How to Take CBD to Maximise its Effectiveness
How you take CBD can drastically change how well it works for you, so we have assembled a how to take CBD guide for you to get the most out of your cannabinoid therapy.
A Little Background First
If you can understand how CBD works, you can see the reasoning behind the different methods of taking CBD. You might have already done your homework and feel convinced about the effects and safety of CBD, and if so, feel free to skip this section and go straight to the Bioavailability section.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis and hemp plants. It is a fatty acid, is not water soluble and dissolves in long-chain hydrocarbons like propane and oils (this is important). It is a non-psychoactive chemical that changes how other endocannabinoids and cannabinoids (produced by the body and found elsewhere, respectively) interact with the endocannabinoid system.
The safety profile of CBD is very good, there are few reported side effects and rarely any allergic reactions. Long-term safety has yet to be properly established but it looks great so far. Many studies are ongoing into CBD, so keep an eye on this site for the latest developments.
Unfortunately, CBD is illegal in many places, including at a federal level in the United States. For the UK, however, UK law has been changed to recognize CBD as a legal substance as of November 2018. People of the UK are now allowed to access CBD, purchase it and consume it. Read more on the UK's legalities behind CBD here.
Bioavailability – What is it and How does it Work?
Bioavailability is the amount of a substance that successfully makes it into the bloodstream that has an effect. The human body is pretty good at filtering out things it does not want and allowing only the proportions it needs into itself. When you take something, often very little of it actually ends up in the body, with most being dissolved in the stomach and intestines or simply excreted. However, methods of maximising absorption have been developed so you can maximise how much you get quite easily.
Bioavailability of CBD
The bioavailability of CBD varies substantially, even when the same method of administration is used. It ranges between about 10 percent and 65 percent, depending on the context, the individual’s biology and how it is administered.
CBD is hydrophobic and lipophilic, meaning it will dissolve in fats. This helps it get carried across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system, where it has many different targets. However, the absorption in the gastrointestinal tract is highly variable, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Another factor that can effect CBD absorption as well is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The is the psychoactive component in marijuana that makes a person feel "high". We do not make any recommendations regarding combining CBD and THC as THC is an illegal substance in most countries, including the UK.
While the most efficient method absorbing CBD into your bloodstream is through intravenous injection; we most definitely do not recommend it for a number of reasons:
- Injecting CBD should be prescribed by your doctor
- It is completely impractical for most people
- While there are dozens of different forms of CBD products on the market, the vast majority are not suitable for injection.
- There is very limited data available for safety with IV injection and CBD
Please do not inject CBD unless it is a specially prepared IV solution, you know what you are doing and only under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner. Injecting unknown substances into your body is an extremely terrible idea.
The most popular method of getting a dose of CBD is through oral administration and it can be highly variable. Therefore, it is not reliable for a consistent dose for medical conditions. The scientific literature reports differing absorption rates, between a few percent and 10 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Other sources report higher rates, up to 13 percent, but the point is that it is very inconsistent. Because of a lack of accurate dosing data, users have to resort to trial and error.
Different oils seem to affect the absorption of CBD and THC but which ones work best has not been scientifically investigated, so the reader has to make an educated guess or experiment. The most popular oil that is said to have quicker absorption rates for cannabidiol is coconut oil. And while the absorption rates may vary, many people still prefer taking CBD orally because they do not like the taste of oils and capsules allow them to measure their doses easily.
How to Take CBD Orally
To take CBD orally, you need a reliable source of CBD in an oil solution. Capsules are popular and probably the easiest way of getting CBD into your body. They can delay absorption, which could be helpful for people who need longer-term effects during a long day, for example.
Another popular way to take CBD orally is CBD Edibles. Edibles come in a variety of different forms; Gummies, Chocolates or some people will make their own by cooking with CBD. If you are interested in cooking with CBD, we also have a blog post in it.
Finally, you can drink cannabidiol. Either by putting CBD oil into a beverage (some people will put a few drops in their tea or coffee) or by using a water-soluble CBD to mix with your favourite beverage. Note, using oil will alter the taste of your drinks and may not be absorbed as much as a water-soluble solution.
Sublingual Administration (Under Your Tongue)
The linings of the tissues under your tongue are some of the thinnest in the body and are is more effective and consistent than oral administration. CBD oil does not have a great taste but it can be easily masked with sweets or mixed with flavourings before you put it under the tongue. The longer you keep it there, the more gets absorbed. If you are someone who really dislikes the natural taste of CBD oil there are some flavoured CBD Oils to help mask the taste.
For effective and consistent results, measure the concentration you are taking and the time you keep it under the tongue, recording the results. This should allow you to compare how effective different doses are and adjust your dose accordingly. Your doctor will be able to help with this process.
Smoking CBD is a terrible idea, please do not do it. CBD doses can be obtained through smoking but it causes serious harm to the body, so if you looking to inhale your cannabidiol, please look at the Vaporizing CBD section below.
This is the most popular method of administration, using a vaporizer for taking CBD is both much safer than smoking and a lot quicker than eating or drinking it. If you are interested in vaping your CBD, but are confused as to where to start, check out our Easy Guide to Vaping CBD. There are some health risks associated with vaping but it is much better than smoking.
Dosage from vaping CBD peaks about 10 minutes after you vape and the bioavailability is up to 60 percent when vaporized and inhaled. For the quickest method of how to take CBD safely, vaporization wins. Just make sure you are using the appropriate products for vaping CBD because you can't just put regular CBD oil into a vaporizer.