The use of CBD oil has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. With that, the range of available products has continued to increase. While CBD oil in a dropper was the norm five years ago, you can now find CBD oil cookies, capsules, vaping oils, and even topical creams or pet products. We’ve put together this little guide to help you navigate the world of CBD oil products. We’ll be explaining more about what they are, what each one is good for, and what you need to look out for when shopping for a particular kind of product.
Can I legally buy CBD?
CBD is legal on a federal level in the United States, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. However, it is still prohibited by certain state laws and doesn’t have FDA approval. We encourage you to consult a physician before you start taking CBD.
CBD extract and isolate: the original products
The first thing to know about CBD products is that they are all made using CBD extract or CBD isolate. Those fancy, brightly colored CBD gummies you’ve seen are using one of them as a base, and so are CBD drinks, tinctures, vaping oils and all these other products on the market. Basically, you need CBD extract or isolate to make any kind of CBD product.
There are two main types of CBD oil:
- CBD extract
- CBD isolate
CBD extract is an oil that has been extracted from hemp (a non-psychoactive form of cannabis). This oil has gone through a process that activates its cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds with therapeutic properties that interact with certain receptors in our bodies.
When these compounds are activated, they are ready to be absorbed by our bodies and work their magic. CBD extracts contain not just the cannabinoid known as CBD (or cannabidiol), but others, like CBN and CBC, which also have medicinal effects. It also contains terpenoids, another class of compounds with therapeutic benefits.
But CBD oil extract is the best product when it comes to getting the most benefits out of the cannabis plant. CBD isolate is just what it sounds like: the CBD compound, and nothing else. It usually comes in the form of a powder and is over 99% CBD.
While CBD isolate doesn’t contain any of the other medicinal compounds of cannabis like other cannabinoids and terpenoids, it’s also guaranteed not to contain any THC. This makes it completely safe to use for people who may have to pass a drug test.
Drops and sprays
One of the most common ways of taking CBD is with CBD oil drops or a spray.
CBD oil concentrates can contain anything between 1 to 20 mg of CBD per drop. The CBD concentrate is mixed in with a carrier oil, usually hemp or coconut.
To take it, simply place a drop or two under your tongue, and keep it there without swallowing for about two minutes. This is enough for the CBD to get absorbed into your bloodstream sublingually. This method provides fast relief and is particularly appreciated by people who take CBD oil for pain.
CBD sprays contain CBD oil obtained from CBD extract, in a carrier oil like hemp or coconut. They often have additives like essential oils to make them taste better. The oil comes in a spray bottle, and one spray can generally contain anywhere between 1 to 10mg of CBD.
Like CBD oil drops under the tongue, sprays are meant to absorb into the bloodstream more quickly. That type of product is perfect for people who want quick relief from pain, and for those who don’t like the taste of pure CBD oil.
Edible CBD products
Placing drops under your tongue or using a spray is one of the fastest ways for CBD to enter your system. But for people who don’t like the taste of CBD oil, it may not be the best option. CBD oil edibles usually don’t taste anything like hemp, and they’re still a good way to gather the benefits of cannabinoids.
If you’re taking CBD to treat a medical problem, taking capsules may seem like an obvious choice. CBD capsules are generally made from soft gel and contain a dose of CBD extract or CBD isolate powder.
One of the best things about CBD capsules is that they make it very easy to track how much CBD you are consuming. You can find capsules ranging from 10 to 50 mg of CBD, which will allow you to find the right dosage for your condition.
They are also completely tasteless, meaning you can consume CBD without the hemp taste that many people dislike.
On the other hand, CBD will take longer to enter your system when ingested in a capsule. In fact, some of the CBD may never actually enter your bloodstream. This is because taking CBD orally has lower rates of bioavailability compared to other methods, such as sublingual ingestion or vaping. This means you may have to take stronger capsules to feel the same effect.
CBD candy and gummies
Over recent years, we’ve seen a lot of new brands offering all sorts of CBD products. From CBD gummy bears to lollipops and even chocolate bars, you can find CBD in all its forms. These products are made by adding CBD concentrate or isolate into an existing recipe for chocolate or candy.
