All of the information about CBD out there can seem confusing and overwhelming. It can be hard to even know where to start when deciding if CBD is the right fit, and if so, which product will be the most beneficial. One of the biggest things to consider is delivery method. There are several options, each with their own pros and cons. Understanding some of the available options can help narrow down which delivery method to choose.
Some people find smoking dry hemp flower the most convenient way to consume CBD. Dry herb can be smoked with a pipe, rolled up with papers or placed in a water pipe. One plus side of smoking dry herb is that the CBD takes effect very quickly. There are a great deal of troubling concerns that go along with smoking though. The smoke itself can be very irritating to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Carcinogens and other unwanted byproducts are present in the primary and secondhand smoke. Smoking really isn’t a very efficient way to extract CBD from the dry herb, since so much is destroyed or lost in side smoke, similar to the loss of THC from smoking cannabis. Also, depending on your state, possessing and/or smoking the dry herb could be illegal.
It’s hard not to notice the growing trend of vaping in the US. It can get a little confusing since there are so many different products out there these days. There are two different kinds of vaping when it comes to CBD, dry herb or e-liquid.
Dry Herb Vaping
Dry herb vaping works by heating the herb to a temperature that is just shy of combustion. So it’s really close to actually catching on fire, but not quite. This causes the CBD and other cannabinoids to vaporize into a mist that can be inhaled. Once the CBD and other oils are used up, vapor stops being produced and the leftover dry herb can be discarded.
To make CBD vape juice, pure cannabidiol is diluted in a carrier oil, usually MCT made from coconut or palm kernel oil. That way, it will vaporize more easily.The whole idea behind vaping using e-liquid is to heat it just enough to turn it into a mist or vapor. This vapor is then inhaled. With both methods, the lungs pass the CBD directly to the bloodstream where it then circulates throughout the body. Just like smoking dry herb, vaping CBD makes it take effect very quickly.Vaping is considered safer than smoking raw herb, but the long-term health effects are still unknown. Just because something is “safer” doesn’t mean that it’s safe. You also have to purchase a vaporizer that will work with either your dry herb or your e-liquid. These devices can be pretty pricey and require maintenance and replacement parts.And just like smoking, possessing and consuming the dry herb is illegal in many areas.
Oral ingestion is just a fancy way of saying taking CBD by mouth. The cannabidiol is either dissolved in a drink, put onto food or placed in capsules and swallowed.This is a very easy way to ingest CBD that doesn’t require a bunch of fancy equipment and is much more discreet than smoking dry herb or vaping.One downside of oral ingestion is that it’s really inefficient. When you swallow CBD, a bunch of it is lost as it passes through your digestive system and liver. Studies have shown that only about 13%-19% of the CBD you swallow makes it into your bloodstream. This means you have to take a much larger dose than with other methods.Some people also have side effects from oral CBD, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.Taking CBD orally also means that the effects will take longer to set in, although some argue that they last longer.
Sublingual and buccal may sound fancy and complicated, but they just mean under the tongue and inside the cheek, respectively. A tincture or spray is put in a person’s mouth and held under their tongue, or between their gum and cheek. The CBD is absorbed into their bloodstream through the soft membranes of the mouth. This is a much quicker and more efficient way to take CBD than oral ingestion and doesn’t have the potential risks of smoking or vaping. While not perfect, the bioavailability for sublingual or buccal administration is up to 35%.
Topical CBD is spread over the skin so that it can be absorbed directly in a problem area. This allows the CBD to penetrate exactly where it’s needed instead of it having to travel around the entire body before it reaches the area that needs it most. Topical application skips absorption through the digestive system or lungs. So it may help lessen unwanted side effects.
Why is Topical Sometimes Best?
With other delivery methods of CBD, people are dosing their entire body. That increases the chances of side effects, like:
But topical is a spot treatment that doesn’t travel around the rest of the body. CBD taken orally, sublingually/buccally or vaped can also interact with certain prescription medications. It can change the way that some drugs are metabolized by your body. This can lead to higher than normal doses of some drugs entering the bloodstream. This could turn a normal dose of medication into an overdose, potentially increase medication side effects or slow the body’s ability to clear and eliminate a drug.With other medications, those known as prodrugs, CBD can reduce the amount that enters your bloodstream, making the drug less effective. With topical application, the CBD goes directly to the area that needs treatment, instead of being spread out over the entire body. This could lessen possible side effects and interactions.Vaping and smoking also expose the user to carcinogens that can carry long-term health consequences. Topical CBD has no carcinogens whatsoever.Topical application is also very easy and discreet. There’s no need for expensive equipment and it’s not necessary to find a location where vaping is permitted.
So all around, topical CBD may be the best choice, all things considered.