Over the last few years, CBD has become one of the hottest topics in the wellness industry, and one of the most sought-after natural supplements. But what exactly is CBD, how can you take it, and, perhaps the most importantly – what benefits does it have? If you feel a bit lost, do not worry – we are here to help! Read our in-depth guide to learn how to take your CBD and the optimal serving sizes.
CBD – or cannabidiol – is one of over one hundred cannabinoids, compounds naturally occurring in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. Like the overwhelming majority of the cannabinoids, CBD is non-psychoactive, thus the long list of effects of CBD does not include making you ‘high’. The psychoactive component, THC, is abundant in marijuana, but almost non-existent in the hemp plant and its preparations; to learn more about the differences between CBD products and marijuana, please click [here]). Instead, it exhibits an ever-expanding list of positive effects on the human body and mind; some of them have been recognized a while ago by modern medicine, some of them yet to be fully confirmed, explained… or even discovered!
As said, there are a few dozens of beneficial, non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant, including CBN or CBG which are just slowly beginning to attract public interest, but today let’s focus on CBD which is the most common and best-examined one. To learn more about those less-known cannabinoids and their effects on the endocannabinoid system please read our [in-depth blog post] on them.
Coming back to the effects of CBD, there are numerous areas where this cannabinoid can be helpful: from neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy of Dravet syndrome through sleep and eating disorders, to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. And whilst some of these fantastic benefits are exclusive for medical-grade, high-concentration prescription medications based on CBD isolate (such as the first FDA-approved CBD-based medicinal drug Epidiolex which has proven to be extremely efficient in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases), others can be enjoyed by everyone ready to incorporate this cannabinoid into their routines.
There are numerous ways a casual user can take CBD: oils, capsules, edibles, chewing gums, ointments, vapes, sweets – you name it!
In this article, we will focus on the most effective ways of adding CBD to your daily routine and help you to choose a product and concentration best suiting your needs
How much CBD to take
Whether you’re just starting out with hemp CBD oil or have long incorporated it into your everyday wellness routine, it’s likely that at some point you’ve wondered about the best ways to take your cannabidiol or about the right CBD serving sizes.
If you’re unsure about dosing CBD, know that you’re not alone! While questions around CBD servings are common, the answer can be less clear than you might expect.
Let us start out by explaining that when it comes to how much CBD a person should take, there is no perfect answer. Because of differences in characteristics like genetics, body makeup, bodyweight, metabolic rates, and health situations, the ideal CBD serving can vary by individual.
Further complicating matters is a lack of guidance from the local Food and Drug authorities across the EU. There is also a significant lack of consistent Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) guidelines. RDI is defined as the daily amount of a substance that meets the requirements of 97-98 percent of healthy individuals in the given area.
While they’re working on developing them now, at the moment there is no RDI for suggested daily CBD servings.
This said, there have been efforts to create guidelines for both the hemp & CBD industry as well as for the EU lawmakers; drawing from a growing body of scientific research on cannabinoids, such guidelines could help to create clear laws differentiating between food, dietary supplements and medical-grade products.
One of such RDI guideline was created by EIHA – the European Industrial Hemp Association. For a lack of better (as in: universally adopted by the EU member states) tool, let’s use resort to EIHA’s fairly cautious delimitations as a reference point for this article.
As you can see, the suggested daily intake of CBD for non-medical purposes falls between 20 and 160 mg of CBD, and this is the intake range this article is focusing on.
Qualities to look for in CBD products
As you can imagine, not all CBD products are made equal. Although there is nothing in the hemp plant as such that could harm you, choosing a CBD product from an untested source can have many consequences, ranging from disappointment… to problems with the law! This is why you should only buy CBD products from a trusted, reliable provider.
Following are the key indicators of a good-quality CBD product:
• Full-spectrum or broad-spectrum oil
Cannabinoids are known to exhibit ‘entourage effect’, that is they work best in presence of other hemp-derived compounds, such as other cannabinoids, but also naturally occurring terpenes and terpenoids;
• Exact cannabinoid content provided
For the user to be able to closely monitor and adjust the size of their daily CBD serving, they must obviously know how much CBD and other cannabinoids are there in the product. And whilst we are talking about serving sizes in milligrams which is one-thousandth of a gram, these measurements just have to be really precise;
• Closely monitored THC content
Although this point technically and logically belongs to the paragraph above, there is one very important reason we single out THC. Although the THC level allowed by law is 0,2% in most of the European countries (which, by the way, is far below any psychoactive threshold), there are some (like France or Russia) whose law state clearly that ANY amount of THC automatically classifies any hemp product as a drug. In the past, many shady companies have failed to meet this requirement, and the elevated THC levels in their products have put their users in jeopardy. To avoid any legal problems, only use CBD from trusted sources that test the cannabinoid levels of their products;
• Extraction method
The right extraction method not only preserves the valuable compounds of the hemp plant but also keeps the potentially detrimental ones – such as heavy metals or pesticides – away from the final product;
• The right plant
This last requirement is perhaps the hardest to test, at least to an average user. There are hundreds of Cannabis strains, with dozens created to maximize the CBD yield. Whilst any reasonable manufacturer should choose the best plants to suit their needs, this is always a great idea to make sure the plant used is optimized for the climate it is grown with and that its cannabinoids profile is just what we are looking for. Sadly, most CBD purveyors do not provide information about the exact strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant they use…
Although not always all boxes of the above list can be checked, there is one indicator that usually tells you that you’re on the right track: testing. If the company puts in place their own set of rigorous, multi-step lab tests, shares their results (ideally for every batch of the product), and is not squeamish about using external labs to test their extracts, then you’re probably dealing with a good-quality CBD.
Ways to take CBD
CBD is available in many shapes and forms – here are the five most popular, convenient, and effective delivery methods to take your cannabidiol.
