How To Make CBD Work For You
Now that CBD products are hitting the shelves in diverse and very imaginative formats, consumers are puzzled as to which product to choose and what expectations they should have. How can you make CBD work for you?
CBD consumers usually choose CBD to help with a particular condition such as anxiety, depression, inflammation, or chronic pain. However, when selecting the right CBD, consumers can easily make mistakes. Also, questions of dosage, administration method, or product price are equally important.
This article examines some common mistakes people make when experimenting with CBD, from choosing the right product to calculating the optimal dosage, and explains how to avoid them in order to make CBD work for you.
1. Make CBD work for you by talking to your GP first
The first and foremost thing that potential CBD consumers should do is talk to their GP.
Anyone interested in trying CBD should discuss with their GP the condition they are trying to alleviate. They should also mention all the medication they are already taking, even over-the-counter one.
While CBD generally has few side-effects, it can interact with other medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and blood thinners. It may also exacerbate conditions such as glaucoma.
Your GP will know whether the medication you are taking is possibly interacting with CBD and they will suggest the appropriate dosage. They will also be there to monitor how your body reacts to CBD and whether you should increase or diminish the dosage.
Because CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK, there are neither official guidelines nor any recommended daily allowances. This makes a conversation with your GP essential.
2. Don’t choose the cheapest CBD
CBD in the UK is already a multi-million-pound industry. However, just like with everything in life, you get what you pay for. CBD is expensive to produce because of the extraction process, the required laboratory testing, and the cost of the hemp flowers themselves.
Although it is perfectly understandable that consumers find cheap CBD offers appealing, these are usually misleading. The higher the CBD concentration, the higher the price will be.
If possible, opt for organic CBD
CBD produced from organic hemp will also be more expensive—but is also preferable.
Industrial hemp is a known bioremediation plant: it sucks heavy metals and pesticides from the soil and traps them in its stalks, leaves, and flowers. That is why hemp is often used to clean up polluted soils. Hence, choosing organic CBD is better for your health, even if it is more expensive.
Always select CBD products that are lab tested
CBD products should always be tested for their content in CBD and other cannabinoids, including THC, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Lab tests are necessary for consumers to know what they are taking. They are also essential for those concerned about drug tests: the lab tests will show the exact THC content. THC is the intoxicating compound in cannabis, responsible for the feeling of “high” associated with the plant. It should always be less than 0.2% under British law.
Make CBD work for you by asking for a CBD product that carries a Certificate of Analysis. This is the best way to be sure of what exactly your CBD contains.
Check the packaging
Packaging that promises miracle cures is often a tell-tale sign of a manufacturer who are not taking their job seriously.
So far, there are only indications that CBD may be helpful with particular conditions. Until there is concrete evidence, any claims are hypotheses rather than certainties. However, large-scale trials for specific conditions are still unavailable.
3. Choose the right CBD product
Choosing between CBD products
Apart from choosing a reputable and trustworthy manufacturer, you also need to choose the right CBD product. You can choose from full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD, hemp cannabinoids—including THC (at levels less than 0.2%)—terpenes, and flavonoids.
- Broad-spectrum CBD is full-spectrum CBD without the THC.
- CBD isolate is 100% pure CBD. All traces of cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids have been removed.
Evaluate which ones works for you
Clinical trials suggest that CBD with other cannabinoids works better than CBD on its own. This is called the entourage effect, whereby all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together and increase each other’s potential and the overall effect.
Full-spectrum CBD is believed to offer a stronger entourage effect. However, some consumers hesitate to choose it because it contains traces of THC, which might show up on a drug test.
Such consumers often prefer broad-spectrum, as it has no THC, even if it offers a milder entourage effect.
CBD isolate, or CBD crystals, offers the purest CBD but lacks the potential benefits of the entourage effect.
It is up to you and your GP to choose the right CBD product to make CBD work for you. For example, CBD isolate may be too much for your body or metabolism, so you may need a different CBD combination.
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4. Use the right dosage
Although your GP will have suggested an optimal dosage for your metabolism, age, weight, and condition, it is quite hard to establish the proper dosage.
CBD dosage is difficult to estimate because it depends on many variables but it is fundamental to make CBD work for you.
