Over the last decade, scientists have been learning more and more about cannabidiol (CBD) and the positive effects it has on the human body. It’s being used to treat inflammation, stress, depression and anxiety, as well as to combat complicated health conditions including epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, diabetes, migraines, arthritis, and even the side effects of cancer treatments.
While CBD is certainly an excellent, non-toxic alternative to western medicine – it also provides an array of benefits for healthy people. It supports immune function, aids digestion, promotes healthy sleep, nurtures balance within the body’s regulatory system, and keeps diseases at bay. But because CBD has so many uses and methods, selecting the right product can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s your guide to selecting the perfect CBD product and consumption method.
How to Choose the Best CBD Product and Consumption Method
There are four main ways to get CBD into your system – inhalation, ingestion, topical application, and sublingual. Each offers its own perks, making some forms more suitable than others, depending upon your needs.
Inhaling CBD is great for treating acute symptoms that require immediate attention. When inhaled, CBD enters the bloodstream through the lungs – allowing the compound to be absorbed and metabolized much faster than if it were to go through the lengthy digestive process. Effects can be felt within a minute or two, and typically last for a couple of hours. One of the most efficient CBD delivery systems, inhalation is perfect for relieving pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
CBD Vape Oil
Vaporizing is a great option for non-smokers who would still like to enjoy the benefits from CBD inhalation. Smoking causes combustion, producing a hot, ashy smoke that can irritate the lungs and throat. Vaping, on the other hand, heats a liquid just enough to release a (smokeless) vapor that is much more gentle on the respiratory tract.
CBD vape oils (e-juices) are available in various strengths and flavors, offering another appeal to those who aren’t fond of hemp’s natural taste.
CBD Joints and Pre-Rolls
Hemp flowers are rich in CBD, terpenes, and other beneficial cannabinoids. For those who find the act of smoking to be therapeutic in itself, hemp joints are a great alternative to tobacco cigarettes. With less than .3% THC, CBD joints deliver a punch of wellness benefits without the psychoactive side effects of marijuana.
CBD Crystals, CBD Wax & Other Concentrates
CBD concentrates are high-potency extracts of the hemp plant. Common forms include live resin wax, crystals, shatter, crumble, and butter. Because they contain especially large levels of CBD, concentrates offer a less-is-more impact when compared to other forms.
Dabbing – the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates (in our case, cannabidiol), once applied to a hot surface and inhaled – is one of the most popular ways to use concentrates. This method allows the body to absorb the compound quickly and efficiently. A single dab offers a a quick pick-me-up and almost instant medical relief for those treating pain, inflammation, and/or anxiety.
While dabbing is often associated with negative connotations, if done correctly and with a high-quality, clean CBD product, it’s a very effective and safe method. It is, however, generally recommended for those who have more experience with taking CBD products.
Due to their high potency, concentrates often contain a lot of terpenes (the aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinctive smell). For those who enjoy the smell and taste of the plant, dabbing is great option. Please note, not all concentrates are suitable for dabbing – be sure to carefully read the label or consult an expert.
Ingesting CBD works similarly to the way vitamins are delivered and absorbed. Upon entering the body, CBD compounds first pass through the digestive system, and are then metabolized in the liver. During this process, the active compounds are released into your bloodstream.
Because of this slightly complicated and longer delivery process, the onset of effects from orally administered CBD is much slower than inhalation. Ingested CBD can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to kick in. CBD edibles, however, can often outlast other methods, reaching up to four hours.
CBD gummies, chocolate, cookies, ice cream – you name it. CBD enriched foods and candy are one of the most popular (and enjoyed) methods of consuming cannabidiol. Their discrete and tasty characteristics make them a great option for first-timers, and their ease of portability makes them especially suitable for everyday use.
If you plan to cook your own CBD-enriched edibles, do keep in mind that CBD has a boiling point of about 320-356°F (160-180°C) – cooking or baking at any temperature higher will result in the degradation of CBD compounds, leaving you with a less potent end product.
With no taste or odor, CBD capsules are a quick and easy choice. Ideal for those using the compound as a medicinal supplement, they’re the simplest method to work into a daily routine. Capsules are available in various strengths, so you don’t have to worry about measuring anything and can rest assured that you’re getting the desired dose.
If you do decide to go with capsules, it’s suggested to take the pills with food for optimum absorption.
While the onset of effects might take slightly longer than inhalation, sublingual delivery allows for both fast and long-lasting relief. The compound’s therapeutic effects can be expected to peak between 20-30 minutes, and last between 3-4 hours.
To take CBD sublingually, the product (usually CBD oil) should be placed under the tongue, and held for up to a minute and a half. During this process, the cannabinoids are absorbed by the capillaries in the mucous membranes and released directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system and liver. This quick delivery process enables the compound to interact with the endocannabinoid system almost immediately.
Whatever remnants of the product are not absorbed under the tongue are then swallowed, metabolized in the liver, and then released into the bloodstream. This offers the body a second boost, giving sublingually delivery the advantage of lasting longer than other methods.
CBD Oil and Tinctures
Since its revival, CBD oil is perhaps the most well known hemp product on the market. It’s especially liked for its portability, ease of use, and quick acting benefits.
Most often, CBD oil and tinctures are administered using a dropper, making it easy to control and measure your intake. Especially for those who are still trying to get a feel for their preferred dosage, CBD oil is great option. Tinctures are often mixed with other herbs, and can be formulated to help with specific issues, such as digestion and sleep.
Typically designed for localized pain-relief and healing, CBD enriched topicals work only on the uppermost layer of the skin cells. The cannabidiol does not enter the bloodstream, meaning the product will not interact with the entire endocannabinoid system, but rather specifically with the CB2 receptors that are found in your skin.
CBD topicals a great anti-inflammatory for either irritated skin or sore muscles. They’re lack of psychoactive qualities makes them an excellent choice for those who are not comfortable with CBD entering their bloodstream.
CBD Lotions, Salves, and Soaps
Using CBD topicals is pretty straightforward. Massage into your sore muscles, lightly pat over irritated patches of skin, or rub over your forehead and temples in the case of a headache. CBD infused soaps make a great option for those treating dry skin or other irritation issues. They’re also great for those who have sensitive skin in general, and for overall skin wellness.
While there are various CBD wax products suitable for topical application, be sure to carefully read the label. The skin is capable of absorbing the compounds in wax only if the substance also contains some form of solvent or carrier. Without a carrier, the wax is most likely made for vaping or dabbing.
As research continues to fuel a deeper understanding of the benefits CBD offers, the demand for cannabidiol products is increasing. And, fortunately, producers are coming out with amazing CBD infusions suitable for just about anyone. That’s the beauty of CBD – there’s no right or wrong way to use it. It’s whatever you feel the most comfortable with, and whatever works best for your body.