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A Beginner’s Guide

CBD is used in products like topicals, oils, and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.

First-time CBD consumers should always consult with their physician before trying CBD products.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD, like other cannabinoids, is found in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids are natural chemical compounds that can be extracted from cannabis and used in various products. When introduced to humans and other mammals, cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid biological system.

The Endocannabinoid Biological System is a complex network of molecules, receptors, and enzymes found throughout the body, primarily in the central nervous system.  It helps regulate various cognitive and physiological processes in order to promote homeostasis of bodily equilibrium. These processes include mood, appetite, sleep, and pain sensation. 

When you introduce additional cannabinoids to the body, consumers can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders, epilepsy, anxiety and stress, depression and other mental health disorders, nausea, PMS, cancer, HIV and other conditions affecting the immune system, and medical issues that cause loss of appetite.

Most CBD products sold today are derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant with high concentrations of CBD and a low concentration of THC. Some CBD products are considered full-spectrum, meaning they contain CBD and other cannabinoids from the hemp plant.

Other cannabinoids may include THC; per legal requirements, CBD products sold recreationally can contain no more than 0.3% THC. Other CBD products are considered isolate; these contain CBD but no other cannabinoids.

However, even full-spectrum products with trace amounts of THC will not produce the same psychoactive high as marijuana (which may contain more than 100 times as much THC).

Background of CBD

CBD was discovered in 1992 in the marijuana plant and was later patented by the US government in 2001. Since 2012 when marijuana was legalized in Colorado, growers started to grow high CBD/low THC strains of the cannabis plant under the protection of the new Colorado laws. The Federal Farm Bill of 2014 legalized the cultivation, processing and marketing of hemp and products made from hemp. The Farm Bill of 2018 provided greater clarity that hemp and CBD are legal under all aspects of federal law.

The Farm Bill of 2018 validated the rapidly growing CBD wellness revolution and allowed the launch of multiple brands in the health and wellness, fitness, beauty, and pet care categories.


There are many other cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, which may have a similar effect on the human body as CBD. Some of these compounds are CBC, CBDV, CBG and CBN, even THC is a cannabinoid. These compounds are known to work best as a team, producing what is known as the “entourage effect.”


When most people use the term ‘get high,’ they are referring to an altered, psychoactive state characterized by confusion, euphoria, heightened sensory perception, and other side effects that vary from person to person. While this describes the experience of many marijuana/THC consumers, the effects of CBD are not psychoactive and will not create any of the effects associated with getting high.

The science behind interactions between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is fairly complex. However, most current research suggests that CBD interacts differently with the endocannabinoid system differently than THC. When any cannabinoid is introduced into the body via vaping or oral ingestion, it binds with a cannabinoid receptor; an endocannabinoid neurotransmitter, produced in the body, will also bind to the same receptor.

Let’s say the cannabinoid introduced to the body is THC. Once the THC and its endocannabinoid counterpart have finished taking effect, enzymes synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoid. These enzymes cannot synthesize THC in the same way, allowing it to remain with the receptor for a longer period of time. For this reason, the effects of THC will normally outlast those of the endocannabinoid; this is why THC consumers feel high or stoned after the relaxing effects of marijuana have worn off.

CBD behaves differently by preventing enzymes from synthesizing and degrading the endocannabinoid attached to its receptor. This results in prolonged feelings of relaxation. And because CBD does not have psychoactive effects, there is no ‘high’ feeling at any point.

Full-spectrum products with CBD that contain up to 0.3% THC may produce more pronounced effects. However, there is not enough THC to produce any psychoactive effects; the CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids will essentially outweigh the traces of THC.

With that being said, drug tests may be a potential concern for full-spectrum CBD/THC consumers; depending on how much the individual consumes on a regular basis, the THC in their body could potentially yield positive results on a drug test. Proceed with caution when using full-spectrum CBD products with THC if there is any possibility of a future drug test. Isolate CBD products do not contain any THC and should not produce positive test results.

How to Find and Buy Quality CBD Online

The first step is to figure out what form you would like your CBD product to come in. There are many forms to choose from. You could choose a CBD isolate without any trace of THC, or maybe a full-spectrum tincture that has less than .03% THC content. Some of the forms that CBD comes in are:

  • CBD Tinctures
  • CBC Oils
  • CBD Full Spectrum Gels
  • CBD Isolates
  • CBC for Dogs and Cats
  • CBC Lotions
  • CBD + Terpenes

The next step is to make sure you are getting pure, wholesome high-quality CBD. With so many companies trying to cash in on the CBD market it pays to look closely at what you are buying. Here is a list of some things you can do to ensure you get what you pay for.