Sometimes, people choose a high dose to achieve immediate maximum effects. Again, this is wrong because you need to start with a low dose and increase it slowly while keeping track of any changes you might be feeling in your body.
A large dose could induce CBD side-effects such as nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. The easiest way to get rid of the side-effects is to diminish the dosage.
On the other hand, starting with an excessively low dose means that your body will not receive any potential benefit and you might get disappointed.
The most appropriate method is to start low and increase the dose incrementally over a month, while writing down the dosage you are taking each day and the perceived effect.
5. Use the right method of administration
There are several methods to take CBD: you can ingest it, vape it, take it sublingually, or apply it onto your skin. The products in each category are almost endless and you will be spoilt for choice.
Depending on the condition you are trying to alleviate, you should find a method of administration that suits your needs, lifestyle, and body if you want to make CBD work for you.
One issue to remember is the bioavailability of CBD. Depending on the method of administration, the bioavailability of CBD varies.
CBD bioavailability refers to the ultimate percentage of CBD that reaches the bloodstream. When ingesting CBD, the compound has to pass through the digestive tract before being broken by enzymes and reaching the bloodstream. This method offers a bioavailability of around 20%, meaning that 80% of the CBD you are taking will have no effect.
Bioavailability from vaping CBD is far higher, possibly reaching 50%. When vaping, CBD enters the lung capillaries and thus bypasses the stomach and its enzymes.
Sublingual use—putting a few drops of CBD tincture under the tongue and keeping it there for 60 seconds—offers a bioavailability of 30%, because the CBD enters the body through the tongue capillaries rather than the stomach.
Finally, topical CBD creams offer the lowest bioavailability, usually under 5%, because they have to cross all seven layers of the skin before reaching the bloodstream.
You need to determine which method suits you best
Depending on your lifestyle, some methods may not suit you. Vaping sometimes requires privacy, which might not be available. Ingesting is easier to organize but loses out on bioavailability. A painful joint might benefit from a CBD topical cream, but topical creams will do nothing for depression or anxiety.
You need to think about your goal and how you want to achieve it. You also need to think of your limitations. Taking CBD is not a one-off occurrence but a consistent effort that requires time and focus.
6. Manage your expectations
There is a lot of hype around CBD
Due to the hype surrounding CBD, many people are expecting miracles. From the moment people take their first CBD oil or tinctures, they expect their pain to go away or their anxiety to get better. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Even if you immediately get the dosage right, you need your body to get used to CBD if you want to make CBD work for you.
Many people take CBD in an effort to help their endocannabinoid system restore its natural balance. However, your body would need to get accustomed to CBD before that could occur. This won’t happen from one day to another, as it takes time for CBD to activate your CBD receptors. Many users suggest a month is necessary to better evaluate the potential benefit of CBD.
Thankfully, quitting too soon won’t do you any harm, as CBD is not addictive. However, you could lose any potential positive effects. That’s why you need to let CBD accumulate in your body and then see if there are any possible benefits.
CBD can’t heal everything
Although some preliminary clinical trials are promising, CBD is not a cure-all.
CBD studies suggest that CBD could be helpful with anxiety and depression, nausea, inflammation, chronic pain, and more.
However, large-scale clinical trials are still necessary. CBD’s effects must be studied, especially in regard to dosology, counter-indications, side-effects, and CBD drug interactions.
Also, CBD may alleviate some symptoms but we don’t know if it can heal a condition. For instance, CBD could be helpful for people suffering from anxiety, but no one knows if it might actually cure anxiety.
Likewise, CBD may alleviate inflammation, thus helping in conditions such as arthritis. But can it stop arthritis or does it just alleviate the symptoms?
7. We are still exploring the world of CBD
Due to its recent legalization, CBD is still a compound under investigation. Because of its food supplement status, CBD has no recommended daily allowance or a list of conditions it can be useful for.
Despite the explosion in CBD products and its rich history, these are still early days for CBD research. It will be years, perhaps decades, before actual medication to treat specific ailments and conditions can start emerging.
There is plenty of advice regarding the potential effectiveness of CBD. But there is also a lot of misleading information that confuses consumers. If you want to make CBD work for you, before experimenting, talk with your GP and consider all your choices—and expectations.