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North Hills Monthly

Shopping for CBD Raises Lots of Questions, Especially for First-time Users

Sep 24, 2019 10:59PM ● By Trina Asterino-Nous

With CBD so much in the news these days, many people are considering trying this nonintoxicating cannabinoid that is found in cannabis and hemp. But in many cases, shopping for CBD raises more questions than it answers.

Shaun Painter, co-owner of Your CBD Store, in Gibsonia and Cranberry, PA, explained that many shoppers—especially first-time users—are pretty much in the dark when it comes to the product and how it works. 

“When someone walks in, especially if it’s the first time that they’ve used the products, we provide a 20- to 30-minute consultation,” he explained. “We want to see them succeed and not get frustrated while they’re trying to figure out what works for them, so we spend a lot of time working with them addressing their concerns.”

According to Painter, while store consultants field a myriad of questions, there are some topics that come up again and again.

“The first two questions we usually get asked are, what is CBD and how does it work?” he said. “People also want to know how to take it; how much they should take, and how long it lasts.”

What is CBD and How Does It Work?

CBD comes from the cannabis plant, which is referred to as hemp or marijuana, depending on its level of THC. Hemp plants that are legal under the Farm Bill must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. 

“There is a stigma that CBD is THC, and we have to explain to people that they are not taking drugs,” said Painter of the concern about THC’s mind-altering qualities. 

CBD attaches to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in a person’s endocannabinoid system, which affect everything from coordination and movement, to pain, emotions, mood, and the immune system. This in turn directs the person’s own body to use more of its own cannabinoids, which can benefit their health in a number of different ways.

“We have customers using CBD to help with arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, pain and more,” said Painter. “We talk to them about what issues they’re having, and then discuss what products will work best.”

Products and Dosing

There are a number of options for people who want to use CBD, including water solubles, tinctures, edibles, gel caps and more. 

“Once we determine how a person wants to take CBD, whether that’s an oil under the tongue, or infusing a water soluble in coffee, for example, we need to figure out dosage, which is the million-dollar question,” said Painter. “Only time will tell what each person’s sweet spot is, and it’s really a case of trial and error.”

Customers are asked to rate the level of their issue, for example pain or anxiety, on a scale of one to five, and dosage is calculated on this and the person’s weight. If, after five days, they feel that the product is working, they may dose down to find the right level for them.

“This sounds odd, but if you take too much, you’re just wasting it,” said Painter. “More product doesn’t mean more improvement. You want to see how low you can go to save money.”

If the person isn’t feeling the desired effect after five days, the dosage will be gradually increased until they feel it working. 

Other factors are also taken into consideration, such as the length of time the product stays in the body.

“A water-soluble product is fast in/fast out; it gets into the system within 10 minutes and you feel the full effects in 30 minutes, but it only lasts about five to six hours,” said Painter. “An oil may take 30 minutes to an hour to begin working, but lasts for eight to 10 hours.”

Some Things to Consider

While the product is federally legal, users need to be aware that full-spectrum products do show up on drug tests, and broad-spectrum products will show up if employers are specifically testing for CBD. 

Buyers also need to keep in mind that using CBD is not always a quick fix; it can take time to find the right combination of product and dosage. 

“We’ve had people take it who say that it works immediately, and other times, it’s taken three months to find the right mix,” said Painter, who adds that users need to make sure that they are using legitimate, safe products.

“There is some real garbage out there, so people need to be careful,” he added. “In our store, we prove that what’s on the label is what we’re selling—customers can scan the QR code with their phones to see the test reports. If what you’re buying isn’t verified through third-party independent testing, I wouldn’t buy it.”

To learn more about CBD, visit Your CBD Store can be found at