Celebrate National CBD Day today by learning how to incorporate this ubiquitous product into your wellness routine. Several national drug store and supermarket chains stock it, and it’s in everything from lattes to lip balm. Lower Manhattan has over 35 CBD stores to choose from, with more on the way. In Oregon, Elixinol is working at the highest level to bring quality CBD to the market, and to help their customers understand what they are buying and how to use it effectively. The company’s vice president of marketing communications, Chris Husong, sat down with us to discuss how to make CBD a part of your life.
Downtown: Is there a difference between CBD derived from hemp versus cannabis?
Chris Husong: Biologically, there is no difference. It’s like asking if vitamin C is different from a lemon or a lime. CBD is a molecule. The difference is that CBD derived from hemp is legal and, with the passage of the new Farm Bill, can be purchased nationwide. At Elixinol, we use a cannabis plant that is .3 or less of THC, which legally defines it as hemp. If it has more THC, it’s legally marijuana. As far as effectiveness, whether it’s from hemp or from marijuana, it should be “full-spectrum,” meaning that it has all parts of the plant, the waxes, the terpenes, and the CBD. If you are buying isolate, then the product will not be as effective.
DT: It is often confusing to find and understand this information. Why do you think that is?
CH: I think there’s several sources of that confusion. First, there’s lack of education. People like myself use marketing words for evil rather than good and trying to understand and take advantage of a wa-wa west market place much like bitcoin. Right? There was a lot of confusion over them, right? Same. Truthfully, cannabis, hemp, and marijuana is like craft beer. It should be available to anyone who wants it that is of a proper age. They should be able to get it over the counter at the proper age and direction. There’s going to be less effective and less tasty versions, and they’re will be more effective top quality versions. Some are worth it and some aren’t. Some are going to make it and some aren’t. We’re going from being the weird internet thing to being as big and as prevalent as the aloe vera industry.
DT: Could you elaborate on the difference in cost between full-spectrum products and isolate?
CH: It is a little bit cheaper to produce isolate, and it’s easier, too. But additionally, it’s easier to put isolate in anything. It’s a powder. It’s easy to work with from a formulator; you don’t need to have a lot of former expertise to put that in a brownie or a gummy. You don’t necessarily need, do I put this much sugar? Do I put this much isolate? It’s easier. It’s much more difficult to put a full-spectrum oil in something and make it work well, smell well, and taste well consistently. There’s a level of expertise that has to be there. Additionally, you have to have a level of expertise and knowledge in hardware to be able to consistently extract the high-quality CBD, all terpenes, and the profiles that are full spectrum. Using things like propane or butane to extract that is not something that you necessarily want to do all the time. CO2 is much more costly, which is what Elixinol uses, but it creates a much more potent product.
DT: Why is there such a variation in CBD costs on the market today?
CH: As far as costs, that’s becoming part of a bigger conversation because initially the industry use to talk about percentages and then we switched to talking about milligrams of CBD because that’s how you by Vitamin C and that’s how you buy Tylenol. You don’t ask, “how strong is the vitamin C today, pharmacy guy?” Initially, our products had 18% or 22% when we created it, but we made that shift because it’s easier for the consumer to understand, and it speaks to our quality control. We know exactly how much is going to be in there for you and exactly how much you’re taking. Then what we found, and it goes to your cost question, is the more bioavailable the CBD is, the better it’s going to work for you. Costs right now are very variable. I was just in Boston at Paleo F(x)—a big convention for all these biohackers and paleo diet people. A woman approached me and said, “I love CBD, I take it every day. It’s so great, it changed my life.” I asked her what she was taking and she said she was supporting a local guy who makes it in Texas. She was paying $130 for a bottle that said it was 1500 milligrams. I look at the back and it said it was 50 milligrams of CBD, 1400 milligrams of hemp oil. So, she was paying $130 for 50 milligrams of isolate CBD that this guy was making in his kitchen in Texas.
DT: Is there a way for the industry to regulate this problem?
CH: Labeling is a challenge. We are working closely with the FDA and working with the Hemp Roundtable, one of the largest regulatory boards and lobby groups that’s helping to regulate the industry. We’re on their board. We have a marketing committee. Our vice president or our president of the company is on the board. Joy, our regulatory officer, is working closely with them every day to help guide these laws, but overall country of origin needs to be important. Where did your hemp come from? How much CBD is in it? Is it full-spectrum? Is it isolate? All those things are important. What we hope is that we move from cost per serving rather than cost per milligram, so that people will understand that something that is 300 milligrams, is CBD in an MCT oil which is a good fat.
