What Is Cbd?

CBD Information

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
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CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychotropic molecule derived from the cannabis plant. The cannabinoid is capable of exerting physiological effects on the human body, partially via the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors located throughout the entire body.

What Is Cbd?

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is commonly known, is one of over 100 organic compounds called cannabinoids found inside Cannabis sativa. These cannabinoids (or, more specifically, phytocannabinoids) possess a unique ability to interact with the human body via a network of cellular receptors, triggering numerous physiological outcomes.

Well-known cannabinoids include:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)

The interrelationship between cannabinoids and the human body is why cannabis remains the most widely used drug in the world. It is also the reason CBD, in all its forms, has become an incredibly popular supplement for general well-being.

Although cannabinoids exist inside various plants (Echinacea, electric daisy, liverwort), Cannabis sativa not only has the greatest concentration, but the greatest diversity too.

There is no other plant species that can influence the body in so many ways, and humankind has shown a deep interest in the capabilities of cannabis and its cannabinoids for thousands of years as a result.

Before we explore the extensive history of cannabis cultivation and the discovery of CBD, it's worth taking a closer look at the chemical structure of cannabis and how the genus has evolved into a few slightly different subspecies.

Where Do Cannabinoids Come From?

As mentioned, the highest concentration of cannabinoids is found in the Cannabis sativa species. Although many people will know Cannabis sativa as the flower-bearing plant that is smoked or ingested to get high, the term Cannabis sativa actually includes the following subspecies:

Where Do Cannabinoids Come From?

Typically grows tall, with narrow, multi-fingered leaves and an extended flowering period compared to other subspecies.

A shorter overall height than C. sativa, with a bushier structure and broader leaves. The shorter flowering phase of C. indica makes it ideal for growing in regions with short summers.

Possesses attributes of both C. sativa and C. indica. The most significant difference with C. ruderalis is that it flowers after a predefined period, rather than relying on seasonal changes in light cycle.

While all of the subspecies above contain cannabinoids, it is a selectively bred derivative of C. sativa called hemp that holds the most significant levels of CBD while balancing naturally low concentrations of THC. Thus, the chemical composition of hemp makes it the ideal candidate for producing non-psychoactive CBD oils, capsules, topicals, and more.

What’S The Difference Between Hemp And Cannabis?

What’s The Difference Between Hemp And Cannabis?

Cannabis is a general term given to thousands of different cultivars that are smoked, eaten, and vaped for the high they produce.

Hemp, on the other hand, is an industrial crop that features in dozens of industries around the world. Not only is it low in THC, but you can use virtually all parts of the plant. In fact, hemp is more widely used than you might think. Below are several examples of how hemp is put to good use.

  • Hemp seeds: Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega fatty acids 3 & 6 as well as plant protein and antioxidants. Hemp seeds don’t contain cannabinoids, but are used to create nutritious hemp seed oil.
  • Fabric: There is no shortage of hemp fabric products, with dresses, shorts, sacks, carrier bags, and shoes all being common options.
  • Building materials: Combine hemp fibres with lime, and it makes a versatile insulating material. Compressed hemp “blocks” are extremely durable too.
  • Paper: Cigarette paper companies were the first to popularise hemp paper. Since then, hemp paper has proven to be longer-lasting and have a higher tear resistance than conventional alternatives.
  • Jewellery: After preparing tightly knotted hemp fibres, they're used to create various bracelets, necklaces, and watch straps.
  • Water and soil purification: Hemp is an excellent choice for clearing impurities out of land unsuitable for fruiting crops. It naturally absorbs toxins, chemicals, and even radioisotopes from the surrounding area.
  • Biofuel: If you process the seeds and stalks of hemp plants, it’s possible to create biodiesel to power diesel engines.

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As you can see, hemp is incredibly versatile. Of course, what we are most interested in are the cannabinoid-infused products created from its chemical structure. However, it wasn’t until quite recently that scientists were able to identify what we now know to be “cannabinoids”.

The History Of Cbd

The History Of CBD

The widespread use of CBD is a phenomenon that came to light at the turn of the 21st century, but this isn't the first time humankind has invoked the potent influence of cannabinoids. In fact, cannabis-infused tea was a common Chinese tonic used back in 2737 BCE.

In 1839, William B. O’Shaughnessy was one of the first physicians to explore the plant's effects, and cannabis use throughout Europe and the US grew steadily as a result. Before total prohibition in the early 20th century, cannabis tinctures were widely available from pharmacies across America—a far cry from today!

Discovering The Vast World Of Cannabinoids

Ultimately, it was a lack of understanding that led to the complete prohibition of cannabis and all its derivatives (that includes cannabinoids, non-toxic or not). Apart from one particular cannabinoid, it wasn’t until the 1940s that scientists began to isolate and elucidate specific compounds.

It wasn’t CBD that would be the first cannabinoid discovered, but cannabinol (CBN). It was first isolated in 1899, then elucidated in the 1930s, and eventually synthesised in 1940. It took a further two years before American chemist Roger Adams successfully isolated cannabidiol (CBD) in 1942.

CBD Chemical Formula

With several cannabinoids discovered by the mid-1960s, the door was wide open for a better understanding of how cannabinoids work, and the effects they could have. It would, however, take one more breakthrough for the science community to finally take note of the unique chemistry of cannabinoids.