One of the key factors is the bioavailability of CBD provided by each method, that is – how effectively and how quickly does it deliver cannabinoids to the receptors of your endocannabinoid system.
Remember, that this list is by no means comprehensive – perhaps you will find a rare way that best suits your needs on your own?
#1 CBD Oil
Undoubtedly the most popular way to take your CBD, CBD oils is also one of the most convenient choices. CBD oils are oily extracts of the hemp plant, and should – in theory – contain the full spectrum of compounds naturally occurring in the Cannabis plant. As cannabinoids dissolve in oils, it is the oily carrier – such as MCT coconut oil or hemp seed oil – that ensures the efficient absorption of the CBD.
For that reason, CBD oils are the best candidates to exhibit the beneficial entourage effect of the hemp compounds, and they are the best choice for general use. The CBD oils are easy to take and considerably easy to measure (many come with a convenient dropper, otherwise you would need to use a common teaspoon), although the exact CBD-per-serving sizes are usually just a rough estimate in the case of CBD oils.
Finally, CBD oils allow for countless different formulations, with varying levels of specific cannabinoids, which in combination with relative ease to control the dose makes them the most versatile way of taking your daily CBD.
CBD oils can be taken sublingually, that is by putting a few drops under a tongue (where the mucous tissue allows for quick absorption), or added to food, smoothies, drinks, etc… which allows CBD to be absorbed by our digestive system.
Taking CBD sublingually is one of the most efficient ways to take your cannabinoids, as it allows for the highest bioavailability which translates to a quicker onset, especially in comparison to longer, and more steady absorption in the digestive tract. Due to their distinct ‘hempy’ or even ‘grassy’ taste, mixing CBD oils with other aliments is often a good idea for new users!
It is important not to confuse CBD oils with CBD tinctures. CBD tincture is alcohol-based extracts that often contain as much as 70% alcohol. For this reason, they are not always the best way to take your CBD, especially for children (even though the amount of CBD tinctures taken are usually too small to make anyone intoxicated). In addition to that, CBD tinctures can also have a very strong, bitter taste but more importantly, alcohol is not the best carrier for CBD as all cannabinoids are best absorbed in oily forms.
#2 Topical CBD
As more and more research is conducted on the advantages of hemp oil, newer ways to use hemp-based products are being developed, including the utilization of our largest and most outward of organs — our skin. Interestingly, the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can be found in the skin, which opens the world of possibilities for CBD skincare products.
Hemp topicals include balms, salves, lotions, and oils that are infused with active hemp oil and applied to and absorbed directly through your skin. Topicals have grown in popularity in recent years, with hemp oil making its way into everything from lip balms and salves to cosmetics and skincare products.
Rather than ingesting hemp oil orally, which will affect the whole body and can take up to 2 hours or more to fully experience the effects, the topical application of hemp allows them to be absorbed directly into the affected area for the faster and more focused onset of effects.
This minimally invasive method for hemp oil use often serves as the first point of contact between curious consumers and hemp oil products. Reluctant to ingest hemp oil, new users may be more willing to try external applications for the first time before moving on to oral hemp oil supplements.
CBD-infused topicals can be great for skin, muscles, and joints, allowing their users to benefit from their moisturizing, nourishing, and soothing properties exactly where needed.
#3 CBD Edibles
CBD edibles are a great way to start introducing CBD to your diet. They can be made with CBD oil or infused with CBD isolates and can include chewing gums, honey, cookies, candies, or gummies.
Most forms of edibles can make it harder to precisely measure the amount of CBD taken, so it edibles are a solution recommended for general use, and not specific conditions requiring precise doses.
In comparison to putting CBD oil under your mouth, ingestion of CBD edibles results in a slower onset and longer effects, making it less recommendable for the users looking for instant effects, but more convenient if we need a lasting effect, such as sleep or mood regulation.
Finally, edible users should be wary that many CBD edibles, such as CBD gummies, especially those based on CBD isolate are especially prone to be considered ‘Novel Food’ by regulations in certain EU countries. Whether this qualification is logical or not, users of CBD edibles should always double-check if any particular edible CBD product is legal in their country.
#4 CBD Vape
Although not the most efficient way to absorb CBD, vaping is certainly one of the quickest, allowing for almost instant onset of the effects. Add to that a wide variety of tastes of the vaping e-liquids (glycerin-based oils used as carriers for CBD), and you will understand why vaping is the favourite way to take CBD for many casual users.
Vaping is certainly very convenient and allows to take small portions of CBD every few minutes, which is the best solution for a steady, but not excessive use of CBD. The sole act of holding your vape pen or vaporizer and blowing, big, milky clouds of harmless smoke, can on itself work be very calming (especially for those users trying to quit cigarettes), and vaping CBD is best for just that: managing your mood throughout the day.
#5 CBD Capsules
Finally, among the 5 top ways to take your CBD are capsules filled with CBD oil. Capsules mix the benefits of edibles and CBD oils: they are as convenient and easy to use as CBD jellies, whilst allowing for more precise measurement of dose than any hemp oil or edible.
This makes CBD capsules a perfect solution for users seeking precise doses and convenience, such as those struggling with pain. Capsules also allow bypassing the distinct taste of CBD oils, which can be a big plus for many users with more delicate stomachs – or who simply dislike the taste, of course!
Remember, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to take your daily CBD. Sure, if you need a precise dose right now, you won’t be taking edibles, the same way you won’t use vapes to help you deal with sore skin, but when it is not about the targeted application or the onset time, choosing your preferred delivery method is usually a question of convenience and preference.
Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned CBD user, we recommend you try the most popular ways to take your CBD, adjust the dose to your needs, starting low, and see what works best for you!
We believe hemp is a human right and aim to move the conversation forward about hemp.