DT: What is the best way to take CBD?
CH: CBD itself, unlike THC, doesn’t stay in your system. It processes out every six to 12 hours. THC can stay in your body up to 21 days. Our medical director suggests starting with a 15 milligram serving of tincture, twice a day. The tincture has an MCT oil base, and takes up to three minutes to absorb into your system. We also have a liposome version. CBD molecules are bound to fat cells, making it more bioavailable, so it’s going to absorb in ten to fifteen seconds. With the liposome product, we recommend a 5mg per serving twice a day. I don’t know if you remember when people use to do coconut pulling when people were swishing coconut in their mouth. The tincture is used the same way, it a minute to absorb through your system or you can just swallow it. It goes through your body and gets down into your small intestine. It’s mostly bioavailable because we use high-quality MCT oil. Our medical director suggests varying serving sizes when you first start. Starting with the tincture, 15 milligrams and then rapidly and very quickly adjusting how much you’re consuming, so you see what works for your body best. I can take upwards of 30 to 45 milligrams from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed and not feel any effects of sleepiness. Some people only need 15 milligrams throughout the day. It really depends on your body chemistry.
DT: How does CBD help?
CH: The main thing that CBD does is reduce inflammation and bring the body to homeostasis. It reduces anxiety and can help you sleep by bringing you into balance. So, if your body is way out of balance, you might need more. CBD is an organic material that is an adaptogen that your body uses to heal itself. If you have extra stress, or you worked out really hard, you might need more. Putting yourself in homeostasis means reducing your fight or flight mechanism. It means allowing you to sleep better. If you sleep better, you can digest your food better, you can recover better, and your body has time to regenerate. Over time, you’ll see improvements just by sleeping better.
DT: Am I right in saying that hemp is really good for the environment?
CH: A hundred percent. It breathes CO2 instead of oxygen. It puts out oxygen and cleans the soils. They plant it near nuclear wastes and there’s huge fields of hemp growing out in Japan to help clean the ground. There’s ones in the Chernobyl area today with giant forests of hemp to help clear up the area. That leads us back to the country of origin of why you need to make sure you know where your hemp came from.
DT: Is it also bacteria resistant?
CH: It is, and resistant to insects as well. You can grow ten crops of hemp before you grow one crop of trees. And it has many uses, plastics, concrete, fiber, and on and on.
DT: Can you talk about the benefits for the skin? I use it for pain in my knee as I would use a muscle cream.
CH: Our hemp balm is very unique, primarily because we use a very gifted formulator to make our products; the ingredients in our hemp balm would make our normal $30 hemp balm, if you bought it in regular stores, cost around the neighborhood of $60 to $80. But because of our sourcing skills, because of our formulator, it’s $30. For just the ingredients alone, outside of the CBD, it would make you feel amazing. In addition, we’ve added CBD components, so it’s very effective. It’s almost immediate feeling to help people with temporary joint pain, inflammation from over extending themselves, but also our customers have told us they use it for psoriasis, eczema, and acne. There’s two sides of those. Those are symptoms of autoimmune that CBD helps and can support recovery from and then additionally, inflammation.
DT: Are capsules less effective because of the way it’s delivered? Or comparatively, if someone was saying what would you recommend I do and what’s the best way to get it?
CH: The easiest answer that I give everybody who asks this question, “Which is the best for me?” The simple answer is: whichever one you’re going to take. Because if you’re going to take a tincture, please take the tincture. It’s way better than the capsule you won’t take, or the other way around. So, that’s my first answer. The second has to do with bioavailability. The more bioavailable and more bioaccessible we can make the product, the better it’s going to be. What we focus on is making high-quality delivery systems. When we started, we first made the tincture. That’s why we use the MCT oil because it makes it more bioavailable. We took that same formula, and we put it in a capsule because people are, unfortunately, used to taking pills. This is our number one selling product. Capsules fly off the shelves because people are used to it. They can just put it in their normal vitamin daily regimen. So, we focused on putting a very high-quality capsule that’s going to make it to, as close as we can gage, your small intestines so that’ll be absorbed. We use a very high-quality veggie cap, so we’re not adding other gelatins or animal products into your body. We recommend our capsules very highly. Additionally, if you’re really concerned about it because it’s such a high-quality veggie cap, they work great as suppositories. You can skip the gut, and go right into your system. It works really well.