In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the methods by which CBD is used. We’ll discuss some of the factors involved in determining serving sizes. We’ll also look at the strengths and drawbacks of each method and discuss which methods are better for different situations.
Bioavailability of CBD
Not all methods for using CBD are equal. Their effectiveness depends not only on the method of consumption and the ingredients in the product, but also on the bioavailability of the CBD afforded by each method.
The bioavailability of any active compound is the percentage of a given serving that ends up being available for your body to use.
In the case of CBD oil, the active ingredients include both cannabinoids and terpenes. However, for the sake of discussion, we’ll talk only about the bioavailability of CBD itself.
A bioavailability of 100% would signify that 100% of the CBD in the product is available to your body. The only way to achieve 100% bioavailability is through intravenous administration — meaning injection directly into the bloodstream.
Every other method of consumption will result in some percentage of the CBD becoming unavailable to the body for various reasons, such as becoming trapped in fatty tissues or metabolized (broken down) before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream.
Each method of CBD oil consumption has a particular range of bioavailability. We’ll discuss these factors next and will also touch on them when discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
Bioavailability of CBD Tinctures
A tincture is a liquid — usually an oil or an alcohol base — which has been infused with CBD oil. CBD oil tinctures are taken by mouth. When taken using this method, the CBD in the tincture can be absorbed pretty easily.
It is generally assumed that the bioavailability of CBD in tinctures is twice that of edibles — anywhere from 10 to 40%.
How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Take Effect?
There are several important factors that come into play when determining the time to take effect when it comes to various methods of using CBD oil. Some of these variables are related to CBD itself, and others are related to how the human body reacts to CBD.
Because of unique genetics, no two people react to CBD oil in the same way. Furthermore, factors such as age, health, weight, circulation and metabolism can all affect the timing of the effects of CBD oil.
A factor that can be influenced by all of the above is the number of cannabinoid receptors in the body, how they are expressed and the ability of the body to produce endocannabinoids. An individual who expresses more receptors or produces fewer endocannabinoids may be more sensitive to CBD than someone with an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors.
There are also numerous other factors involved such as the type of product being used, how it’s being used and how much is being used. The onset of edibles will typically take longer than that of tinctures, for example.
As we mentioned, the effects of inhaled CBD are virtually instantaneous. Edibles and capsules can range anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour while tinctures can take up to 20 minutes.
These figures are to be considered general guidelines and will vary from person to person, as we mentioned above.
CBD Oil Serving Suggestions
As with bioavailability and time to take effect, the ideal serving of CBD depends on a variety of factors including the product being used, the concentration of the CBD in the product, genetic makeup, sex, weight and so on.
Some CBD products list a suggested serving size. However, without taking into account all of the variables, the recommended serving size might be far too low or possibly even too high. In particular, the serving size will vary greatly depending on why it’s being used.
A serving that is appropriate for one product might be much different than that of a similar product. This is because various CBD oil products contain varying amounts of CBD. Whereas one product might contain 10mg of CBD per serving, another might contain 50mg per serving.
The most important factor to be considered, however, is that both serving size and duration of use depend largely on the reason the individual is using it. One person might simply be using CBD to support general wellness while another might be using CBD to help maintain a good night’s rest.
Another factor to be considered is whether or not the product being used contains a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil with terpenes. Due to the entourage effect, these types of products reportedly work more effectively than just CBD alone.
Given all of the above-listed factors, determining your ideal serving requires some thinking. Taking too little will not produce the desired effect and will be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, taking more than you need may not provide additional benefits. It will take some experimentation to determine an ideal serving for a particular person.
Here are some general guidelines for determining your ideal serving of CBD oil:
Stick With One Product
It’s a good idea to put some thought into which product you’re going to use and stick with that product for a while. This allows you to gauge the effects of that particular product. If you switch back and forth between different products, determining a serving amount will be much harder.
Start With a Low Serving Size
When you first begin using CBD oil, it’s a good idea to start with a low serving size. This gives you a chance to determine your body’s reaction to CBD. One option is to start with 1mg of CBD for every 20 pounds of weight. Using this rule, someone weighing 100 pounds should start with 5 milligrams, while someone weighing over 200 pounds can start with 10 milligrams, and so on.
Start Before Bedtime
When first using CBD oil, it’s best to start at night — about an hour before bedtime. That way, if CBD has a tendency to make you drowsy, you’re not dragging during the daytime. It’s uncommon for a low serving size of CBD to cause drowsiness, but it’s good to be sure. If you have no issues, then take another serving in the morning. If CBD oil does make you sleepy, then take it at night. Often CBD oil is used to support both nighttime sleep and daytime focus, in which case it can be taken as needed throughout the day.
Increase Your Serving Size Slowly
If all goes well but you have not achieved your desired results, you can try doubling your servings. Each time you increase your serving size, take a few days to make note of how your body feels.
If a rise in serving size produces unwanted effects such as making you drowsy, back off to a lower serving.
Can You Take Too Much CBD Oil?
