A Look at Cannabidiol, or CBD for Anxiety

(3-5 min read)

In my introductory post here on Herbswift last month, I shared my perspective on the public health risks of legal CBD, and my concerns about inconsistent product quality (low CBD or high THC), lack of clear labeling or non-existent standardized, industry dosing.

In this installment, I promised to address Anxiety because I get more questions regarding the treatment of chronic Anxiety with CBD, than any other question. My intention here is to give readers a place to start when considering CBD for Anxiety.

A Look at Cannabidiol, or CBD for Anxiety.

Chronic Anxiety seems to be the most frequent clinical problem for people age 25 to 45, who are seeking CBD as a potential treatment option. It certainly is the most frequent condition I get asked about from women.

In anxiety, CBD can help multiple symptoms including:

generalized anxiety

panic attacks

compulsive behaviors

long-term effects of stress.

In fact, the endocannabinoid system is critical in regulating mood and protecting us from extreme anxiety. And though CBD does not bind directly to cannabinoid receptors in the body, it does bind directly to serotonin receptors in the midbrain.

The 5-HT1A receptors CBD activates in the midbrain, are the very same receptors targeted by conventional anti-anxiety medications like Buspar and Paxil. Yet according to the evidence, it seems CBD works much faster than traditional anti anxiety meds and with less longterm risks.

Studies in humans using 99% pure, CBD isolate have demonstrated that CBD is a safe and well tolerated compound when delivered acutely by oral, inhalation or intravenous routes.

Additionally, researchers found that administration of CBD in oral daily dosing ranging from 10mg – 1280mg, in healthy volunteers, patients with Schizophrenia, Bipolar affective disorder and Parkinson’s disease, among other conditions, did not experience any adverse side effects.

A dosing range of 5mg – 10mg/kg, of pure CBD, produced the best range of positive effects, in Anxiety, while, high doses, over 600mg/day, became ineffective. This reflects the biphasic nature and dosing curve of CBD, common to both animal and human studies, which demonstrate an optimal therapeutic window for the effectiveness of CBD in any given condition.

In Anxiety, 300mg and 400mg of 99%, pure CBD isolate provided the greatest relief on tests for Social Anxiety in public speaking, while doses of 100mg and 600mg, were ineffective.

What does this mean for anyone wanting to try CBD for Anxiety?

First, consumers need to understand it took high doses of 300 to 400 mg of CBD to reduce Social Anxiety in the research, therefore it may require a significant amount of CBD to get the same results in real life.

Second, its important for consumers to understand that although we talk about the benefits of whole plant and full spectrum CBD, all research done on CBD, in the last 30 years, has been done with purified CBD isolate. Unless treating with pure, 99% CBD, results will be different.

Finally, its important to experiment with CBD to find your own optimal dosing range, as well as a cost-effective CBD product, to ensure you can afford the treatment costs of CBD.

Well I hope this helps your understanding of how CBD works for anxiety and what doses work best according to the research evidence. Until next time, enjoy your CBD experience and come back in a couple of weeks for my next installment here at Herbswift.

Remember to smile, its the best way to activate endocannbinoids “on demand” and bring a little euphoria into your life at any moment in time.

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CBD – Let’s start with the basics!

(3-5 min read)


The historic signing of the Farm Bill, 2018 ushered in a new era for industrial Hemp based products with an expected $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020. According to market research published by the Hemp Business Journal; $90 million will come solely from hemp based CBD, or Cannabidiol.

Consumers are now facing a dizzying array of choices in industrial hemp based CBD products sold online, in retail shops and in some cities, even at the local juice bar and coffee shop.

The Public Health Impact of Legal CBD

The explosion of CBD products is a long awaited development in the effort to free cannabis as an industrial crop by allowing greater legal access to hemp derived products for the mainstream public.

However, consumers will also be at increased public health and safety risk as more people try CBD, is currently without any standardized dosing or product labeling regulations. 

How are consumers to determine optimal dietary supplementation with such a wide variety of product choices and such conflicting information available in the mainstream?

