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If you're reading the post, the likelihood is, you're a prospective CBD consumer feeling overwhelmed. With the endless choice you're faced with when it comes to CBD products, it's understandable to be unsure which will be the best for you and your needs, and honestly, we don't blame you. The ever-snowballing popularity of this cannabis constituent over the last ten years has ushered in dozens of different companies, all selling dozens of different CBD products, all claiming to be the best on the market.
We at Amphora see you, and we feel your pain. That's why we have put together a guide to help you determine exactly what CBD delivery method you should be searching for and purchasing. Get ready to feel enlightened with all the knowledge you need to make the right choice on which CBD product is most appropriate for you. By guiding you through this cannabinoid, the different ways to consume it and the pros and cons of each method, we hope to give you a clearer sense of what's out there; and what's right for you.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. The industrial hemp plant, a strain of cannabis, is where companies that sell CBD products get their cannabidiol from.
Before you begin to worry at the sight of the word cannabis, allow us to reassure you: hemp-derived CBD is completely legal throughout the UK, most EU countries and at a federal level in the US. CBD legality everywhere is steeped in regulations to do with the THC content. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another cannabis-constituent. Yet, unlike CBD, it leads to intoxication when consumed in strong enough doses. Both THC and CBD are naturally-occurring in both varieties of the cannabis plant - hemp and marijuana. However, hemp has naturally higher concentrations of cannabidiol, whereas marijuana has much higher THC content. When you think of recreational cannabis, that's marijuana; when you think of wellness and naturally-sourced supplements, think hemp.
In the UK, only hemp plants are allowed to be used for CBD extraction - not marijuana. Hemp plants are not allowed to have concentrations of THC that exceed 0.2%, and final CBD products must not contain more than 1mg of THC. Note that this is not nearly enough to induce a "high". The 0.2% cap on THC is the same in many EU countries, and in the US the limit is 0.3%.
Amongst CBD and THC, there are over 100 other cannabinoids present in cannabis, each with their own set of unique qualities and benefits. Some of the other cannabinoids you may have encountered are CBN, CBG and CBC.
What are the different types of CBD?
CBD comes in three different extracts: full-spectrum CBD, CBD distillate, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD is named as such because it includes a full spectrum of cannabinoids, vitamins, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids. Products that use this CBD extract also contain trace amounts of THC, but no more than 1mg - again, not enough to cause a high.
CBD Distillate is what we use here at Amphora, in our CBD vape oils. It is a highly refined cannabis extract, often derived from CBD hemp flower and biomass; it contains other beneficial components found in the cannabis plant, just like full-spectrum CBD. However, the extract has any traces of THC eradicated. What remains is a health-enhancing blend of other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins and fatty acids, and zero THC. We use CBD Distillate for maximum bioavailability and safety and to preserve all the natural benefits of the cannabis constituents working together. Whereas other brands may use harmful carrier oils, Amphora only uses terpenes that are also natural components of the cannabis plant, to ensure the safety and natural feel of our CBD vape oil.
In both full-spectrum and CBD distillate, it is thought that the phytochemicals can enhance each other's effects, in what is known as the "entourage effect". However, such a result doesn't take place when one takes CBD Isolate.
CBD Isolate is simply pure CBD without any of the other ingredients we listed above- hence there is no entourage of chemicals for there to be a synergistic effect. CBD isolate may be the preferred choice of a CBD user whose interest lies only in this one cannabinoid.
Why is it used?
CBD has been regarded as a natural and organic alternative to many mainstream pharmaceuticals by people with a wide array of conditions affecting both their mental and physical health.
This cannabinoid is thought to be incredibly multifaceted. There is compelling evidence to suggest it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, analgesic, antiemetic, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, neuroprotectiveand immunomodulatory properties. In simple terms, this phytocannabinoid has been praised for alleviating symptoms connected with a whole range of health problems.
As a proposed antioxidant, CBD is alleged to help fight off oxidative stress - the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can cause chain reactions that then trigger the onset of certain health conditions. Some of the illnesses that come as a result of oxidative stress include cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, various cardiovascular conditions and others, too. Long-term use of CBD, then, may theoretically help to prevent oxidative stress and by extension these associated illnesses, though of course it is no substitute for mainstream pharmaceuticals.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability refers to the rate at which a substance (in this case, CBD) reaches the bloodstream, and how much potency it retains when it gets there. Bioavailability varies between delivery methods when you take CBD, with some being higher than others. It is usually measured as a percentage.
We will now take you through all the different ways you can take CBD and all of their respective bioavailabilities.
CBD Ingestibles & Edibles
CBD ingestibles are any CBD product designed to be processed through your digestive system before the cannabidiol reaches your bloodstream. There is a multitude of ingestible products out there, including capsules, soft gels, gummies and many more.
