Before cannabis and CBD were legalized in Canada, the only options that Canadians had for these products was from the black market.
While it was great to be able to access them even then, with legalization brought the massive expansion of the Canadian CBD market, and tons of great, innovative products.
What that means for you is a ton of choice - good, but confusing if you're just getting rolling with it. What is the best way to use CBD? Let's take a look at the options, then you can decide for yourself.
As with many things in life, CBD is highly personal. We are all different, and want to use CBD for different things. Some products, like CBD suppositories for example, are geared towards very specific ailments, and it wouldn't automatically be the preferred ingestion method for many.
Regardless of how you choose to take CBD, make sure you're doing your research and choosing a company with great standards, independent third party testing, and solid reviews.
How Does CBD Fit Into Your Lifestyle?
Before we get into the many different ways to ingest CBD, take a minute to think about yourself and your lifestyle. What are your individual health concerns, and how is CBD going to best help you?
Are you able to make time in your day to go out and vape CBD if that is your choice, or does your workplace restrict things like that? Can you easily carry your CBD with you to take on a regular basis, or do you normally travel light?
All of these little things come into play when deciding what is the product for your specific situation.
CBD isn't really something that you can just drop and pick up again when you remember to, unfortunately. It's something that in order to get the best results out of, you need to take it regularly.
Some of these CBD products start going to work fairly quickly in the body, like tinctures, while others like edibles have a delayed onset. Vaping goes to work the fastest, but it also wears off the soonest.
Another decision to be made on your part is whether to use a Full Spectrum CBD product, or one that is THC free. Here are the differences.
What Does Bio-Availability Mean And How Does It Affect My Total Dose?
You may be familiar with the term bio-availability. When you take CBD, the method you use and the digestive process actually affects how much total CBD your body utilizes.
Bio-availability is the rate that your body absorbs and uses the CBD you take in. This number varies widely between methods, and it is smart to choose a product with a higher CBD bio-availability rate.
CBD products like edibles and capsules have a lower bio-availability rate, simply for the fact that in order for your body to process it, it needs to pass through your digestive tract first.
CBD oils/tinctures on the other hand, are absorbed into the sublingual glands and blood vessels found underneath the tongue, bypassing the majority of the digestive process.
Bio-availability for CBD can be as low as 5%, and and high as up to 70%. Knowing this information helps to accurately gauge just how much you need to take in order to get the correct dose.
Best Ways To Use CBD
We'll start with the obvious choice, CBD oils and tinctures. This is far and away the most popular form of taking CBD, and is also one of the most confusing for people, from a dosing standpoint, which we'll cover later on.
CBD oils were the first form of CBD to hit the market, and have become a staple for pretty much every CBD user out there.
The bottles come with a convenient dropper, they are easy to take with you on the go, and they have a decent bio-availability rate, up to 35%.
Most CBD oils nowadays are made with one of two carrier oils, MCT oil or Hemp Seed oil, though there are numerous other carrier oils on the market.
Carrier oils are what CBD in its raw (or processed) form is dissolved into, to make it easier to consume it. CBD in its freshly extracted state isn't the ideal way to ingest in, and carrier oils have the benefit of making the product even more bio-available.
CBD oils and tinctures are generally taken sublingually, under the tongue, and can last up to 4-6 hours. They take approximately 20 minutes to kick in, making them fairly fast acting, and also long lasting.
CBD oils come in many different strengths and flavours, and are available in both Full Spectrum and THC free.
CBD capsules are another popular form of using CBD, though the bio-availability takes a hit with this method due to them having to pass through your digestive tract first.
Studies have shown CBD capsule bio-availability to be between 10-20%, with some showing as low as six. If you're going to use this method, it's recommended to get a higher strength if possible to ensure you're getting a decent dose.
CBD capsules are one of the most convenient ways to take CBD, for the fact that they have a pre-set amount of CBD in them, and can be discreetly taken no matter where you are.
There are many different options available in both Full Spectrum and THC free, and we are starting to see a trend with companies going vegan with their capsules, making them accessible for all.
These tasty, bite sized bits are a favorite among adults and children alike. Conveniently pre-dosed, they are easy to chew and swallow, and are preferred by many who don't like the taste of the actual oil itself.