Dr Raphael Mechoulam And Cbd

Not only is Dr Raphael Mechoulam credited with revolutionising the field of cannabinoid science, but he is the primary reason CBD has become as popular as it is for well-being today. His work in the 1960s not only highlighted the chemical difference between THC and CBD, but showed how cannabinoids could produce different effects when consumed.

During the 1980s, Dr Mechoulam’s research continued as he actively explored the potential of CBD. A lack of psychotropic side effects made it a prime candidate for dozens of research papers. But, despite the groundwork implemented by Dr Mechoulam, it would still take several decades for cannabinoid research to become a global phenomenon.

Fortunately, acceptance of cannabis, cannabinoids, and their effects on the endocannabinoid system is at an all-time high—no pun intended.

How Is Cbd Extracted?

How Is CBD Extracted?

The most crucial step to isolating CBD is carefully extracting it from raw plant material, namely the flowers of mature hemp plants. Because we’re specifically interested in CBD, we need to separate it from the hundreds of other compounds that exist inside hemp.

There are several ways to extract cannabinoids from plant material, all with different advantages and disadvantages. They vary by efficacy, price, and other factors. Some extraction methods are more volatile than others and may destroy smaller molecules (that we want to keep) during extraction. Others are much more nuanced, but cost a lot more to run.

Oil Extraction

implest methods of extracting CBD, it is also one of the least efficient. Raw plant material is decarboxylatedbefore being left to steep in olive oil. The mixture is then gently heated for several hours so the CBD can bind with the oil.

The resulting olive oil mixture will contain some active CBD, but because there is no means of controlling which cannabinoids bind with the oil, you won’t be able to determine the exact contents of your oil. Olive oil is only suitable for home extraction, and the poor level of control means it's inadequate for commercial application.

Advantages of oil extraction

  • Inexpensive
  • Straightforward
  • Safe

Disadvantages of oil extraction

  • Poor returns
  • Low purity
  • Time-consuming

Dry Ice Extraction

Dry ice extraction is considered a step up from olive oil, at least in terms of quality and purity. It still lacks the control of other methods, but from a price perspective, the returns are attractive for home extraction. This time, rather than heating plant material, we freeze it instead, allowing us to remove the cannabinoid-laden trichomes.

Frozen plant material is shaken and filtered through several grades of mesh filter bags, producing several grades of usable extract.

Advantages of dry ice extraction

  • Simple
  • Respectable returns
  • Produces multiple grades of extract

Disadvantages of dry ice extraction

  • Can be hard to procure dry ice
  • Quality is technique-dependent
  • Low-medium purity

Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is the first method that allows a degree of control over the retention of cannabinoids and terpenes. Still, it’s dependent on the solvent used, the standard of equipment, and the expertise of the technician.

Regardless of the solvent used, the principle remains the same. Plant material is washed with ethanol or butane, which strips away the cannabinoids. The residual solvent is then evaporated. What remains is a cannabinoid-rich solution, ready for use in oils, capsules, or tinctures.

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The concern with solvent extraction is that both ethanol and butane are harmful if ingested. Depending on the quality of the process, it’s possible trace amounts may remain in the finished product.

There’s also the volatility of solvents to consider. But, despite the risk, this method of extraction remains popular because of its scalability.

Advantages of solvent extraction

  • High-quality extracts possible
  • Simple (solvent-dependent)
  • Possible to control compounds retained

Disadvantages of solvent extraction

  • Dangerous (solvent-dependent)
  • Risk of harmful chemicals in the final product
  • Costly

What Is Supercritical Co₂ Extraction?

What Is Supercritical CO₂ Extraction?

CO₂ extraction is the superior choice for commercial operations because of its purity, safety, and ability to carefully control the ratio of compounds retained.

There are various types of CO₂ extraction, but supercritical is the most widely used. It involves forcing carbon dioxide (CO₂) into a supercritical state to bind with cannabinoids and terpenes in plant material.

Usually, CO₂ is a gas, an incredibly common one that exists all around us. However, if you subject CO₂ to supercritical conditions (temperature and pressure above 32°C and 1060psi respectively), it transforms, gaining characteristics of both a gas and a liquid. It fills a space like a gas, but interacts with plant material like a liquid.

The supercritical CO₂ passes over plant material, binding with cannabinoids and terpenes in much the same way as other solvents. The difference, however, is that the CO₂ won’t damage plant material, nor will it destroy smaller, more volatile compounds.

The supercritical solution then passes through a separator to be condensed, slowly and carefully, back into a gas. Depending on the temperature, it's possible to separate and isolate specific compounds.

Under the right conditions, any unwanted cannabinoids, such as THC, are isolated and removed. Companies are then at liberty to repeat the process as much as they want. The CO₂ is either dispersed safely back into the atmosphere, or recycled by starting the process over again.

Advantages Of Supercritical Co₂ Extraction

  • Extremely precise—able to retain a full spectrum of compounds
  • CO₂ extraction is commonplace throughout food and drink industries because of its safety
  • Delivers a level of purity unmatched by any of the previous extraction methods

Disadvantages Of Supercritical Co₂ Extraction

  • CO₂ extraction isn’t possible without the correct expertise
  • Special equipment required
  • Very expensive to get started

Regardless of how you extract CBD and the dozens of other cannabinoids that exist, it would all be for nothing without one crucial piece of the puzzle—the endocannabinoid system.

