In this chapter, we’ll take a look at some of the methods by which CBD is administered. We’ll discuss some of the factors involved in determining dosage. We’ll also look at the strengths and drawbacks of each method and discuss which methods are most often recommended for particular conditions.
Bioavailability of CBD Oil
Not all methods of administering CBD are equal. Their effectiveness depends not only on the method of consumption and the ingredients in the product, but also the bioavailability of the CBD afforded by each method.
The bioavailability of any active compound is the percentage of a given dosage that ends up in the bloodstream and is thus available for your body to use.
In the case of CBD oil, the active ingredients include both cannabinoids and terpenes. However, for the sake of discussion, we’ll talk only about the bioavailability of CBD itself.
A bioavailability of 100 percent would signify that 100 percent of the CBD in the product is available to your body. The only way to achieve 100 percent bioavailability is through intravenous administration — meaning injection directly into the bloodstream.
Every other method of consumption will result in some percentage of the CBD becoming unavailable to the body for various reasons, such as becoming trapped in fatty tissues or metabolized (broken down) before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream.
Each method of CBD oil consumption has a particular range of bioavailability. We’ll discuss these factors next and will also touch on them when discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
CBD Oils and Tinctures
Earlier, we discussed the fact that there are a variety of products which makers refer to as CBD oil. These can include everything from raw hemp extract to more refined products to pure CBD-infused oil. There are also a number of types of oil which are used as a base for CBD oil. Some CBD oil products also contain added ingredients such as additional terpenes, essential oils and vitamins.
Pros and Cons of Oils and Tinctures
Tinctures are generally used at home in the morning and the evening, and can also be used at work if your situation allows it. They can have a relatively quick onset time and higher bioavailability than edibles, and so are a better choice if you suffer from conditions such as anxiety.
The downside of tinctures and oils is that they don’t travel well. They can be messy if you’re trying to use them on the go. They also generally come in a breakable bottle with a breakable dropper. If you’re looking for a product to take hiking, for example, tinctures are probably not your best choice.
CBD Oil Capsules
CBD oil capsules are generally delivered orally. There are cases where you might want to puncture a capsule for use on the skin, but for the most part, this is an orally administered product.
Capsules are made with gelatin, which melts within minutes in your stomach and delivers the entire dosage of CBD oil. This means that none of it will get absorbed into the tissues in your mouth or throat. And, depending on whether or not you take them with food, very little is likely to make its way through the rest of your digestive system.
Pros and Cons of Capsules
As we mentioned, capsules, because they dissolve quickly, will deliver a dosage of CBD directly into your stomach.
Capsules are also very convenient and easy to use with no mess, and they also allow for exact dosing. If a capsule contains 25 milligrams of CBD, assuming you’re using a reputable manufacturer with good production methods, you know you’re getting a dosage of 25 milligrams of CBD.
One downside of capsules is that they have a longer onset time. Also, as mentioned, when taken on an empty stomach, very little of the CBD will make its way into your intestines as most of it will be directly absorbed into the lining of your stomach. But this is easily avoidable by taking the capsule with food.
It’s also important to note here that capsules which do not use nanoemulsions have far lower bioavailability than those which do contain nanoemulsions.
CBD-infused topicals include skin creams, balms, salves and oils. Once again, these products can be infused with pure CBD, or they can contain a full spectrum CBD oil. The same rule applies — the products with the full and broad spectrum oils will contain other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
Topicals often have a variety of additional beneficial ingredients meant to contribute to the overall therapeutic effects. For example, skin creams may contain moisturizers, vitamin E, collagen and so on. Pain creams may contain ingredients meant to help the product penetrate deeper into tissues and aid in pain relief. Salves may contain other soothing and healing ingredients such as aloe.
Topical products can also be very simple as well. In fact, CBD oil with no other ingredients can be used directly on the skin. CBD-rich oils are great for moisturizing. They provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect skin from damage. CBD oils often contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which are produced naturally along with the oil.
Pros and Cons of Topicals
Topicals are great for use on a particular area of skin or underlying muscles and joints. They deliver the CBD and other beneficial ingredients directly where they can do the most good.
