So what is CBD anyway?

I don’t want to be a square, but I am. I was the kid all my childhood friends’ parents thought was on drugs, but I was really just a sensitive weirdo who cut her own hair. Sure, I’ve dabbled, but I don’t like the feeling of being high just like I don’t like the feeling of being drunk. It’s hard to ignore the other benefits of certain medications, though, and marijuana has the biggest buzz around it. We published an Eat Me column, written by David Joachim, with a Hippie Speedball recipe in Dirt Rag #209 that extolled the benefits of meshing the chill vibes of weed with the razor focus of coffee. As it becomes legalized around the country, slowly but surely, doctors are prescribing marijuana to patients suffering from everything from insomnia to cancer. But still, I don’t like getting high and being out of my wits, however much I like the other benefits. Lucky for me and many others, there is science. Beautiful science has found a way to split up the chemicals that make up the stickiest of the ickiest and provide them individually. Allow me to introduce you to my friend CBD.

CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp. Federal law defines “hemp” as Cannabis sativa plants that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Cannabis Sativa plants above 0.3% THC are classified as “marijuana.” These days, you can find CBD infused in just about anything from protein powder to muscle balm to dog treats. I personally smoke it like it’s cool older sister, the high-test stuff with THC, but I am a lame younger sister and so is this CBD I smoke and don’t get high with. It’s totally legal, and it takes the edge off without any of the fog-headedness, paranoia, hyper-focus or other stuff that often accompanies THC.

Once I opened up the floodgates to CBD research, boatloads of CBD companies were suddenly swimming into my inbox with products and information. I stopped by the PA Medical Marijuana Education Center to get some unbiased information. If anything, they were biased towards marijuana, but did give some helpful information about how our bodies absorb CBD.

As I wrote in an earlier review of Floyd’s of Leadville protein powder, CBD isolate is inactive in itself and needs trace amounts of THC in order to be full-spectrum and work. Since plants can be categorized as hemp with 0.3% or less THC, those trace amounts of THC are still completely legal.

Local CBD boutique Hippie and French, where you can get CBD-infused luxury items from bath bombs to ice cream sandwiches, likes to start people off with small doses and build up from there. It makes sense while a product like Floyd’s would work right away, it has 100 mg of CBD, where Hippie and French starts off customers at something around 30 mg for a similar product. Like any drug, this makes sense. While CBD isn’t going to rot away at my internal organs like ibuprofen, I’d rather not come in hard off the bat. That said, there’s a reason I sometimes take a literal handful of ibuprofen, and there’s a reason I reach for the strongest CBD product I have on hand. Sometimes, we just need the hard stuff.

After a couple of months using products from Floyds of Leadville, PlusCBD, and Hippie & French, I can’t say I have a preferred brand. I do have preferred methods though, and all products I tested are full-spectrum. As mentioned, I love smoking hemp flower, which I’ve noticed helps a lot with general body aches, anxiety, and restlessness and insomnia. Second to smoking is hemp spray. I have been using PlusCBD extra-strength oil which contains 3 mg CBD per serving. It’s peppermint flavored and pleasantly sweet. I can’t help but question whether it’s a psychological reaction and I enjoy the taste, though I’d love an unflavored oil to pump into my morning coffee. For that, I use Floyd’s of Leadville hemp oil. It is 1 mg of CMD per serving, the taste is mild, and the aroma is very weed-like. You know, dank. It could be the combination with the coffee, as described in our Eat Me column, but I do feel like this method works very well to take the edge off my morning coffee and some of the stress out of early morning duties, as well as relieve minor morning pains. Or maybe I just feel really cool because it’s so aromatic. My hand, which I’ve been keeping in a brace recently, was especially sore after picking up my puppy to take her downstairs, but after sipping on my CBD-infused coffee, the pain has noticeably subsided.

After that is softgel pills. I’ve tried a number of brands of pills and they all work about the same for me, and can’t even remember which ones have more CBD and how much more effect they may have; I take a pill and my pain is moderately lessened. Balms are very popular, though I don’t particularly notice any real results. PlusCBD has an extra strength balm with 100 mg CBD, and Floyd’s of Leadville has a Transdermal Sports Cream with a whopping 1200 mg CBD. With that much mg, I wonder if my hand isn’t just sore from use but actually broken, but that’s for an X-ray to decide I suppose. In the meantime, I will keep smoking hemp, massaging oil into it and praying to the four main directions.

When we published Dave Joachim’s Eat Me column on Hippie Speedballs, we received a lot of negative pushback from parents or people who know children in general, claiming we are corrupting the youths. While I stand by my statement in this issue’s Chewing the Fat column regarding children, drug use, and rebelliousness, for any young readers who are actually industrious enough to evenly bake marijuana, measure it out on a food scale, and cook it down in butter, maybe start with the CBD hemp flower instead. It will still take the edge off and still smell like the stuff the kids smoke behind the gym, but it won’t get you in trouble with your coaches either.

Because my experience is limited to my own neurological makeup and region’s ache-inducing weather patterns, I reached out to a cyclist outside my network who uses CBD for his pain management, Josh Bonnici.

What kind of cycling do you do?
I’ve been an avid mountain biker since the late ’90s, but a competitive racer since 2017. I race all over San Diego County, and am participating in national races in Texas and Colorado this year. I train about 8-10 hours per week, and on goal to ride over 4,000 miles for the year.

How often do you use CBD, and for how long have you been using it?
I now use CBD every day after beginning use a few months ago. Normally a few softgels after a hard training session, and 2-3 drops under my tongue at night to aid with sleep.

What did you use for pain prior to incorporating CBD and do you still use that?
I didn’t use anything for pain to which CBD has replaced, but now notice I am less sore the next day after hard training sessions after incorporating CBD into my training regimen. This has helped me train more and with more intensity as before!

Did you notice a difference once you switched/added CBD, and if so, how long did it take for those differences to be noticeable?
I noticed better sleep right away, and less soreness after workouts after a week or two.

What is your preferred mode of taking CBD (tincture, pill, flower, etc.)?
I prefer the drops at night, and softgels as needed or after workouts with my recovery drink.