From drinks to bath bombs, there’s hardly anything we can find that can’t be infused with cannabidiol (CBD) these days. Although it’s amazing to see how far this cannabinoid has come, it can be tricky to choose the right product when there are so many options out there. Finding the best form CBD for you depends on many things like your lifestyle, preferred onset time and duration, bioavailability*, etc. Here we outline a few of the most common and effective ways to utilize CBD for daily relief and balance.
*Bioavailability: the fraction of the active compound (in our case, CBD) that reaches systemic circulation to reach its site of action to exert effects.
When thinking of CBD, you’re most likely picturing some kind of oil bottle with a dropper lid. The pre-measured dropper allows you to customize and measure your dosage each time with ease. Depending on the method of consumption, oils and tinctures can be the best way to get the most out of your CBD in terms of overall consistent dosage, duration, and bioavailability.
CBD Oils are suggested to be taken sublingually – meaning that the oil is placed under the tongue and becomes absorbed directly through the membrane. With direct access to the bloodstream, the body can absorb more molecules of CBD at a rate faster than other types of CBD. Better bioavailability means that you may experience more potent benefits with a quicker onset time. By entering the bloodstream sublingually or orally, CBD is able to circulate through the body before reaching the brain – allowing even distribution of relief across central and peripheral systems which will last between 4-6 hours.
For those sensitive to the taste or texture of oils have the option of taking it orally as well. With the ability to add it to numerous foods and beverages, CBD oils can be extremely versatile and enjoyed even by those with a picky palette. If you’re really not a fan of the hemp taste, we recommend looking for an oil that is a CBD isolate or ‘THC-Free’ to neutralize the flavor.
Gummies, chocolate, honey, etc. are all considered ‘edibles’ – an ingestible form of CBD for those who need a little sweetness in their life. With so many options to choose from, these can be a tasty and convenient way to take your CBD on the go.
Edibles are taken orally and must first pass through the digestive system to be metabolized in the liver and absorbed in the bloodstream. As a consequence, edible forms of CBD have a longer onset time and have the longest lasting effects in the body (between 6-12 hours), ideal for chronic conditions where all-day/night relief is needed. However, a significant portion of the CBD is lost when broken down in the liver – thus decreasing its bioavailability below CBD oils and tinctures. Edibles can be an effective way to experience the most prolonged benefits of CBD, but you may need a higher dose to feel potent relief.
If you’re looking for an even more discreet and portable form of CBD, vape pens are a great pocket-sized device you can carry everywhere you go. Inhaling vapor-infused CBD allows the cannabinoid to be absorbed into the lungs, into the bloodstream, and across the blood-brain barrier in a matter of seconds. By bypassing the digestive system, CBD does not get broken down when inhaled and is almost 3X more bioavailable than if taken orally.
With the fastest onset time and maximum bioavailability, vaping CBD can be extremely effective for those who have acute conditions such as anxiety and epilepsy where potent relief is needed almost instantly. Due to its fast-acting properties, vaping CBD is also known to have the shortest duration of effects – often wearing off in 2-3 hours.
You may have come across a few products such as balms, lotions, creams, etc. infused with CBD for its effects on skin conditions, muscle and joint soreness, inflammation, and much more. These topical CBD products are applied directly onto the skin and absorbed into the epidermis for targeted relief in a localized area.
Because of our protective skin-barrier, topical CBD is not able to permeate through to our bloodstream and thus has low bioavailability. Instead, these creams provide relief in a local area by being absorbed skin-deep where other cannabinoid receptors are found. Those with conditions such as arthritis, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, etc. have reported immense improvements and comfort after using topical products infused with CBD.
Did you know pets can also take CBD to soothe daily stressors and discomfort? Just like us, our pets have complex endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that regulate pathways like appetite, stress, sleep, pain, immunity, and inflammation. There are times when your pet’s ECS falls out of balance and needs external support to get them feeling like themselves again.
Pet-grade CBD can be given to furry friends orally by directly administering the oil into their mouths or by sprinkling it onto their food. Therapeutic effects are seen anywhere from 30-60 minutes after ingestion and can last up to 6-8 hours (depending on your pet’s size and weight). With consistent use, clear benefits like reduced anxiety, a greater sense of comfort, lustrous skin and coat, elevated immune system, etc. may be observed in your loving companion.
Whether you’re interested in CBD to improve sleep, mood, pain, etc., there are countless ways to consume this cannabinoid and enjoy its benefits. Oils, edibles, vaporizers, and topicals all have their individual strengths that may or may not be compatible with your lifestyle and symptoms. Doing thorough, prior research on different types of CBD and reflecting on your needs can help ensure a smooth and pleasant experience.