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

CBD’s vast influence stems from its impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a pivotal role in maintaining balance[1] between organs, cells, and tissues, impacting physiological functions including, but not limited to:

  • Nociception
  • Metabolism
  • Mood
  • Motivation
  • Energy
  • Thermoregulation

It's when our body is balanced that it is better equipped to deal with any issues. But, why is internal balance, or homeostasis as it's technically known, relevant, and how does it work?

What Is Homeostasis?

Our body is an incredibly complex organism made up of millions of cells, chemicals, and enzymes. Even an action as simple as getting out of bed requires the participation of dozens of biological systems, many of which we use without realising.

Now, usually, all of these systems “talk” to each other, ensuring an even spread of resources. However, it isn't always possible for the body to maintain a balanced state; but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A prime example is a common cold. While suffering from symptoms of cold or flu, our body will instinctively put more focus on our immune system, so it's better equipped to deal with the infection. This response manifests in several ways:

  • Runny nose: Nasal mucus helps wash germs from the sinus
  • Fever: Viruses are sensitive to heat, so your body raises your temperature
  • Coughing and sneezing: Mucus laden with virus particles is expelled when you cough or sneeze
  • Muscle aches: Protein from your muscles is diverted to the immune system instead

Although this focus on the immune system is to the detriment of other functions, over time, the body will naturally return to its balanced state—once the cold has passed.

In the scenario above, the balancing act between our different biological systems can be imagined as a giant hanging mobile. The body will naturally tilt and sway various functions to send support to where it's needed, but will always strive to return to its original position—a homeostatic state.

Sometimes, the human body needs help to maintain its delicate balancing act, and that’s when the ECS steps in.

How Do Cannabinoids And The Ecs Interact?

The endocannabinoid system[2] is responsible for supporting homeostasis. It does this via an extensive network of receptors found in the membrane of cells all over the body.

It uses its receptors to monitor how our biological systems are performing. When activated, these receptors facilitate the release of beneficial enzymes or endocannabinoids—the latter of which are internally produced compounds chemically similar to phytocannabinoids.

This mechanism of action is vitally important to maintaining a state of balance, and it also reveals the roles cannabinoids play. They possess a unique ability to interact[3] and influence the ECS’ regulatory powers.

How Do Cannabinoids And The ECS Interact?

What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?

The interaction between phytocannabinoids and the ECS exists courtesy of cannabinoid receptors[4]. The majority of receptors linked to the ECS fall into two camps—CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mostly in the central and peripheral nervous systems. CB2 receptors dominate the immune, digestive, and peripheral nervous system.

Collectively, you'll find CB1 and CB2 receptors in the following:

  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Reproductive system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Skeletal muscles
  • GI tract
  • Nervous system
  • Immune system

As you can see for yourself from the list above, cannabinoid receptors exist from head to toe. Now, there are a handful of other receptors that influence the ECS, but their mechanism remains under investigation. Both TRPV and GPR55 receptors are believed to help compose the vast regulatory network that is the endocannabinoid system.

How Do Cannabinoid Receptors Work?

We’ve discussed the unique relationship between cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors, but how exactly do the two communicate?

The interaction is rather straightforward. Cannabinoids and receptors operate using a lock and key mechanism. Every receptor has a slightly different “lock”—depending on its type (CB1 or CB2), where it exists in the body, and its role. To activate this lock requires a key with the corresponding shape.

For example, the reason THC produces a high is because it fits the lock of CB1 receptors in parts of the brain linked to emotion and perception. This mechanism is also the reason CBD and several other cannabinoids don’t produce the same effects—their chemical structure doesn’t fit the right locks.

When you consider the number of receptors in the body, and the number of cannabinoids discovered so far, it's easy to understand why their role in human wellness is significant. There could be thousands of lock and key combinations and thousands of different biological reactions as a result.

How Does Cbd Work?

How Does CBD Work?

We’ve covered how the ECS works, its role in homeostasis, and how cannabinoids interact with the system via CB receptors. And, under normal circumstances, there wouldn't be much else to say about the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids.

There is, however, a significant point of difference with CBD. It doesn’t adhere to the typical lock and key principle outlined above. That’s not to say it doesn’t show some weak affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, but the majority of CBD’s influence comes from its general approach to ECS management. What do we mean by this?

CBD is considered a general manager of the endocannabinoid system. Rather than causing a direct response, it takes a back seat, supporting from the sidelines. Cannabidiol is believed to help boost[5] the overall effectiveness of the ECS through its promotion of beneficial enzymes and endocannabinoids.

Does Cbd Make You High?

Does CBD Make You High?

Due to the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it will not produce a high. The reason THC-rich strains of cannabis produce psychotropic side effects is because THC binds with CB1 receptors in parts of the brain linked to mood and motivation.

As we’ve already outlined, CBD does not behave in the same way. It does not bind with these receptors, and is therefore unable to elicit the same response, no matter how much you consume.

How Cbd Affects Thc

How CBD Affects THC

Aside from CBD’s supportive approach to ECS regulation, there is also its interaction with other cannabinoids to consider. Typically, it synergises exceptionally well with other compounds, and while this is also true with THC, CBD’s impact here goes one step further.