Even worse, what happens if someone taking a legal hemp CBD product fails a random employee drug test? Who’s responsible if a consumer loses a job from taking a product with too much THC, the illegal cannabis molecule?

Let the buyer beware, as I have seen it happen.

A Little Background Story

My name is Courtney Allen-Gentry, RN MSN PHN AHN-BC HWNC-BC and I am a Board Certified Advanced Holistic Nurse Coach and Public Health Nurse. One of only 28 nurses in the country with these holistic board certifications; I am the only nurse specializing in cannabis integration in public health. 

My mission is educating the public and raising awareness about Cannabis, CBD, Marijuana and Hemp. My goal is to ensure every person understands enough about these terms to make informed choices.

Additionally, I’m a Holistic Nurse Coach Preceptor, a Nurse Scholar, Researcher and Public Speaker. I have presented my work on cannabis education at academic conferences around the world and am currently working on the determination of subtle universal frequencies by our endocannabinoid system. More on that later.

My job here on Herbswift, is to walk you through everything you need to know in order to be your own CBD, Hemp or Cannabis expert.

And after reading my little guide, my intention is for you to feel much more comfortable talking about Hemp, legal CBD, Marijuana or cannabis overall. In fact understanding what these terms mean are the key to understanding everything in the landscape of cannabis and hemp derived CBD.

Lets just start with the basics here and work our way into a greater knowledge base over the coming weeks. I’ll make sure you know enough to feel comfortable making choices about CBD, and perhaps even a little holistic self care thrown in to boot.

The Basics 

Although CBD is only one of over 120 or more plant molecules called ‘cannabinoids” identified in the Cannabis plant, everyone is talking about CBD because of its popularity with the Epilepsy Moms who worked tirelessly on the legalization of CBD across the Country and all over the World. In fact, if it were not for the efforts of these Mothers, I’m certain we would not have legalization at this very moment.

Cannabidiol, CBD does not activate cannabinoid receptors, but moderately inhibits the breakdown of the our own molecules of bliss; molecules like THC in the cannabis plant which help us feel happy. Termed “the molecule of bliss” Anandamide is part of the basic endocannabinoid system.

A whole system you say? Yes, the Endocannabinoid System consisting of receptors CB1 and CB2 and their molecule keys, Anandamide and 2-AG and a few other enzymes that breakdown or make cannabinoids.

The Endocannabinoid system, ECS, regulates:

energy flow and production

immune function

development of the baby inside the Uterus

suckling and nursing



memory extinction

immune function to name just a few.

Every time you think a new thought, acquire new knowledge, feel pain relief, recover from an injury, have a restful sleep and forget the bad stuff, the endocannabinoid system is involved. Indeed it is the master regulator of homeostasis; responsible for balancing and harmonizing every level of existence, mind body and Spirit.

When asked about the main purpose of the endocannabinoid system Dr. Vincinzo DiMarzo, the most prolific cannabis researcher in the world, summed it up as “relax, eat, sleep, protect and forget”.

For The Next Installment

We will talk about some of the things CBD helps like Sleep and Anxiety to start with. Hope you enjoyed this little intro and will come back and join me for more on CBD and the endocannabinoid system.

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How To Read A Certificate of Analysis (COA) for CBD products

How To Read A Certificate of Analysis (COA) for CBD products

(3-5 min read)

By Michael Silvia CEO of HerbSwift, Inc.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of CBD by now. You might even know that its an abbreviation for Cannabidiol. A naturally occurring, highly beneficial component of Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L. <0.3% THC). Additionally, you may have even heard some mumblings of the Federal Government making hemp (and its derivates and extracts) legal again with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. If you’re really savvy on the subject, you probably know that a product with a “3rd party COA” is usually a much better sign than not.

But what the heck is a COA and how in world do you decipher one?


First, the source of the COA is important. Try identify whether or not the COA is from the manufacturer’s own quality assurance lab or whether it is from an accredited 3rd party facility. In the case of the former, and due to the immaturity of the industry in general, a consumer cannot blindly trust an internal COA isn’t photoshopped or otherwise doctored. Odds are it’s accurate, but with a 3rd party you can call in and verify the results firsthand with an independent and unbiased expert.