  1. Read the Ingredients.
  2. Check the THC Content.
  3. Determine the Correct Dosage.
  4. Read the CBD Lab Report.
  5. Read the Reviews.

High Falls Hemp prides itself as a great source for excellent CBD products that are extracted without the use of harsh chemicals.  Read about the history of High Falls Hemp/CBD Farm here.

CBD Tinctures or Softgels – Which is Better?

CBD tinctures and CBD softgels are both very popular ways to use CBD. Whichever way you prefer is completely up to you based on your needs and style. Although we can’t make the decision for you, we can surely give you a few facts and let you choose for yourself. One of the most beautiful things about CBD is that you have so many choices when it comes to effective ways to ingest it.

Here are some of the basics:
  • CBD Tinctures are in liquid form
  • CBD Softgels are caplets, similar to pills
  • CBD tinctures are best if used sublingually
  • CBD Softgels are swallowed

Read more about CBD tinctures and soft gels here.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes exist all around you. Many plants produce terpenes, conifers being the most common, and some insects even produce their own terpenes. In short, terpenes are a very large, diverse class of hydrocarbons. The most common sources for terpenes include teas, thyme, cannabis, Spanish sage, and even citrus fruits.

Although terpenes were discovered back in the 1800s, their popularity has only skyrocketed in recent years. Some figures in the alternative medicine scene even go so far as to recommend making sure that your diet contains specific foods so you can enjoy the benefits that reside in the terpene content of them, such as lemons, limes, and mangos.

What do Terpenes do in Nature, and What are They Chemically?

The basic building block of terpenes is called isoprenes. The number of isoprenes that a certain terpene possesses determines whether it’s classified as mono, di, tri, tetra, or sesquiterpene. Many terpenes have medicinal uses and are used commonly in folk medicines. Monoterpenes are being widely studied for their possible antiviral effects.

So far, only a small number of terpenes have been studied overall, and one of the most common sources for medicinal terpenes to date is cannabis. There are some terpenes that are used to repel insects, and to this day many alternative medicines use terpenes or inputs which are terpene-rich, such as essential oils.

Terpenes dictate the smell, color, or even taste of plants, and can be used by the host plant for many different purposes. Some are to protect the plant that hosts them, either by deterring animals that may want to eat them or attracting predators and parasites, while others attract animals that will eat the host plant to help it spread its seeds.

Terpenes have many uses depending on how they have been processed as well as the terpene itself. In a concentrated form, they are essential oils, which can later go on to be made into perfumes, and some are major biosynthetic building blocks for various goods, including some being precursors to steroids in biosynthesis. It takes a skilled scientist to use terpenes in this manner, and the average person won’t have the tools or knowledge to undergo this very rigorous process.

Monoterpenes are the smallest type of terpene chemically, and also the most volatile. They are naturally occurring in fruits, flowers, and leaves. This type of terpene is most likely to be used in perfumes and essential oils. Being the most fragrant of the types of terpenes, they are typically responsible for attracting pollinators while deterring animals that may wish to eat the plant or spread the plant’s pollen. It is theorized that this class of terpene may be responsible for the flowering process of the plant, as well.

Sesquiterpenes are much larger than monoterpenes and much more stable by comparison. This class of terpene is naturally occurring in plants, fungi, and even some insects. They can act as a defense mechanism for plants and fungi while attracting mates in insects. Some sesquiterpenes can be used as natural pesticides for some insects, a pheromone for other instincts as well as mammals, and also as a way for certain mammals to mark their territory.

Typically, the sesquiterpene’s possible medicinal properties can be found in flowering plants from the Asteraceae family, such as daisies, sunflowers, and marigolds for instance. The Asteraceae family is a rich source of potential sesquiterpenes, usually found on the leaves and flower portions of these plants and very often in high production.

Any medicinal properties for humans of the terpenes that plants produce are entirely coincidental. Plants developed these traits to protect themselves from anything that may cause a threat to them, such as infection, overexposure to ultraviolet rays, or even being eaten by animals.

How Do Humans Use Terpenes?

In many cases, because of the labor-intensive nature of the extraction process, terpenes are commonly synthesized using petrochemicals. This helps create a variety of aromas that may or may not be found and in nature much more and can be used in perfumes, as well as being put into food as an additive to make the food smell richer.

