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What You Need to Know About CBD and Why it Matters

Imagine trying to rope a bronco—wearing a pair of Prada pumps. That’s how Ridgefield area shoppers feel navigating the nascent, unregulated, yet exploding Wild West industry of CBD.

Tackling this uncharted territory involves a steep learning curve—an ability to understand and verify a product’s purity, legality, and safety, not to mention determining which product type and delivery method is best for you, and your family.

So what is CBD?  CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of 130-plus compounds (cannabinoids) naturally occurring in cannabis. Hemp is a non-euphoric variety of cannabis cultivated to below .3 percent THC. Though all plant based materials are technically psychoactive—which is why they work on emotions—think kava kava, valerian, ginkgo—calling CBD non-psychoactive is inaccurate, though it cannot get you high.     

What does CBD do? A natural anti-inflammatory agent with myriad physical and emotional benefits—CBD supports all mammals’ endocannabinoid system, which regulates our other systems, creating homeostasis. Anecdotes backed by cutting-edge research offer more than a whisper of hope and healing on issues ranging from sleep to stress, anxiety to alzheimer’s, osteo to gastro issues, even epilepsy, and autism.

What product is right for you? Depending on comfort level and lifestyle, CBD products include tinctures, topicals, ingestibles/edibles, holistic products (like infused aromatherapy), vapes, and patches (not much research on these yet).

Hemp-derived CBD can be: full spectrum (includes cannabinoids and all of the plant’s naturally occurring compounds—terpenes,

phenols, etc.), broad spectrum (extracts and reconstitutes cannabinoids excluding THC), and isolate (isolated CBD compound only).

Tincture Talk Whatever you swallow processes slowly, as an “ingestible/edible,” so better than sublingual is immediate absorption by dropping doses between cheek and gum—where the endocannabinoid receptors are strongest. Avoid “meh”—low milligram strength—“extras”—fructose, multiple carrier oils, and “hiders” (peppermint, etc.)—additives often used to cover poor quality extracts. Example, if you can only taste coconut oil, you’re probably not getting much CBD, or any cannabinoids at all, and possibly too much carrier oil. 

If a label says “full spectrum” and “ZERO THC” it’s full of something, but not cannabinoids. Full spectrum products should have greater than .3 percent THC—not enough to cause any high.

Bath & Body Products Products like bath bombs or diffusers sound nice, but you’d get more from epsom salts and a few drops of pure essential oils (like lavender). There’s no real CBD efficacy or bioavailability if your endocannabinoid system can’t absorb them. 

Topicals  Bases like shea or cocoa butter should be as clean as the CBD / Hemp oil. But “hemp oil” doesn’t automatically mean CBD. If the label just refers to hemp oil (think Nutiva) without the word cannabinoid anywhere on it, put it back on the shelf—or add it your smoothie with raw hemp seed. Nutritious, yes. CBD? Not so much. 

Shop Wisely There are plenty of good options. The Pharm Stand will open soon on Main Street. At The Pharm Stand currently operating in Armonk, the staff is highly educated and their products are well-vetted. “It’s been amazing to see interest develop in the Westchester area with respect to CBD,” says Chris Singleton, one of TPS’s co-owners. “We’ve seen questions shift from a place of skepticism to those of intrigue and practice.” My regular shop is The Well Natural Market in Wilton. The owner is changing her lineup of CBD products after discovering some of the products were not as authentic as they presented themselves to be. Now that’s a conscientious business owner who cares about her customers’ well-being and she’s not the only one.

Other local business owners and shops that carry CBD include: ShiraSynergy.com (border of Ridgefield, also offering education and private consultations), Nature’s Temptations (Ridgefield), The Well Natural Market (Wilton), Nature’s Way Health Foods (Stratford) and Compassionate Care dispensary (Bethel, medical card required).




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