Preliminary studies[6] suggest CBD may help mitigate some of the adverse effects of THC. Obviously, any use of THC is a sensitive subject, and there is still much we don’t know about which ratio works best between these two compounds.

It does, however, highlight a phenomenon exclusive to cannabinoids that only came to light in the the late 90s—the entourage effect[7].

What Is The Entourage Effect?

Combine a selection of cannabinoids with other molecules found in Cannabis sativa, and their respective properties are enhanced. This incredible phenomenon is known as the entourage effect, and it’s why full-spectrum CBD products are so popular.

We already know a lot about cannabinoids, but it's worth covering the basics of terpenes and flavonoids. Not only do they contribute to the entourage effect, but they may have applications of their own.

What Are Terpenes And Flavonoids?

Terpenes are a large class of organic compounds that give plants their distinct aromas. While terpenes aren’t exclusive to the Cannabis sativa species, they do play a crucial role in plant protection. In nature, terpenes act as a defence mechanism, deterring herbivores or attracting their predators.

Although we don’t have much use for terpenes as a defence mechanism (outside of agricultural pesticides), we can still harness their aromatic qualities for other purposes. For instance, the cosmetics industry is particularly fond of terpenes, while pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors also make use of their desirable properties.

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Another smaller, but equally influential group of compounds that work alongside cannabinoids and terpenes are flavonoids. They are part of a crucial mechanism that gives fruits, vegetables, and plants their vibrant colours, attracting pollinators as a result. If you’ve ever wondered why vegetables and fruit have different colours, the answer is flavonoids.

However, take the time to isolate and extract terpenes or flavonoids, and their potential grows ten-fold. Terpenes and flavonoids (albeit to a lesser degree than cannabinoids) can elicit a biological response from the human body. Their mechanism of action usually differs, but many of the outcomes are similar.

The natural synergy between cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids has become of great interest[8] to researchers. As the saying goes; many hands make light work, and many compounds could have a significant impact on well-being thanks to the power of the entourage effect.

The discovery of the entourage effect has led to a broad range of CBD formulas. Given that the more compounds you have in one formula, the more effective it can become, most high-quality CBD products are full-spectrum. That isn’t, however, the only type of CBD formula that exists.

Full-Spectrum Versus Cbd Isolate

Full-spectrum is just as the name implies: a complete selection of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, retained for their synergistic qualities. It’s a term used to describe any CBD product that harnesses the benefits of the entourage effect.

CBD isolate, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on cannabidiol. Does that mean it’s inferior to full-spectrum? Well, it isn’t until you increase the dose of full-spectrum CBD that its efficacy becomes apparent.

Full-Spectrum Versus CBD Isolate

Studies[9] show that, essentially, the more full-spectrum CBD you consume, the stronger the effects. CBD isolate, however, has a bell-shaped response. Effects still increase as doses rise, but only up to a certain threshold. After that point, it doesn’t matter how much CBD isolate you consume; you won’t notice the difference.

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To support general well-being to the fullest, full-spectrum CBD products are the superior option. Not only is the impact of CBD improved, but there are the secondary effects of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to consider.

All things considered, there may be circumstances where full-spectrum isn’t suitable. And, if full-spectrum extracts aren’t prepared properly, there is a risk that concentrations of THC will exceed the recommended dose. In these cases, CBD isolate may be more advantageous.

The good news is, when you know what to look for, starting your CBD journey with full-spectrum products is simple. We’ll cover more on this later, but for now, it’s time to take a look at how to consume CBD.

What Is The Best Way To Take Cbd?

What Is The Best Way To Take CBD?

One of the most popular ways to take CBD is orally. However, the compound is incredibly versatile, and with the right expertise, it blends harmoniously with dozens of ingredients. The selection of cannabinoid-infused products has grown exponentially, and you can now find CBD in oils, capsules, topicals, suppositories, tinctures, food, drink, and more!

Whether you’re new to CBD or a seasoned user, knowing the best way to take the cannabinoid is no small task. With the constant development of products, it’s challenging to keep up with the advantages and disadvantages of specific consumption methods.

Plus, changing the way you administer CBD can alter how long the effects last, or how prominent they feel, so it’s important to take CBD in a way that suits your needs and circumstances.

Before we explore the different ways to take CBD, it helps to understand bioavailability, a crucial concept when deciding on which administration method is best for you.

Why Is Bioavailability Important For Cbd?

Bioavailability measures the rate and concentration (in %) of a substance that reaches its target area. In the case of CBD, bioavailability is the extent and rate at which the cannabinoid enters the bloodstream. The ultimate benchmark for bioavailability is intravenous administration, which would be 100%—all active ingredients reach the bloodstream.

For comparison, you’ll find the estimated bioavailability of the most popular administration methods below:

Bioavailability Of CBD

Given that injecting CBD is not a viable option, we have to look to alternative methods. Now, just because they don’t have a 100% bioavailability doesn’t mean they aren’t viable. One of the advantages of CBD is that you don’t need to take a lot to feel its effects.

How To Consume Cbd

How To Consume CBD

The most effective way for you to take CBD will come down to your individual circumstances. Even if inhalation has excellent bioavailability, it may not fit with your lifestyle or needs. Bioavailability is an important concept to be aware of, but it's not the be-all and end-all. With that in mind, we can now move on to the different ways to consume CBD.