Many of the medicinal effects that terpenes are believed to possess have been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. For instance, the practice of using lemons and oranges to help with stomach aches goes back hundreds of years, through various forms of alternative medicine. Modern medicine has debunked many claims of certain things that terpenes are believed to do, but there are some ways that modern medicine uses terpenes to treat certain ailments. There are even over-the-counter medications that use terpenes, for instance, Vicks Vaporub uses a terpene found in mint as one of its active ingredients.

Terpenes in Cannabis

The terpenes found in cannabis are also commonly found in pepper, lavender, and citrus fruits. They are thought to have different effects, for instance, some are thought to have a calming effect, and others are thought to help ease discomfort. They are thought to work synergistically with cannabinoids to help achieve the “entourage effect.” A few common terpenes found in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene: Thought to have a calming effect and promote relaxation. Also found in Thyme, Mango, and Lemongrass. Myrcene has a musky, earthy smell, somewhat like cloves.
  • Caryophyllene: This is the only terpene known to activate the endocannabinoid system, much like cannabinoids. It’s thought to help with stress, and it is also found in black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. It smells very spicy, like pepper or cloves.
  • Limonene: Believed to elevate mood and provide stress relief. It is found in lemon and orange rinds, as well as in Juniper and Peppermint. It has a citrusy smell.
  • Ocimene: May have anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, but is very commonly found in perfumes. It occurs naturally in mint, pepper, basil, mangos, and kumquats. It has a very sweet herbal, woody smell.
  • Pinene: Both one of the terpenes with the simplest chemical structures, and the most commonly found in the natural world. It is believed to help ease discomfort and can counteract some of the negative effects of a THC high. It is found in things like pine needles, rosemary, dill, parsley, and basil. It smells very piney.  Pinene is also thought to have decongestant qualities.
  • Linalool: Believed to promote relaxation and restfulness. It can be found most commonly in lavender but can also be found in birch bark. This terpene smells very floral.
  • Humulene: Humulene is thought to have some anti-inflammatory properties and is found in hops, cloves, and basil. It smells hoppy, woody, and earthy.

There are many more terpenes that can be found in cannabis, as well as out in nature. Virtually every plant produces its own terpenes, and many of them are thought to have their own effects. Some believe that, because of their supposed therapeutic effects, terpene isolation will be the next big step in cannabis, but further study needs to be done on terpenes to confirm if that can be a realistic expectation in the future.

Some companies even include specific terpenes in their CBD solutions to allow their users to enjoy some of the effects that certain terpenes have to offer. Many people enjoy lavender with their CBD. Lavender adds to the relaxing effects of CBD and can be enjoyed as a tea or a tincture under the tongue.

The Future of Terpenes, and What We Know so Far

Terpenes make up a large portion of biogenic volatile organic compounds that result in forest aerosols. The terpenes that make up these compounds are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Even though terpenes do act positively in human health models, very little is known what the actual impact they could have on human health is other than some tests that have been run on specific terpenes, such as myrcene, that have been run on humans. The vast majority of tests have been run on mice and rats. Many scientists are looking to test more terpenes on humans, rather than lab animals, and want to be sure that it will be safe to move on to human subjects.

With all of the effects that terpenes are thought to have, it makes a lot of sense that it has gained popularity recently. They are abundant and easy to find in everyday items, like teas, fruits, and spices. For years, many people have reached for a cup of lavender when it’s time for them to unwind. Many experts in the cannabis industry, especially in the CBD industry, wait anxiously to see what results testing the effects of different terpenes will have on humans.

Many people still enjoy terpenes, even if the science doesn’t come through with many helpful long term effects, simply for painting the scenery and providing pleasant smells for their walks.  Nature wouldn’t look or smell the same without its terpenes. Many species of plants wouldn’t exist today if not for the deterrents that terpenes provide their host plants, and many insects and mammals would be unable to find partners or mark their territories without using the pheromones that terpenes provide. A world without terpenes is a world that largely lacks the pleasant smells that we all know and love, trees especially would smell differently without them and most perfumes and essential oils would be entirely impossible if we didn’t have terpenes.

As part of the general movement towards natural and plant-based products, terpenes as an additive to various products will continue to gain momentum, especially as the general population becomes more aware of terpenes and learns how products with a certain mix of terpenes will assist in their quest for wellness.