As CBD usage continues to increase in popularity across the country, many people find themselves wondering what method of consumption is right for them to be able to enjoy its benefits. From edibles to topicals to oils, the decision on what kind of CBD to use can be incredibly confusing.
But choosing the best form of CBD for you doesn’t need to be difficult. By considering things like your lifestyle and the type of relief you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the best way to use CBD for your unique benefit. Here’s what you need to know about CBD when choosing the best form for you.
The Benefits of CBD
The first thing you need to do when shopping for CBD is to identify the benefits that you are searching for. Whether you’re looking for pain relief or a sleep aid, CBD can help. But every form of CBD works slightly differently than the others and can provide effects in different ways too. This makes some CBD products more useful for certain ailments and relief than others. So, knowing what benefits you want from your CBD is an important step in choosing the best CBD for you. Some of the benefits that CBD can provide for you include:
CBD has been proven to be an extremely helpful tool as a form of pain relief. Not only does it contain anti-inflammatory properties, but it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system by binding to pain receptors and cannabinoid receptors to help relieve tension and pain. CBD has become especially popular within the chronic pain community, as it has provided high levels of relief for those who have tried multiple treatments for their issues. Many people opt for CBD to treat pain so they can avoid taking medication.
A variety of research has shown that CBD can help lower stress levels and combat anxiety in both people and animals. When it binds with your CB1 and CB2 receptors, your body ultimately relaxes. And while research hasn’t completely identified how CBD and cannabinoids work throughout your endocannabinoid system, CBD has still turned into a helpful tool for many people dealing with stress and anxiety across the country.
Studies found that a majority of the patients that were given CBD to combat a sleep disorder, like insomnia, saw a drastic increase in the amount of sleep they received each night. This is thought by experts to again be a result of the way CBD interacts within your endocannabinoid system. For those who took CBD to help them sleep, they found that not only did the amount of sleep they received each night go up, but the quality of sleep they were getting overall did too.
Many people have started using CBD as a way to calm down after a long day. With both CBD and other cannabidiol properties interacting with each other and your ECS system, it can create feelings of happiness and even give the user a slight ‘buzz.’ This buzz is nothing like when high percentages of THC are consumed, though. This feeling is described more so as a state of relaxation or calmness, helping the mind to slow down.
Help With Nausea
For those who struggle with nausea, you understand just how difficult it can be to function properly when you’re not feeling well. Especially for those who deal with nausea often, any sort of remedy to help you feel less sick can feel like a miracle. Research has shown that CBD may be able to combat nausea because of how it binds to the body’s serotonin receptors.
Fights Neurological Disorders
CBD is also well-known for its neuroprotective properties. In fact, CBD is now an approved form of treatment for two forms of Epilepsy. Its neuroprotective properties, along with the way that the variety of cannabidiol compounds work within multiple bodily systems, can help to combat the degenerative properties of neurological disorders. Research has shown progress in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy.
The Most Common Forms of CBD
After deciding what you want your CBD to help with, finding the form of it that works best for you and your lifestyle is your next step.
Gummies and Edibles
Edibles are some of the most popular CBD products on the market. By combining the great taste of sweets and adding in the relieving effects of CBD, consumers have their choice of a large selection of flavors and potencies when buying them. Not only are they easy to use, but they also have longer-lasting effects than other kinds of CBD. For many, edible forms of CBD are a more socially acceptable way to consume it versus other products, such as flower.
Unlike their other CBD counterparts, topicals are applied externally on the body to experience effects. Lotions, balms, and salves are great ways to target specific areas where you may be experiencing pain or are looking for relief. By applying CBD transdermally, relief is provided quickly and accurately. CBD in its topical form is a great choice for anyone looking to not have to ingest it or smoke it.
Using CBD oil derived from the hemp plant, vaporizers allow users to inhale CBD without having to light it. Vaporizers are accessible, convenient, and won’t break your bank, making them another good choice for people looking to enjoy CBD. They are also a great alternative for those looking to quit smoking.
Oils and Tinctures
CBD oil and tinctures have high bioavailability rates, meaning that they are absorbed much faster in the bloodstream. This makes them one of the more fast-acting forms of CBD. Oils and tinctures can both be consumed in multiple ways, such as using the dropper and placing the oil below your tongue or adding them to your tea.