Inhaling CBD typically involves smoking high-CBD cannabis strains or vaping CBD e-liquids. Rolled in a joint or loaded into a vaporizer, the plant material is heated and inhaled. Cannabinoids are given direct access to the bloodstream via the alveoli in the lungs.

Smoking CBD carries an added risk of carcinogens, as plant material and anything else in the joint is combusted. Vaporizers, on the other hand, heat plant material until the cannabinoids become a vapor—without the unwanted extras.

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The effects from inhaling CBD are not only pronounced, but you’ll feel the impact in as little as 10 minutes. If you need rapid relief, inhalation has the fastest onset. You can also combine CBD strains with natural herbs for a multifaceted approach to well-being.

Advantages of inhalation

  • High bioavailability—more active ingredients reach the bloodstream
  • Huge selection of high-CBD strains to choose from
  • Swift onset, with pronounced effects

Disadvantages of inhalation

  • Smoking high CBD-strains adds a risk of carcinogens
  • Not very discreet
  • Initial cost of suitable vaporizer

Topical And Transdermal

CBD topicals, such as creams and balms, differ because cannabinoids do not enter the bloodstream. Instead, topicals are applied directly to the skin, interacting with CB receptors at a local level.

There is, however, transference of active ingredients to the bloodstream with transdermal patches, but concentrations are significantly lower than other methods of administration. Patches release low levels of cannabinoids over a prolonged period.

CBD’s versatility and non-toxic properties make it a natural choice for balms, salves, creams, and gels, synergising exceptionally well with other organic skincare ingredients.

Advantages of topicals

  • Local effects on the skin
  • Multiple benefits from synergy with other natural skincare ingredients
  • Discreet and straightforward to use

Disadvantages of topicals

  • Absorption rates vary, relatively low bioavailability
  • Effects don’t extend to the entire ECS
  • Impact is short-lived unless you use transdermal patches

Oral Consumption

Arguably the most popular way to take CBD, oral consumption balances simplicity with respectable levels of bioavailability. Carrier oils are infused with CBD, then swallowed or added to food and drink.

Although it takes up to an hour to feel the effects of orally consumed CBD, the trade-off is an extended duration. The reason for the delay is that CBD has to first pass through the digestive system and into the liver for processing.

You can speed up absorption by consuming CBD alongside fatty foods, but metabolism and body weight also play a part. Oral consumption is useful for individuals who want to maintain a consistent level of CBD.

Advantages of oral consumption

  • Good balance between effectiveness and ease of consumption
  • Easy to incorporate into a daily routine
  • Effects from a few drops can last several hours

Disadvantages of oral consumption

  • Possible interaction with breakdown of prescription medications
  • Delayed onset of effects
  • Flavour of CBD is an acquired taste (unless mixed with food or drink)

Sublingual Consumption

With a subtle change in how you consume CBD, you can dramatically improve its bioavailability. Rather than swallowing active ingredients, drops from oils or tinctures are placed under the tongue for a quicker onset and more prominent effects.

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The improvement in bioavailability stems from tiny capillaries found under the tongue and on the inside of the cheeks that allow active ingredients (such as CBD) direct access to the bloodstream. The compound no longer has to contend with the digestive tract or processing by enzymes in the liver.

It’s essential to hold the CBD-infused liquid in your mouth for at least 60 seconds to improve absorption. The effects of sublingual administration can start in as little as 15 minutes, but they won’t last as long as oral consumption.

Advantages of sublingual consumption

  • Significantly improved bioavailability compared to oral consumption
  • Fast onset of effects
  • Discreet enough to be taken throughout the day

Disadvantages of sublingual consumption

  • Shorter duration of effects
  • Not all CBD is absorbed sublingually
  • Flavour is an issue for some people


While not nearly as conventional as the previous administration methods, CBD suppositories may still be suitable depending on your circumstances. Unfortunately, not a lot of data exists on the bioavailability or efficacy of cannabinoid-infused suppositories.

An animal model published in Marihuana Medicine[11] suggested bioavailability of a synthetic THC extract may be as high as 70%, putting it on par with sublingual consumption and inhalation.

Although synthetic THC is chemically different from natural cannabinoids, it does give some indication of the potential advantages of rectal application. It remains to be seen how these results translate to human trials.

Advantages of suppositories

  • The most discreet of all administration methods
  • (Potentially) high bioavailability
  • Suitable when inhalation or ingestion of CBD isn’t possible

Disadvantages of suppositories

  • Inconclusive research
  • Privacy needed to administer

What Cbd Products Are There?

What CBD Products Are There?

With the best ways to take CBD covered, it’s time to move onto the growing list of CBD products. The list below is far from exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of how easy it is to incorporate CBD into your daily life.

Cbd Oil

The cornerstone of the industry, CBD oils are the go-to product for thousands of people. After carefully extracting CBD from raw plant material, it’s added to a carrier oil.

The reason for using olive oil, black seed oil, or hemp seed oil is two-fold. First, the oils themselves have several nutritional implications. Hemp seed oil, for example, is packed full of antioxidants, plant protein, and omega fatty acids. Carrier oils are also useful for masking the taste of CBD.

