It seems that everyone is talking about CBD products these days. The benefits of this natural supplement seem endless. But, with such a huge variety of products available and confusing language on the different types of CBD, how do you know where to start? In this guide to CBD for beginners, we’ll cover the basics and help you find the right product for your needs.
Introduction To CBD
Before we get into the many different kinds of CBD products available, let’s take a look at just what CBD is. CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating chemical that comes from cannabis plants. It can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp plants, but CBD will not get you “high” like marijuana can. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant and is what gives that “high” feeling. Although CBD comes from the same plant, most CBD products don’t contain THC, so you get all the therapeutic benefits without the high.
Benefits Of Using CBD
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system through the central nervous system, as well as through specific proteins in the body. CBD attaches to receptor proteins in this system, where it’s thought to be the pathways to relief from pain and inflammation. It can also activate serotonin receptors in the brain, helping to relieve depression and anxiety.
People use CBD for many different reasons and a wide variety of ailments. Most commonly, CBD is known to help with the following:
- Pain relief: Whether from a headache, injury, disease, or other reason, CBD can help reduce pain.
- Inflammation: CBD can target receptors in the spine to reduce inflammation all over the body, and from a variety of conditions.
- Depression and anxiety: CBD’s reactions in the brain can reduce the severity of depression and anxiety.
- Seizures and epilepsy: The anticonvulsant properties of CBD are not fully understood, but the success of CBD for patients with epilepsy and other seizures is well documented.
- Addiction treatment: CBD can help with the anxiety that comes with an addiction, and can help patients treat their addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
The many benefits of CBD are not even yet fully known or understood, but it is clear that it can help with a wide variety of conditions. CBD can be used as an alternative to other medical treatments, or as a supplement in the overall treatment plan.
Types of CBD
When shopping for CBD, you’ll notice three different product designations: broad-spectrum CBD, full-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Before we get into these terms, it’s also important to note another term: the entourage effect. This simply refers to the synergistic effect of multiple cannabinoids acting together. The cannabis plant has many different components, and they each enhance the effects of the others when taken together.
Let’s take a look at the different types of CBD products and what these terms mean:
- Broad-spectrum CBD: This type of CBD product contains the cannabidiol and all the other compounds of the plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils, but the THC is removed. Broad-spectrum CBD offers the entourage effect, but without the THC.
- Full-spectrum CBD: In this type of CBD product, all of the phytochemicals from the cannabis plant are used. This includes the CBD, all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils from the plant. A trace amount of THC is included, but generally less than 0.3%. This allows for the full entourage effect, without getting high.
- CBD isolate: In CBD isolate, the CBD is completely isolated from all of the other cannabinoids and other plant compounds. It is CBD in its purest form, with everything else removed. You will get all of the benefits of CBD, but no entourage effect from CBD isolate.
What Type of CBD Should You Use?
The type of CBD that’s best for you depends on what you’re treating, and how your body reacts to CBD. Everyone has different reactions and needs, and none of these types are better than the others. If you want to experience the full entourage effect, full-spectrum may be the best choice. However, there is a chance of the trace THC showing up on a drug test, so if this is a concern, avoid full spectrum.
If drug tests are a concern, or if you are apprehensive about trying CBD products, start with isolate. It will not show up on a drug test and has no strong flavors, like the other types. Isolate can also be used in much higher doses and is generally lower cost than the other options. If your needs fall somewhere in between isolate and full-spectrum, broad-spectrum is the ideal choice. You’ll get most of the entourage effect, but without the THC.
How To Take CBD
Aside from the three main types of CBD, there is also a huge variety of methods to take this beneficial supplement. It can be taken topically, as in lotions or creams, or orally in capsules, liquids, and edibles. The method you choose can depend on what you are treating, the suggested dosage, and what methods you prefer. Let’s explore some of the most popular methods for ingesting CBD.
A popular choice for easy dosage, CBD capsules are already pre-measured and in an easy-to-take format, similar to any other traditional medication. Great for anyone who wants the benefits in a traditional pop-and-swallow style, or anyone who doesn’t like the earthy taste of CBD oil.
Sublingual CBD Oils
Sublingual, or under-the-tongue, CBD oils are a classic method of ingesting CBD. The CBD comes in a tincture or oil, in a bottle with a dropper. You simply place the drops under the tongue and wait a few seconds before swallowing. This method allows for faster absorption and is very easy to use. It’s great for beginners.
Vaping CBD Oil
Vape pens, made specifically for CBD oil use, are another option. Smoking CBD products is always an option as well, but the combustion of smoking can come with some unintended side effects. The CBD takes effect quickly when inhaled in this method, and can even be found in interesting flavors, to make the experience more enjoyable. This may not be the best method for someone who is not accustomed to smoking.
Topical applications of CBD oil are great for targeting specific aches and pains, as well as some skin conditions. CBD topicals refer to any application of CBD oil applied directly to the skin, instead of taken orally. This can be in any type of lotion, cream, massage oil, bath products, or other skincare product.
This method is very easy to use and target a very specific area of the body you want to treat. However, it can be more difficult to control the dosage in a topical application, and the effects may not last as long as other methods.
An increasingly popular method of consuming CBD, edibles deliver all the benefits of a CBD treatment in the form of a treat! Today, gummies aren’t just for kids, as one of the most popular edible deliveries of CBD comes in gummy form. These are easy to take and delicious, too. Other edibles include all sorts of brownies, cakes, cookies, and more.
Edibles can easily be made at home from CBD oil, although controlling the dosage may be more difficult. Many dispensaries also offer a wide variety of pre-made edibles to try. This method may not work as well in a daily routine but works very well for occasional doses or short-term use.
The Best Way To Take CBD
So, what’s the best method for taking CBD? In short, none of these methods are necessarily better than the others. Determining the best method will vary with each individual. It can depend on your lifestyle and habits, your taste and personal preferences, the dosage needed or wanted, and what ailment you are treating, among other factors. If you’re just starting out, CBD oils may be the best starting point for you, as they are easy to take and easy to control. But only you can know what is best for you. Whichever method you decide to try, start out slowly with a low dose and gradually work your way up as needed.
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