The ABCs of CBD

CBD products

By Jessica Steinhoff | Photography by Shanna Wolf

The cannabidiol, or CBD, market is growing at an exponential rate. According to Forbes, the market is expected to reach $24 billion in 2024.

CBD is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as hemp or marijuana. Unlike the marijuana people use to get high, CBD extract contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC. For some people, it helps relieve anxiety, insomnia or chronic pain.

In Wisconsin, CBD has been legal since 2014 (the amount of THC allowed in products is capped at 0.3%), so you may have tried a CBD product by now. But if you haven’t, or are interested in the full range of CBD products out there, here are some types to consider, plus advice on choosing a reputable brand and the right formulation. And, don’t forget to consult your doctor when deciding whether to try CBD.


Not all CBD products are created equal. Whether you’re buying CBD oil, lotion or brownies, it’s smart to gather information about the chemical makeup of the product, if and how it was tested, and where the plants were grown.

Full-spectrum products contain the widest range of chemical compounds from the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC. These compounds are thought to enhance CBD’s effectiveness and have health-promoting properties of their own. Broad-spectrum products are like full-spectrum ones, but without THC. Meanwhile, CBD-isolate products have no other plant compounds.

Testing is another factor to consider. According to Dave Knott, master herbalist and co-owner of Embrace Wellness in Middleton, full-panel testing by a third-party lab is one indicator of a high-quality CBD product.

“Third-party analysis verifies the potency of the product, and full-panel testing looks for contaminants that can make you sick,” he explains, including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and even mold. “Pounds and pounds of hemp flower get concentrated in CBD products, and even the smallest amount of mold in there can harm your health.”

Knott also recommends asking where the product’s plant is sourced from and who grows it.

“If the product’s plants are from one farm, that’s ideal. You’re more likely to get the same results each time,” he says, noting that Wisconsin farmers have put a lot of resources and time into creating a high-quality product. .


Knott doesn’t just sell CBD at his shop. Along with several Wisconsin farmer friends, he grows the cannabis used in The Wisconsin Story CBD Formula. Available in four potencies, including a 500 mg variety for pets, this liquid formulation is custom-made to help ease anxiety and pain.

Kaitlyn Ganz, a wellness consultant at The Healthy Place Fitchburg often recommends versatile liquid products like Wild Theory Full-Spectrum CBD oil to first-timers.

“Many people respond well to oil-based tinctures that are placed under the tongue. The body tends to absorb CBD quickly when it’s ingested this way,” she says.


The effects of CBD supplements in capsule, tablet or gummy form arrive more slowly but last longer, Ganz notes.

“You can take these 45 minutes before going to bed to help you fall asleep. Since they stay in your system a little longer than an oil, they may be the best choice for helping you stay asleep,” she says.

At The Healthy Place, choices range from multipurpose Wild Theory Full-Spectrum CBD softgels to specialized products like Charlotte’s Web Raspberry Sleep Gummies, which combine CBD’s anxiety- fighting power with the sleep-inducing properties of melatonin.


A single CBD gummy might melt away insomnia, but what if you want a soothing snack during a stressful workday? At CBD American Shaman, you can find snack-size bags of gourmet gummy candies in several CBD-enhanced flavors. Or get your fix with CBD-infused honey, brownies or raisin-pecan Hermit Cookies.

According to Josh O’Neill, manager of CBD American Shaman Sun Prairie, these sweets can be used for an occasional burst of stress relief or simply to give CBD a whirl.

“Gummy candies can be less intimidating than a product you smoke,” he says.

“They make it easy to start with a small dose of CBD and see if you need more to relax, decrease pain or whatever your goal happens to be.”


Creams, lotions and other topical CBD products are popular among both skin-care enthusiasts and athletes. The Healthy Place carries Hemplucid Whole Plant Body Butter, which can help sore exercisers recover from tough workouts, while American Shaman’s CBD face cream promotes relaxation and radiance with the help of hemp oil. Have a friend who needs some serious R&R? American Shaman’s lavender-lilac CBD bath bomb could be just the ticket.

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