Second, without carrier oils, our body would have a tough time absorbing CBD. Cannabidiol is hydrophobic and lipophilic, meaning it naturally repels water but binds with fats and oils. When you consider up to 60% of the adult body is water, this presents a problem. To counter this, carrier oils help improve absorption rates so CBD can reach the bloodstream.

CBD oils come in a range of formats. You’ll find several different carrier oil options alongside a comprehensive selection of concentrations. It's remarkably easy to fine-tune your CBD experience with oils.

Cbd Capsules

If you want to streamline your CBD experience, CBD capsules are the ideal candidate. The same high-quality CBD extract found in oils is instead encapsulated in softgels. It’s important to point out that there is no difference in the quality or purity of the CBD oil found in capsules compared to traditional oils.

There are, however, several advantages to CBD capsules, especially if you aren’t a fan of the taste of CBD. Not only are CBD capsules tasteless, but they’re odourless too. This makes them perfect for discreet and regular consumption.

The main disadvantage of CBD capsules is the need to consume them orally. Because of this, you’ll have to contend with the delayed onset of effects and reduced bioavailability. On the plus side, the impact of CBD capsules should last several hours, reducing the need to re-dose.

Just like oils, CBD capsules come in a range of concentrations. The only difference is that capsules almost exclusively use olive oil as the carrier, rather than offering a variety of options.

Cbd Cosmetics

CBD Cosmetics

Although relatively new to the CBD industry, CBD cosmetics have become tremendously popular. CBD doesn’t only play well with carrier oils, but a plethora of other natural ingredients, many of which you'll find in cosmetics.

Cannabidiol’s natural synergy with cosmetic superstars such as aloe vera, vitamins, sunflower oil, and shea butter means you’ll find it in moisturisers, anti-aging creams, face serums, and much more. And, in the same way that carrier oils provide secondary benefits, the natural ingredients outlined above also work alongside CBD to soothe and moisturise the skin.

CBD cosmetics are also an excellent choice for localising the influence of CBD. The compound won’t enter the bloodstream, but once absorbed into the skin, it can begin its supportive role of the cutaneous endocannabinoid system via local receptors.

There is no superior option when it comes to CBD cosmetics. Instead, you should pick the product that best suits your skin and skincare regime. Given the fantastic selection, it won’t be difficult to find the ideal CBD cosmetic for you.

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Cbd Edibles

CBD edibles are a highly enjoyable way to add CBD to your daily routine. With many CBD edibles disguised as gummies, baked goods, or chewing gum, not only do they taste great, but no one will ever guess that they contain active cannabinoids.

CBD crystals are another popular product in the edibles category, but they differ slightly from the gummies and baked goods described above. CBD crystals are 99% pure and don’t include any other cannabinoids. You won’t capture the full influence of the entourage effect, but you will get a highly concentrated dose of CBD as a trade-off.

To consume CBD crystals, all you need to do is place them directly on your tongue or sprinkle them onto food. The CBD edibles category also features liposomal formulas—versatile CBD products that use liposomes to improve absorption of active ingredients.

Whichever you choose, CBD still needs to be processed by the digestive system before you’ll feel its effects, so make sure to proceed “low and slow” with the dosing.

High-Percentage Cbd

If you’re well-versed in the effects of CBD and need a concentrated dose, try high-percentage CBD products. As the title implies, they are high-strength options developed for maximum influence. This category doesn’t just include CBD crystals (one of the purest CBD products available), but a selection of high-percentage oils and capsules too.

It’s important not to jump straight into the deep end with CBD. Although the World Health Organisation found CBD to be “well tolerated”, there are a handful of side effects to consider. If you’re new to CBD, you should start with a low-strength product, and build your dose gradually as you become accustomed to its effects.

If you still aren’t getting the results you need, then it's time to consider high-percentage variants. Again, just like any other CBD product, there is no superior option, merely the product that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

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Leaders in the development and production of high-quality CBD products, Cibdol is Europe’s premier CBD manufacturer. From their Swiss laboratory, naturally grown European hemp is carefully processed via CO₂ extraction, then filtered and purified.

The results are clear to see. When Cibdol talks about their golden-grade CBD extract, it isn’t just another marketing tactic. Hold their product up to the light, and you can instantly see the difference. And, of course, the visible purity translates directly to what your mind and body experience.

Produced to the highest possible standard, Cibdol’s range of oils, cosmetics, supplements, and creams are also independently tested by a third-party laboratory. These tests not only confirm the integrity of Cibdol CBD, but give consumers total peace of mind. You don’t need to worry about THC, heavy metals, additives, or chemicals ruining your CBD experience.

Zamnesia Cbd

Zamnesia adheres to an incredibly strict production process to create only the highest-quality CBD products. What starts as naturally grown EU hemp goes through several stages of extraction, decarboxylation, filtration, and purification to become maximum-purity CBD.

Entirely free of heavy metals, GMOs, additives, and unwanted chemicals, Zamnesia CBD is the perfect way to enjoy an all-natural CBD experience. And, with all batches of CBD independently tested, you can rest assured that all products are free from unwanted side effects.

You’ll find a comprehensive selection of oils, capsules, crystals, and liposomal CBD. Each product category also includes a range of concentrations and formats to tailor your CBD journey to your needs. Whether you’re new to CBD or an experienced user, Zamnesia CBD is an excellent choice thanks to incredible purity, transparency, and third-party testing.

What Cbd Strength Should You Use?

