CBD products are available everywhere you look, and in as many different forms as you can imagine. From drops to edibles, topical lotions and bath bombs, you can even find CBD dog treats, potato chips and snacks, CBD-infused hamburgers and soft drinks, and even CBD-based sexual lube. The most common, and most effective varieties though, are CBD drops, CBD edibles and CBD vaping.
With all of the different CBD products available it’s easy to get confused and misled into thinking they are all equal. They are not. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the different types of CBD products, and the relative pros and cons of each one.
CBD edibles, often in the form of gummy candy, chocolates, beverages or other easily-consumed products often designed to mask the taste of the oil, are among the most popular formats. Still, even with added sugar, it is an acquired taste. An advantage of edibles is that each edible contains a specific dose, which makes it easier to make sure you are getting a uniform amount. One of the biggest downsides of edibles though, is that absorption is slower, and it may take an hour or two for the CBD to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and possibly longer depending on what other foods may have been eaten along with it.
CBD drops, typically the purest form available and in liquid form, is typically taken under the tongue with a dropper. Extracted by steeping the flower in grain alcohol, it can be taken directly or mixed with water or juice, and it is sometimes also used as an additive to foods such as soup or pasta sauce. The biggest advantage of drops is that, when taken under the tongue, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream very quickly, typically less than 30 minutes. If you are adding drops to food though, absorption time increases significantly – if you’re thinking about adding it to your lasagna, you won’t feel the effects for a couple hours. On the downside though, dosing may be a little less precise since it is taken with a dropper and not pre-measured.
Vaping is absolutely the fastest way to get CBD into the bloodstream, usually in just a few minutes. Cannabinoid vape liquids, sometimes available in flavors to mask the taste of CBD extract, are widely available and easy to use. It is possible to buy CBD liquid and use it in open tank systems, but the dose can be more tightly regulated with prefilled cartridges and disposable vape pens prefilled with just the right dosage of CBD. Some CBD vape pens do use propylene glycol as a carrier oil. While some users have expressed concern, propylene glycol has been shown to be harmless. Some anti-vaping activists have intentionally confused propylene glycol, which is a common food additive, with ethylene glycol, which is an ingredient in antifreeze. Vaping products do not use ethylene glycol.
Although the FDA has not yet approved CBD for use as a topical treatment for things like arthritis, muscle aches or localized pain, there is anecdotal evidence of its efficacy and CBD topicals are widely available. To use it, simply rub it onto the skin. It may be effective in delivering a more gradual release of CBD directly to an affected area over time. On the downside, lotions and balms do tend to contain higher levels of CBD and are therefore more expensive. There is a very minor risk of skin irritation for those who might be sensitive to it, and if skin irritation occurs, move to drops, edibles or vaping instead.
CBD beer? Cheers!
Yes, it’s true, a handful of breweries have started to brew craft beer with CBD. Much more expensive than the standard IPA, CBD beer does have the advantage of including a measured dose in each serving, and it may be the next big thing in small batch craft beer. What could be better, after all, than enjoying a cold hoppy IPA with a stress-reducing impact of CBD at the same time, and in the same beverage? Adding CBD to beer may sound a little strange, but it does make sense, since hemp and hops do have some similar characteristics, and both have a distinct aroma.