- Different types of CBD products have different uses
- Vape products work the fastest, oils are most efficient, and gummies take the longest
- What’s right for you depends on your body
How to choose the best CBD products
CBD products for pain, anxiety, and other health ailments come in many different forms, including capsules, oils, topical balms, vaporizers, and gummies. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” and concluded “to date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
A growing body of scientific evidence from the National Institutes of Health and the country’s leading scientific journals also point to a wide range of health benefits associated with CBD products, ranging from chronic pain management and epilepsy and cancer treatment. Not surprisingly, the CBD market is expected to grow into a billion dollar industry by 2021, a sevenfold increase from 2016.
There are currently over one thousand CBD products and hemp products on the market today, and consumers have more choices regarding the type of CBD product and preferred consumption methods than ever before. However, Consumer Reports notes that the CBD market is completely unregulated and there is still uncertainty regarding the legal framework underpinning the manufacture and sale of CBD products. Subsequently, consumers are often left to sift through “a confusing marketplace with little guidance about whether the products work, are safe, or even contain the ingredients manufacturers claim.”
We want to help consumers navigate the overwhelming number of CBD product options on the internet and provide trusted information to help readers make an informed decision.
Ways to take CBD products
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine describe the various ways to consume cannabis-derived products such as CBD, including:
- Consumed orally (e.g. capsule and snack form)
- Consumed sublingually (e.g. oil)
- Smoked or vaporized
- Absorbed through the skin and mucosal tissues (e.g. topical creams and patches)
However, unlike many nutritional or dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration has not created a Recommended Daily Intake framework or consumption guidelines for CBD products, leaving consumers left to sort out competing information as to the best consumption method.
For the casual CBD consumer focused on pain relief or personal health, Project CBD, a California-based nonprofit that provides educational services for physicians, patients, industry professionals, and the general public, explains that the most appropriate delivery system for CBD-rich cannabis is one that provides an optimal dose for a desired duration with few unwanted side effects. The four primary consumption methods include:
CBD oil, CBD tinctures, and CBD capsules and gummies can all be consumed orally. CBD oil and tinctures can be administered through a dropper, or consumed through drink or food. Capsules and gummies are typically taken like a pill or vitamin, and can be swallowed or chewed.
Oral consumption means CBD is absorbed through the digestive tract, which can delay the onset, especially compared to sublingual consumption or inhalation.
CBD oil and CBD tinctures can also be consumed by placing a few drops under the tongue. Sublingual consumption increases the CBD potency since it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Topical balms, salves, sprays, soaks, and creams can be administered directly to the skin and absorbed at the site of application. This method is effective for targeted pain relief or surface-oriented pain. Like other CBD products, it is important to verify that the added ingredients such as scents and moisturizers are natural and non-toxic.
CBD isolate or concentrate can be consumed by heating and inhaling the product through a vaporizer or vape pen. Vaporizers burn at a lower heat and, in theory, remove noxious chemicals such as formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. Consumers who prefer to vape should try to avoid vaporizers and vape pens that add thinning agents such as glycol and polyethylene glycol, or artificial flavors. Instead, look for instruments that contain natural, cannabis-derived terpenes.
It is important to note that natural extracts may eliminate favorable flavors such as vanilla or cinnamon. However, flavoring agents are typically unhealthy to inhale.
Types of relief
CBD products can also provide different levels of relief, including “systemic relief” that affects the entire body, or “localized relief” that affects only the area where product is applied. The type of relief largely depends on how you consume the CBD product. CBD products consumed sublingually or orally will usually provide systemic relief, while topical creams or oils will yield localized relief.
Types of CBD products
Some of the most common types of CBD products include CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD gummies, and CBD products for vaping.