy issues, which leads many to search for solutions.  According to cannabis sexual educators like Ashley Manta, cannabis could be the fix for your problems.

Ashley Manta, the ‘OG cannasexual,’ preaches the use of cannabis to help further one’s sexuality, and coaches individuals and couples through her website Ashley Manta Cannasexual. “There’s also just anxiety and self-consciousness sometimes,” Manta told HuffPost in an interview detailing the becoming of cannasexual, referencing those struggles that individuals have with sexual intimacy.

“Many people that I work with say that they have the internal monologue of not being enough.” The idea behind being a cannasexual is to use cannabis to get out of your head and into your body — because that’s where all the fun happens, duh. Cannabis use can also help with anxieties that can come from sexual trauma. Manta herself is a sexual assault survivor and used cannabis to help manage the pain and PTSD that came with penetration.

What exactly could cannabis do for your sex life? Let’s look at THC and CBDs cousin, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (or 2-AG for short). 2-AG is a naturally occuring cannabinoid that resides in the nervous system, and interacts with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. During an orgasm, 2-AG levels are significantly elevated whereas other chemical compound levels, like cortisol, are not altered. This suggests that 2-AG plays a role essentially as a rewarding byproduct during sex. When other cannabinoids are introduced, it gets interesting.

While CBD does not directly interact with our cannabinoid receptors, it does elevate 2-AG, which may indicate that high CBD products can help with our bodies response to 2-AG — and maybe help you improve your orgasms. THC on the other hand plays a stronger role in reducing stress and anxiety. THC does interact with the cannabinoid receptors, which happen to live next to the parts of the brain that play a role in how we respond to anxiety and fear.

THC also has been shown to impair the function of short term memory, which can help one stay in the moment during sexual experiences and properly relax. With this knowledge under our belt, it makes more sense how cannabis can help sexual assault survivors, like Manta.

While cannabis is absolutely something to explore within your sex life (many swear that it helps achieve “mind-blowing” orgasms) there are a couple things to note. There are not studies that have looked thoroughly into dosages prior to intercourse. Dosages are crucial to know if you plan to consume, because too high of a dose can affect men’s sexual performance (sorry fellas).

Along with this, it’s important to remember that cannabis affects all of us differently. For some people, it gives them anxiety or makes them unusually tired, neither of which are desirable sexual descriptors. Symptoms and side effects all depend on the strain, so experimentation is required to find what helps you the best. If smoking isn’t really your thing, there are a variety of sex lubes that are THC or CBD infused, which can be easily picked up at local dispensaries like Eugene OG and Moss Crossing.

The most important part of introducing cannabis into your sex life is that it’s something that you need to be in control of. Go into it with the mindset of pleasure and exploration, and remember that the person that knows what’s best for you, is yourself.

High Recommendations

words by Emma Routley

I couldn’t even guess what wearing a cannabis transdermal patch would feel like. None of my friends or coworkers had tried them either, which sparked my curiosity about why patches didn’t seem to be a popular cannabis product option. My interest peaked, and I decided to give a cannabis transdermal patch a try to see how it affected me. I have gone through a rigorous process of trial and error to figure out how to use cannabis to help my anxiety.  I found that the 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC blends work best for me, and I found a patch that fit the bill. I am always looking for solutions that make my anxiety more manageable so I can get through everyday life without feelings of panic or nervousness.

As it turns out, there are many different options for cannabis transdermal patches. These patches are adhesive like a band aid, but are infused with THC.  Activated by body heat, the patch releases THC into your bloodstream over the course of several hours. My current favorite dispensary is River Valley Remedies, and I found Mary’s Medicinals Transdermal Patches on their online menu. I wanted to find a patch to try with a more affordable price point, because patches are single use and buying them for everyday use is not financially feasible. Mary’s Medicinals Transdermal Patches are $12 for recreational marijuana users and come in six different options.

I tried their 1:1 patch, a combo of CBD and THC, with minimal tolerance to cannabis products, as it had been three months of not using any CBD or THC products during my job search with due concern of being drug tested. I was not certain if the amount of THC would have a stronger effect on me because of my gap in cannabis usage, but if anything the way the 1:1 patch performed made me believe that it might be a great option for those who are just starting out in the cannabis world as well.

The patch took about thirty minutes to noticeably start working. The general anxiety I experience on an everyday basis had gone away, and a wave of calm washed over me. Once the patch had been on for about an hour and I was certain my mood change was a result of the product and not my brain chemistry righting itself for a brief moment, I began to have a great, stable day. The patch claims to last for up to twelve hours and should be worn non stop throughout the day on a venous part of the body. I placed the patch on the inside of my left wrist and went through my daily routine of school, interning, homework and whatever else my to-do list typically has on it. When I’m having a particularly anxious day, the list of things I have to do becomes a jumbled mess of thoughts and I am quickly overwhelmed by the necessity of being productive without the motivation to accomplish anything. With the help of the 1:1 patch, I felt mellow and was completely productive without being at war with myself on any issue that might have triggered my anxiety throughout the day. I was in a great mood too, feeling incredibly lighthearted.

The only downside to cannabis transdermal patches is that they don’t seem financially friendly for everyone, but as an emergency backup cannabis product I believe they are great to have around just in case of anxiety overload. There are many different options for different kinds of patches if you know what works best for your body, so you can tailor the patch to the type of cannabis you like the most.  All in all, I think that these patches are a great solution for a really bad day, and I highly recommend them!

