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CBD for Beginners: A Novice User Guide

by Kasey Donovan

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the resinous flowers of the cannabis plant. Cannabis has an extensive history as a medicinal substance dating back thousands of years. The earliest data we have of medical cannabis is from 2737 B.C. In ancient China, Emperor Shen Neng recommended cannabis tea to treat gout, malaria, rheumatism and poor memory. Today, scientists and doctors are studying the therapeutic properties of cannabis. 

In 2020, the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research conducted a review of 25 studies that took place between 2000 and 2019.

The popularity of CBD is increasing. This 2019 Gallup poll claims 14% of Americans use CBD products. Of these respondents, 40% use it for pain, 20% for anxiety, and 11% for insomnia. It’s estimated that the global CBD market will reach $13.4 billion in 2028.

If you’re interested in trying CBD, you’re certainly not alone. But with a myriad of CBD products on the market, it can be confusing to know where to start. KOR Medical wants to demystify CBD for you — check out our guide to CBD for beginners below. 

Common Questions and Concerns About CBD for Beginners

Most newcomers to CBD have the following two questions:

  1. Is it legal? (Yes)
  2. Will it get me high? (No)

Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal across the United States. Since this type of CBD contains little to no THC, you don’t have to worry about getting high from it. CBD is non-intoxicating, so you won’t feel “stoned” after consuming it.

Can CBD Help With My Specific Ailment?

While CBD hasn’t been approved as a medical treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is a lot of research being done about its potential benefits. If you’re curious whether CBD is right for your ailment, we’re here to help. You can contact a Leaf411 nurse here for free, personalized advice on the safe and legal use of CBD. We also encourage you to talk with your doctor about using CBD and its possible benefits for your lifestyle.

How Should I Consume CBD?

CBD products are beginning to be widely available in vitamin stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and online stores. These products include oils, balms, pills, edibles and vaping devices. How do you decide which form to use? There are benefits and drawbacks to each consumption method, and choosing the right one may require a mixture of research and trial and error. 

Sublingual CBD (Droppers, Strips, and Sprays)

CBD taken sublingually can be available as droppers, strips, and sprays. These types of products are created by extracting CBD from hemp or marijuana plants with CO2 or an alcohol-based solvent. 

Benefits of CBD Extracts

Aside from smoking or vaping, sublinguals can be one of the quickest absorption methods. After consuming CBD sublingually, the onset takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes. Sublingual absorption speeds up the activation process by allowing the product to enter more directly into the bloodstream. If you place the product on top of your tongue, it will likely be swallowed and absorbed by the digestive tract. CBD is absorbed more slowly by the digestive system. The fast-acting effects make it useful for those who are addressing acute ailments and do not want to inhale something into the lungs. 

To get the highest-quality CBD, look for a product that has a certificate of analysis (COA). This means a third party has analyzed and tested the product. Some COA’s can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the label with your phone. 

Additionally, look at the ingredients list and be mindful of similar-sounding products that don’t contain CBD. It is common to mix up hemp seed oil with hemp oil. Hemps seed oil does not contain active cannabinoids and is generally used for culinary purposes. Hemp oil contains the full plant extract including CBD.

Ingestibles (Edibles and Capsules)

Eating CBD-infused food or swallowing a CBD pill is a discreet and convenient method of consumption. Some edibles may have a distinct cannabis taste, but some flavors overpower the taste, which is not as noticeable. Most capsules are flavorless. 

If you are looking for fast-acting effects, edibles are not the ideal choice. Edibles take at least 30 minutes, and sometimes up to 2 hours, to process through the digestive system. One upside to capsules is that the dosing per pill can be more accurate than other forms. 

Topicals (Balms and Lotions)

CBD is available in various topical products that can be applied directly to sore joints or muscles. Most CBD topicals are created by mixing the extract into coconut oil or beeswax. This method is useful for relieving local discomfort, but will not provide full-body or mental effects.

Inhalable Methods (Vapes and Flower)

The fastest way to reap the benefits of CBD is by inhaling it into the lungs. When inhaled, CBD can enter the bloodstream in as quickly as 30 seconds. This can be achieved by vaporizing concentrated CBD oil or smoking raw hemp flower. Concentrated CBD oil is typically consumed through a vape pen, while flower can be smoked through glass pipes or rolled cigarettes. Some vape pens contain irritating additives, so you should look for solvent-free options whenever possible.

Optimizing the Amount of Cannabinoids

Another challenge with CBD for beginners is figuring out the ideal amount that works for a specific lifestyle. Here at KOR Medical, we are passionate about providing individuals with personalized support to help optimize their mental and physical wellness. Learn more about KOR Medical’s commitment to providing free, personalized support to customers via the Leaf411 Nurse Network.

Kasey Donovan is a copywriting and SEO specialist, music lover and cannabis enthusiast. In his free time, he’s having fun with his son Atticus, wife Jesse and two corgi-mixes, Zira and Ellie.