Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained widespread popularity for its ability to fight inflammation, pain, nausea, anxiety and many other conditions without imparting the high that we normally associate with marijuana.
There are a number of CBD products available on the market, from edibles and tinctures to sublinguals and vaporizers. With so much variety, how do you know which methods of delivery are best for you? Never fear, we’ll go over some of all the most popular ways to consume CBD so you can find a delivery method that works well for your needs.
CBD can be sourced from marijuana or hemp, and while they’re the same species of plant—Cannabis sativa—there are some differences between the two. Hemp is naturally low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in CBD. Hemp-based CBD oil is sold across the country and tends to be more accessible. These oils have a THC content that’s less than 0.3%, making them eligible to be sold outside of dispensaries, though they tend to contain far less CBD than oil derived from cannabis.
CBD oil made from cannabis contains more than 0.3% THC and also contains higher levels of complementary phytocannabinoids. Both THC and CBD are phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, but the plant actually contains many other phytocannabinoids in lower levels. These other phytocannabinoids are also believed to have medicinal qualities, and they are thought to interact with both CBD and THC to produce greater medicinal effects than each individual phytocannabinoid could do alone.
This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect, and many people claim that without the additional cannabinoids, CBD is far less effective medicinally.
Unless you’re smoking or vaping high CBD flower, all CBD that’s consumed must first be extracted from the plant. CBD is extracted from marijuana using a variety of solvents—a liquid that separates cannabis’s beneficial components like CBD and THC from the rest of the plant. The solvent and extraction method used depends on what the manufacturer intends to make with the end product.
One of the most common methods of CBD oil extraction is through the use of carbon dioxide or CO2. This method uses low temperatures and high pressures to create a potent and pure CBD oil. Ethanol is also commonly used in the extraction process, and when done appropriately, is better at preserving terpenes, aromatic compounds found in cannabis that can also contribute to the entourage effect.
The end result of these extraction processes is a thick resinous CBD oil or extract that can be made into a variety of products.
A CBD tincture consists of CBD oil that’s mixed with a liquid so that it can be administered via dropper. In herbal medicine, tinctures are herbal extracts mixed with a liquid—often alcohol or vegetable glycerin. CBD oils can be compounded with both of these liquids, but it’s more common to find CBD oils mixed with olive oil, hemp oil and fractionated coconut oil. This addition of healthy fats makes it easier for your body to process CBD. In the cannabis world, tinctures refer to CBD or THC oils that are compounded in liquid—whether it be alcohol, glycerin or another oil.
Tinctures can contain cannabis oils with CBD and little-to-no THC, while others come in varying CBD to THC ratios. A tincture can be taken through a dropper directly into the mouth or mixed into food or drink. Tinctures can be a discreet method of administration for cannabis, making it a good option for patients who need doses throughout the day.
Sublingual sprays are concentrated cannabis tinctures that are sprayed under the tongue. By holding these products under your tongue where a large number of capillaries provide a direct route for cannabis to enter your bloodstream, consumers should be able to feel the CBD oil’s effects in as little as 15 minutes.
You can get sublingual sprays in a variety of CBD to THC ratios, depending on your desired results. Care by Design makes a range of high CBD sublingual tinctures with varying amounts of THC. Sublingual sprays can be discreet and allow for a patient to have a choice of multiple different CBD to THC ratios depending on what symptoms they are trying to target, or the time of day they are administering their medication.
CBD oil can be ingested directly, but many consumers prefer to put the oil into capsules to be taken like regular pills. CBD oil or decarboxylated flower can also be mixed into different foods like smoothies, or it can be baked into edibles. Pre-made CBD edibles are available in dispensaries and can be a great option for people who desire to have a discreet administration method for their medical cannabis.
CBD edibles, like tinctures come in varying CBD to THC ratios. Depending on the amount of THC in the edibles, you may want to start with a small amount, wait for 30 minutes to an hour to see how you feel, and then take more as needed.
Topical products come in a variety of different forms, from salves to creams, and can be applied directly to the skin. CBD topicals have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Topical products are typically non-psychoactive, no matter their concentration of THC or CBD. CBD topicals can aid in reducing inflammation, which can help people who suffer from conditions such as arthritic joint pain or muscle aches.
Vaporizing allows for the effects of CBD to be felt quickly and tends to be a cleaner method of inhaling cannabis than smoking. Vaporizers come in many shapes and forms—some are convenient and portable while others, known as desktop vaporizers, must be plugged into an outlet for use.
Some vaporizers consist of a battery unit and a refillable cartridge that contains CBD oil. These cartridges are usually disposable and consumers buy a new cartridge when needed. Good examples of these are the Bloom Farms Highlighters and associated cartridges.
Desktop vaporizers aren’t portable and usually must be plugged into a power source to function. These often have much more potent effects than portable vaporizers and can often be used to consume both CBD concentrates and flowers.
Vape technology is always improving and now there are a few vaporizers on the market that allow consumers to vape both high CBD concentrates and flowers on-the-go. For example, the PAX 3 allows consumers to vaporize both CBD extracts and bud in a sleek, portable design.
Some vaporizers can be costly, so for those who are hesitant about such a commitment, there are also high CBD disposable vape pens available. DomPens are disposable and a good option for convenient, on-the-go vaporizing.
If none of the above methods of CBD consumption appeal to you, you can always go with a classic: smoking. Smoking CBD can be done through a variety of means—joints, pipes and bongs are the most common. Like vaporizing, smoking CBD imparts immediate effects. The following are a few high CBD strains that you may want to look out for if considering this method.
Charlotte’s Web was created for a young girl who suffered from seizures. This strain has less than 0.3% THC and about 13% CBD. Charlotte’s web is a sativa and has no psychoactivity associated with it. Charlotte’s Web is popular for the treatment of seizures, but it can also be very helpful for other conditions that respond positively to high levels of CBD.
Canna-Tsu is a CBD-rich hybrid of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami, which are both individually high CBD strains. Canna-Tsu, unlike Charlotte’s Web, has noticeable amounts of the cannabinoids THC and CBN, but it is highest in CBD. Canna-Tsu is about 13% CBD and is a great choice for pain management and anxiety. Most patients do not experience psychoactivity while using Canna-Tsu. It does, however, have about 10% THC, so some psychoactivity is possible for patients who are particularly sensitive.
Harlequin is a sativa-dominant hybrid with a 5:2 ratio of CBD to THC. Harlequin has little to no psychoactivity and is particularly helpful for people with stress, anxiety, or depression, because of its low content of THC compared to CBD. Harlequin can also be helpful for pain management, especially during the day for patients who do not want to experience any psychoactivity.
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