Not all CBD is made equal, and neither are all CBD experiences. It’s not uncommon to find two people use exactly the same CBD product only to have very different results.
Now of course, much of this is down to what you are hoping to get from CBD, as well as your own totally unique metabolism of the molecules found in the hemp plant and factors such as your weight. But aside from how one human being differs to another, the variation of how CBD leaves you feeling can simply come down to the way you take it.
Popping a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue might seem straightforward enough, and it is, but there are a number of things you can do to boost the amount of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids that actually make it into your bloodstream.
Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of your CBD experience:
Choose the right CBD for YOU
CBD is available in a huge variety of delivery methods, from inhalation devices and dropper oils, to topical balms, drinks, capsules, patches, bath salts and lots more. The sector has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years, which is really exciting and opens up a lot of options, but it also presents a challenge when it comes to choosing the right product for your needs.
Some CBD products, such as drinks, pillow mists and even infused pillow cases are questionable in terms of how effective they are. Fun? Yes. Therapeutic? The jury is out.
CBD oils remain a favourite among both seasoned and newbie CBD users and with good reason – they’re easy to take, it’s simple to tailor dosage drop by drop and they have pretty decent bioavailability.
What is bioavailability, I hear you ask? In short, it’s the amount of CBD that actually makes its way into your bloodstream. Whatever kind of CBD you take, the mg you absorb is always going to be less than what’s put in the bottle/vape pen/capsule etc.
Bioavailability isn't the whole story though - factors like whether the CBD is in isolate, broad spectrum or full spectrum form also play an important role. Higher doses of CBD isolate are generally required to get the same effects as broad or full spectrum products.
Here’s a rough guide to how bioavailable different methods are, from most to least:
- CBD Inhalation and CBD patches bypass the digestive system and offer the highest bioavailability (40-45%).
- CBD oil drops taken under the tongue are largely absorbed via the sublingual gland and have a reported bioavailability range between 12% - 30%.
- CBD edibles - (CBD capsules, CBD gummies and drinks for example) have to pass through our digestive system and so generally has the lowest bioavailability, between 6 and 19%.
- Topical products like CBD balm aren't designed to enter the bloodstream, they work locally on the area of application and so aren't evaluated in the same way.
Beyond bioavailability there’s also speed of onset to consider which again, varies a lot depending on the administration method.
You’ll likely notice the effects of a CBD inhalation device in seconds, CBD oil is also pretty fast (anywhere from a few minutes to an hour), and patches/capsules/edibles can take at least 90 minutes with a slow, steady build up.
The choice is yours!
How to aid CBD absorption
Anything you can do to aid the absorption of CBD into your system is going to increase that aforementioned bioavailability, which is good news. More bang for your buck, so to speak!
- Cannabinoids are fat soluble, so consuming something very high in fat right before taking your CBD oil will help it work its way into your body.
- If taking oil drops under the tongue, eat something right before doing so. The chewing motion will increase the blood-flow to your mouth and therefore help CBD get to work faster.
- If taking CBD edibles, do so on a full stomach. If you take CBD on an empty stomach the cannabinoids will all make their way to the ECS receptors in your stomach lining (which might be a good thing for some people!) rather than making their way around your body.
- Hold CBD drops under your tongue for at least one minute, ideally two. Time it to be sure. The longer the oil has to get through your sublingual gland the better.
Did you know, Cannabinoids are just one element of the cannabis plant which interact with the body. Terpenes, the aromatic compounds, are also wonderfully therapeutic and can alter the end result too.
Certain terpenes are perfect for sleep, others promote energy, some are preferred for pain or creativity. The terpenes naturally present differ depending on the plant strain used but you can also buy CBD infused with terpenes for specific effects.
Taking a couple of drops of CBD here and there won’t make much of an impact – the real magic happens when you allow cannabinoids to accumulate in your body and give yourself a chance to return to centre.
For some, this can happen in a matter of days. For others, it can take weeks (up to 6 weeks in some cases) so it’s important to be patient and take CBD regularly before you decide how you feel about it. Everyone is different, you just need to wait and see what works for you.
Microdosing is a very popular way to take CBD, to ensure a steady flow of cannabinoids and boosted endocannabinoids, serotonin, dopamine, which are just a few of the things which occur as a result of how CBD interacts with the receptors in your body.
All this really means is taking 2 or three drops (if using a CBD oil) multiple times a day. The trick is to start low and go slow, building up until you find your unique dose. It can help to keep a CBD journal to keep track of how many drops you’re taking (and which brand/strength) and how you’re feeling.