CBD is non-toxic. You would have to consume quite a bit of CBD oil before it results in any truly adverse health effects.
However, taking more CBD than needed might cause some unwanted effects such as making you too relaxed for particular activities like work or sports.
Once you have arrived at a particular serving based on the product you are using, it’s a good idea to stick with that product.
Ways to Take CBD Oil
Let’s now take a look at some of the ways to take CBD oil and the pros and cons of each, in order to help you to determine which product, or products, are right for you.
Some of the factors that should be considered when determining which product is ideal for you are your lifestyle, the reasons you’re using CBD oil, the time to take effect and the bioavailability of the method.
In regards to lifestyle, some products are more convenient than others, some products travel better than others and some products are simply more enjoyable to use than others. Capsules are preferred for traveling, for instance. There’s nothing to drop and break or spill.
Certain methods are better for certain uses. For example, if you’re using CBD to support skin health, you can get it directly by using a topical product. If you’re using a CBD product to support a good night’s rest, a special formulation such as CBD Softgels with Melatonin could be more beneficial than regular softgels.
As mentioned, various methods of use require different amounts of time to take effect. For example, edibles can take upwards of an hour or more to take effect, whereas inhalation methods are virtually instantaneous.
Bioavailability, as we pointed out earlier, is the amount of CBD that actually makes its way into your bloodstream. If time is not a consideration, your main consideration should be value. CBD is not inexpensive like products such as vitamins and minerals. You definitely want to try to maximize the value you get for your money. If a product has only 10% bioavailability, you’re essentially paying five times more for your CBD than if you used a product which has a 50% bioavailability.
Another consideration is how accurate you would like to be with your servings. It’s easy to gauge a serving when you’re taking capsules, for example, but much harder to gauge serving size when vaping since it depends on factors such as how much you inhale and how deeply you inhale it.
With that knowledge, let’s take a closer look at the best uses, pros and cons of individual ways of taking CBD.
CBD Oils and Tinctures
Earlier, we discussed the fact that there are a variety of products which makers refer to as CBD oil. These can include everything from raw hemp extract to more refined products to pure CBD-infused oil. There are also a number of types of oil which are used as a base for CBD oil. Some CBD oil products also contain added ingredients such as additional terpenes, essential oils and vitamins.
Pros and Cons of Oils and Tinctures
Tinctures are generally used at home in the morning and the evening, and can also be used at work if your situation allows it.
The downside of tinctures and oils is that they don’t travel well. They can be messy if you’re trying to use them on the go. They also generally come in a breakable bottle with a breakable dropper. If you’re looking for a product to take hiking, for example, tinctures are probably not your best choice.
CBD Oil Capsules
CBD oil capsules are generally delivered orally. There are cases where you might want to puncture a capsule for use on the skin, but for the most part, this is an orally administered product.
Capsules are made with gelatin, which melts within minutes in your stomach and delivers the entire serving of CBD oil. This means that none of it will get absorbed into the tissues in your mouth or throat. And, depending on whether or not you take them with food, very little is likely to make its way through the rest of your digestive system.
Pros and Cons of Capsules
As we mentioned, capsules, because they dissolve quickly, will deliver a serving of CBD directly into your stomach.
Capsules are also very convenient and easy to use with no mess, and they also allow for exact serving sizes. If a CBD Softgels capsule contains 25 milligrams of CBD, assuming you’re using a reputable manufacturer with good production methods, you know you’re getting a serving of 25 milligrams of CBD.
One downside of capsules is that they take longer to feel the effects. Also as mentioned, when taken on an empty stomach very little of the CBD will make its way into your body as most of it will be directly absorbed into the lining of your stomach. But this is easily avoidable by taking the capsule with food.
It’s also important to note here that capsules that do not use nanoemulsions have far lower bioavailability than those that do contain nanoemulsions.
CBD-infused topicals include skin creams, balms, salves and oils. Once again, these products can be infused with pure CBD, or they can contain a PCR CBD oil. The same rule applies — the products with the full or broad spectrum oils will contain other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
Topicals often have a variety of additional beneficial ingredients meant to contribute to the overall effects. For example, skin creams may contain moisturizers, vitamin E, collagen and so on. Pain creams may contain ingredients meant to help the product penetrate deeper into tissues and aid in pain relief. Salves may contain other soothing and healing ingredients such as aloe.
Pros and Cons of Topicals
Topicals (such as CBD Salve) are great for use on a particular area of skin or underlying muscles and joints. They deliver the CBD and other beneficial ingredients directly where they can do the most good.
However, they take some time to apply and can be a little messy. This may not be a concern for you if you use these kinds of products regularly.
Another thing to consider is that, when taken internally either orally or inhaled, CBD will make its way to all areas of your body, including your skin. If overall skin health is your goal, you may just opt for one of those other applications rather than having to apply a topical all over your skin.
Which brings up a side note — when receiving a massage, generally an oil is used on the entire body. This is a great opportunity to give your skin some extra love by adding some CBD oil to your massage oil.