The CBD industry has experienced something of a boom in recent years. There is nowhere where this has been more pronounced than in the UK, where cannabis laws in general are harsher than many of its western counterparts.
The US CBD market alone was worth $2.8 billion in 2020 and is widely expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2% for the next 5 years. The UK market tends to lag behind the US somewhat, but typically follows similar patterns of growth.
With such a flood of interest comes an influx of CBD stores that allow you to easily purchase CBD online. This increase in interest and funding has led to rampant innovation and an overwhelming plethora of CBD products available to purchase.
With products ranging from CBD oils to, CBD e-liquids, to CBD patches, the choice can be a difficult one to make. This article will seek to clarify the pros and cons of a range of products to ensure that you are better informed when it comes to making your own decision.
What is CBD?
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is one of over 100 phytocannabinoids that exist within the cannabis plant. As is the case with many areas of CBD, research could well reveal that there are many more than the 113 that we are currently aware of.
A statement from the World Health Organization in their 2017 report on CBD outlined that “there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” This is when the rise of CBD amongst the mainstream truly began.
Many people confuse CBD with its close relative tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, responsible for the ‘high’ that is often portrayed in popular culture. Think red eyes, gargantuan appetites and tie dye t-shirts.
Cannabidiol, however is very different. CBD OIL UK is a non-psychoactive component, meaning that it does not get the user high. This means that the health benefits of certain elements of cannabis can still be enjoyed, without the often overwhelming high that THC provides.
Since American chemist Roger Adams first successfully isolated CBD from cannabis using ethanol extraction in 1940, we have learned a great deal. For example, we are now aware of the three main types of CBD that are available.
What are the Different Types of CBD?
As mentioned already, the CBD space can at times feel like an overwhelming expanse of confusing words and abbreviations. However, the three main types of CBD are incredibly easy to follow:
- Full-Spectrum CBD – Full spectrum CBD contains a wide range of components found in cannabis, including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Trace elements of THC are also included in full spectrum CBD. It is important to seek out a lab report however, to ensure the THC content is below the legal 0.2% limit.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD – Broad spectrum CBD also contains a range of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. The difference between broad spectrum and full-spectrum however, is that broad spectrum CBD does not contain THC.
- Broad spectrum is essentially the same as full spectrum CBD, but with the absence of THC.
- CBD Isolate – CBD isolate is essentially just pure CBD. This is completely removed from any other cannabinoid, terpene, flavonoid or THC. Isolate typically comes in powder or crystal form.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product
As mentioned earlier in the article, there really isn’t a ‘best’ CBD product. It is all down to the individual and what works for them and their lifestyle. The following section will seek to outline the pros and cons of each delivery method.
CBD oil is the most common form of CBD. This is the entry level product for the vast majority of CBD users. CBD is formulated with a carrier oil such as MCT or coconut oil and is sold in small bottles.
These bottles come with a dropper, which allows you to suck up the CBD oil and drop it under your tongue. CBD oil should be taken sublingually, because this is a capillary-rich area of your mouth, so the CBD can pass into the bloodstream more easily. The CBD oil should be held under the tongue for approximately 60 seconds in order to absorb as much as possible. Any remaining liquid should then be swallowed.
Swallowing CBD is less efficient as the digestive system typically breaks down a substantial proportion of it. This is why you hold the liquid under your tongue in order to give it as long as possible to absorb.
CBD oil is advantageous in terms of dosage because you can take as much as you feel fit. There are significant individual differences when it comes to CBD dosage, so CBD oil allows you to be more agile in how you manage this. CBD oil should be taken 3-4 times a day in order to promote full efficacy.
On the other hand, once CBD oil is taken sublingually, it will remain in your system until excretion. This means that there is nothing you can do but wait for the CBD to pass should you not like the feeling.
Finally, one of the most common complaints regarding CBD oil is the earthy taste that comes with it. Many people do not like holding this under their tongue for an extended period of time and so will seek alternative CBD products.
CBD Vape Oil
CBD Vapes are becoming increasingly popular, especially with younger generations. There are a number of reasons for this.
