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A Beginner’s Guide to CBD Products and How They Work

As an alternative to opiates or over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and aspirin, cannabidiol — CBD, for short — can offer relief that has less of an internal impact on the body, especially where addiction is concerned. To experience these benefits, CBD can be ingested via tincture, lotion, gummies, and can even be smoked. What’s the best way for you to gain the benefits you’re looking for? Come along with The Manual to navigate the CBD world.

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CBD Oils and Tinctures

A bottle of tincture.
Vaping360.

These liquids (usually oils) are infused with CBD and delivered via dropper under the tongue. This area is full of tiny capillaries that absorb the compounds quickly. Try to avoid swallowing for at least a minute or else you are essentially eating the tincture.

Oils and tinctures are a good choice for anyone who can’t take pills or capsules. 2.5 to 5 milligrams of tincture is a common starting dose. This allows for consistent, measurable dosing. Make sure to pay close attention to the label on your CBD tincture. Doses will usually be measured per spray.

Absorbed and distributed evenly into the bloodstream via the mouth, the tincture’s effect will arise anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and peak within an hour or two after dropping, CBD oils usually combine compounds to provide ease from anxiety, a Zen-like calm, an energy boost, even a slight high when combined with THC.

After 6 to 8 hours, most of the THC and CBD has been metabolized or eliminated from the body. The compound is primarily a solvent like ethanol or sesame oil. Make sure you know what that is to avoid adverse side effects due to ingesting large amounts of carrier oil.

Creams, Lotions, and Massage Oils Made from CBD

CBD cream and oil.
Silviarita/PixaBay / cbd

What better way to let loose from the tension of a day than with a massage? Boosted by CBD, your body will quickly become a mess of loose limbs again.

CBD-infused topical creams, lotions, and oils are a great way to treat muscle and joint pain. As an added bonus, they can also help alleviate some skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.

To deliver CBD topical, use circular motions to convoy the sweetest relief. Whether it’s days spent hunched over laptops and mobile phones or recovering from intense physical exertion, natural CBD creams, lotions, and oil cools tight muscles, soothes tired tissues, and can layer with a subtle warmth that relaxes the body, mind, and soul

CBD balms can also reduce redness and inflammation on the skin, aiding the texture and tone of skin surfaces.

CBD in Capsules and Pills 

Hemp-derived CBD pills.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

CBD capsules and pills are most commonly consumed for systemic treatment of seizure disorders and digestive issues. Cannabinoids are absorbed in the gut and sent to the liver, which is why they have such a profound effect on conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. The Food and Drug Administration is in on the CBD game as well, recently approving Epidiolex, the first high-potency CBD drug taken to treat seizure disorders.

The drawback to CBD capsules and pills is that they require one to two hours to begin working, even on an empty stomach. This means that pills and capsules can take up to three hours with food, so it’s advisable not to re-dose for at least three hours after ingestion.

The longer-lasting effect of edibles and capsules make them suitable for many chronic conditions, but people need to be aware of the content of capsules and pills. Once in the liver, enzymes will modify the THC and CBD active in capsules and pills, which can cause a stronger high. Psychoactive effects might last up to six hours for some people, so new users should become comfortable with being high before using edibles containing THC.

CBD and Candied Edibles

CBD candied edibles.
Vaping 360 / Flickr

Gummies, chocolate, and other candied edibles are some of the most popular ways to take CBD. Not only are they an affordable, portable, fast way to distribute cannabinoids, they’re also tasty.

Hemp carries a bitter taste and gummies tend to be much more palatable to eat. While there are brands of flavored oils, edibles offer a more chewable texture than holding tincture beneath your tongue for at least a minute. This also means that gummy edibles are an easier method to measure your consumption.

Make sure that your product is backed up by third-party labs, and you should know precisely how much cannabidiol is in each edible with no guesswork involved. And similar to pills and capsules, edibles can be excellent medicine for chronic conditions in addition to elevating mood and reducing anxiety.

Smoking and Vaping CBD

CBD flower and vape pens.
Vaping 360/Flickr

Inhaling CBD, whether via heating oil from a vaporizer like e-cigs or smoking hemp flower, is the fastest way to experience effects. It also might be the most detrimental to your health.

Compounds are inhaled into and absorbed directly from the lungs into the bloodstream. Smoke, however, does damage to delicate lung tissue. The jury is still out on how much of an effect vaping has, but make sure that you are proceeding carefully when it comes to smoking or vaping CBD.

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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