Capsules offer a quick and easy way for anyone to enjoy the benefits of CBD by simply swallowing a pill. Capsules offer varying potencies and can be strategically created to provide specific benefits that a user may be looking for. CBD in capsule form is most commonly used for sleep and fast-acting relief.
Flower is the most basic form your CBD can come in. Many people are unsure of CBD in its flower form because they’re intimidated by its cousin, THC. Luckily, research has come far enough to allow us to grow plants with little to no THC and only CBD, depending on what the goal properties of the plant are.
Transdermal patches are another way that CBD can help with pain relief without being ingested. Patches can be placed on your skin, and target problem areas help to provide immediate help with pain and muscle tension.
Full Spectrum Vs. Broad Spectrum
When shopping for CBD products, you might notice the phrases “broad spectrum” and “full-spectrum” as you search. These are terms for the way that CBD is derived and the different cannabidiol compounds that make up the product.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD has several other cannabidiol compounds as well as often containing low levels of THC (less than 0.3%). CBD that’s considered “full spectrum” contains benefits from the entire hemp plant, hence the name. Keeping the various cannabidiol properties, like terpenes, in CBD allows the compounds to interact with each other fully. Research has found that when these compounds interact with each other as well as CBD, it can create the phenomenon known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect results in a more potent, therapeutic experience from CBD.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum CBD also contains a variety of compounds from the hemp plant but does not contain THC. Broad spectrum products are a good choice for anyone that may have to take a drug test, as every once in a while, the faint levels of THC in full spectrum CBD can lead to a false-positive test. CBD labeled as broad spectrum can still provide most of the same benefits as full spectrum, just without some of the compounds. It’s also been found to be more helpful in some different areas than full spectrum, like as an anti-inflammatory and antiseizure aid.
What Are You Looking for in Your CBD?
Each form of CBD offers a unique experience. So, knowing the benefits that you are looking to receive will help you in your search for the perfect form of it for you.
Here are some comparisons of the different methods of consumption and what they may work best for:
Edibles Vs. Oil/Topicals/Vaporizers/Flower
Edibles are a relatively new method of enjoying CBD that have become immensely popular within recent years as developments in research have continued. Edibles not only combine delicious flavors like fruit or chocolate into their products, but they also are easy to use as you just ingest them. They are the perfect choice for those looking to experience relief that’s more long-lasting. CBD edibles are discrete, making them especially easy to use when on the go. Most CBD edibles are made from a mix of concentrated CBD oil that’s amount is adjusted per product. They’re also seen by many as a more socially acceptable form of taking cannabis products.
In comparison to vaporizers and oils, edibles can be a bit slower-acting due to their lower bioavailability rates. That being said, edibles are still one of the most popular methods of consuming CBD for their long-lasting, relaxing effects that are produced when they’re consumed. On top of that, edibles offer a form of consumption that doesn’t involve smoking, which is advantageous to most. This helps to avoid issues that some may deal with from smoking, like a sore throat or phlegm. Edibles offer a quick and convenient way to enjoy CBD without having to do much work at all. But one of the downsides of edible CBD is that it is often harder to measure your dosages, especially when you’re making some for yourself at home.
In comparison to topicals, edibles offer a different kind of relief. Topical forms of CBD like lotions or balms are mostly used for pain relief and muscle relaxing because they are applied externally. So, an edible creates more of a full mind and body relaxation experience, whereas topicals can target more specific areas that need relief without affecting your mind. Edibles are the most common choice for people who are looking for anxiety and stress relief as well as long-lasting relaxation.
Oil Vs. Edibles/Vaporizers/Topicals/Flower
CBD oil, on the other hand, does not take as long to metabolize as edibles do. This is because oils have a much higher bioavailability rate, allowing them to be absorbed faster within the body. Oil is another great smokeless alternative to vaporizers or CBD flower. It allows you to enjoy the benefits of CBD just as quickly as vaporizers or flower, but without having to heat it up in order to do so.
Oils and tinctures are extremely versatile and can be used individually or in combination with, say, a drink like tea. When taken individually, the quickest way to feel the effects of the CBD oil is by taking it sublingually. This simply means to take it by putting a few drops under your tongue and then proceeding to hold it there for about 30 seconds. This allows the oil to absorb in your bloodstream faster, resulting in quicker relief from your CBD. Oils and tinctures can also be mixed in with other things like your breakfast smoothie or a cup of coffee. When taking oils, results will be more similar to when you take an edible — not incredibly fast, but long-lasting as your body metabolizes it.