CBD vape oil is one of the fastest CBD delivery methods currently on the market. Once you have taken 4-5 draws of your vape, you would expect to feel the effects in around 2 to 5 minutes. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone with an erratic chronic pain condition that can flare up at any given moment. This is why many opt for CBD vapes over CBD oils, which can often take up to an hour to take effect.
CBD vapes can also contain a multitude of cannabinoids and terpenes that can be formulated for specific situations, such as pain relief or promoting sleep. CBD oils on the other hand are limited to CBD isolate under the March 2021 Novel Food Legislation in the UK.
CBD vape oil can also be manufactured with taste in mind, so that the physical consumption is an enjoyable experience in itself. Again, this is not the case with CBD oil in tincture form, which can often taste unpleasant and earthy.
Finally, CBD vape juice also has a higher bioavailability than oral CBD products. When consuming CBD orally, bioavailability is approximately 15%. Vaping CBD on the other hand, has a bioavailability between 50%-60%. This means that for every 100mg of CBD consumed orally, only 15mg will be utilised by the body. On the other hand, 50-60mg of CBD will be used by the body when it is consumed by a vaping device.
CBD Capsules are another notably popular CBD product that is regarded as a favourable alternative to CBD oil.
There are a number of reasons why one may choose CBD capsules over CBD oils. For starters, CBD capsules are far more discreet than CBD oil in tincture form. You can consume them just like you would any other food supplement and swallow with water.
Additionally, in the interest of discretion, CBD capsules also hold the edge over CBD oils. You are far less likely to be queried by an inquisitive colleague in the workplace when taking a capsule than you are fiddling around with a dropper and a small bottle.
Travel is another reason that many opt for CBD capsules over CBD oil. There is of course the added discretion of a tub of pills vs a small bottle and its accompanying dropper, but the risk of spillage is also greater when it comes to CBD oil. Anyone who has experienced this will know that cleaning CBD oil out of your clothes can be a prolonged nightmare!
CBD capsules also only need to be taken twice a day, so the user can just take them when waking up and before going to sleep. This is far easier to work into your daily routine as you do not even need to leave the house with your capsules, as you would a bottle of CBD oil.
Taste can be another reason for choosing CBD capsules over CBD oils. This is because CBD capsules in soft gel form, or even tablet form, are tasteless compared to the earthy undertones of CBD oil.
On the downside, CBD capsules can take a while to take effect. This is because they have to pass through the digestive system, just like your food would. Furthermore, the bioavailablity of capsules is around 15%, meaning that the digestive system actually breaks down a lot of the useful compounds.
At the forefront of the innovative CBD revolution lies transdermal CBD patches. These utilise a simple technology, much like nicotine patches, to deliver CBD directly into the user’s bloodstream.
CBD patches come in the form of a plaster and are usually placed on a flat, venous area of the body, such as the top of the arm or the inside of the wrist. Diffusion then occurs, which is aided by microneedling technology, to deliver the CBD into the bloodstream.
CBD is then steadily delivered into the blood over a 24-hour period, which is ideal for any persistent chronic pain condition such as arthritis. This is because the release of CBD is consistent and should keep pain at bay for 24 hours, unlike the up and down nature of CBD oil where you have to top up every time you feel the effects tapering off.
This also provides added convenience to the user, who simply has to apply one patch each morning when they wake up and not worry about it during the intervening period. This also provides effective discretion as the patch can be placed beneath your clothing.
CBD patches also have a comparatively high bioavailability of approximately 45%. This means that almost 3x the amount of CBD will reach the desired areas of your body when compared to CBD oils.
With the seemingly never-ending variety of CBD products on offer these days, it can be truly overwhelming to know which is the best choice for you. In response to the question posed in the title of this article, there is no right or wrong blanket answer. It is down the individual, their lifestyle and the particular symptoms that they are trying to alleviate.
One aspect that does apply across all forms of CBD products is that you should always, with no exception, seek an independent third-party lab report. It is always crucial to ensure that you are not only purchasing a legal product, but also one that is of a high quality and absent of any harmful additives such as pesticides or heavy metals.