The cannabidiol market — or CBD market as it’s better known — is kind of like the Wild West right now. Products are everywhere, and they cover so much ground that it’s hard to keep up. If you’re trying to dive in, whether headfirst or just a gentle wade more than a dive, where the heck do you start?
You can start right here, with the facts you need to make an informed decision: from the types of CBD available to the ways you can get that sweet, sweet CBD into your body.
The Kinds of CBD You Can Take
Full-spectrum CBD, like Pure Relief’s, contains all the compounds found in the hemp plant. Aside from cannabidiol, this includes things like terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids (CBD is one, and the high-inducing THC is another (up to 0.3% is allowed), but there’s a wide range of lesser-known varieties).
Research suggests cannabis plant compounds do their best when working together; a synergistic benefit called the entourage effect. Therefore, full-spectrum blends could technically be the most supportive per milligram compared to broad-spectrum and isolate.
Broad-spectrum CBD should remove all THC but retain some terpenes and/or other cannabinoids. This compromise allows the entourage effect to still take place to some degree.
The exact blend and concentration of compounds depend on the manufacturer, so you’ll want to review independent lab results if possible. That’s a good place to start for any CBD product you’re considering!
CBD isolate is cannabidiol that has been extracted from everything else. It’s as pure as it gets. But since that synergistic support has been stripped away, a CBD isolate dosage may not feel equivalent to its broad or full-spectrum counterpart.
You may or may find that to be the case if you need to switch formulas. However, remember that isolate doesn’t work worse than broad or full-spectrum — it simply works a little differently.
Choosing the Best Way to Take CBD for Your Needs
What it is: Sublingual CBD oil is basically the oil that we’re all familiar with, and has an alcohol or oil base. It comes in little tincture bottles, and you usually squeeze it into your mouth with a dropper.
How it works: Rather than immediately swallowing, you hold the CBD oil under the tongue, or swish it around your mouth (buccal absorption), for about a minute. Blood vessel-rich tissue in your mouth absorbs some of the CBD directly into your bloodstream.
Why choose it: CBD has a chance to go quickly to the bloodstream to begin taking effect. It will affect the whole body systemically, may last up to six hours, and helps provide cumulative support over time.
Why not: Most of the time, all the CBD isn’t going to dissolve. You’ve still got to swallow it or wash it down, so most of it will go the slower way of oral ingestion. And since it’s sitting in the mouth, you may have to resort to flavored CBD oils to stomach it – we offer refreshing mint, though!
What it is: All kinds of edibles. Basically, anything you have to swallow. Vitamin-like CBD gummies or capsules; CBD chocolate or chewy candy (CBD suckers you can get some buccal absorption out of); any CBD-infused food and drink; the oil you just held in your mouth for a minute.
How it works: You eat or drink the CBD, and it heads down to your digestive tract where it will be metabolized and eventually released into the bloodstream. This is a common method of absorption for many medicines. It’ll work more effectively if your stomach isn’t empty — CBD is broken down and dissolved in fats and lipids.
Why choose it: This is an extremely easy way to get your CBD. The effects will last around 6 hours. It will affect the whole body systemically and help provide cumulative support over time.
Plus, oral ingestion is great to promote feelings of ease in pets as well! Technically you could try to put pet CBD, like Pure Relief’s 20mg/mL formula, under their tongues, but turning it into an edible solution may be easier.
Why not: It lasts a long time because it takes effect so slowly — think 45 minutes to an hour and a half. The first-pass metabolism means a fraction of what you take will be made inactive before ever reaching the blood. That metabolization happens in the liver, so drug and alcohol interactions should be taken into account.
Topical (Dermal) Absorption
What it is: CBD products that go on the outside of your body. Mostly relief creams, lotions, salves, balms, or ointments. But also lip balm or CBD-infused skincare and novelty products like bath bombs.
How it works: The cannabidiol is absorbed through contact with the skin for a localized effect. Unless designed to specifically do so, very little, a negligible amount, is making it to bloodstream levels.
