How You Take CBD Matters — Here’s Why
There are a myriad of delivery systems for CBD and other cannabinoids . With sublingual CBD sprays and tinctures, vaping and smoking, topicals, edibles and more to choose from, it can seem overwhelming when the time comes to make a buying decision. Ultimately, the delivery system is just as important as the quality of the cannabinoid product and the ailment you seek to ease.
Let’s look at what cannabidiol is, the various delivery systems and the best way to take cannabinoids for some of the top ailments on consumers’ minds.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol — also referred to as CBD — is the naturally occurring active ingredient in cannabis. Often confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient that gets people high, cannabidiol is the compound that smart consumers add to their daily wellness routines. High levels of CBD are found in hemp, which is a genus of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. Although also part of the Cannabis species, Marijuana has different characteristics from its cousin Hemp, and contains more than 0.3% of the intoxicating cannabinoid THC.
CBD Delivery Systems
There are several ways to take CBD, and each has its pros and cons. Smoking is perhaps the most famous. It offers fast delivery of high concentrations. However, both smoking and vaping may be hard on the lungs.
Topicals come in a variety of forms. From creams and ointments to chapsticks and shampoos, this method aims to deliver CBD directly through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by absorption through the skin. While this may be useful for local relief, such as sore muscles, there are questions about its effectiveness and ability to reach neurotransmitters to manage other ailments such as stress and nighttime restlessness.
Edibles are often considered discrete and fun, and the options are nearly endless. However, the ingestion method of delivery is considered less effective and can take several hours before the effects of CBD are felt. Also, because ingredients and cooking methods vary, monitoring or managing the proper dosage can be challenging. Lastly, the digestive process relies on several factors like diet, metabolic rate (which changes day-to-day), the gut biome, hydration, and more. Combined, these factors make edibles much less predictable.
Sublingual, or under the tongue delivery is a much easier way to manage the dosage and produces long-lasting effects. These products also offer a variety of options, many of which have faster and better absorption to get the most out of your cannabinoids.
The Sublingual Method
The sublingual method of delivery is considered one of the most efficient and effective methods available. It’s much more reliable than topicals as it doesn’t rely on the skin for absorption, something affected by environmental factors, hydration, and the ability to reach neurotransmitters to be effective.
Similarly, the sublingual method effortlessly bypasses the digestive tract and liver. In doing so, it bypasses all the unpredictable influences on digestion, making the sublingual method much more reliable and effective than consuming edibles.
Choosing a sublingual method facilitates fast diffusion into the capillary network. That means this method reliably delivers more cannabis to your bloodstream faster. It further ensures the body metabolizes cannabis optimally while minimizing unwanted reactions through other delivery methods.
Sublingual sprays and tinctures – often oil-based for better absorption, these methods can match the dosage of an edible but with the clear and desirable benefit of getting more out of the sublingual method. The spray atomizes the liquid under the tongue to optimize surface area coverage and guarantee fast delivery. The Tincture is typically delivered with an eye dropper, and dissipates just a bit slower than the spray.
Sublingual strips – the best of both worlds, strips pack a fast dose of cannabis in an instantly dissolving paper-thin strip. Just like other sublingual methods, strips deliver a reliable cannabis dose but without the sometimes oily residue sensation of a tincture. Strips are used world-wide in traditional and alternative medicine to deliver a variety of medications, to preserve a consistent experience. Sublingual cannabinoid products are no different.
Everyone experiences different results when consuming cannabinoids. That’s because everybody has different absorption rates, slower and faster metabolisms, and they may react slightly differently to CBD, even when the sublingual method is consistent. The optimal amount of cannabinoids can be very personalized, which is why it is often best to start with a small amount and slowly increase the dose every few days. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a cannabis-trained nurse for a guiding hand and personalized support on your cannabinoid journey.
Cannabinoid products are here to stay. The only question is why you want to use CBD and the best delivery method for your symptoms. For those who aren’t seeking specific relief, personal preference is the deciding factor in any of the delivery methods mentioned earlier.
However, for first time CBD users, the sublingual method may be the most desirable in terms of absorbability and ease of tracking the amount taken to find one’s optimal amount.
Michelle is a Colorado-based writer specializing in bringing the latest science-based revelations to laypersons for the benefit of humans and animals in the fields of health, medicine and biotechnology. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking the Rockies, honing her indoor gardening skills and reading a good book.
- Gallup — 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products
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- Johns Hopkins — Coronavirus: Smoking, Vaping, Wildfire Smoke and Air Pollution