What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant, otherwise known as the hemp plant or cannabis plant. It was discovered in 1940 and is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. CBD extract is used to make CBD oil tincture combined with a carrier oil like MCT organic coconut oil.
Research is ongoing concerning the medical benefits of CBD. What is known is that CBD oil has health benefits that revolve around its ability to help bring many of the body's health cycles into homeostasis or balance. CBD works with a fairly recently discovered system in the body called the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS governs things like mood, sleep, and inflammation. CBD mimics the body's natural endocannabinoids, which attach to receptors throughout the ECS and trigger certain reactions.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychotropic. Many CBD products contain THC but only in the small amounts as per the law.
If you go into a CBD store or down the CBD aisle of your favorite health food store, you may be overwhelmed at the variety of products. There are many ways to take CBD oil. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks.
CBD oil under tongue
The most common way of taking CBD oil or CBD tincture is the sublingual method. First you place your chosen dosage under your tongue with a dropper. Then you let it sit there for as long as possible but at least 30 seconds to one minute. Once your time is up, use your tongue to "paint" your gums and cheeks with the remaining oil. Then swish the last little bit around your mouth and swallow.
The reason this is such an effective method for taking CBD oil is that the sublingual CBD oil is absorbed directly by the tiny blood vessels in your mouth, particularly under the tongue and in your gums and cheeks. This way it bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed sublingually more quickly and more thoroughly, as none of it is absorbed by your liver or other digestive organs.
CBD oil vs CBD capsules
CBD capsules are an excellent choice if you do not like the flavor or consistency of CBD oil. Some CBD brands choose to flavor their oils to try to make them more palatable to the average consumer. But the flavoring is an additive and can distract from the natural nature of the ideal product. In its most natural form, CBD can taste earthy, floral, and herbaceous. Choosing capsules allows you to bypass the debate about whether or not CBD tastes good. You simply swallow it with a beverage and that's that.
There is a drawback, though, with CBD capsules v CBD oils. CBD capsules must travel through the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach, and the liver before entering the blood stream. During this process a little bit of CBD is lost here and there. So CBD taken in the form of capsules takes longer to take effect because of digestion, and some of the CBD content will be lost in the digestive system before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
CBD oil vs. topical CBD products
CBD topical products, like creams and balms, are popular among people who experience regular pain. Adding topical CBD to your wellness routine means applying the product directly to the spots on the body that hurt. The CBD is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
CBD cream is effective for joint pain, like those in hands and feet. CBD balm can be used for joint pain but is also good for muscle pain, like one experiences after playing a sport or working out.
For joint and muscle pain that is in a specific location (not throughout your body) CBD topicals may be the best product for you. If you have more generalized aches and pains, taking a CBD product by mouth either in the form of CBD oil, capsule, or CBD gummies is preferable because it allows your whole body to absorb CBD.
CBD oil vs CBD edibles
CBD edibles, like CBD gummies, are somewhere between sublingual CBD oil and CBD capsules on the bioavailability and effectiveness spectrum. With CBD gummies, the body still puts them through the digestive system, but a key part of taking gummies is chewing them. In chewing gummies, especially if you do so slowly and methodically, some of the CBD will be absorbed into the bloodstream through the vessels in your mouth. Just like capsules, some of the CBD will be lost to the digestive system but unlike the capsules there's a secondary way that edibles absorb into the body to achieve the desired effect.
Another benefit to gummies is that they are typically created to taste good. CBD oil can have a taste that puts people off, but generally gummies are flavored.
The most effective method of consuming CBD is inhaling it. While you get the benefits of CBD, there are certain dangers when inhaling any burned substance. Vaping CBD oil can lead to lung and respiratory issues that negate any health benefits you might usually see. Vaping CBD is also a dangerous way to take CBD oil; the technology used to do so is imperfect and has a history of malfunctioning.
The second most effective method to take CBD is sublingual administration. A few drops or a dropper full under the tongue as a daily dose can be an important part of your daily routine. The blood vessels under your tongue absorb the sublingual CBD into your bloodstream.
The effectiveness of sublingual CBD, and actually any method of taking CBD, is improved by taking it with food, specifically fatty food. CBD has nearly no side effects and you cannot overdose on it. Side effects may include a dry mouth and drowsiness (for some people that's the point in taking CBD oil). Consult your doctor or a licensed naturopathic doctor before taking CBD if you are taking other medications or have a medical condition that it might interfere with.
More clinical studies are needed; peer reviewed studies could shed light on further health benefits.