Over the past couple of years, CBD has finally hit the mainstream. What was once a rare and pretty obscure health supplement can now be found stocked in most local pharmacies. Yet despite this interest and exposure, there remains a fair amount of confusion of what CBD styles there are and how best to use them.
As with most health products, the quality can vary enormously and this is not helped by the FDA currently only having granted one license for and CBD product! It remains a largely unregulated market and it is necessary to know some essentials when considering undertaking an oil routine. We’ll cover those and more in this article.
What Are CBD Oil Drops?
CBD and the psychoactive THC between them make up around 85-90% of a typical marijuana plant depending on variety. The extracts are usually derived from industrial hemp that naturally contains a much lower THC. For the synthesized product to be legal in most regions, it must contain next to no THC (actual figures vary between country and sometimes state). This can be achieved via a wide variety of means.
Top quality extracts will use a CO2 based extraction method that is very similar to how coffee beans are decaffeinated. It is natural, chemical/ethanol free and of course eco-friendly. The downside is that it is time-consuming and expensive – which inevitably adds a considerable premium to such products. Alternatively, there are ever more ranges out there that are far cheaper yet use artificial processing methods. These result in inferior products (check independent batch testing results to see the difference and never buy from a company that does not offer them).
Whichever option you go for, there remains much more than initially meets the eye when choosing your CBD oil drops…
Isolate Or Full Spectrum?
You’ll often see these products marketed and labeled as being ‘pure’. What this means is anyone’s actual guess (that lack of regulation makes it highly ambiguous), but generally speaking it means that the oil is going to be a heavily processed isolate. This eliminates not just all but a minuscule amount of residual THC but also all the many dozens of other cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the plant. An increasingly vocal proportion of the industry is now claiming that isolates are actually far more likely to be ineffective. How can this be the case from a ‘pure’ oil?
It comes down mostly to recent research into how those additional (and largely unstudied) cannabinoids actually help the body absorb CBD. The body has receptors scattered around from head to toe, but the problem seems to be that isolate varieties struggle to actually travel between them. But full spectrum and broad spectrum (the latter being heavily processed but so far as to retain more cannabinoids than usual) seem to help carry it across the body. Of course, the problem with this is that there is more THC retained but still far from enough to make one fail a blood test or feel remotely high.
So which variety is better? It comes down to personal choice. Full/broad spectrum oils whether they be oral drops or vape liquid tend to have a far rawer and ‘hempier‘ taste. At the time of writing, there aren’t very many examples of flavored varieties of these products out there either. So if the taste is a big problem, you may want to try before you buy. But if you want ‘pure’ CBD and are not convinced at the current fledgling research, then maybe that is the product for you.
How Does CBD Drops Vary From Hemp/Marijuana Oil?
Once again we can blame the haphazard way that these products are labeled by various manufacturers for the confusion! The core difference comes down to which parts of the plant/hemp is used in the production process. Hemp oils are based upon processing the seeds – which, depending on their source – can contain far higher concentrates of THC. Despite this, they are considered to be extremely good for our body, packed with vitamins and minerals which is why they are often used in cooking.
CBD drops, on the other hand, make use of the flowers, buds, and the stalk of the plant. But not any seeds, even in broad/full spectrum varieties in order to keep THC at a minimum. They still contain all of the goodness from the plant but ought to be considered as a holistic kind of food/dietary supplement. No CBD oil drops will carry any psychoactive effects.
Dosing, Strengths & Effective Absorption
Plenty of people become frustrated when starting out with CBD as it can be difficult to find a ‘working’ dose. The only way to establish this is to experiment, and never believe any manufacturer who makes sweeping claims about how their product is effective for everyone. We are all designed differently, with age, weight, health, and body chemistry determining how much CBD we ought to take to boost our internal endocannabinoid systems. Some people will strike lucky and find a mild oil at 300mg or so (about 3mg of CBD per dose) works right away. Others may need much higher levels.
It may sound tempting to just leap in with a high strength product but paradoxically this may actually be counterproductive. Plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that taking too much CBD – while non-toxic and benign – can neutralize any positive effects just in the way taking to little may be ineffectual. Most people chose to taper gradually with strengths to find their ‘sweet spot’ and frustratingly this may take time and patience.
Consider also how you plan on taking your extract. CBD oils/tinctures are usually taken by dropping the dose right underneath the tongue and holding it in place for about 90 seconds. This part of the mouth allows for the swiftest absorption directly into the bloodstream. If you dislike the taste it can be tempting to swallow it down, but there are real problems with this. The body’s digestive tract can seriously eliminate a good proportion of the dose when filtered through the liver, and for this reason be wary if considering taking CBD capsules as well.
Consider A CBD Oil Vape Cartridge
A very good alternative that is now much more mainstream is to vape your CBD. The vast majority out there will incorporate only natural ingredients and contain zero nicotine or any other unpleasant chemicals. Vaping allows for the CBD to near instantly hit the bloodstream with next to no wastage. Just a couple of draws here and there over the day can deliver far improved results (but again there is no guarantee!).
Plenty of people have started to vape CBD oils alongside either a capsule or tincture based routine. Thanks to being very quick to absorb – usually only 20/30 seconds – it provides an efficient ‘top up’ to CBD levels especially for those hoping to help deal with anxiety or depression that may come and go over the day. But the downside is that it does not stay in the bloodstream as long so you will need to dose more frequently over the day.
Don’t be led into thinking that you need some kind of specialist hardware to vape CBD oils. All you need is a simple vape pen to enjoy the majority of e-liquids out there, or if that is still confusing take the time to check out easy to use cartridge systems.
Hopefully, this introduction to CBD oil may have cleared up a few questions. The best overall way to approach this range of potentially amazing products is to be open-minded and never forget that quality can go a long way in determining what may be effective. From a personal perspective, full spectrum varieties do seem to offer the best way of fortifying the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, and these ought to at least be considered even if you are already enjoying a happy dose of an isolate. Taken as an oral oil alongside maybe a vape pen – for quick hits when needed – is an increasingly popular system and one we’d recommend any to consider