Oils and tinctures are a great way to use CBD if you’re looking for smokeless, fast-acting relief. Many people prefer oil and tinctures over edibles so that they can more easily manage their dosages and mix them with the flavors they prefer instead.
Vaporizers Vs. Edibles/Oils/Topicals/Flower
It’s more than likely you’ve seen someone using a CBD vape before, as their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. While smoking has been around for centuries, new technology that allows users to vaporize their products has drastically changed the way that CBD can be consumed. Vaporizers usually consist of some sort of coil that can heat up the CBD concentrate, allowing the user to inhale and exhale it, similarly to smoking flower. Using a vaporizer helps to eliminate the other chemicals that a user may come in contact with when putting their flower in something.
One of the top reasons so many people choose vaporizers as their method of consuming CBD is because of their quick-acting effects. When inhaling the smoke created by the vaporizer, the cannabinoids in the CBD immediately find their way into your bloodstream. Compared to CBD flower, vaporizers provide similar effects, just in a more convenient way. Another reason vaporizers are a nice choice is because they still provide the user with the act of smoking without actually having to smoke anything.
CBD is a helpful tool for many when trying to quit cigarettes. Another pro is that vaporizers can be used discreetly indoors or in private areas when necessary. But you need to be careful because they still create smoke that needs to be exhaled. When compared to edibles, vaporizers administer faster effects. On the other side, they are less discrete than edibles, so it ultimately depends on the experience you prefer.
In comparison to CBD oils and tinctures, vaporizers actually have an even higher bioavailability than them both. This is because when the CBD is vaporized, it is absorbed through the lungs, which have a thin blood barrier. This allows for around 60% of the product to be absorbed, almost double of which is absorbed by oils and tinctures. But, if you have lung issues, vaporizers might not be the best option for you.
Topicals Vs. Edibles/Oils/Vaporizers/Flower
Topicals provide a different spectrum of the CBD experience. When using topical CBD, all you have to do is rub it on the area of your body where you need relief. There is no internal consumption of the CBD involved. Topicals provide one of the most accurate forms of CBD pain relief because pain can be specifically targeted with their application. This is much different than edibles, oils, vaporizers, and flower, which all have to be consumed internally in some way. Topicals are applied transdermally and then absorbed into your bloodstream, providing relief.
While topicals are great for targeting pain and helping relieve it, they don’t provide the same calming effects on the mind and body that any of the other forms of CBD can. So, if you’re looking to use CBD for pain relief or muscle tension without having to experience some of the other effects, then CBD topicals might be right for you. They come in a variety of forms, from lotions to salves, and can be used on almost any part of the body. These are a great way to fight pain and tension in the body without taking medication.
CBD Flower Vs. Edibles/Oils/Vaporizers/Topicals
CBD flower gives users the experience of smoking with fast-acting effects. While it is most commonly lit on fire to be smoked, new vaporizers actually allow for flower to be vaporized instead of combusted. Smoking CBD provides more potent results than taking edibles orally and waiting for them to be metabolized. CBD flower is most similar to a CBD vape in terms of effects, with quick relief to be expected immediately. The downside of CBD flower is that it will most likely have to be smoked in order for you to enjoy its benefits, which is not always discrete and can be an issue for those with lung issues.
Smoking flower also makes for a more complicated way to track your dosages, compared to oils or store-bought edibles. Compared to ingesting oils, smoking CBD flower is not as convenient and may take longer to enjoy similar benefits. And compared to edibles, effects can be almost identical.
Choosing the Best CBD Form for You
Each form of CBD provides a unique experience with its own relieving effects. By knowing what you want your CBD to help with, the process of choosing the type of it becomes drastically easier. If you’re looking for a quick and convenient sleep aid, edibles like gummies might be your best bet. But if you’re looking more for a way to destress so you can enjoy your day, adding a few drops of a tincture in your morning coffee might help. Ultimately, the choice of which form of CBD you purchase comes down to your preference and what you think works best for your lifestyle.
Jenny Weatherall is the co-owner and CEO of Eminent SEO, a design and marketing agency founded in 2009. She has worked in the industry since 2005, when she fell in love with digital marketing… and her now husband and partner, Chris. Together they have 6 children and 3 granddaughters.
Jenny has a passion for learning and sharing what she learns. She has researched, written and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics, including: SEO, design, marketing, ethics, business management, sustainability, inclusion, behavioral health, wellness and work-life balance.