Opting for a CBD capsule or softgel is an excellent choice for many reasons. They are an ideal way of getting your CBD dose pre-measured and consistent. Their effects should kick in within half an hour of being swallowed with water. Given their journey down the gullet and their subsequent enzyme breakdown (both there and in the liver) they may lose some of their potency before landing in the bloodstream. On the bright side, their effects may last a long time and be slowly released throughout the day of consumption.
Edibles are another popular choice, especially among CBD newbies who are looking to get a fix of cannabidiol without having to taste the potentially intrusive, earthy flavour associated with this cannabinoid. Edibles come in multiple forms, such as CBD gummies and chocolate. Most gummies vary from 10mg to 25mg per sweet, so you can start with one and then work out whether you feel like you need any more.
Often also categorised as ingestibles, CBD tinctures, whilst they do go into your mouth, aren't meant to be swallowed. Tinctures are not designed to pass through the digestive system; instead, they are to be absorbed via the sublingual gland beneath the tongue, where they can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. The key to letting CBD oil from a tincture absorb is holding it there beneath your tongue for at least 30 seconds, rather than swallowing straight away. Swallowing will send the CBD oil through the digestive system and cost it some of its potency, thus lowering its bioavailability.
When absorbed properly, sublingual consumption of CBD has a bioavailability reported to be between 12%-35%, placing it just behind vaping as the best method of CBD consumption, which we will explore next.
CBD tinctures can come in a range of concentrations and CBD extracts, usually starting from 5%, with a maximum concentration sometimes at 25%. Typically, you will be able to feel the magic touch of CBD around 15-20 minutes after absorbing it sublingually.
Our personal favourite here at Amphora, vaping has the highest bioavailability of all methods of CBD consumption (thought to be at 34–46%, with some studies reporting a bioavailability of up to 56%). Because of its speedy absorption through the alveoli on the lining of the lungs, the CBD molecules immediately move into the bloodstream, retaining most of their potency as they go. You can start to feel the effects of the CBD as quickly as 15 minutes after inhaling it - great for those looking for a fast-acting remedy for whatever they are feeling.
CBD skincare is another popular choice. This is because creams, balms, lotions and salves infused with CBD provide targeted relief to a specific area of your body - whether it is your skin, muscles or joints.
A key thing to note, however, is that CBD topicals will not be delivered directly into the bloodstream. Whilst they do work with the receptors in your peripheral nervous system, and they do boost your general wellness because you're being kind to your skin, applying a CBD topical will not have an impact on things like cognitive performance. As a result, the bioavailability of CBD topicals does not compare to other methods of consumption. In fact, the exact bioavailability of CBD-infused skincare products is still unknown, but is thought to be low.
Still, CBD topicals reportedly come with their own set of benefits such as alleviated pain, soreness and discomfort from muscles, joints and skin. Since CBD is believed to be anti-inflammatory, it can potentially combat inflammation affecting the skin, joints or muscles.
The CBD matchmaker
That overwhelmed feeling still not subsided? Now that we have covered the main CBD delivery methods, and everything to bear in mind about each of them, it is time we tailor the information to your specific needs.
Below, we have listed the best delivery method for various conditions. Naturally, we couldn't possibly hope to pair the whole world of personal issues with a CBD delivery method, so if we've left out yours, we're sorry! If you have any queries, do feel free to contact us- we're always happy to help!
Inflamed, irritated skin
Best CBD delivery method: CBD topical, bath bomb, face mask
Inflammatory conditions affecting the skin could include eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne and epidermis bullosa, to name a few.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vape, tincture, pillow spray
We don't need to tell you that getting enough good quality sleep is of the utmost importance for daily functioning. For those simply unable to fall asleep, or those who do but suffer from sleep disturbances while dormant, CBD could aid the improvement of sleep patterns.
It is thought that this cannabinoid can interact with our primary stress hormone, cortisol, which could perhaps be the key factor keeping you from that much-craved slumber. In other words, CBD may be able to tackle the root cause of the sleeping problem, whether that is stress, anxiety, depression or pain, as cortisol is involved in each process.
It has even been reported to help eliminate nightmares in patients with PTSD, as well as Parkinson's patients who develop secondary sleep disorders.
Stress and anxiety
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vape, tincture
Because of its engagement with our CB1 receptors in the central nervous system (located around the brain and spinal cord), it is thought that CBD has the ability to work with our primary stress hormone (cortisol). It may also have a regulatory role when it comes to our neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, too. Time and time again, studies have agreed that this cannabinoid has colossal potential for relieving forms of anxiety, such as PTSD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and other related conditions.
Focus and energy
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vape, tincture
Due to its stimulation of the body's endocannabinoids (which are involved in processes that can affect your concentration and productivity), CBD has been found to sharpen focus, alertness, and raise energy levels, promoting wakefulness. We know it seems slightly contradictory that CBD can enhance sleeping patterns and simultaneously sustain your energy, but trust us on this one - it's all there, in the literature.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vaping
After mounds of research and trials, as well as anecdotal reports that went viral and received widespread media attention, it was established that cannabidiol had transformational effects on some forms of epilepsy, reducing the occurrence of seizures significantly. As a result, in January of this year, the FDA approved the first cannabidiol-based drug for use in patients 1-year-old and above with two stubborn and unresponsive forms of Epilepsy: Lennox-gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. Later in 2020, Epidiolex was also approved for use on patients with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.
