Cannabis is currently enjoying a cultural renaissance. Cannabis laws are being relaxed across Europe and America and we are finally cottoning on to the idea that there is more to this plant than THC!
Cannabis is wonderfully complex and is made up over 120 different cannabinoids that each of their own individual benefits and effects on the human body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) represents just one of this cannabinoids but it is currently the compound currently enjoying the limelight due to its several physical and phycological therapeutic applications.
At a plant level, THC and CBD operate as opposites. CBD acts as a buffer to some of the negative effects of THC. For example, CBD has been found to lessen the feeling of paranoia associated with strains high in THC.
If 2018 was the year that CBD gained recognition, 2019 was the year CBD very much became its own industry. As a result, there are literally hundreds of CBD brands to choose from. I suggest reading a respected CBD Oil Guide or checking information such as Bodynations’s CBD Oil rankings.
To complicate things further, different methods of taking CBD affect how the drug interacts with your body, the length of time it’ll take to feel its effects and perhaps most importantly, how efficiently your body uses the CBD.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a drug or other substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect.
For example, if you took a dose of 100mg CBD but only 35mg entered your bloodstream, it would have a bioavailability of 35%
The only method that offers 100% bioavailability is an injection directly into your bloodstream. This is the method favoured by medical professionals because it allows them to directly control the dose. However, this is neither practical or safe to do it at home.
Below are 5 methods to take CBD at home with pros and cons.
Orally – CBD Edibles
Oral Consumption refers to eating and/or drinking and is one of the most popular methods to enjoy CBD.
Today. Cannabis Edibles come in pretty much every shape and form you can dream of. I’ve seen cookies, chocolate and even CBD water!
Advantages of CBD Edibles: They are an especially popular choice for those who are new to the drug because they are so noninvasive. Everybody eats and drinks and edibles typically neither smell or taste like cannabis. They’re a great choice for anyone new to the plant.
Disadvantages of CBD Edibles: Edibles lose efficiency because the food has to pass through your metabolic and digestive system. A large proportion of the CBD will be filtered out before it even reaches your bloodstream
A 2009 study reported a 20% bioavailability rate being the most optimistic scenario when orally ingesting cannabis or hemp.
Smoking CBD heavy cannabis strains
Several people enjoy smoking heavy strains of their favourite cannabis. CBD heavy strains can often look and smell like their THC counterparts.
Advantages of smoking CBD: Smoking has a fairly respectable bioavailability of 30%. However, its main advantage is the speed in which it’ll reach your bloodstream. A 2005 study called “Pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids” demonstrated that saturation levels in the blook peak after just 10mins of smoking.
Disadvantages of smoking CBD: If you’re using CBD for any of its health or wellness benefits it could be argued that smoking is counterproductive. When you burn cannabis it exposes your lungs to dozens of different toxins and carcinogens. Smokers are at risk of diseases such as bronchitis and even cancer.
Using a cannabis vaporizer
Vaporizers have all the advantages of smoking with none of the health risks. They work by heating your cannabis up to the point where the cannabinoids will evaporate whilst leaving the plant matter behind.
Advantages of vaping Cannabis: A 2016 study called “Medicinal Cannabis: In Vitro Validation of Vaporizers for the Smoke-Free Inhalation of Cannabis” found that vaping dramatically increases the bioavailability of cannabis.
Disadvantages of vaping cannabis: A top of the range vaporizer can set you back a couple of hundred pounds. Also, it can be frustrating having to rely on anything battery-powered especially on long days out or trips abroad.
Taking a CBD Tincture
Sublingual means ‘under the tongue’ and are taken usually with a tincure.
CBD tinctures are generally made from high CBD strains of hemp, with 60% – 70% alcohol, and are primarily used to help relieve anxiety or ease the pain.
Advantages of CBD Tinctures: Tinctures are convenient, have a long shelf life, and are absorbed easily when taken under the tongue. The dose can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of drops taken. Tinctures also enjoy one of the highest bioavailability rates of any method; up to 50%.
Disadvantage of CBD Tinctures: A CBD tincture can feel foreign and uncomfortable for someone new to the practice. It also tastes horrible!
Suppositories have been around for decades and are used by patients searching for fast relief from a variety of conditions ranging from constipation to extreme pain.
Advantages of CBD Suppositories: Supposotroies avoid the metabolic system and instead offer a direct, fast route to the bloodstream.
Disadvantage of CBD Suppositories: Well, having to place it in your but for a start!!!
I’ve had a lot of success mixing CBD with Essential Oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender. Click here to read more about the best Essential Oil Starter Kits.