Cannabinoid Profile or “Potency”

This is the most common type of testing included in a COA and usually shows about a dozen of the most prolific primary cannabinoids in addition to Cannabidiol (CBD). These include d9 THC, d8 THC, THCv, THCa, CBDa, CBDv, CBN, CBNa, CBC, etc.. Generally consumers should be concerned with both the CBD and d9 THC results. In order to be compliant with most state and federal laws the d9 THC level must be 0.3% or less. THCv, d8 THC and THCa do not contribute to this percentage total as they are not active forms of THC and do not cause any euphoria or “high.” With CBD we usually just want to see that the results meet or exceed the label claims. Pro Tip: To convert from mg/ml to % simply move the decimal point one place to the left. Example, 100mg/ml = 10%

Microbiological Screening

This test is particularly important in certain products where water is a primary ingredient or where formulations are used that target customers with allergies to preservatives. In any case consumers will want to see ND or None Detected. Pro Tip: Most COAs for oiled based products (which is the vast majority of products containing Hemp CBD) typically don’t include microbiological screening as the carrier oils used such as MCT or Hemp Seed Oil are naturally antimicrobial.

Residual Solvent Analysis

This test is arguably the most controversial of all the types of screenings that can be included in a COA. This is because there are many methods of extracting phytocannabinoid-rich oils from biomass (harvested plant material) and not all of these methods produce the same quality of CBD Hemp Oil. Almost always Solvents are used to optimize the efficiency with which phytocannabinoids can be extracted from biomass, though there is a growing number of suppliers transitioning to “Solventless” Extraction methods in an attempt to improve quality or quantity. In any event, typically trace or “residual” amounts of solvent will be left in the product and acts as a fingerprint of the methods utilized.  Consumers will want to see all solvents screened and a “Pass” result for them all as some solvents above certain trace amounts can be unsafe.  Pro Tip: Google the name of any solvents that are present in trace amounts on your COA. Find the <USP> classification of the solvent. Class III solvents are much safer for human consumption than Class II or Class I solvents.

Terpene Analysis

“Terpenes” or Terpenoids are classified as Tertiary Cannabinoids and are much more common throughout the plant kingdom than Primary Cannabinoids like CBD or d9-THC. They offer significant therapeutic benefits in-and-of-themselves. They also account for the hundreds and hundreds of unique flavor and odor profiles found throughout the various strains of Cannabis Sativa L. (and Cannabis Indica). The presence of Terpenes in a screening is almost always regarded as a good thing. However, if no terpenes are present or terpene analysis was simply not conducted that should not be considered a red flag by any means. Pro Tip: a-limonene is the terpene that makes citrus smell like citrus and a-pinene is the terpene that makes pine needles smell like pine!

Heavy Metals Analysis

Since all species of cannabis, including hemp, are naturally such an effective bioremediators (removes pollutants from the earth) it is important that farmers test their crop (biomass) after harvest for Heavy Metals to ensure the material does not contain any trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, etc… These heavy metals can accumulate in the body and cause serious illnesses. Consumers will want to see a Pass result for these heavy metals on any COA that might include this type of analysis. Pro Tip: Many consumer product COAs do not include Heavy Metals analysis because that phase of quality assurance has typically occurred much earlier in the manufacturing process when the manufacturer was sourcing their CBD oil. If it was clean of heavy metals then, than there is no way there are any heavy metals in it after production. 


Each type of analysis has a cost associated with it that most Hemp CBD manufacturers voluntarily pay for (though some state regulations are beginning to come into play despite this fact) in order to meet the demand and expectations of the marketplace. If these manufacturers tested every single batch, for every possible screening, YOU would have to pay a lot more for your products as the cost of all this testing would surely get passed on to you. Soon enough the most credible brands will feature a Seal from the US Hemp Authority certification program certifying that their products have met rigorous quality and testing standards.

Do’s and Don’ts: Do demand COAs, especially from accredited 3rd parties whenever possible. Don’t worry too much if some of this analysis covered here is not on every COA you see.

*Included is an image of a 3rd Party Certificate of Analysis with notes to elaborate even further on how to read a COA.