Why choose it: Pets can use CBD topicals, too! Made-for-pet topicals are another safe way to provide your furry friend some relief, such as from abrasions or irritated skin.
Back to humans, CBD topicals can still provide quick, targeted relief when and where you need it. It’s good for soreness, tenderness, aching, and inflammation. Almost universally, CBD topical blends also contain other known calming ingredients and essential oils. Our Pure Relief CBD cream contains camphor, lavender, and aloe, for example.
Why not: To feel effects from the CBD in particular, you’ll want a high concentration product and to apply liberally — but that can get pricey over traditional relief topicals. Some people really dislike the greasiness of topicals primarily made of oil. There is no cumulative effect over time nor whole-body support.
What it is: If you can smoke it, they will come. Think vape pens and e-cigs, running CBD cartridges or vape juice or e-liquid. Note that CBD vape oil is distinct from regular CBD oil, which cannot be dumped into a vape pen to be smoked as it’s too thick and won’t produce vapor. Natural CBD hemp joints and unrolled hemp CBD flower is available for traditionalists.
How it works: CBD goes into the lungs and from there is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. There is no first-pass metabolism drawback here — it’s more like sublingual in that respect.
Why choose it: Like sublingual but way better. Inhalation provides results in minutes and has a high rate of absorption, so you’ll get most of what you’re taking. Similarly to a topical, you can have a smoke when you need it for relief, but like ingestion, that feeling is more generalized.
Why not: Fast-acting, fast passing. Effects from inhalation are gone well within the hour, and it doesn’t really offer much cumulative support over time taken on its own. If you don’t already smoke or vape, it doesn’t make sense to start just for quick CBD benefits. And of course, all the usual concerns around smoking and vaping still apply.
Other Tips for the Best Ways to Take CBD Oil
Can I Take Too Much CBD?
Scientifically speaking, no. Studies suggest an upper limit of 1500mg/day, but realistically, it’s not a concern you’ll exceed that.
That said, you can take too much CBD in terms of your particular body. You may have high sensitivity and low tolerance, or hit a point where taking anymore will offer no discernible benefit. That’s why it’s always recommended to start with the lowest possible effective dose (a guessing game in itself), see how it affects you, and then move up from there if necessary.
Is There a Best Time to Take CBD Oil?
The best time to take a CBD supplement is at a similar time every day. For twice a day, 12 hours apart should keep your CBD levels rather consistent. Routine is not only helpful for remembering to take it but primes your body’s internal clock as well.
Taking CBD to help you sleep, or a formula that specifically has melatonin? Before bedtime is best, obviously, an hour to 30 minutes beforehand.
And if you are taking CBD orally, soon after, a meal is ideal. A full stomach aids the break down of CBD. For a CBD sublingual, eating first ensures the capillaries in your mouth see increased blood flow (all that munching and chewing — gum might have a similar effect), positively affecting absorption.
How Much CBD is Actually in This?
The strengths of CBD products are a bit confusing at times. They’re often listed by entire contents rather than single servings. A bag of 500mg gummies does not contain gummies that are a whopping 500mg each. Luckily, how to calculate CBD content is easy.
For edibles, divide the total amount of CBD by the total number of edibles. If that 500mg bag contains 10 pieces, each has a relatively strong CBD concentration of 50mg. Pure Relief 900mg gummy bears is a 30 count, with a moderate 30mg per gummy.
For oils, divide the total amount of CBD by the bottle size in milliliters (mg/ml), as approximately 1ml is a standard dose (one full dropper). Bigger bottles with higher total CBD can be equal to smaller bottles with “lower” CBD — you’ll have to check the listing or do the division to confirm actual potency.
Pure Relief packaging displays CBD oil strengths per serving rather than whole bottle contents, making it easy to identify how much you’ll get with each dose. A big benefit of oil tinctures is that you can fully customize how much or little you take as a single serving since they’re not pre-portioned like edibles.
Phew, what a journey. But hopefully, you’re now informed enough to pick your perfect CBD type and product. Whatever the choice, you should find the best way to take CBD for wellness support is the one that fits into your life and works for your needs.