CBD may serve as a natural, organic healthcare supplement and is used by numerous epilepsy patients, but should only be sought with the approval of a doctor, especially when used with mainstream pharmaceutical options. Never use CBD as a way to delay seeing a doctor, and always check before combining CBD with pharmaceutical medicines, as the cannabidiol may influence the effects of your medications.
Achy muscles and sore joints
Best CBD delivery method: CBD topical, tincture, vape
It may be intensive exercise that causes your muscles to ache, or perhaps your aches and pains are a symptom of something else. Whatever the reason for your discomfort, CBD can help restore muscles, again, by reducing any inflammation that is affecting them.
One study investigated the effects of CBD on arthritic joints in rats, with very promising results. Still, obviously, it is important to continue testing on human samples, and keep yourself informed when it comes to the most recent research.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD tincture, capsules
As well as affecting the skin, inflammation can have adverse effects in the bowel. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that refers to two conditions that result in inflammation in certain parts of the gut. These conditions include Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. CBD has been reported to calm the symptoms of IBD in some instances.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vape, tincture
Parkinson's is a highly complex neurodegenerative disorder, and many studies have aligned in their conclusions that CBD dramatically improves the quality of life amongst many PD patients.
One of the symptoms of Parkinson's can be vivid nightmares and potential REM sleep disorder. Cannabidiol has helped in many instances of this.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD vape, tincture
Pain can occur as a byproduct of just about any health condition. It is one of the leading reasons people use CBD, due to its known analgesic properties. Those suffering cancer-related pain have anecdotally reported improvements upon consuming this cannabinoid.
Cannabidiol has also been confirmed to reduce spasticity, pain, inflammation, fatigue and depression in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Best CBD delivery method: CBD capsules or softgels
If you thought that CBD is only taken by those with health conditions, then you are sorely mistaken! Anybody looking to boost their wellness can begin a CBD regime. And for the seasoned supplement-taker, there is no better way to continue this habit than with the daily intake of CBD capsules or softgels.
Best CBD delivery method: CBD edibles
Suppose you aren't quite ready to take up a full regime of CBD consumption and would rather reserve its benefits for an occasional treat. In that case, we recommend periodically indulging in some CBD edibles.
Be it gummies, chocolate, or CBD-infused olive oil to drizzle over salads or use as a cooking base, CBD edibles are an enjoyable way to get your food fix while also garnering the benefits that CBD can offer.
Hopefully, by this point, you have found your perfect CBD delivery-method-match, and you are about ready to make your purchase. Before you do, though, there are a couple more things to consider.
Firstly, CBD remains the object of rigorous investigation. Many of the studies we have referred to centre on preliminary findings, which will need further research to confirm their true validity in the broader scientific world. CBD cannot cure illnesses, but it does show promise for improving many of them.
Whichever delivery method you opt for, be sure to check the Certificate of Analysis before making your purchase. Any reputable CBD company should have one of these documents for each of their products, and have them visible to their customers, as COAs will certify that their products have been through lab testing by a third-party laboratory. A COA should list the cannabinoid profile of any given CBD product, so there is complete clarity on what's in your product. At Amphora, our CBD-infused products are independently lab-tested. Every batch of the brand's CBD oil formulations undergoes thorough examination to ensure concentration, quality and absence of any harmful elements. Evidence of this can be found by scanning the QRcodeon any of our products.
Although here at Amphora, we use only nature-derived ingredients like terpenes as additives, the same cannot be said of all companies. Ensure any CBD product you might purchase (particularly vape oils) does not contain possibly harmful additives propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), Vitamin E acetate and polyethene glycol (PEG).
Another thing to bear in mind is the potential of adverse reactions. While very few instances of adverse reactions have been recorded over the years, some symptoms that have been noted, and therefore ones to watch out for, may include:
- Weight changes
- Appetite changes
On account of these reactions, we recommend not exceeding 70mg of CBD per day, as this is the guideline given by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). That said, many with severe health conditions are on doses of CBD that do exceed this amount and do not ever encounter adverse effects. In order to build up your tolerance, then, we always advise starting on lower doses and increasing your intake bit by bit, until you find a concentration that works for you, your metabolism, body weight, condition and age.
We hope after reading this post, you now feel fully equipped with all the knowledge you'll ever need to make the best choice when purchasing your CBD. For our new friends, we hope your experience trying CBD for the first time is genuinely transformative; for our long-time users looking to switch to a new method, we hope it is a great success! Happy shopping, and happy CBD-taking!
Written by| Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate andengage consumersonthe growing evidence of CBD benefits andtheextensivehealth and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors |Angus Taylor+ Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation ofeffects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora“Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.