How to Use CBD

Now that we’ve learned how CBD interacts with the body and the tools it can offer on your journey to wellness, let’s take a closer look at the various ways to take CBD and the benefits associated with each.

In the past few years, there has been explosive growth in the CBD marketplace and there is now an almost overwhelming assortment of products to choose from, all promising to deliver pain relief, relaxation and much more. From capsules and lotions to gummies, syrups, and salad dressings, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy and reap the benefits of CBD — but what are the differences? And how do you choose what’s right for you?


Lots of people prefer the convenience and rapid relief provided by sublingual products such as CBD tinctures, lozenges, and sprays. Generally a user administers their preferred dosage underneath the tongue where the CBD absorbs into the capillaries and enters the bloodstream via the mucous membrane, so the effects are felt quickly and without loss of potency. To make these products, cannabis is soaked in alcohol or another carrier liquid such as MCT, coconut, grapeseed, hempseed, or olive oil. CBD companies have gotten very creative in their innovation of different flavors and potencies of CBD products. In addition to taking tinctures directly, they can also be added to food and drink for a versatile, delicious delivery regimen.


If a CBD snack is more your speed, there is a huge variety of edible ways to get your dose! From gummies and chocolate truffles to mints, honeysticks, and even salad dressings, there’s a taste to fit virtually every palate. Edibles are another extremely popular way to take CBD because they’re discreet, delicious, and they can even mask or eliminate the unpleasant “weedy” smell associated with some other CBD products.

It’s worth noting that CBD consumed via edibles is subject to something known as the “first pass” effect where the CBD is metabolized and partially broken down by the liver and digestive tract. This means the effects can take up to two hours to kick in and you’ll absorb roughly 20% to 30% of the CBD content.

CBD Topicals

When it comes to inflammation, eczema, psoriasis and other dermatological conditions, CBD applied topically can provide serious, rapid relief. Whether opting for a balm, salve, lotion, cream or patch, CBD-infused products boast a bevy of benefits and can be used short-term for treating localized pain and skin disease flare-ups or integrated into an existing skincare regimen for daily use.

Topical products are not subjected to the “first pass” effect associated with edibles so they’ll provide concentrated relief to a particular area. But remember: the permeability of your skin is poor in comparison to mucous membranes, such as sublingual tissue, which means when opting for topical products, you’ll want to choose those with high amounts of CBD and apply them generously. Those that contain additional analgesics, such as menthol, camphor, or capsaicin, may bring even more therapeutic potential to the mix.


Vaping and smoking allow the CBD to directly enter your bloodstream, meaning you’ll feel the effects a lot faster than with other methods. In just ten minutes or less, you’ll absorb around 35–56% of the CBD. You can use a vaporizer with a CBD oil cartridge, inhale concentrates, or smoke high-CBD cannabis flower in a rolled joint or pipe (one of the least processed ways to enjoy CBD).

Remember: smoking cannabis can expose you to carcinogens and, while vaping circumvents this by heating the plant to just below the point of combustion, the jury is still out on exactly how safe it is and the long-term effects, so it may not be the best choice for you. Be on the lookout and avoid products and cartridges made with thinning agents or carriers such as fractionated coconut (MCT) oil, vegetable glycerin, or propylene glycol as studies have found vaping these compounds can damage lung tissue.

Before introducing CBD into your healthcare regimen, it’s a good idea to talk to your doc as it’s possible CBD could interact with certain prescriptions such as antibiotics, antidepressants, and blood thinners.

Continue to Chapter 4 - CBD Buying Considerations