How to Use CBD - Methods of Consumption
How to Use CBD - Methods of Consumption
Absorption, onset of action, and bioavailability are all factors to consider when purchasing a CBD product
How much CBD do you need and what is the best method of consuming CBD? Let me start with bioavailability (the amount of medicine that your body/bloodstream actually gets) based on your chosen method of consumption:
- 40% for vaporized (absorbed through the lungs)
- 34%-46% for intranasal (applied through the nose)
- 35% for sublingual tincture (absorbed directly through the glands under the tongue)
- 6% – 15% for oral (swallowed and digested by the GI system)
So … for every mg of CBD you consume, by vaping, your body actually gets about .4mg of CBD. By intranasal means .34mg to .46mg per 1mg actually taken. For oromucosal (tincture) 1mg of CBD gets to body .35mg of CBD and orally (edibles) it’s .06 to .15mg per 1 mg taken. But … don’t jump ahead … there are reasons that one still might choose edibles over vaping. We’re going to get to that. Not as much evidence is available on the bioavailability of topicals. But when I find more, I be sure to share. But since the skin is the large organ of the body, antedoctal evidence says that topical are at least a somewhat effective and beneficial ways of using CBD.
When starting with CBD, you should follow the old adage “start low, go slow.” New users are recommended to take 5 to 10 mg daily at first, as this is the typical small serving size for an adult. Depending on your metabolism, body weight, and desired effects, you might want to start with no more than 15 mg per day. You can always up the serving size after your body gets accustomed to it. Using 50mg to 100mg or more per day is not uncommon. Similar to eating, drinking and smoking, give your body time to tell you how the CBD is affecting you.
Vaping (CBD oils, e-liquids and concentrates)
When you vape, vapor infused with CBD enters your lungs, and is diffused into the bloodstream. Vaporizing allows CBD to be absorbed by the lungs, into the blood, and across the blood-brain barrier. This avoids the first-pass effect (is a phenomenon of drug metabolism whereby the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches the general circulation of the blood through the body) altogether, allowing nearly three times as much CBD to enter your circulation (as compared to the oral administration) for a maximum bioavailability of 40-60%; depending who you ask.
The first effects of inhaled cannabis usually occur within a few minutes, and gradually wear off after 2-3 hours. Vaping is effective for treating acute symptoms that need to be addressed quickly. By vaporizing a CBD e-liquid or high-CBD concentrate, you could potentially feel its effects 30 to 60 minutes faster. This makes vaping CBD an extremely efficient delivery method especially if you’re looking to manage an acute condition.
However, some people like to,” prime the pump” by taking the bulk of whatever they determine their daily dosage will be, first thing in the morning. It would be rather difficult to vape say 10-20mgs of CBD before you go to work every day. But Vaping is excellent for microsdosing throughout the day.
Tincture (CBD oil pump spray or eye dropper, powder, capsules)
Perhaps the easiest and most effective method of consumption is CBD oil. CBD oil, or tincture, can be administered under your tongue, where it is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. This method of delivery bypasses the two systems in your body that can reduce the desired effects of CBD: the pulmonary system (lungs) and the digestive system. And a large dose can be administered quickly and discreetly with an eyedropper or pump spray tincture.
Because CBD oil can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream under your tongue and because these blood vessels are close to your brain, the CBD doesn’t pass through your lungs or your liver. And when CBD bypasses the liver and the lungs, it retains its original potency. That’s great news for those who want to get the most out of their medicine.
Edibles (Peanut Butter, Honey, Hemp oils, pet treats)
When consumed orally, cannabidiol (CBD) is processed by the liver and other digestive organs. Only a percentage of the CBD consumed passes through these organs and makes it into the bloodstream, so it can be used by the endocannabinoid system. Any excess CBD is stored in fat cells. If enough CBD is consumed, CBD can remain in the fat cells for days, releasing gradually for use by the endocannabinoid system. So, although oral consumption doesn’t provide the highest availability, if you consume enough consistently, oral consumption is a very effective way to treat certain chronic conditions.
The “first-pass effect” is the term used to describe the metabolism of chemical compounds in the liver and other digestive processes, which causes a significant portion of medicine consumed orally, to be broken down into unusable components and limiting the amount of compound which is bioavailable to cells in the body.
If consumed orally and at significant enough levels, CBD tends to be absorbed by the fatty cells, and can provide benefit for chronic conditions throughout the day.
Many consumers experience a satisfactory effect by consuming a 15mg capsule twice per day (morning and night).
Absorption of CBD When Applied Topically
When you smear CBD oils or creams onto your skin, it will never reach the bloodstream. In using CBD this way, you get targeted relief to a specific area. The skin absorbs CBD so that it can interact with cannabinoid receptors nearby. Generally, human skin is not very permeable. It blocks the majority of substances to prevent them from entering the body.
Your skin will not absorb cannabinoids very well. Absorption rates are very low. This is why, for topical CBD products to work, you have to apply them very generously, as in thick enough to break this barrier. If you are liberal enough in your application, your skin pores will absorb CBD to affect targeted healing. Additionally, this method works best when lotions, salves and balms contain very high levels of CBD.
The only topical CBD products able to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream are transdermal CBD patches. Transdermal, by its very definition, means able to cross the dermal barrier to reach the blood.
Other Methods of Consumption
There are other ways to consume CBD too, including rectally (suppositories), intranasal (nasal spray or drops) and intravenously (injected into a vein). These methods send CBD into the bloodstream very quickly, since absorption occurs via mucous membranes and directly. However, almost nobody wants to inject CBD or insert suppositories. Although severely ill patients do use them, they are generally unpopular for most people.
How Much CBD is Right for Me?
Use this chart as a rough guide to per day dosing: