CBD is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, and is believed to have multiple health benefits, including reducing anxiety and improving sleep. It’s no wonder the global CBD industry is now worth an estimated $553.7 million (£393.4 million), with more and more people across the world trying cannabis products.
But what’s the best way to take it? Is it under the tongue? Through the skin? Or just simple ingestion? By exploring studies, facts and common sense, this piece will look at the pros and cons of each and provide you with a comprehensive guide on CBD consumption. Read on and grow wiser.
CBD Oil – Sublingual
Industry experts Dragonfly CBD explain that: “CBD is activated when it interacts with receptors located all over the human body, so it needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream to work. CBD oil has a high absorption rate, making it one of the most efficient ways to take CBD”. This method is effective because of the millions of small blood vessels there to maximise absorption into the bloodstream. Dragonfly CBD recommends holding the CBD oil under your tongue for up to two minutes to get the most out of this intake method.
The absorption rate of sublingual consumption has been tested in multiple experiments. For example, this study by Russo et all estimates bioavailability is 35% for sublingual intake, which means that 35% of the CBD in the oil you take is absorbed. In other words, you don’t need much in order to feel the effects. By contrast, ingesting CBD, for instance, offers a much smaller bioavailability. This is because most will be metabolised by your body before it gets to the endocannabinoid system.
CBD Capsules – Ingestion
This method can be undertaken by eating foods which have been specifically infused with CBD, such as capsules. However, as touched upon, CBD is not as effective when it’s ingested, although it does stay in your system a few hours longer. In the Russo study mentioned above, it is claimed that ingesting CBD-infused food offers a bioavailability of around 6%, as most will be metabolised by your body.
Despite this, however, there are other reasons why one may choose ingestion methods like capsules. To begin with, it is more convenient. Being an easily-to-consume capsule, you are more likely to incorporate it into your daily routine. After you brush your teeth. After breakfast. After whatever. CBD capsules are also easier to transport and travel with than oil. With the absence of worrying about your bottle leaking and staining everything within its vicinity, carrying them around is stress-free.
CBD Cream – Topical
The topical method is taken via any skincare products, such as moisturisers, face creams, and lip balms, and enables CBD to be absorbed through the outer layer of skin. In February 2021, CBD was officially added to the European Commission database of cosmetic ingredients. This means the positive functions have been empirically proven by a legitimate authority.
CBD cream also has a number of protective qualities you don’t necessarily get with other absorption methods. This is due to its anti-sebum, antioxidant and skin conditioning properties that combine to produce a reliable layer of protection on the skin. These help prevent conditions such as acne, itchiness and oiliness, while CBD is also great for dehydrated skin due its conditioning and anti-sebum properties.
In terms of bioavailability, CBD-infused creams have the lowest of the three administration methods, at around 5–10%. Although this may sound inefficient, the purpose of topicals is to target relief in certain areas. The cream helps the compound to be absorbed into the skin where it causes therapeutic relief at a cellular level. In other words, it’s not meant to be carried around the body, and is meant to only be active in places targeted by your application.