But apart from being fun, are there any advantages to using these types of products? Sweet CBD products can make it a lot easier to give CBD to children. The strong, herbal taste of hemp is a bit of an acquired taste, which younger ones may not be very enthusiastic about. So if you have to give your child CBD for a condition such as epilepsy or insomnia, an edible product can make the process a lot more fun.
Unfortunately, as with capsules, edibles have a lower rate of bioavailability. You should count on the product not being fully absorbed into the body. So, you may want to choose slightly stronger edibles than the dose you were prescribed or recommended.
It’s only over the past couple of years that we’ve seen CBD drinks make their way onto the shelves of specialist shops. In its original form, CBD oil doesn’t mix with water. But manufacturers have managed to come up with a kind of CBD that is water-soluble. This means you can now find products like:
- CBD water
- CBD energy drinks
- CBD soda
These products are still rare, and may not be the best way to get your CBD. Like all edibles, their rate of bioavailability is relatively low. And do you really want your health-promoting CBD oil to be mixed in with a chemical-filled, sugary drink?
Topical CBD products
CBD products also come in the form of creams, salves or balms. These can be particularly effective in dealing with skin conditions and joint pain.
This is because the receptors which absorb CBD oil in our body are also located in the skin. In some cases, CBD oil applied topically is a better way to get relief than other methods of ingestion.
Topical CBD products come in the form of creams, balms and massage oils. They can be helpful in relieving sore muscles, in alleviating joint pain for people with arthritis, and in treating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne.
There is also a range of beauty products surfing the wave of CBD’s popularity. These include products as diverse as moisturizers, face masks, body washes and hair conditioners.
Some of these products are designed specially to deal with certain conditions. For example, a CBD moisturizer could be used to combat redness for people with irritable skin.
But in other cases, CBD oil is just used to sell the product. Unless a product specifies how many milligrams of CBD it contains, quantities are unlikely to be large enough to have any effect. And based on the research to date, we have no reason to believe that CBD can really make your skin softer, or your hair bouncier.
CBD products to smoke
People who are used to smoking or vaping may also want to try CBD vapes. When vaporizing CBD, the compound(s) enter the bloodstream through the lungs. This makes CBD highly bioavailable and is one of the best ways to feel its effects quickly.
To vape CBD, you could use a disposable vape, get a new vape, or use one you already own.
Disposable vapes are meant to be used until their cartridge is empty, and then thrown away. They are not the most eco-friendly way to inhale CBD but could be good for people who want to give vaping a try without spending a lot of money on a proper vape.
If you are more committed to vaping CBD, you can use CBD liquid in any sort of vape. There are a few different types of liquids available out there.
Some of them contain CBD isolate, while others are made with full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD extract. Most of the time, the liquid will also be flavored. You can expect to find CBD vaping oil in all sorts of fruity or sweet flavors, as well as more natural ones like hemp or tobacco.
Unsurprisingly, CBD suppositories may be the least popular type of CBD products. For those who don’t know, a suppository is a sort of pill or capsule which is inserted into the anus (and in some cases can also be inserted into the vagina).
Like capsules, CBD suppositories allow you to control the amount of CBD that you are ingesting. And of course, you don’t taste the hemp!
But in terms of bioavailability, CBD suppositories are a real winner. Almost all of the CBD gets absorbed into the bloodstream around 15 minutes after insertion. If you can stomach it, this may be the most effective and healthiest form of taking CBD.
CBD products for pets
CBD has a wide range of medicinal properties because of its effect on our endocannabinoid system. But this system works the same way in all mammals, not just humans! This means that CBD can be very effective on our pets as well, for conditions such as:
You can find a wide range of CBD products for pets, including CBD oil, sprays, dog or cat treats, and even special pet capsules.
As with humans, sprays are a more bioavailable form of CBD than edibles. But as any pet owner knows the difficulty of giving their companion medicine, tasty treats may be a much easier way to get some CBD into a pet’s system.
For people who don’t want to use processed CBD products, there is also another option. You can purchase the flower of CBD-rich hemp in a number of countries. Those flowers can be ground and rolled into a joint, and will release their effects when smoked.
Of course, as with smoking anything, this method of taking CBD has some risks for the respiratory system. Nevertheless, it can be a good option for people who enjoy smoking, or for those trying to replace their marijuana use with CBD.