Most of you will know about tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in marijuana that leads to feelings of euphoria—in other words, the stuff that gets you high.
But it’s another compound in the cannabis plant that has advocates excited. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the other major component of marijuana that, along with THC and the other 100 or so compounds found in cannabis, can have an effect on the human body and mind.
Where CBD differs from THC is that it is non-psychoactive (1). And it is this fact that makes it so appealing with its many potential health benefits leading to calls for widespread legalization.
This article will take a quick look at the history of CBD and how it works before outlining the types of CBD products available online and how you would go about using them. In particular, we will look at how to use CBD oil.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
A (Very) Brief History of Cannabis
There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to cannabis through the ages, so we’ll be taking something of a whistlestop tour.
We begin some 10,000 years ago with hemp being used to create cloth. It’s then mentioned for the first time in written records from around 3000 years ago in China. After that, it was used in various religious and spiritual contexts in the Far East, India, and Africa.
Skipping forward slightly to Victorian England, Queen Victoria’s physician Sir Russell Reynolds prescribed the monarch cannabis to cope with her menstrual cramps (2). When writing in the very first edition of the British Medical Journal, Reynolds described cannabis as “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”
In France, Dr. Jean-Jacques Moreau de Tours used cannabis to treat depression, and, during the American War of Independence, soldiers were paid with cannabis while farmers were encouraged to grow hemp to produce rope, paper, clothing, and ship sails.
More recent history paints a different picture of cannabis. There was the prohibition of the 1920s and 30s, the anti-establishment reputation of the 1960s, and the American War on Drugs muddying the waters of any serious legalization debate.
However, before the villainization of hemp, it was widely accepted as a very useful plant (3). From biofuel from its seeds to medicine from its leaves, it ought to be a core crop grown by farmers across the United States and beyond. However, for reasons too numerous to discuss in this article, issues of legality and federal restrictions have put a stop to that idea for the time being.
This brings us to today and the growing realization that CBD products have potential health benefits without the unwanted side-effects brought about by the presence of THC.
How does CBD work in the brain?
There are things in our brains called G protein-coupled receptors, and they interact with the chemical properties of things we consume. If you smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis, the THC will attach itself to one of these receptors (the CB1 receptor, to be precise) and elicit those feelings of euphoria and elation associated with weed.
On the other hand, CBD finds another receptor with which to bind: the CB2 receptor. Instead of amplifying those feelings normally felt when consuming THC, CBD actually acts as an antagonist, turning them down or off. This serves to ensure CBD is not habit-forming.
CBD also binds to a different receptor, the 5-HT1A receptor, as an agonist. This means it promotes a reaction, namely one that has the potential to reduce inflammation and other desirable effects.
It should be noted that CBD is entirely safe. There have been no recorded deaths by overdose thanks to the fact it has very low toxicity.
Types of CBD Products (and How to Use CBD Oil, Capsules, and more…)
As you would expect, there are many kinds of CBD products available, designed with different people and situations in mind. As a healthy and versatile substance, CBD oil may be used to improve sleep, affect stress and mood or relieve muscle soreness.
The benefits of CBD don’t stop there. You may also incorporate it in your beauty products for skin care or use it for joint support after a workout. With CBD products available even for pets, you’re likely to find one that suits your needs. However, there are hundreds to choose from, which is why we put together a “buy cannabidiol” guide to empower you with knowledge to make the best decision.
If you’re ready to learn how to use CBD oil, capsules, edibles, gum, tinctures, and topicals, read on!
1. CBD Oil
For those looking for the purest and strongest CBD product available, CBD oil is the answer. This particular form is more concentrated and will contain the highest quantity of CBD in comparison to the other types of products below.
When considering how to use CBD oil, you should be aware that it typically has no added flavors or sweeteners. As such, many who find the natural flavor difficult to swallow will often mix it with other foods, such as ice cream, to make it more palatable.
CBD oil is completely safe and designed to be taken orally or through a vaporizer.
2. CBD Capsules & Gum
As an option for consuming CBD on the go, look no further than the capsules and chewing gums.
CBD capsules are tasteless and odorless and are easy to track when it comes to consumption. However, you will be limited to the serving size of the capsule, which makes it difficult to find the precise serving that works for you and your situation.
The available CBD chewing gums are the ideal solution for busy people who want to avail themselves of the benefits of CBD. Simple to use, they are perhaps the most inconspicuous of the available CBD products, compared to pills or vaporizers.
3. CBD Tinctures
One of the most versatile forms of CBD, tinctures are particularly well suited to first-time users of the product. This is due to the fact that serving size can be precisely controlled thanks to the spray or dropper. Tinctures typically come in a variety of flavors, including vanilla, peppermint, and cinnamon.
The tinctures are taken by adding a few drops under your tongue, which allows the CBD to act quicker than most other forms of CBD products. You can also mix the tincture with drinks if you prefer.
4. CBD Topicals
Creams, lotions, and balms are super handy and more practical than other forms of CBD products. This is because you can target particular problem areas on your body, such as a sore knee or lower back, and enjoy the benefits of CBD directly as it is absorbed through the skin.
The downside to this approach, however, is that CBD topicals are typically slower to work than most other CBD products. However, if immediacy and length of effect are what you’re looking for, a CBD patch might be your best bet.
So there you have it. There are a number of different product types to choose from, and one of them is bound to be right for you and your circumstances.
Before you take your first steps towards using CBD, make sure you research the recommended serving size for your chosen product type. There’s no universal serving size as every person needs a different amount, and best practice is to start low and to gradually increase the serving.
Have you tried CBD oil? Would you recommend it to friends and family? Tell us in the comments.