What CBD Strength Should You Use?

If you’re wondering what “strength” of CBD you should start with, you’re not alone—it’s one of the most frequently asked questions. Unfortunately, the answer is not exactly straightforward. The right concentration of CBD depends on several factors, but to make the process easier, you’ll find some CBD golden rules outlined below.

1. Start Low And Slow

This rule mainly applies to individuals new to CBD, but it’s a good rule of thumb whenever you change how you consume the cannabinoid.

The key is to always start with a low-concentration product consumed at roughly half the recommended dose and rate. For example, rather than taking a 10% CBD oil, try 2.5 or 5%. Then, instead of consuming three drops up to three times a day, take 1 or 2 drops in the morning and evening.

The idea is to gradually introduce CBD into your body to give you a chance to become accustomed to its effects. Remember, cannabinoids work to support your body’s state of balance, so it's no good flooding your system—your intake should be balanced too.

2. Stick To A Specific Dosage

Once you’ve settled on a specific concentration, it's no good increasing or decreasing the strength on an ad-hoc basis. Instead, stick to the same routine for at least 3–5 days. Again, the idea is to give your body a chance to get used to CBD. It also gives you an opportunity to see how you feel, and decide whether the outcome is a favourable one.

Be sure to repeat this process each time you change the concentration of CBD or how often you consume it. Taking a balanced and logical approach to CBD consumption pays dividends in the long-run, and ensures you get the most out of the products you buy.

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3. Experiment With Different Cbd Products

The reason for taking CBD will vary from one person to the next, so it stands to reason that the ideal product or consumption method will too. Don’t feel you have to focus, specifically, on one type of product. Instead, you should experiment with different CBD ranges (following the guidelines above) to find out which ones are right for you.

We’ve discussed at length the importance of bioavailability and the advantages and disadvantages of different consumption methods. Just because a particular CBD product doesn’t work as intended doesn’t mean they will all prove ineffective. It’s about fine-tuning your CBD experience to your body, needs, and circumstances.

So, in answer to the question, “Which CBD strength should you start with?”, only you will know the answer!

Are Cbd Oil And Hemp Oil The Same?

Are CBD Oil And Hemp Oil The Same?

With all the different products on the market, it’s remarkably easy to confuse CBD oil and hemp oil. Both come from the same plant, but the difference in their production dramatically changes the end result. To explain why these two oils are different, it helps to first understand which parts of the hemp plant are used during production.

  • Any CBD-infused product relies on high concentrations of cannabidiol found in the flowers and leaves of mature hemp plants.
  • Hemp seed oil comes exclusively from cold-pressed hemp seeds, not the flowers.

Because hemp seeds do not contain any cannabinoids, the purpose of hemp oil is not to influence the endocannabinoid system, but to play a nutritional role. Hemp seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, plant protein, and omega fatty acids 3 & 6.

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To avoid confusing CBD oil and hemp oil, don’t be afraid to ask for a detailed product analysis. This information will quickly tell you what is and isn’t in every bottle. It's far more costly to extract CBD, so if the price of a CBD product seems too good to be true, make sure you check it's not being confused for hemp seed oil.

Everything You Need To Know About Buying Cbd

Everything You Need To Know About Buying CBD

After covering all the different administration methods, product types, and how they’re made, it makes sense to finish our extensive deep dive with a breakdown of what to look for when buying CBD. By now, you should have an idea of the CBD product(s) you want to try, and these final steps will help you make a safe and informed purchase.

1. Check The Hemp's Origins

CBD is only as good as the hemp it's extracted from, so the first step to buying any CBD product is checking the integrity of the raw material.

Hemp is excellent at growing in less than ideal conditions, but its greatest strength can also be a hindrance when it comes to extracting CBD. The plant will naturally absorb any toxins or chemicals from the surrounding soil, and these compounds can easily make their way into the final product if producers don't take the correct steps.

The best way to avoid unnecessary risk is to choose a CBD manufacturer that sources naturally grown hemp cultivated without pesticides or additives. Any company that claims to understand the influence of CBD will know how crucial an all-natural approach is. Moreover, companies that show an awareness of where and how their hemp is grown tend to exhibit a much higher level of quality control.

2. Avoid Inconsistent Extraction Methods

Even if you have the highest-grade hemp possible, you still need to extract the CBD carefully. This takes highly sophisticated machinery that is not only expensive, but requires sufficient expertise.

Supercritical CO₂ extraction is the obvious choice for CBD. It offers a superior level of control, and it's easy to safely remove CO₂ at the end of the extraction process. It’s even better if the company can control this process in-house, as it allows for much stricter quality control.

Identifying CBD manufacturers that use CO₂ extraction will quickly narrow down potential products. The machinery needed for CO₂ extraction is incredibly expensive, but any company serious about high-quality CBD products will recognise the importance of investing in this versatile extraction method.

3. Investigate The Cannabinoid Profile—Full-Spectrum Or Cbd Isolate?

You should have an idea of the type of CBD product you want to use, and by that we mean full-spectrum or CBD isolate. In short, full-spectrum products benefit from the entourage effect, while CBD isolates do not. Unless you have a specific reason for trying CBD isolate, a full-spectrum formula will deliver superior results in the majority of cases.

The introduction of full-spectrum formulas does, however, create an area of concern for consumers. Full-spectrum means incorporating dozens of additional cannabinoids and terpenes, which, in some cases, can include low levels of THC.