Just like CBD capsules, CBD gummies have the same bio-availability rate from digestion. Despite it being a bit lower than sublingual, it hasn't stopped it from becoming one of 2020's best selling CBD products.
Available in both Full Spectrum and THC free, CBD gummies may or may not be vegan depending on the ingredient used, so check the packaging carefully.
This is one CBD product that hasn't quite hit the ground running with users, despite its high bio-availability rate, which in some studies shows as high as 53%.
Intranasal CBD sprays are used in the same manner as all nasal sprays are. You insert the tip into the nostril, and breathe deeply in through your nose while depressing the trigger.
The upside to using intranasal CBD sprays, the CBD then gets absorbed through the blood vessels, lungs, and other tissues very rapidly, with the effects being felt less than 10 minutes after dosing.
The downside to intranasal sprays, and nasal sprays in general, are the discomfort level when using them. It is not the most pleasant feeling in the world, and some companies have added terpenes and scents which may burn or sting upon use.
This form of using CBD is arguably one of the best in terms of bio-availability, up to 60%, but it is also one of the most controversial.
We all still vividly remember the scare surrounding vaping in 2019, the cause of which was derived from shady companies adding vitamin E acetate to their vape products, causing countless illnesses and even some deaths across the globe.
This took a massive toll on that side of the industry, and caused a lot of people to become very untrusting of ANY sort of vape product, be it CBD or nicotine.
Vaping has been proven to be safer than smoking, but there is always going to be a risk when your are inhaling or smoking any product. You can ensure your safety by only buying from reputable sources with high ratings and reviews.
There are a few different ways to go about vaping/and or smoking CBD. One is with the dry herb itself, which can be used to roll up, by way of a pipe, or by using a dry herb atomizer.
Alternatively, many companies sell pre-made disposable vape pens, or CBD vape juice that can be used in a refillable tank.
CBD vape products are available in both Full Spectrum and THC free, with the exception of CBD flower. This is Full Spectrum only, as it has not been processed to remove the traces of THC.
Transdermal CBD Patches
This is, in our opinion, one of the best methods of CBD transmission available on the market today, with studies putting it between 60-70% bio-available.
Not only do they have the once a day convenience going for them, but they are super discreet as well.
Sublingual CBD patches are made with ingredients that penetrate the skin barrier, and slow release CBD into your system over a set amount of time, the most common being a 24 hour period.
This is the ultimate best way to use CBD for anyone who has a busy lifestyle, forgetful people who may not remember to take their CBD multiple times a day, or just anyone looking to take the hassle out of things.
Transdermal CBD patches are available in Full Spectrum and THC free here in Canada, stick well to the skin, and in most cases leave no residue upon removal.
CBD Topicals/Lotions and Creams
Unlike CBD patches, topical forms of CBD like creams, lotions, gels, and salves are generally NOT transdermal, which means they don't get past the skin barrier and enter the system.
While still highly effective, these are used mainly for minor aches and pains, joint inflammation, arthritis, or skin issues and irritations.
CBD topicals can come in THC free or Full Spectrum, with many users claiming that higher THC products work better for pain. Because they aren't entering your bloodstream this way, no need to worry about any psychoactive effects.
Yes, they're a thing. CBD suppositories have an incredible bio-availability rate, 70%, but due to the nature of them are understandably less than popular.
These suppositories are meant for anal and vaginal use only, and can be useful in a variety of situations. For instance, one might choose this method if orally ingesting CBD causes an upset stomach or indigestion.
CBD suppositories have also become very popular with women, being used to ease menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms.
The Best Way To Take CBD Is One That Fits YOUR Life
If you're new to CBD, this can seem like a lot to take in. One of the best ways to find out what works for you is to try a few things and see what you like best.
Some people prefer tinctures, while other like to vape. Still others use a combination of those two, and then use CBD sleep gummies at night.
There is no right or wrong, but there is a matter of consistency. CBD can take some time to build up in the body in order to notice results from it.
If you're the sort of person who is constantly forgetting to take it all the time, you won't be getting the best benefits that CBD has to offer.
Sticking with a CBD product that fits your lifestyle is key.