Because with CBD, It Really Is About You
Three Main Methods of CBD Consumption
There are so many ways to take cannabidiol (CBD). You literally get to choose how you want to get CBD and the myriad other hemp actives and their benefits into you. We call these “delivery formats” or “forms”.
Having a range of form options is great. It makes it so that CBD and cannabinoids are a choice you can tailor to both your needs and your lifestyle. This has become more pronounced now that hemp flower is being cultivated in a variety of strains, so that you can find the winning combination of hemp actives (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, phytonutrients) that fit you.
In this article, we’ll go over the three main methods for consuming CBD and the forms available within these methods. Additionally, we’ll discuss the characteristics, the advantages, and if there are any downsides to specific CBD delivery forms, so you can make an informed decision about CBD.
Method 1: Oral CBD
- Time to Onset: 30-60 minutes
- Bioavailability: 4-20%
- Duration of Effects: 4-6 hours
- Where It Adds: Oral CBD can be good for taking on a daily basis to maintain a baseline of healthy cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other whole plant compounds in your system. When you digest cannabis, it is processed through your metabolism, so the effects stick around longer. Oral forms are more discreet, and considered a healthy alternative to smoking. Remember the importance of a full spectrum CBD. There are many CBD isolates on the market. If you only take CBD isolate, you will not experience the benefits other cannabinoids and hemp actives.
- Where It Subtracts: Oral CBD, especially edibles, can be difficult to dose. Because they are processed through digestion, effects take longer to come on and absorption isn’t as efficient as other methods. It’s important to start low and go slow with CBD dosing, though, until you get a feel for the effects.
- Ways to Ingest Cannabis:
These are generally pills that contain botanical hemp extract. Extracts can be liquid concentrates or ground up flower.
While CBD oil is available in capsules, it is also available to purchase as an extract in oil or can be made into an oil using home recipes.
Tinctures are liquids (usually some form of alcohol) that are infused with CBD extract, and are taken sublingually (under the tongue). This form differs from other oral forms, because it is not absorbed through digestion, but rather enters the bloodstream through glands in the mouth.
Liposomes are an exception to the above descriptions. While they are taken orally, they have a much higher bioavailability and a much quicker time to onset. They are one of the most powerful ways to delivery CBD to the bloodstream. They too bypass digestion and drastically increase absorption. We encourage anyone considering taking full spectrum CBD to read more about the only Liposomal CBD we trust.
Any food that has been infused with cannabis is considered an edible. One of the more popular types that you may have heard of are gummies—basically gummy bears that have been infused with CBD extract. It’s important to keep in mind that the potency of edibles varies from product to product and will vary even when you cook up something with homemade hemp butter. Remember, start low and go slow, because effects take longer when you are ingesting cannabis.
Method 2: Inhalation
Inhalation, as you probably already know, includes either smoking or vaporizing raw hemp flower to get it into the bloodstream via the lungs. There are many different ways to smoke and vape fresh hemp bud.
With the health risks associated with smoking, vaping is becoming a medically preferred method. See how the two break down and compare, so you can decide if one might be right for you.
Smoking CBD Hemp Flower
- Time to Onset: Immediately
- Bioavailability: Around 30%
- Duration of Effects: 45 minutes to 3 hours
- Where It Adds: Because the effects start to come on seconds after inhaling, smoking is a great way to get fast, immediate relief. Smoking raw hemp flower can give you a wide range of control over your experience, through choice of strain, dosage, and cannabinoid content. Some people also think it’s more convenient than vaping.
- Where It Subtracts: While research has shown that smoking cannabis does not increase your risk of lung or other cancers, you are still inhaling tars and other possible irritants that could cause irritation and harsh coughing. If you already have a compromised immune system or lung issues, you probably wouldn’t lean toward smoking as your CBD method.
- Smoking Devices:
For the purist. Joints are cheap, discreet, disposable—only requiring raw flower and rolling paper. A wide variety of rolling papers can impact your experience, including different sizes and paper made from hemp, bamboo, rice, and even flavored paper. Filters can be used, and to make things even easier, prerolls are now widely available. This is a good and easy way to get to know different strains of cannabis.
- Hand Pipes, Bowls, or One-Hitters
Bowls are small hand pipes that are another way to get smaller, controlled doses of hemp flower without the rolling paper. They are convenient—small, portable, and easy to use. They can be made from glass, ceramic, wood, steel, brass, or plastic (avoid wood or plastic that may produce harmful fumes). Hand pipes have become an art form, and you could have fun shopping for one that suits your personal style.
- Water Pipes
Water pipes range in styles and designs and include bongs and bubblers, which are a kind of hybrid that marries the water filter feature of the bong and the portability of a hand pipe. Some believe these are a step up in sophistication because they incorporate the water feature. However, there is debate: While the water does cool the smoke, it is not certain that it filters out any harmful elements. In fact, water vapor could be inhaled into your lungs. Some believe that the water might absorb cannabinoids, decreasing your absorption. Avoid bongs or bubblers made of plastic, rubber or aluminum that could produce harmful fumes.
Vaping Hemp Flower
- Time to Onset: Immediately
- Bioavailability: 30-50%
- Duration of Effects: Around 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Where It Adds: Not only does vaping offer fast and effective relief, it’s one of the safest, healthiest, cleanest ways to inhale cannabis. It has an even slightly higher bioavailability than smoking. The vaporizer heats cannabinoids to the point where they become airborne vapors, drastically reducing the amount of tars and other irritants you could inhale. Vaping is also mess-free with no bad aftertaste and gives off very little odor.
- Where It Subtracts: If you want to vape raw cannabis, you have to maintain an atomizer. With vaping comes the vaping equipment, i.e. portable and stationary vaporizers and cartridges of cannabis concentrates … as with all forms of cannabis, you must always be certain the brand you purchase from is a trusted one. Also, some vape pens are designed to work with only their specific cartridges, limiting your options.
- Vape Devices:
There are MANY different kinds of vaporizers, portable and fixed, and the market keeps growing and changing. You can check out our friend, the Vape Critic, who is an excellent resource for learning about all things vape. He also has a Vape Critic YouTube channel where you can see it all in action.
Method 3: Topical CBD
- Time to Onset: Varies
- Bioavailability: Varies
- Duration of Effects: Varies
- Where It Adds: Topicals are fantastic because you can put them right where the pain is. They’re great for sore muscle and menstrual cramps. And you can use all you want, because they are absorbed into the skin, but not the bloodstream.
- Where It Subtracts: Some products could contain parabens or artificial fragrances that may irritate skin. It’s nothing that can’t be solved by purchasing a high-quality reputable CBD topical, though. We recommend Ananda Hemp Spectrum Salve.
- Topical Forms:
These include salves, lotions, creams, and serums. It should be noted that Transdermals are distinctly different from topicals. Transdermals are patches that emit a steady and controlled flow of hemp actives that do penetrate the skin and do enter the bloodstream. They last a long time (6-8 hours—so great for sleep), have an 80-100% bioavailability, and come on generally within an hour.
The Nature’s Breakthrough educational resource is just one of the ways The Hemp Haus practices its sincere commitment to and passion for educating people about CBD and helping them find the right, high-quality product based on their needs.