You may have heard all about the CBD benefits that can relieve symptoms of a variety of conditions like pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and more. With the wide range of products available like a tincture, vapes, and cream, you are probably starting to wonder how to use CBD oil. Use this simple guide to help you make educated decisions when purchasing.
CBD products come in many forms; vapes, tinctures, topicals, gummies, and capsules. This incredible product variety allows you to find the method of consuming the best CBD oil for you.
Besides the different types of products, there are different types of extracts. The two main types of extractions are CBD isolate, which contains only CBD, and full-spectrum, which also includes other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Isolated products work best at low or high doses but have little activity in between. Full-spectrum products can act on more endocannabinoid receptors and have good activity at mid-level doses. Along with how much CBD you wish to take, the cannabinoids you desire will influence your choice in full-spectrum or isolate product. Some symptoms will benefit best from isolated CBD, while others may be better relieved with some help from the whole cannabinoid entourage.
CBD has various delivery methods, and different types of oil offer different kinds of benefits. Each delivery method has different bioavailability, therefore affects the amount of CBD that absorbs into your bloodstream. To take the proper amount, calculate your needs with our free CBD dosage calculator, and use it by its method given in detail on this page. To learn more about how the amount of CBD you put in your body affects it, read our Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil Dosage.
Using a CBD oil tincture is considered the easiest way to use CBD oil because tinctures are easy to measure and administer. You draw up some liquid into the dropper and dispense it under your tongue. You hold it in place under your tongue for 30 seconds to two minutes, then swallow.
Take tinctures with or without food. If you notice that the tincture upsets your stomach, try taking with food or reducing the dose. Most people start with one or two 1mL size droppers per day and gradually increase their dose (this is known as titrating) until they feel symptom relief.
If you’ve never used a vape before, many companies offer simple disposable vape pens that are great for new users. Otherwise, all vape pens work the same way.
If the vape has a button, you will have to hold that down while you inhale. If it does not have a button, you inhale for three to five seconds, draw the vapor into your lungs, then exhale. One to three of these puffs is a good starting point. You should feel the effects within 10 to 20 minutes, and if needed, take a few more puffs at that time.
One of the difficulties with vapes can be tracking how much you are using. Some products give an estimate of how many puffs you can get out of the tank of CBD vape juice, but others do not. As with all CBD products, the best advice is to start low and go slow. It takes some time to learn how to listen to your body.
Gummies & Capsules
CBD gummies and capsules have deficient absorption in the body and take an hour or two to start working. They also tend to be a low mg per gummy or capsule. Gummies are best taken as daily nutritional support to boost homeostasis in the endocannabinoid system. We refer to these products as “prophylactics” or preventatives.
Just like tinctures and vapes, gummies and capsules can be full spectrum or isolated. Gummies infused with full-spectrum oil are absorbed better by the body and have better activity than gummies with CBD sprinkled on like a sugar coating.
Cream & Topicals
Topicals like CBD cream and salve are great options for sore muscles and joints, for rashes and acne, and the care of wounds like burns. You can also mix oils with creams or apply them directly to the skin. However, creams and salves will often have additional ingredients that help the skin absorb cannabinoids.
Formulating pain creams with ingredients like menthol and capsaicin adds to the pain-relieving benefits and helps muscles relax. These creams should not be used on wounds, rashes, or the face because those additional ingredients can cause further skin irritation.
You can add creams formulated for cosmetic use to your daily beauty routine. These creams are usually formulated without irritants and may include other ingredients like hyaluronic acid (HA), coconut oil, and Vitamin E, which help moisturize and revive skin. Creams with hyaluronic acid are especially great because HA helps draw compounds into the skin and has its own restorative properties.
How to Use Multiple CBD Products
There are almost unlimited options and combinations of products that can be used. The best way to track how much you are using is to keep a journal and do a little math. You can estimate the amount of absorbed into your body with dosage calculations. These calculations are essential because your body does not absorb 100% of the mg you consume.
Many people take a preventative dose of CBD to help balance their endocannabinoid system. CBD gummies and capsules work well for this purpose because they have a low absorption rate in the body and take one or two hours to work. The low regular dose builds up over time and helps to stabilize deficiencies of the body’s natural endocannabinoids.
For symptoms like acute pain or anxiety, you should consider products like CBD tinctures and vapes. They work faster, in about 10 to 20 minutes, and have higher absorption rates in the body. Sore muscles and joints may be relieved by applying CBD creams. Make sure to track topicals separately as they do not reach the endocannabinoid system in the same ways as other CBD products do.
Types of CBD Oil
There are a variety of oil tinctures on the market now. These options include isolate, full-spectrum oil, and broad-spectrum. Both the isolate and broad-spectrum tinctures are THC free. However, the full-spectrum contains THC but must be below 0.3% by volume. It is possible that, if you take too much or high of a dose of full-spectrum oil, that you could fail a drug test. While you will not get high, you may be consuming enough THC to flag a drug test. Read our article about the difference between CBD vs THC to learn more.
Full Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
There are two main types of CBD oil tinctures- full-spectrum and isolate. Tinctures that contain isolated CBD work best at low or high doses such as 25mg or 100mg. Full-spectrum tinctures contain other cannabinoids, and because of that, they can work well at medium doses like 40mg or 60mg.
Full-spectrum CBD can also work well at lower doses. More cannabinoids can exert a broader range of activity at lower doses. Additionally, high doses of isolated CBD can be very expensive. Before experimenting with a high dose of isolate; you may want to try a full-spectrum oil tincture.
