In the wake of marijuana legalization and decriminalization across the country, high in demand are cannabis products that don’t get you high. Of all the medicinal, non-intoxicating uses of the cannabis plant, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the most exciting new product to hit the growing market. CBD is an extract that comes from the flowers and buds of the cannabis plant, and it contains only a scant amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the stuff that lifts your brain into the ether.
CBD oil has been touted in treating a host of health disorders with few or no side effects. Users swear by it, for everything from asthma to weight control. With reviews this great, you might be tempted to run right out and try it (if it’s indeed legal in your state). But before you go, know that you’ll be faced with a multitude of ways to use the oil. Depending on how you’d like to imbibe (or what you’d like to treat), CBD oil comes in many forms.
Here are four main ways to use CBD oil:
Another way of ingesting CBD oil – one that’s almost as effective as smoking or vaping – is to take it straight from the bottle. Tinctures come as drops or sprays that can be taken orally. They’re created by adding concentrated CBD to a stabilizing oil, such as coconut oil. Like vape juices, these also come in different flavors.
With tinctures, you place the oil under your tongue or the inside of your cheek and hold it for at least 30 seconds to a minute before swallowing. The mucous membranes under your tongue contain capillaries just like your lungs. The oil diffuses into the membrane and travels to arteries, thus bypassing the digestive system. You should be feeling the CBD effects within 5-10 minutes afterward.
One advantage of using tinctures is that the amount of CBD you’d like to take can be calibrated more exactly. Speak to your retailer about how best to start with the right dosage. He or she can provide advice as to how to measure the exact dose according to factors such as the concentration of the oil, your height and weight, and the physical effects that you’re looking for.
Why include a section on edibles when tinctures are technically edibles, too? Well, one important distinction is that tinctures come in small doses that are mostly absorbed through the capillary walls in the mouth. Edibles, however, use food or drink as a vehicle to bring the CBD into the bloodstream by way of the stomach. While this method isn’t as fast or as efficient, there are still several up-sides to this method.
For one, the possibilities for ingestion are endless. Tinctures may come in all sorts of tantalizing flavors, but nothing beats a luscious brownie with the CBD baked-in (so to speak)! Because CBD is an oil, it combines well with cooking oils and butter. As such, it can be cooked with almost anything. Feeling thirsty instead? CBD-infused juices, teas, sodas, beer, and even coffee are now on the market. The low levels of CBD make them perfect for beginners.
CBD that enters through the bloodstream this way won’t be as concentrated after it has outrun your stomach acids, but the flip-side is that the digestive process slows the absorption so that it stays in your system longer. So if you want a quick and concentrated hit, vape it or drop it. But if you’re looking for a low-level and long-lasting effect it, eat (or slurp) it.
While this method doesn’t treat your whole body, some swear by its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In this case, a high concentration of CBD is infused into a salve or lotion such as shea butter or beeswax and directly applied to your skin. It can help soothe skin-related issues such as psoriasis and eczema, provide relief to bug bites, and even alleviate the pain of overworked joints and muscles.
CBD reportedly works as an anti-inflammatory, and in the case of muscle and joint pain, applying it directly to the affected area can counteract the swelling that accompanies muscle aches and joint pain. Studies have found that the topical application of CBD not only has the potential to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, but can also have a prophylactic effect, reducing the chance of later nerve damage.
Finally, CBD also has a host of antiseptic and anti-microbial compounds that, according to researchers, specifically target bacterial cells. Scientists have not discovered the exact mechanism, but CBD and other cannabinoids appear to be effective even against deadly bacteria such as MRSA. So for cuts, abrasions, bug bites, and burns, apply CBD oil to affected areas to reduce the chance of infection.
Another way of bringing CBD into your bloodstream is the same way that pot smokers get their high – by smoking it (in this case, only the flowers and buds of the plant). The active ingredients go directly into your bloodstream via the capillaries in your lungs. It only takes 30 seconds or so to feel the difference, so users say it’s great for quick pain relief.
However, if you’re not a smoker but still want the quick hit, vaping is another option. E-cigarette vaporizers, or vape pens, heat a small amount of the oil until it boils, and then releases the vapor for you to inhale. Because you’re taking in vapor instead of smoke, it’s less irritating to the lungs.
The solvents used in most vape juice can be irritating to the lungs, though, so be sure and look for “solvent-free” vape juice. Vape Juice also comes in a wide array of flavors – berry, mint, citrus, etc. Besides not leaving you smelling like a dispensary, it’s also not as noticeable to people around you.
CBD oil has so many therapeutic uses, and whether you’re smoking, dropping, eating or massaging it in, you’ll be well on your way to discovering why the ancients revered cannabis as a miracle plant.