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The good news is, you can still benefit from the advantages of the entourage effect without ingesting significant levels of THC. But, this is only possible if a company uses high-quality hemp and sophisticated extraction. Don’t just accept the integrity of full-spectrum products at face value—third-party testing is a must.

4. Are Products Independently Tested?

Despite the CBD industry’s lack of regulation, many producers have taken matters into their own hands. Numerous companies now offer peace of mind with independent testing and analysis on every batch of CBD. These laboratories will examine the cannabinoid content of a CBD batch and provide a detailed breakdown of all the compounds found.

Having access to third-party test results is vital for new and returning CBD customers. If a company doesn’t publicise the results of their independent analysis, or doesn’t offer testing to begin with, then abandon the purchase immediately. Perhaps the most significant benefit of these tests is that they highlight if the full-spectrum extract includes sufficiently negligible levels of THC.

Independently verified test results are usually published to the producer's website or are otherwise easily accessible. If you can’t find test results, don’t be afraid to ask. Reputable CBD producers should be more than happy to provide details on the products you intend to buy.

5. Is The Company Well-Reviewed?

In a world dominated by up-and-coming CBD companies, one of the quickest ways to identify a reputable producer is with customer reviews. Make sure you check what other customers say about a company's service, and, most importantly, their products.

It’s all too easy to claim “unrivalled purity”, but if the end product doesn't live up to expectations, customer reviews will be the first place it shows. Also, try to marry up any reviews published on the producer's website with those on review sites such as Trustpilot. Coberrating the two will give you a complete picture of the company's reputation and put any concerns at ease.

Can You Overdose On Cbd?

Can You Overdose On CBD?

It stands to reason that people may be concerned about what happens if you take too much CBD. The cannabinoid is linked, loosely, to THC, a compound known for its psychotropic side effects.

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However, we’ve previously discussed how CBD does not interact with the body in the same way as THC. Studies into the effects of CBD are ongoing, but there is an incredible amount of preclinical and early clinical research to provide an encouraging indication of the cannabinoid's potential.

The most substantial review[10] of this research was performed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018. They reviewed all of the available evidence on CBD as part of their responsibility to human health, and found the following:

  • “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential”
  • “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”
  • “There is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems”

Based on the WHO’s findings, it doesn’t appear possible to overdose on pure CBD. The cannabinoid doesn’t interact with CB receptors in the same way as compounds like THC. That being said, it doesn’t mean that CBD is devoid of any side effects.

Does Cbd Produce Side Effects?

Does CBD Produce Side Effects?

There are a handful of documented side effects from continued consumption of CBD. Thankfully, all side effects not only appear mild, but dissipate quickly, in part due to the cannabinoid’s short half-life.

Possible side effects from CBD include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness

As a first-time user, if you’re concerned about how you might react to CBD, the advice is simple—start low and slow. Aside from the possible side effects listed above, there is also the cannabinoid's potential interaction with prescription medication to consider. While it doesn’t interact directly with these medications, it does affect the enzymes responsible for breaking them down.

Both CBD and many types of prescription medication are broken down by cytochrome P450 enzymes found in the liver. This mechanism helps split larger molecules into small metabolites so they are more easily distributed to the site of action, aka the bloodstream. Under normal circumstances, there is nothing unusual about this interaction.

However, CBD tends to draw the attention of P450 enzymes, slowing the breakdown of other compounds. This can lead to medications existing inside the body for longer than intended.

Should You Try Cbd?

Should You Try CBD?

We’ve covered an incredible amount of information, from what CBD is, to cannabinoids, their interaction with the ECS, bioavailability, and all the different CBD products available. With that in mind, it's worth recapping the key points before we answer the inevitable question, “Should you try CBD?”.

CBD is an organic compound found inside the Cannabis sativa species, but it’s most commonly extracted from a selectively bred variant known as hemp. Belonging to a group called “cannabinoids”, CBD interacts with the body's innate endocannabinoid system, supporting the system's efforts to maintain a homeostatic state.

The focus of any well-being regime will always be to maintain balance, because in this state our body is better equipped to deal with fluctuations like disease and infection. This is the primary reason CBD has become so popular, and it's also the reason there are now thousands of different CBD products to choose from.

No matter how you consume CBD, or the product type you decide upon, there will be advantages and disadvantages to each. You must weigh up factors such as bioavailability and whether the formula is full-spectrum when making your decision.

Finally, not all CBD products are equal. There are several factors you need to consider to make sure the CBD product you’re buying is genuinely high-quality. But, with a little bit of research, there are plenty of CBD manufacturers worth trying.

Ultimately, even with all the information above, only you can decide whether CBD is the right choice for your well-being journey.

We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. [The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Regulation of Endocrine Function and in the Control of Energy Balance in Humans] - PubMed - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. Error - Cookies Turned Off - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  5. Frontiers | Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders? | Pharmacology - https://www.frontiersin.org
  6. The Combination of Cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotopic Murine Glioma Model - PubMed - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  7. The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  8. The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  9. https://file.scirp.org
  10. https://www.who.int
  11. Δ9-THC Hemisuccinate in Suppository Form as an Alternative to Oral and Smoked THC | SpringerLink - https://link.springer.com
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.

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