CBD treatments are customizable and no one size fits all. A good rule of thumb for the newcomer in deciding which form of CBD to take lies in the old adage: “The right tool for the right job.”
Start with your intended benefit and work backwards from there. What are you looking for? Muscle pain relief? General wellness? Improving your diet? The outcome goes a long way toward identifying which form of CBD is right for you.
Keep in mind, most regular CBD users will utilize multiple ingestion methods in conjunction to achieve their specific goals. Here’s a summary of some of the most popular formulations:
CBD Oil/ Tinctures
One of the most concentrated versions of CBD is the oil extracted directly from the hemp plant itself. High quality, ethically manufactured CBD oil is non-addictive and does not deliver a “high” as the hallucinogenic THC has been removed from the equation.
CBD extract is combined with a carrier agent such as coconut oil and may also contain flavors to improve the taste. It should be noted that “oil” and “tincture” are terms used interchangeably but refer to the same product. Therefore, you can use them in the same manner, no matter what marketing term a company chooses to use.
Oils are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Most CBD oil is sublingual and meant to be administered under the tongue for quick absorption into the body. However, you can also ingest the oil directly — add it to your morning coffee, mix it into a smoothie, even bake it into an edible. Oil drops provide the most flexibility in regards to dosing; consumers can adjust their intake as they need to for pain, anxiety or to help with other conditions according to what’s right for them.
Arguably, the most popular form of ingesting CBD is by capsule, taken just as you would a fish oil capsule or other supplement. People take CBD via capsule for a number of reasons as it has been shown to positively impact stress levels, anxiety, nausea and pain. You can also buy products that mix CBD with other ingredients for specific purposes, such as curcumin for pain or chamomile for sleep.
Capsules also provide a number of practical advantages. First, it’s about as convenient and portable as you can get. Second, there’s no guesswork about dosage as each capsule contains a prescribed amount of CBD, providing the consumer with consistent, regular dosing every day.
The downside of capsules is that they have a lower bioavailability than other forms. Simply put, this means it takes them longer to be fully absorbed into your bloodstream. The process of traveling through the various filters within the digestive system can rob the CBD of some of its potency, causing it to take longer to work than in other forms.
CBD Topical Products
CBD is available in a variety of creams, lotions and other topicals applied directly to the skin. It’s a wonderful way to reduce muscle soreness or joint pain anywhere on the body.
Look for a product that’s nanoemulsified, a manufacturing step that ensures the CBD molecules can penetrate the skin in order to get to the pain. Without that step, you’re basically applying a skin moisturizer that merely sits on the surface.
Also, some topicals can be messy to use and it can take a little shopping around before you find one that doesn’t leave a greasy feeling behind. Like any topical product, fragrance appeal is a matter of personal taste and therefore varies greatly from one cream to the other.
Vaping provides the most immediate effects of the CBD as the active ingredients don’t have to go through the digestive system but enter the bloodstream directly through the lungs. However, there are a few downsides to this delivery method.
In the first place, you may be limited to where and when you can vape throughout the day, just as you would smoking. Second, these products contain thinning agents that allow the CBD to be vaporized and these agents can present serious health issues. Studies have shown when polyethylene glycol (PEG) and propylene glycol (PG) are heated, the glycol breaks down into carcinogenic compounds. Check the label carefully for any CBD product engineered to be ingested by vaping.
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