When I first started taking CBD, I noticed that different methods of intake had different effects on me. Now whether you’re an expert or a novice CBD user, if you’re anything like me, you try to get the most out of anything that you spend your money on. You’ve probably noticed that there are about a million different kinds of intake methods. Typically, these all come in different sizes, different packaging, at different dosage levels, and at different prices. Frankly, all this can get a bit confusing; how do we know which is the most effective? How do we know which one suits us the best? Clearly, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the different kinds of delivery methods, but if you’re interested in CBD, don’t let this scare you off! Before we get into three of the most popular ways to take CBD, let’s first cover the topic of Bioavailability.
Why did the different methods have different effects on me? Well, to be clear, they didn’t feel vastly different; but, the strength was clearly different. This comes down to the bioavailability of the product. While the main indicator of strength is the dosage level (per serving), the bioavailability of the method also plays a role (but isn’t make or break).
What is bioavailability? In layman terms, bioavailability is the rate or degree in which a substance is absorbed. So obviously the overall strength of the product will come down to the dosage of it. For example, a 25 mg per serving product would have a much stronger effect than a 5 mg product (given that they are the same delivery method), but since bioavailability plays a big role, this gives us some leeway with the dosage levels.
Ladies and gents, your winner of the popularity contest! All joking aside, vaping is the most popular intake method. By entering directly into the lungs, which is meant for absorbing oxygen into the bloodstream, clearly, there is a “high” bioavailability (pun intended). Just to clarify, CBD does NOT get you high. However, it’s high bioavailability and convenience makes it a primary choice for most CBD consumers. Much like the sublingual products, the dosage levels are on the lower side.
Tinctures, droppers, etc. – Some consider this to be the best because of the breakdown that the digestive tract has to do with capsules. Since oil typically has a higher bioavailability, and this is applied directly into a highly receptive area, much more is absorbed into the body making it a highly effective way of administering CBD. The downside is that dosage levels are usually much lower. It is still unclear why dosage levels remain on the low end, but it could be as simple as companies attempting to save money by cutting corners. Surprisingly, this falls on the lower end of the popularity contest.
Most of us already understand how oral consumption works – cue the 6th grade science class flashback where you learned about the digestive system. In the spirit of bioavailability, capsules tend to fall short. Since they have a long journey through the body before they are absorbed in the latter half of the digestive tract, the bioavailability is limited. That is, unless they are microencapsulated. This actually protects the good stuff from being broken down in the stomach before being absorbed. So, if you pair this microencapsulation with a relatively strong dose, which I’ll call anything over 15mg, you have yourself a recipe for some serious health benefits! With that being said, capsules are extremely convenient and discrete, not that you have to be, but for some, a medicine regime is a sensitive topic. As with everything, you get what you pay for, so a microencapsulated CBD capsule at a 25mg dose might cost some extra cheddar. But then again with health, just ok, isn’t ok – so it might be worth dishing out a few extra dollars if you value your health regimen.
Concerning other oral consumption methods like edibles and tea/coffee, clearly the bioavailability is low with the dosage usually falling short. With edibles like gummies, typically the CBD is dried, concentrated and then sprayed on; then the edibles are then are put into a bottle, leaving a lot of time for the dried CBD to either fall to the bottom of the bottle, rub off on your fingers, and break down throughout your digestive system.
Ultimately, what you choose to go with should be based on a few things. Primarily, the dosage level, it’s bioavailability, and of course your lifestyle! If you’re a person who prefers a high bioavailability, but doesn’t care much for being discreet and convenient, then vaping might be a good option for you. If you’re anything like me and you want to be safe with what you’re putting in your body, then a discreet capsule might be the best option for you. Choose what feels right for you! You can think about all these delivery methods like a shower with different temperatures; and a cold shower sure sounds like a bad time to me, but all of them are different so if you don’t like one, don’t get out of the shower – just change the temp!