Cannabidiol (CBD) is all the rage these days. You can now add CBD to your favorite tea or latte; enjoy CBD facials or even sleep on a CBD pillow. The research we have on CBD shows a lot of therapeutic potential. Is CBD a cure all? No, and it won’t solve all of the problems in your life. You will not find nirvana or Jesus or any salvation after ingesting a CBD gummy or two.
You might, however, find a little more peace in your day to day life…if you can learn how to correctly use CBD, that is.
Having written about CBD for the last few years, I can see why it can be tricky to fully understand. Here are three things I wish everyone knew about CBD.
1. Dosing is everything
One of the most challenging aspects regarding CBD use are dosing concerns.
How much should I take? How long until I feel an effect? When will I know if it’s working? It’s been an hour and I don’t feel anything. Should I take more?
Hold your horses there, cowboy. There are a few different factors to consider before you start ingesting more CBD.
First off, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking CBD or increasing your current dose.
Many drugs act in a dose-dependent manner. For those drugs, the more you take, the more pronounced the effect is. Therefore, two pills may have twice the effect as one pill.
Substances which act in biphasically, however, may behave the opposite way—which means higher doses may have the opposite effects as weaker ones.
CBD is a compound produced by cannabis plants, known as a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids can interact with our bodies in a biphasic manner.
This little known fact tends to throw people through a loop. We’re so accustomed to traditional dose dependent drugs that we assume more is always better.
Small doses of CBD, then, may feel stimulating while larger doses may feel sedating. If you’re looking to use CBD to get stuff done—say for an exercise session—using a small dose may be to your advantage. But it may not suffice for something like insomnia, which may require a larger dose. You should always optimize your CBD dose so that it aligns with your wellness goals. And not to be a broken record, but always speak to your doctor before upping or starting a CBD regimen.
Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to Shopping for CBD
Let’s Talk Type
Another factor which affects the dose you take is the type of CBD extract you use. There are three types: full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate. Full spectrum extracts contain the cannabis plant’s entire 400+ compounds. Broad spectrum extracts contain these compounds, but lack THC, while isolates are as the name implies—chemically isolated CBD with no other components present.
Research shows that CBD isolate may only be effective up until a certain dose for certain conditions. It may lose efficacy after a certain point. Full spectrum extracts, however, may continue to provide therapeutic relief with larger doses. That’s why full and broad spectrum extracts are often more popular with medical cannabis patients.
Finding the ideal CBD dose for you (the “Goldilocks dose” as I call it) takes a bit of trial and error. Many people are told by their doctors that the best way to understand how CBD works for you is to titrate it, i.e. take varying doses of CBD and document their effects daily. You’ll find your Goldilocks dose when you experience relief of symptoms without significant impairment.
2. CBD is non-intoxicating (at standard doses)…but it may be mood altering
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer this was her greatest concern:
“I don’t want to get high!”
“You won’t, mom. It’s CBD, not THC”
“But CBD is still cannabis!”
My mom is technically right: CBD is cannabis. It’s a cannabinoid that is more prominent in one type of the Cannabis sativa genus of plants, hemp. These plants contain little to no THC and are rich in CBD. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is intoxicating, which means it may get you high. CBD, on the other hand, is not intoxicating — as long as you are taking standard doses. It won’t get you “high” like THC.
A HUGE CAVEAT HERE: there is an excellent chance that CBD will still impact your mood and energy levels significantly! Just because you aren’t “high” doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t affect you. Everyone feels its effects differently. My mom, for instance, is a lightweight who feels woozy when she takes moderate doses of CBD. She sometimes gets paranoid she’s accidentally consumed THC because she associates CBD’s anti-anxiety effects with feeling high. I, on the other hand, have taken much larger doses of CBD without the woozy feeling my mom describes.
Those with chronic pain, for instance, can think they’re high when they smoke CBD because they feel CBD’s pain killing effects. They’re not “high”…but their mood may have altered significantly.
So yes, CBD is non-intoxicating in standard doses. But that doesn’t mean it won’t impact your mood or energy. Keep this in mind for first time users who may be especially sensitive to its effects. And again, is CBD a cure all? No.
3. Choose your delivery method wisely
The experience you get may be determined by the delivery method you choose. CBD generally can be delivered in one of the following ways:
- As oil under the tongue (sublingually)
- Infused into an edible product which is eaten or drank (oral consumption)
- Added to a cosmetic product applied directly to skin (topical)
- As a concentrated oil (vaporized)
- Smoked as flower (combusted)
- Through a patch applied to skin (transdermally)
- Mucosal membrane administration (rectal, vaginal)
How much CBD your body can access is called bioavailability. The bioavailability of CBD depends on the type of delivery method you choose. Each delivery method has its own pros and cons.
Many people trying CBD for the first time opt for something like a gummy or chocolate. This may be a less than ideal way to consume CBD as it subjects it to something called first pass metabolism, breaking it down further in the digestive tract. And it’s always helpful to know where you can buy CBD.
Sublingual and mucosal administration methods may be good options for patients with digestive issues as they bypass first pass metabolism entirely. Vaporizing CBD may be ideal for the fastest acting relief. Orally consumed CBD, on the other hand, can take up to a full two hours to take effect in some individuals.
In conclusion, is CBD a cure all? No. Is it right for everyone? Probably not. Can it help a wide array is issues? We think it has that potential!
Janelle Lassalle is a writer and content creator that specializes in cannabis. She’s also an insanely passionate advocate and expert in all things CBD. You can find her work featured in a variety of publications such as Healthline, The Huffington Post, Leafly, Forbes, and High Times. Check out her portfolio, or follow her on Instagram @jenkhari.