What’s the best way to use CBD?

Dr Elisabeth
Dr Elisabeth

The list of edible, drinkable, and rub-on-your-skin-able products that haven’t got an infusion of CBD might be shorter than the list of the ones that have. Sometimes those products make intuitive sense. CBD is widely used as a supplement, for example, and supplements often come in the form of capsules, so CBD capsules and this is something that is intuitive to take like other forms of vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin C. A CBD Oil spray, however, might be slightly more out of the ordinary.

There are endless ways to use CBD, but some of them are better than others. And depending on your needs and circumstances, there are a few options to consider. Both CBD capsules and CBD muscle rub are “sensical” products for someone to use, but if your back is sore and you want quick relief, the choice is an obvious one.

CBD Tinctures

When people talk about CBD oil in general, there’s a good chance they’re talking about tinctures. The word sounds old-fashioned for a reason: people have been using tinctures for literally thousands of years, ever since the ancient Egyptians first distilled alcohol into little vials and mixed it with herbs that were believed to hold various medicinal properties.

Not only are oils or tinctures easy to use (just squeeze a few drops under your tongue), but they make it easy to calculate your dose. CBD tinctures come in different potencies and, in many cases, different flavours. This versatility means that you have a lot of options when searching for a tincture that meets your needs.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are exactly what they sound like: capsules that are filled with CBD, instead of fish oil or other supplements. Typically these come in softgels that you swallow whole, though you can now find many other similar products like chewable CBD tablets. Aside from CBD, some of these capsules also contain other ingredients like inulin, which helps aid digestion.

One reason CBD capsules are so popular is because they’re easy to take. If you’ve ever swallowed a vitamin or an ibuprofen, you’re well prepared to tackle this challenge as well. Another benefit of capsules is that, like tinctures, they make it easy to tell exactly how much CBD you’re taking at a given time. Most capsules contain somewhere between 5-10 mg of CBD, so if you want to take 20 mg of CBD… well, you can see where we’re going with this.

CBD Topicals

There are two main types of CBD topicals: those that are designed to nourish your skin or enhance your complexion (like a face cream), and those that are intended to help support an active lifestyle (like a CBD joint gel). They work by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors found throughout the body—including on the skin, which is your body’s largest organ.

Whilst calculating your dose is a bit tricky with CBD topicals (how much is in a dollop? what even is a dollop?), these products do have one big advantage: they can be applied directly to the problem area. They also tend to contain other soothing ingredients like menthol, so you start feeling the effects quite quickly.

How can I make sure I’m using CBD correctly?

OK, so you’ve narrowed down your list of potential CBD delivery mechanisms. But you still probably have some questions when it comes to actually using CBD. So we’ve broken down some of the most commonly asked questions.

Which type of CBD is right for me?

This is going to depend on the issue you’re seeking to address. If your lower back is acting up every time you go to the gym, you might find that a CBD topical suits your needs best. If your job is stressing you out and you want to take the edge off while still keeping your head clear, a CBD tincture would probably be better. Your personal preferences are another important consideration: lots of people love capsules for their convenience, but if you have a problem swallowing pills, our sprays are the perfect product to use.

What’s the sign of a good CBD product?

You might have heard that many CBD products are, how can we put this delicately, of “dubious” quality. A reputable CBD product will come with the lab results from a third-party testing agency. These results should let you know the levels of CBD and THC (among other things) in the product. They should also certify that the product is free of contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals.

How much CBD should I use?

This depends on the condition you’re trying to treat and a whole bunch of other factors. In fact, scientists haven’t determined any set guidelines for recommended dosages yet. That means answering the question, “What’s the right CBD dose for me?” requires a bit of trial and error. Most experts recommend you “start low and go slow.” In other words, start with the dosing recommendation on the bottle, and pay careful attention to how you feel. The next time you take your CBD, adjust the dose a little (ex. instead of one capsule, take two.) Again, pay attention to how you feel afterwards—you might find it helpful to keep a record on a Post-It note or in your phone.

When should I take CBD to help me sleep?

This is one of the single biggest mistakes people make when taking CBD, so it’s worth addressing here. With most sleep aids, you take them at night to knock you out before bed. However, you’ll want to do the opposite with CBD. That’s because studies show that it helps you sleep by modulating the sleep-wake cycle. In other words, it makes you more alert during the day, which naturally causes you to feel more tired at night. This means that if you’re feeling groggy all day, and then you get a weird jolt of energy at midnight, taking a capsule of CBD isn’t going to help much. You’re better off taking it at breakfast and enjoying the full restorative powers of CBD.

Are there any tricks to make CBD work better?

Researchers have found that high-fat foods make CBD more effective. CBD molecules are quite large, relatively speaking, which makes them a bit tough for the body to absorb. However, those molecules dissolve when they come into contact with fat, which allows your body to process it quicker. This doesn’t mean you have to scarf down a whole stick of butter every time you take CBD. But taking it with a rich source of unsaturated fat, like avocados for example, can help you get the most out of your CBD.

But remember

It’s worth keeping in mind that although scientists are studying CBD in greater detail than ever before, what we know about this wildly popular compound is still far outweighed by what we don’t. Anecdotal reports are great—and there are a lot of those floating around the internet—but as a great thinker once said, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” We’ve got a long way to go before we can say what CBD can and can’t do with a reasonable degree of certainty.

Millions of people, from pro athletes to sleepless parents, have already given it a try, and their experiences can help you get an idea of what could work for you. Be smart, be skeptical, and (we’ve got to say this again) be sure to talk to your doctor before you start taking it. And let us know what you think of it—we’d love to hear from you.