Interest piqued in CBD? There’s a lot of research to be done to catch up with the influx of product on the market, but here are some things to look out for when shopping for CBD products.
Research what you’re getting
You can’t always trust claims that are made. Look for products that have been tested by a third-party laboratory and have the reports available, usually on the company website. These lab reports should tell you if the product’s claimed CBD content is accurate, that it contains less than .3 percent of THC (the legal limit), and if there are any other harmful contaminants like heavy metals or bacteria in the sample. These Certificates of Analysis (COA) should show that the testing was done within the past 10 to 12 months at an International Organization for Standardization-accredited lab. Consumer Reports suggests looking for products made in states that have legalized medical use of cannabis, because they typically have stricter standards for farming and manufacturing.
Also be sure to research the non-CBD ingredients. Some additives can help the issue you’re hoping to treat—menthol for pain relief or melatonin for sleep issues—and others can dilute the CBD presence or create unexpected drug interactions (example: caffeine with your heart medication).
Always talk to your doctor before starting a treatment, especially when addressing serious health problems or if you’re taking other medications.
Find the right dosage
Be sure to scrutinize labels to find how much CBD is in each dose, not how much is in the entire container. The science to finding the right dose is primarily by personal trial. Start small with a single droplet or gummy that might contain five to 10 milligrams. It’s not unusual to work up to 30 to 50mg per dose or more. It is suggested to test the product for about a week to better evaluate its effectiveness.
Forms and cost
There are many ways to use CBD. From gum to edibles to ointments, each has a different absorption path into your body, timeline of activation and longevity of effects. Choose a form based on your lifestyle and your budget. This isn’t a cheap trend. Starting out, some of the more popular boxes of CBD candies are sold at around $50 for a box of 10 gummies of 20mg each, or $5 per day, but a tincture of oil at 50mg per dose can easily get into triple digits. Be sure to read labels to understand what you’re paying for. Products with low-concentrations of CBD can have comparable prices to the purer stuff.
A CBD lotion or cream is for those who don’t want the compound directly entering their bloodstream, as it does in the other forms. Because topicals interact only with the receptors in the outer layer of skin, the results are typically localized to the area of application. Topical CBD is purported to reduce inflammation and help treat arthritis, and some even use it for eczema, psoriasis or acne. The type of topical will affect how quickly it is absorbed into your skin, so be aware of the other ingredients in your CBD lotion, cream or salve. Those with higher concentrations of water spread easier and absorb faster (20 to 30 minutes). Ointments and balms with higher concentrations of oil absorb deeper and more slowly (30 to 45 minutes).
Using a dropper to place CBD oil under the tongue and holding it for 30 seconds before swallowing allows the capillaries to absorb the compound quickly. The swallowed portion of the oil will act like an edible, which is absorbed differently, but it typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to feel the effects from sublingual use. Some users will be turned off by the earthy taste of CBD in this form. Many companies flavor additives to mask the taste.
Gummies, chocolates, coffees and other CBD foods or drinks are easy to consume and cover up CBD’s naturally grassy aromas or flavors. Edibles aren’t the most efficient way to take CBD because it enters your bloodstream through the digestive system. This takes at least 30 minutes for you to feel the effects and can reduce the concentration. Water-soluble formulas will be faster and easier for your body to absorb but typically cost more.
Inhalation is one of the fastest ways for CBD to enter the bloodstream, about 30 seconds or less. A vape device will heat the CBD until it boils into a vapor, allowing you to inhale it. This typically odorless process is often used by those struggling with anxiety or insomnia. Side effects of inhalation is one of the least studied topics in the already limitedly researched CBD world.