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I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard about it, but do you know how to use CBD oil? There are more ways than you’d think. Using CBD oil is a bit like Goldilocks—you can find what’s “just right” for you.
Do a quick search for ‘CBD’ on Google Trends, and you’ll get an idea of how popular it has become in such a short period. This idea doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around—scientists discovered it in 1940, 20 years before THC.
But since it didn’t have any psychoactive properties, it wasn’t exactly considered ‘sexy.’
In 2013, when Dr. Sanjay Gupta featured Charlotte Figi’s story on CNN, it was a breakthrough for CBD. For the first time, the American public was able to see how CBD can significantly improve overall life. Charlotte suffered from a very severe, rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Due to the severity, doctors had to place her in a medically-induced coma when she was 5-years-old. That’s when her parents, having exhausted all other options, turned to CBD—and it worked!
People all over America who had been dealing with similar problems began flocking to CBD-legal states. Since then, interest in CBD oil has been growing exponentially. But, for many, it’s still a bit of an enigma.
So, let's cover some of the basics:
Well, there’s a ton of different ways.
Which is exactly why CBD often gets labeled as a “miracle drug, but, come on, nothing is a miracle drug.
It’s a chemical compound that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. Yes, that is the same plant that produces marijuana.
But, don’t worry.
CBD alone will NOT get you high. It has zero psychoactive properties, and it all has to do with plant procreation.
Here’s how it works: If you want a plant that gets you high, you've got to separate the males from the females. The longer the female plants go unfertilized, the more THC they are going to produce.
If you create a coed farming situation, where male and female plants cohabitate, fertilization happens. Because of this, the female plant’s THC levels won’t get higher than 1%.
That means hemp—the source of CBD—is simply a fertilized cannabis plant.
Once extracted, CBD is now in a form that can interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
(Yeah, I'd never heard of it either).
The ECS is a network of receptors found in all mammals, and its job is to regulate the body’s nervous and immune system. It's also responsible for keeping our bodies balanced and healthy through the process known as homeostasis.
When you introduce cannabinoids (like CBD) into the body, they interact with specific ECS receptors. Each of these receptors controls different aspects and functions of your body. What makes CBD so unique is that it interacts with more receptors than any other cannabinoids. This interaction is why researchers have found it useful in so many different areas.
Now you’ve got a basic grasp on what CBD is and why you don’t have to worry about it getting you high.
Let’s move on to how to use CBD oil...
Duration: 2-4 hours
Inhaling is the fastest acting method because CBD goes straight into your lungs and then enters the bloodstream. This approach means its bioavailability—the rate at which a substance becomes absorbed into your bloodstream—is higher, allowing your body to use more of the CBD. Because it’s absorbed quicker, the effects will last shorter than other methods.
Vaping CBD is popular among smokers, former smokers, or people who vape. Vapes may also be helpful for those trying to quit smoking. Even if you've stopped using cigarettes and are only vaping, you might want to try switching to CBD to quit nicotine altogether.
For several smokers, stress or anxiety can trigger the need to smoke. Since many people use CBD to relax, it makes sense substituting CBD for cigarettes because it might calm you down even more and you still get the smoking sensation. Researchers at the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit of University College London conducted a study and found that smokers who received CBD were less affected by pictures of cigarettes even if experiencing nicotine withdrawal.
Sure, there's no nicotine, but isn't that what you're trying to quit anyway?
Make sure that, if you do choose to vape, you don’t confuse the CBD tincture oil with vape oil. A lot of CBD tinctures use MCT oil (coconut-based oil) which can be toxic when heated. If inhaled into the lungs, MCT oil may cause pneumonia. It's also thicker and can clog your vaping device.
Instead, CBD vape oil uses propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin—which is ok to vape.