However, they take some time to apply and can be a little messy. This may not be a concern for you if you use these kinds of products regularly.
Another thing to consider is that, when taken internally either orally, sublingually or inhaled, CBD will make its way to all areas of your body, including your skin. If overall skin health is your goal, you may just opt for one of those other applications rather than having to apply a topical all over your skin.
Vaporizers essentially heat a CBD oil preparation to a temperature where it evaporates into a gas. These are very popular and easy to find.
Pros and Cons of Inhalation
The faster onset time and higher bioavailability are obvious benefits of inhalation methods.
Delivering an exact dosage of CBD using a vaporizer is trickier. This is because most vaporizers — or vape pens, as they are commonly referred to — are not designed to vaporize an exact amount of solution. A lot depends on how big a puff a user takes and how deeply it is inhaled.
Another potential downside of vaporizers is that some ingredients are believed to be harmful when vaporized. For example, many vape oil solutions contain a petroleum-based chemical known as polyethylene glycol (PEG) — the same stuff that’s used as a coolant and antifreeze in car radiators. Although this product has been approved by the FDA for use in foods, some studies have suggested that vaporized PEG can be harmful to the lungs.
How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Take Effect?
There are several important factors that come into play when determining the onset time of various methods of administration of CBD oil. Some of these variables are related to CBD itself, and others are related to how the human body reacts to CBD.
Because of unique genetics, no two people react to CBD oil in the same way. Furthermore, factors such as age, health, weight, circulation and metabolism can all affect the onset time of the effects of CBD oil.
A factor that can be influenced by all of the above is the number of cannabinoid receptors in the body, how they are expressed, and the ability of the body to produce endocannabinoids. An individual who expresses more receptors or produces fewer endocannabinoids may be more sensitive to CBD than someone with an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors.
There are also numerous other factors involved such as the type of product being used, how it’s being used and how much is being used. The onset of edibles will typically be longer than that of tinctures, for example.
As we mentioned, the onset time of inhaled CBD is virtually instantaneous. The onset time of edibles and capsules can range anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. And the onset time of tinctures can take up to 20 minutes.
These figures are to be considered general guidelines and will vary from person to person, as we mentioned above.
CBD Oil Dosage Recommendations
As with bioavailability and onset time, the ideal dosage of CBD depends on a variety of factors including the product being used, the concentration of the CBD in the product, genetic makeup, sex, weight and so on.
Some CBD products list a recommended serving size. However, without taking into account all of the variables, the recommended serving size might be far too low or possibly even too high. In particular, the serving size will vary greatly depending on the condition for which the CBD is being consumed.
A dosage that is appropriate for one product might be much different than that of a similar product. This is because various CBD oil products contain varying percentages of CBD. Whereas one product might contain 10 percent CBD, another might contain twice that concentration.
The most important factor to be considered, however, is that both dosage and duration of use depend largely on the reason the individual is using it. One person might simply be using CBD as a supplement to support health and wellness, while another might be using CBD for a particular ailment.
Another factor to be considered is whether or not the product being used contains a full or broad spectrum CBD oil with terpenes. For example, a terpene known as myrcene is known to make the brain-blood barrier more permeable, effectively reducing the required dosage for brain conditions.
Given all of the above-listed factors, determining your ideal dosage requires some thinking. Taking too little will not produce the desired effect and will be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, taking more than you need may not provide additional benefits.
It will take some research and experimentation to determine an ideal dosage for a particular person. However, 20 mg to 30 mg a day is a good starting point for most people. If you want more specific recommendations for specific conditions check out this awesome dosage calculator.
Can You Take Too Much CBD Oil?
CBD is completely non-toxic. Research into CBD’s effects on the human body has shown that CBD is well-tolerated in humans. You would have to consume quite a bit of CBD oil before it results in any truly adverse health effects. There is no known record of anyone ever being poisoned by or overdosing on, CBD.
However, taking more CBD than needed might cause some unwanted effects such as making you too relaxed for particular activities like work or sports.
Once you have arrived at a particular dosage based on the product you are using, it’s a good idea to stick with that product.