CBD seems to be the modern answer to everything from anxiety to headaches and I've seen the benefits personally so I'm an advocate for it's continued use. However, what was once a simple landscape involving mostly just creams and oil has blossomed into a complex market with vaping pens, gummies, tincture, and others. This explosion is driven by savvy consumers looking to fit this "miracle product" into their lives in a way that works best for them. Let's take a look at some of the different ways that you can consume CBD today ...
What Is Cannabidiol?
First off, for those of you who aren't familiar with CBD yet, Cannabidiol is one of 113 identified cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and can amount to up to 40% of the total extract from a typical plant. Unlike consuming the whole plant though, consuming CBD offers no psychotropic effects that we most commonly associate with marijuana. Instead, ongoing research is revealing a host of other benefits in treating anxiety, cognitive disorders, pain relief, and helping with muscle recovery. With all of these potential benefits, it isn't surprising that people are lining up to develop various delivery methods to maximize the effect.
Is CBD Legal?
While laws governing CBD and other cannabis-derived products are confusing here in the United States, other countries have made easier to understand ones. For instance, in Canada marijuana is legal in most forms and you can even buy it online from companies like BuyWeedPacks. However, in the UK, while medical cannabis is legal with a prescription - recreational use is still illegal. Here though, CBD products are legal if it contains no more than 0.2% THC and the THC must not be easily separated from it.
This conversation has gotten a bit more complicated in recent years as the definition of CBD has expanded. For instance, today we still have fully medical CBD products but we also see a rise in other cannabinoids that depending on what state you are living in have different regulations. Some of these are stronger than others and likewise have different consumption goals. For instance - Delta 8 and Delta 9 products are still legally on a federal basis and typically derived from processed hemp-sourced cannabidiol "CBD" but contain THC and will produce a high in the consumer.
Among the most common methods are creams and oils that you apply topically, oils, gelcaps, and gummies that are consumed orally, and of course people are also smoking or using a CBD pen to consume it as well. The best method for you to take CBD will depend on what symptoms you are trying to treat. For instance, muscle pain and skin ailments are best served with topical creams, whereas anxiety might be better treated through gummies or vaping. Ultimately, make sure to consult with your doctor, holistic health practitioner, or dispensary before starting a CBD regimen as this shouldn't be taken casually. You should always treat it like any other medicine and seek advice from a health practitioner before starting any new medical treatment.
Vaping and Smoking CBD
Personally, this is my least preferred method of consuming CBD. Frankly speaking, all smoking and vaping activity is bad. You should protect your lungs and with the exception of specific medicines designed to treat lung ailments - i.e. asthma inhalers, you should avoid inhaling anything you don't need to. Regardless, this is a popular method of consumption and so there are tons of CBD vape pen (vapingdaily gives useful hints) products on the market.
Smoking and vaping CBD delivers the chemicals to the brain rapidly compared to absorbing it through the skin or orally where it is digested in the stomach. As a result, this is a good method for those seeking pain relief, relief from anxiety, and stress reduction. While a CBD oil vape can be formulated to eliminate or reduce most of the THC and other components of the natural plant, smoking the flower however will have the terpenes and cannabinoids found naturally in the plant. However, there are specific strains that have been bred to reduce as much THC as possible.
People also find that the simple act of using a CBD pen or smoking the flower has the natural effect of reducing stress because it helps you control breathing patterns. Even with nothing to consume, simply taking some slow, deep breaths, and stopping your daily routine for a few moments will provide a relaxing effect on the body.
Topical CBD Creams, Ointments, and Transdermal Patches
This is probably the easiest method for most people and an excellent method for those seeking to alleviate muscle and joint pain. Heather uses a Care By Design 50% CBD / THC cream for pain relief on her foot. However, she found that it also works well in treating psoriasis by applying the cream to the affected areas. Often times these creams and ointments will be blended with other herbs and natural remedies to help address a specific issue such as for pain relief or muscle recovery, so make sure to read the label closely.
CBD creams can also be good for arthritis pain since there is medicinal value in the cream itself as well as the act of rubbing it into your sore joints can also be therapeutic.
For those looking for ongoing relief from pain, there are also transdermal patches that work in a similar way. This is especially good for people who have issues with motion sickness since it can continue to work overtime without having to worry about re-applying the CBD cream.
Oral CBD Consumption - Gummies, Soft Gels, and Oils
One of the most popular methods of consuming CBD is as an oil. CBD oil is generally called a tincture and consumed by pacing it under your tongue and holding it there to absorb into the lining of your mouth. However, you can also mix it in with food or even drinks though it may not be ingested as easily. Gummies are also very popular too - just as they are with vitamins and other supplements. The same goes for gel caps. Generally, these oral consumption methods are best for those seeking a full-body effect. This is because unlike applying a cream to an affected area, the chemicals in CBD will travel rapidly throughout your entire body. Because of this, it is a good way to treat sleep issues, anxiety, or cognitive ailments.
In San Diego, I highly recommend the SDRC dispensary as their shop has a great selection of CBD products and knowledgeable staff. It can be a bit overwhelming initially so having someone to help answer questions is always appreciated. For those located in the United Kingdom, Mirror Online recently voted Blessed CBD - which was recently voted the best UK CBD oil in the UK and can be purchased online by UK residents.
When you do visit your dispensary though, make sure to check the product to select the right type of CBD for you. Don't hesitate to ask questions that might seem stupid.
Some products are THC-free and are best for those that may need to pass tests designed to look for marijuana use. Others are full-spectrum CBD that includes other terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant. Research is still being conducted, but many people believe that full-spectrum products are superior in specific instances compared to CBD-only formulations. Under Federal laws, CBD products processed from the hemp plant are legal to possess as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent TLC. However, it is still considered illegal when sold with the claim of therapeutic benefit. Unfortunately, those laws make things confusing for most consumers. However, in states like California where recreational marijuana is legal to purchase from state-sanctioned dispensaries, so are CBD products. Unfortunately, even here the CBD laws are confusing and still being written through the risk to consumers of purchasing products from a dispensary is very minimal.
However, even though you are unlikely to be caught, I probably would avoid traveling out of state with it, just to be safe.
Whatever way you prefer to consume your CBD, this is a very cool time to be involved in the space. As more consumers, regulators, retailers, doctors, and entrepreneurs are getting involved in the space the less "dark and scary" it is. This is ultimately a great thing for all of us and I look forward to seeing more innovations in the future.