There are many different kinds of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. And while researchers have only just started studying them, one in particular has already shown promise in regard to potential health benefits.
That compound is cannabidiol, or CBD. Unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is nonintoxicating, meaning it won’t get you “high.”
Research on CBD is ongoing, but still in its infancy. It’s not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the only use it’s been approved for is epilepsy, in the form of the drug Epidiolex.
It’s even being
While CBD has a variety of uses, it’s worth noting that some forms of CBD are more bioavailable than others. This means that they’re more readily absorbed by the body.
Learning the nuances of using CBD can be a lot to take in. This quick guide will help you navigate each method of CBD consumption, and figure out what’s best for your needs.
Full or broad-spectrum
Be sure to look for products made with full or broad-spectrum oil — rather than distillate or isolate — to get the full scope of health benefits. Full-spectrum oils contain all cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including both CBD and THC. Broad-spectrum oils contain most cannabinoids, but generally don’t contain THC.
Research has found that THC and CBD may work better when taken together than they do when taken alone. This is referred to as the “entourage effect.”
Full and broad-spectrum products are also less processed, which helps preserve some of cannabis’s volatile organic compounds, like terpenes. Terpenes affect the taste and smell of the product, and they have medical benefits of their own.
Edibles are a great and discreet way to try CBD. You can find a variety of CBD edibles including gummies, truffles, or even mints that do a great job of masking any “weedy” taste.
There are a few caveats with edibles, however.
- Edibles take up to two hours to kick in, and you’ll absorb about 20 to 30 percent of the CBD you consume.
Many edibles contain sugar and preservatives, so if you want to avoid additives, you might want to try a sublingual product. These are designed to be absorbed under your tongue. They include tinctures — solutions made by soaking cannabis flower in oil or alcohol — sprays, oils, and lozenges.
Letting the product absorb under your tongue rather than subjecting it to the digestive tract preserves more of the CBD, and you’ll feel results faster.
- Sublingual products take effect faster than edible products. Choose this route if you’re looking for quicker results.
CBD topicals are designed to be applied directly to the skin. You can find CBD-infused lotions, balms, creams, salves, and transdermal patches. Topicals are a great choice when it comes to treating localized pain or skin conditions like eczema in a discreet fashion.
A 2015 study done on rats found that CBD gel applied to the skin greatly reduced joint swelling — promising results for people with conditions like arthritis.
While studies on topicals haven’t given an estimate of bioavailability, we do know a couple of things:
- Topicals aren’t subjected to the first-pass effect, so they’ll provide concentrated relief to a particular area.
- The permeability of your skin is pretty poor relative to mucous membranes, like sublingual tissue. That means when using a topical product, you’ll want to choose one with a high amount of CBD and apply it generously.
While there are many ways to take CBD, there’s no one right or best way. It’s important to try different methods and see what works for you.
Before trying CBD, you should also talk to your doctor, especially if you’re currently on any medication. CBD may interact with prescription medications such as antibiotics, antidepressants, blood thinners, and more.