CBD is here to stay, and there’s a lot of potential — as well as disinformation. Here’s what you need to know if you want to get started.
From the social media endorsements of A-listers to the promising scientific research, it seems that CBD is getting a vote of approval. CBD is not a wonder drug, as some would make it out to be, but it has definite medicinal potential, particularly in dealing with some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, as well as issues such as anxiety or some types of chronic pain.
Although more research is needed to confirm exactly what CBD can do, there is definite potential.
But if you’re considering placing your first order for CBD products, things can get a bit confusing. You might probably want to do some research first (checking verifiable science and reliable sources). As beneficial as it might be, CBD is not a cure-all and not everyone responds the same to it. To get the best results, you should first figure out the right dosage and, most importantly, the right format for your needs.
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Oral: ingested vs. sublingual
Oral supplements are perhaps the most common form of CBD and they come in two subcategories: ingested and sublingual.
Ingested (swallowed) supplements such as CBD oil, edibles, capsules, powder, or tincture, are swallowed directly, then they pass through the digestive tract and are absorbed into the bloodstream. This form of consumption is recommended for sustained, long-term effects. Even if it takes a while to see the results (anywhere from one to six hours), this is the recommended intake method for health concerns like anxiety, pain, and insomnia. According to a 2016 study, CBD molecules that had been added in cookies stayed in the system for 4.2 hours, compared to just 3.3 hours for ingested CBD.
The bioavailability of CBD is between 6-19% and some of it is broken down by digestive acid before it can be absorbed. Consuming CBD with fats can speed up the effects because CBD is fat-soluble.
If you prefer oral application but want to see faster results, you can try sublingual application: applying CBD oils, sprays, or tinctures directly under the tongue. By doing so, the absorption time is decreased considerably because the active ingredients don’t have to pass through your digestive system and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries under your tongue. To maximize the surface contact, try to keep the substance in your mouth for a minute before swallowing.
Inhaling CBD via vape pens and dabs provides short term relief and is recommended when you want to achieve instant results. Because it bypasses first-rate metabolism, CBD delivered this way produces peak blood levels in about three minutes. This is the preferred consumption method for people who are struggling with anxiety and it can be used alone or as needed, in addition to oral supplements. However, keep in mind that you should only use high-quality vape pens and premium organic CBD nugs. Otherwise, you could be dealing with adverse effects. As always, remember that CBD is not psychoactive so smoking/inhaling it will not give that same “high” as THC.
In addition to oils, spray, tinctures, and nugs, CBD can also be found in a plethora of creams, lotions, and serums. Although it’s currently not clear whether these topical treatments are highly effective, several studies have found that CBD-infused creams can help with pain management in patients with arthritis and rheumatism. Applied directly, CBD can reduce inflammation thanks to the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors on the skin. Some doctors say that this method isn’t as effective as using over-the-counter pain relief lotions but results vary from case to case.
According to a small 2019 study published in Clinical Therapeutics, CBD ointments were also effective for participants with psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and scarring. Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, topical CBD could also help treat acne but researchers point out that there have been no human trials so far. CBD creams for acne are safe to try, but keep in mind that their effectiveness will vary depending on genetics, diet, lifestyle, stress levels, hormone levels, and any medication that you may be taking.
You don’t have to choose only one form of CBD. To maximize results, you can combine several products. In the case of pain management, for instance, it’s even recommended to take oral supplements daily and combine them with topical treatments as needed. When taking CBD for anxiety, you can combine oral supplements with vape pens.
What dosage should you start with?
After you’ve found the right CBD format, it’s time to move on to the next most important thing: dosage. Things can be a bit more complicated here because everyone is different and some factors can influence the way your body responds. For example, some medications can delay CBD absorption, which is why you should always consult with your healthcare provider before self-treating.
As a rule, no matter the CBD formulation you’re considering, always start with the lowest possible dose. If you’re vaping, take just a small puff. If you’re using oil, take just a couple of drops. It’s below the minimum recommended dosage on the packaging but it’s better to be safe than sorry. CBD has been classified as safe by most medical experts and there are no serious side effects so far but each person reacts differently to the ingredients.
Another important thing is to wait for the active ingredient to reach peak levels before upping the dosage. That’s about one hour for vaporizers and 6+ hours for oils, tinctures, and other oral formulations. Avoid taking more sooner because the effects will cumulate.
If you can’t seem to get the desired results from a small dose, you may also consider trying several consumption techniques to enhance absorption. For example, you can try various inhalation techniques for vaping, or swishing the product around before swallowing.