How to Use CBD Oil for Relief
The beneficial properties have been used throughout history to alleviate a large variety of symptoms from pain to epilepsy, and mood instability. The balance brought to ailments, where a natural deficit of cannabinoids exists in the body. Bringing balance to the body’s endocannabinoid system is where symptom relief is found.
CBD for Anxiety
CBD is known to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. It works through the neurochemical receptor 5-HT1A by increasing glutamate and serotonin levels. Studies in mice and humans have demonstrated that CBD can help prevent fear responses that trigger some anxiety symptoms. The effect of balancing mood affecting compounds like serotonin and suppressing panic and fear responses has scientists exploring the use of CBD to alleviate symptoms of PTSD as well.
Vapes and tinctures are good options to explore for panic and anxiety since they work in just 10-20 minutes and can reduce acute symptoms. Full-spectrum daily supplements can help improve the baseline functioning of your endocannabinoid system. It could mean you need less vape or tincture for times when symptoms are adverse.
Dive deeper into the effects of oil on anxiety in our article, CBD oil for anxiety.
CBD for Pain
CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which help alleviate pain. Approximately 38 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. More people than ever are seeking natural solutions for their symptoms. People have learned that taking pills like opiates, which can lead to addiction. Even over the counter, medications like ibuprofen has its risks.
CBD is an excellent option for relieving pain at the source. Along with its ability to reduce inflammation and reduce the sensation of pain, there are also antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. Support is provided at a cellular level and improves the way our bodies internally communicate.
For chronic pain, pair a daily supplement like gummies or capsules together with tincture or vapes. Pairing these together may help balance the endocannabinoid system and provide relief for more acute pain. If pain is specific to a particular area (like back pain), a massage with oil can help relax muscles and reduce inflammation.
Full-spectrum is excellent for pain because of the additional analgesic effects of the terpenes myrcene and beta-caryophyllene. Other plant compounds like beta-sitosterol, apigenin, and the unique Cannaflavin A also have analgesic properties and help reduce inflammatory factors like PGE-2 and TNF-a.
CBD for Arthritis
Many of the pain-relieving qualities of also translate to inflammatory conditions like arthritis. In arthritis, inflammatory factors like TNF-a and IL-1 beta are overabundant in particular joints. CBD and other hemp-derived compounds like terpenes and flavonoids can help reduce these inflammatory factors. The antioxidant activity also helps reduce oxidative stress found in arthritis affected joints, which can help slow the progression of arthritis.
Along with taking daily supplements and tinctures, topical creams and salves can be very beneficial to reducing joint inflammation and improving comfort and flexibility. Like with taking CBD for pain, arthritis sufferers will benefit most from full-spectrum CBD products that include other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. CBD products help control inflammatory factors and act on more of the endocannabinoid system receptors.
How to Use CBD for Pets
CBD for Dogs
Many companies make specific product lines for pets, resulting in easier administering. Flavored and unflavored oil for pets can be given to a dog orally or by placing it in their food. Dog treats in flavors that dogs will love like bacon and steak also exist.
Oils and dog treats are great ways for dogs to get their dose. Dogs are able to absorb through their digestive systems better. Aging dogs with inflammation and arthritis especially benefit from the same benefits felt by humans.
CBD for Cats
CBD is excellent for all pets, including cats. Similarly to dogs, many companies make products with unique flavors that will entice your cat to take CBD without a fuss. Many products are suitable for both cats and dogs because they base dosing recommendations off of body weight.
When giving to animals, the same dosage rule applies as it does to humans. Start dosages low and gradually increase until there is symptom relief!
CBD for Horses
Because of the size and complexity of horses, special supplements are needed to administer CBD for horses. Many of these come in the form of pellets and base dosing off of weight. Horses suffer many of the same ailments that humans do, and with their particularly active lives, experience a lot of inflammation. CBD is an excellent option for promoting equine health, but be sure to research and buy a high-quality horse product.
How to Use CBD Oil Drops
There are two main types of drops, oils, and tinctures. Oils are generally just swallowed or mixed with food. Oil tinctures are different though because they are meant to be held under the tongue for a minute before taking. Consumption through the digestive system can result in low bioavailability (approximately 6%). Your body may get enough to improve homeostasis from consumption. However, it will take a couple of hours to take effect and less of the product will be absorbed.
Oil tinctures can start working in just 20 minutes. Your body can absorb more cannabinoids (approximately 20%) through the buccal membrane under the tongue than it can through your digestive system. For more potent and faster-acting symptom relief, oil tinctures are generally more practical than swallowing or mixing it with food.
Final Thoughts: How to Use CBD Oil
You can take CBD in many ways, and different methods can be combined to achieve your health goals. Many users will take a daily supplement. Capsules or gummies are a popular choice. For more acute symptoms, vapes, tinctures, or topicals are generally used. Remember, our free dosage calculator linked above can be used to help you decide how much to take. Keeping a dosage journal detailing your usage will help you pinpoint the most effective delivery.
- Burstein, S. (2015). Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 23(7), 1377-1385. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25703248
- Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., & Hanuš, L. O. (2015). Overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of cannabidiol by using cannabis extract enriched in cannabidiol. Pharmacol Pharm, 6(2), 75-85. Retrieved from: https://file.scirp.org/pdf/PP_2015021016351567.pdf
- Linge, R., Jiménez-Sánchez, L., Campa, L., Pilar-Cuéllar, F., Vidal, R., Pazos, A., … & Díaz, Á. (2016). Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors. Neuropharmacology, 103, 16-26. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26711860
- Russo, E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/