If you are new to CBD-infused products, it can be hard to know where to start. With so many options, from oil to capsules to topical creams and skincare products, you may feel a little bewildered when it comes to making a choice.
There are various considerations to make when it comes to finding the right product for you, including the reason you want to start using CBD, your lifestyle, how much exercise you do, what time of day you want to take it, your age, height, weight and general physical health. For example, if you don’t spend much time at home you might choose CBD capsules, whilst if you love spending time in the kitchen you might choose CBD oil that you can add to smoothies and other food. Luckily there are now so many CBD products available that you will be able to find exactly the right one for you. Here’s a guide to help you make your choice.
Bioavailability and Onset Time
Before we jump into looking at particular products, there are some important concepts that you need to get to grips with. The properties of CBD products are complex and varied, which is why people are able to choose one that is very finely tuned in terms of suitability to their particular circumstances.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability refers to the amount of CBD that your body is able to make use of (it could also be simply called the effectiveness). Bioavailability is defined as the amount of the product that has an active effect once consumed or applied. This amount is measured as a percentage and represents the total amount of the substance that was absorbed and put to active use. It’s an important concept as the various methods of ingesting CBD result in varying levels of bioavailability.
What is onset time?
Onset time refers to the amount of time it takes for the CBD to have an active effect on your body. For example, when inhaled as a vape, CBD has a quick onset time as it doesn't have to go through the digestive system. On the other hand, if you are getting your CBD through edibles the onset time will be slower as it has to make its way into the digestive tract. Products with a slower onset time tend to have a longer lasting effect, and vice versa.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or CBD isolate
When browsing our products you will come across the phrases full spectrum, broad spectrum (sometimes also known as THC-free) and CBD isolate. These terms define the type of CBD used in the product. What do they mean?
Full spectrum CBD products include all of the compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes and essential oils. These products are thought to encourage the ‘entourage effect’, which means the effectiveness of the product is increased due to all of the compounds working together.
Broad spectrum CBD products have all of the compounds from the cannabis plant, except for THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and it is the element in cannabis that produces a euphoric high. It’s very important to be aware that even full spectrum products only include a trace amount of THC (less than 0.3% to be sold online) and will not produce a high. However, some people may wish to stay away from THC, whilst still getting the benefits from the rest of the plant.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and has all other plant compounds and cannabinoids removed. It might be a good choice for someone who has to have regular drug tests for work, but does not deliver the enhanced benefits of the entire cannabis plant.
What Products Are Available?
Now you’ve understood the basics, it’s time to look at specific products. How you decide to take CBD is a personal decision, and it may even be the case that you use various methods depending on what is happening, for example if you’re travelling or on a diet.
CBD oil is usually taken sublingually as drops or used as an additive for food. The sublingual gland sits underneath the tongue, and when CBD oil is placed on the gland it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream rather than having to be digested. Bioavailability for this method have been found to be between 12-35%.
Adding CBD oil to food or drink means it has less bioavailability as it has to go through the digestive process but might be preferable if you don’t like the taste of the oil. A study by the University of Minnesota found that ingesting CBD alongside high fat foods can improve bioavailability. You might choose to add CBD oil to food rather than buy CBD food as it is more cost effective.
When vaped, CBD is delivered directly to the lungs where it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which results in a high level of bioavailability, with one study reporting it as being up to 56%, and a speedy onset time. CBD vape is an effective and convenient way of taking CBD but may not be appropriate for non-smokers or those who are trying to give up vaping or cigarettes.
CBD that you swallow requires digestion, which means most of it gets broken down by your liver before entering your bloodstream. This means that CBD food products like gummies, chocolate and cookies have a bioavailability of between 13-19%, but are great for those with a sweet tooth.
There are an ever growing amount of CBD drinks on the market, as people find ways to consume CBD that fits in with their lifestyle. They come in all formats, from fizzy drinks to post-workout shots to relaxing tea infusions. Drinks will have a lower bioavailability, similar to food, but are good if you’re on the go or want to unwind with a hot drink.
CPD capsules have a similar bioavailability to CBD food and drink because they have to go through the same digestive process. They offer you the opportunity to take CBD with a minimum of fuss and no mess, making them highly convenient for travelling or those with very busy lifestyles.
CBD skin care
When CBD is applied topically, it doesn’t necessarily enter your bloodstream, so bioavailability is low. However, it can be absorbed by cannabinoid receptors in your skin to work in the area you have applied the product. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD can lessen sebum production, meaning it can help with spots and bad skin.
Choosing the correct CBD product depends on a variety of factors, including what you want from CBD, how it fits into your lifestyles and what your tastes are. However, with such a large variety of CBD products available, you will definitely find something that works for you. Be open to experimenting and see how each product makes you feel and in which ways it benefits your health and wellbeing, and consider using different products at different times, depending on what is going on in your life.