Onset: 15 minutes to an hour
Duration: 4-6 hours
The most ‘traditional’ method of taking CBD. You can use a tincture, dissolvable tablets, or even CBD “strips” (think Listerine Pocketpaks). Tiny blood vessels in the mucous membrane—the insides of your mouth—absorb the CBD directly into the bloodstream. Although not absorbed as quick compared to other methods, the effects generally last longer.
For thousands of years, tinctures have been the preferred method for taking herbal remedies. They consist of CBD combined with any edible oil, glycerin, or sometimes alcohol. The oil base will vary—MCT oil extracted from coconuts is popular. Other oils you might see are olive oil, hemp oil, sunflower seed oil, or any other edible oil.
Dosage is easy to control using this method. You know each full dropper will only hold so much CBD—same with the tablets/strips. If you are sensitive to the taste, you can always combine the tincture with food or drink—even coffee shops are adding CBD as a morning brew mix-in.
Onset: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Duration: 6-8 hours
Capsules are perfect for those who feel more comfortable taking a pre-measured dose. This way you know you're getting the same amount of CBD every time. If you already take vitamins on a daily basis, you might prefer this method because it’s easy to work into your pre-existing daily routine. One of the benefits of capsules is that, if taken regularly, they can provide long-term, consistent relief.
Another popular item is CBD gummies. You know those gummy vitamins you see in the drug store? Same concept, different ingredient. They taste good, they’re fun to take, and are great if you don’t like to or have difficulty swallowing pills.
But did you know you can also cook with CBD?
Just like the infamous ‘pot brownie,’ you can infuse CBD oil into a wide range of foods. Some companies have even developed CBD water, tea, and beer!
CBD butter is another easy way to get your daily dose. Just spread it on your morning toast or mix it into your favorite recipe.
One thing to remember when cooking with CBD is that you don’t want to heat it over 315°F. Anything higher than that can affect the potency.
There's plenty of information online, but here's a link you can check out for a more in-depth look at cooking with CBD oil.
Onset: 15 minutes
Duration: 2-4 hours
Topical applications provide great localized relief because of skin absorption. This method is great for relieving pain, inflammation, sore joints or muscles, psoriasis, rashes, and arthritis. Even migraine sufferers swear by its pain-relieving properties.
Topicals (and THC-free CBD in general) have become popular among a lot of professional athletes. Many of them say it helps speed up recovery time after a big fight or game.
Topicals are available as lotions, salves, balms, or even oils. Your skin absorbs the CBD up to about an inch below the surface. Topicals work best at treating "superficial" problems; if the condition is chronic, you can try using tinctures or capsules along with topicals.
Many posh cosmetic and skincare companies now offer CBD-infused beauty products, ranging from lip balm to face cream.
Onset: 15 minutes
Duration: 12 hours (patch)/4 hours (gel)
With this method, CBD is absorbed via a transdermal—meaning “through the skin”—patch, similar to nicotine patches. Small amounts of CBD are released over a long period, absorbing into your bloodstream. As with all the other methods, patches come in varying strengths and concentrations of CBD.
Research has shown that the transdermal application of CBD is effective at reducing arthritic-related inflammation. This optimal method for localized pain relief acts fast, directly targets the pain, and is long-lasting. It’s also discrete and can be placed under clothing and is also convenient to carry because it easily fits in your purse or pocket.
Because the bioavailability rate is 100%, your body reaps all of the therapeutic benefits. Transdermals could be an excellent method for you if you’d prefer not to smoke, dislike the taste/texture of the tincture oil, or have a difficult time swallowing pills.
Like anything organic, CBD products have a shelf-life.
If stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, tinctures should last for about 2 years while vape oils are good for around 4 months.
As you can see, there are many different ways to use CBD oil. Now you can try all the different methods and find the way that works best for you—an endless world of possibilities awaits!
Tip:Currently, the CBD industry lacks much regulation, so it’s important to make sure you do your research.
—Always make sure the company provides third-party test results.
—Always make sure to read testimonials on social media and see what other people are saying.
—And always consult your doctor before starting a CBD regimen.
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