Exceptional Edibles: Gourmet Treats For Your Next “Retreat”

words by Anna Glavash | photo by Trevor Meyer

It’s important to know cannabinoid profiles when choosing between the different types of edibles out there. Some are THC-dominant, others are all CBD and some contain both, with 1:1 ratios or a variety of other proportions.

When most of us think of edible cannabis, we think of the psychoactive effects of THC. But there are many other ways CBD, a non-intoxicating, therapeutic cannabinoid can behave in the body. We visited Moss Crossing, recent winner of best dispensary in Eugene Weekly, and talked to edibles cannasseur and budtender Jessie Daher about her favorites and when to eat them.

“For me, getting into edibles was the key to unlocking a better lifestyle and quality of life in general. I had severe insomnia for years that was feeding into other chronic pain issues. Once I got that handled, I realized what deep sleep felt like. Now I use edibles every night,” says Daher. So how can we know what to expect from these different products? “1:1 products are amazing for insomnia and chronic pain. THC and CBD work together synergistically to promote relaxation and healing in the body. You can’t go wrong. CBD in particular is preventative, and a lot of people don’t realize that. They think CBD is just to treat a problem. It’s actually better to prevent one. It’s one good way to lower inflammation and decrease cortisol [a stress hormone] in the body long term,” says Daher.

Retreats CBD Gummies by Willamette Valley Alchemy (Eugene) $19

  • CBD
  • 3 gummies per package
  • 24 mg CBD, 1 mg THC per gummy

These tropical gems are nothing like Haribo Bears. Made by hand right here in Eugene with real fruit purees and no artificial ingredients, they come in passionfruit, grapefruit, and strawberry flavors with blueberry launching soon. Retreats are “one of the strongest CBD edible products out there. They’re great if you tend toward anxiety or want to prevent inflammation,” Daher says. There’s also a THC version if you want psychoactive effects. Each batch is strain-specific, kind of like a single-origin coffee or chocolate bar, except Retreats uses locally-grown flower.

Mr. Moxey’s Mints CBD Herbal Pastilles by botanicaPORTLAND (Portland) $30

  • 5:1 CBD : THC
  • 20 Mints per tin
  • 5 mg CBD : 1 mg THC per mint

For the proper people. “Not only are they discreet, easy to take with you and tasty, you’re not going to have the psychoactive effects either.” These are perfect thing if you’re a microdoser and want to pop one or two at the end of your long day to unwind. With a 5:1 mg ratio of CBD:THC, the effects are very subtle. Mr. Moxey’s Mints won first place in the 2017 Dope Cup for the CBD Edible category. Find out why.

Junk Marshmallow Bon-Bons by Leif Goods (Portland) $24

  • 3:2 CBD : THC
  • 9.4 mg CBD : 6.8mg THC per bon-bon
  • 6 bon-bons per box

Vegan marshmallows. Covered in chocolate. Topped with chocolate salt. Yes, the salt is infused with chocolate. Far from junk, these are the ultimate indulgence. The near-equal ratio in this product makes it a favorite among those with complex medical issues, but it’s also great for anybody looking for a balanced high.

Leif Goods Peanut Butter & Jelly Organic Chocolate Bar $24

  • 1:1 THC : CBD
  • 42 mg THC, 47mg CBD per bar
  • 10 servings

The golden ratio (and maybe the golden ticket too) can be found in this chocolate bar. It’s truly amazing how much it tastes like a PB&J sandwich. The secret is the strawberry powder sprinkled on top. Chocolate is also a quick way to get results. “It’s a vasodilator, so it helps your system absorb the cannabinoids a lot faster,” Daher explains.

Cinnamon Maca Almond Butter by Lux (Bend) $17/27

  • THC
  • 500 mg per jar
  • Available in a 6.5 oz or a 1.27 oz. jar

Want to keep the good times rolling on a backpacking trip? Just toss this jar in your bag. With a malty, butterscotch flavor, Maca is a powdered root. According to Lux, the Incas used it for strength and stamina, and this THC formula will make your hike all the more enjoyable. Imagine cookie butter that tastes like graham crackers, but good for you. Yes, you can consider this a health food. Lux already took home first place for Sweet Edible in the 2017 Dope Cup. It’s delicious right off the spoon, or if you’re snacking, why not add some to sliced apples or toast, or drizzle on a smoothie or granola bowl. Though it’s tempting, we don’t recommend eating the whole jar.

Piqmiup Tea in Lemon & Jasmine Harmony Sativa Blend by Upward Cannabis Kitchen (Portland, OR) $14

  • THC
  • 5 mg each
  • 3 tea bags

There’s not much a cup of tea can’t cure. Daher says these are another good option for microdosing and a good way to get THC into your system quickly. Piqmiup comes in several blends including indica and hybrid. They’re made with looseleaf tea, other herbs like lavender and cannabis distillate, which is flavorless. Sativas are more energizing, indicas are calming, and a hybrid is, well, somewhere in between.

Magic Number Ginger Beer (Bend) $5/$7/$9

  • THC
  • 3, 10, or 25 mg per 12 oz. bottle

Daher says people can’t get enough of these drinks, which are a favorite among the edibles crowd. Why? Because they’re super affordable and get into your system a bit faster. What’s not to love? The best part is that the mg marks on the 25mg bottle show you where to stop drinking to control your dose. We’ve heard these make amazing floats, and yes, Moss also sells medicated ice cream. Cheers!