Just a quick disclaimer; we don’t make health claims about CBD, we just share the research. You’ll always find references to scientific literature to substantiate what we share. This is for informational use only. Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.
- CBD can be used for immediate relief, which is good for managing the onset of acute symptoms such as anxiety and migraine.
- CBD can be also be used prophylactically, to prevent the onset of symptoms before they occur.
- Oral drops and vaping are the best ways to get immediate to quick onset relief.
- CBD can be used to manage chronic conditions, and the effects may be seen after a few months.
- Capsules and edibles provide a steady supply of CBD throughout the day, taken BID (twice daily).
- Response to CBD varies based on body composition, genetics and tissue barrier ‘leakiness’.
The method by which you take CBD greatly determines the effects you may experience from it. Depending on your needs, different forms may be suitable for different purposes.
There’s loads of different ways to use CBD, and it’s all about finding the ones that suit your requirements. Using CBD in a purpose orientated way helps get the most mileage out of it, which is why we’ve put together this section to help guide your CBD strategy.
The common toss up is:
- Do you want your CBD to start working quickly but last for a short(er) period of time?
- Do you want your CBD to last for a long(er) time, but with a delayed onset?
Here are a few ways to take CBD, so you can decide which one may be the best for you.
Oral drops are the most common form of CBD oil you’ll find today. They’re the old schoolers, and they offer a fast and effective way to take CBD.
Drops can be taken sublingually, under the tongue where the oil is absorbed quickly by blood vessels. You’d usually hold the oil for a few minutes under the tongue before swallowing. Washing the oil around the mouth may also facilitate absorption through the inner lining of the mouth.
This way CBD enters the bloodstream directly, and avoids the digestive system and initial breakdown by the liver. This results in a fairly good bioavailability of CBD (12-35%) (1), which basically means 12-35% of the CBD you ingested is active and able to work its magic in your body.
Gaia Guru oral drops have been formulated to maximise bioavailability, with the use of MCT oil.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides, which are special fats you find in coconut oil. They are a great carrier for CBD, because they are medium sized which means they are rapidly delivered into the bloodstream. They are super absorbable when taken sublingually, and are also incredibly effective at delivering active CBD when ingested. This gives you the best chance of getting the most out of your CBD.
Effects can kick in as quickly as 15 minutes, but can also take up to 30. The effects may last up to 6 hours (2), with the most noticeable effects occurring within 2 – 3 hours.
Good examples of using oral drops would be for use against symptoms that can come on quickly. For example:
- Arresting the onset of acute pain
- When anxiety rears its ugly head
- To quickly induce sleep before bed
- In response to seizures
- At the onset of a headache or migraine
Capsules & Edibles
On the other side of it, taking capsules, tablets, edibles or drinks is a way to proactively prevent against the occurrence of symptoms.
These are all delayed onset forms of CBD, and take around 30 – 180 minutes to take effect. This is due to the fact that CBD has to be absorbed from the gut into the liver, and is partially metabolised into other forms of CBD (7-OH-CBD and 7-COOH-CBD) before it enters the bloodstream. Whilst studies suggest that the bioavailability of CBD is lower (4 – 20%) (3) via this route, the effects tend to last longer (~ 8 hours) (2).
Eating a fatty meal with CBD boosts its absorption (4), which is why edibles are a great way to take it. Especially ones containing butter or oils.
Research is looking into whether the effects of CBD are actually a result of its other forms as well as CBD itself. So it’s uncertain whether ‘lower’ bioavailability of CBD (and higher levels of other forms) is actually a bad thing with edibles.
Delayed onset forms of CBD are ideal if you’re in no rush for it to take effect, but want it to last a long time. It’s also a good way to just take it for general health and well-being.
Taking capsules and/or edibles is a good way to set yourself up for a whole day or night. For example, if you know you have a stressful day ahead, then popping a cap in the morning is a way of preparing yourself for it.
Likewise, if you’ve had a killer workout in the gym and you know you need a good nights sleep for speedy and efficient recovery, then taking a night cap should support you whilst you sleep.
Other examples would be for:
- Sports injuries: May benefit from a consistent and regular supply of CBD
- Chronic pain: If pain is persistent, then using a longer lasting supply of CBD reduces the need to continually use it.
- Metabolic support: The cogs of metabolism are always turning. Keeping the cogs well oiled is a round the clock job.
- Rest and recovery: The longer CBD can hang around to keep levels of inflammation low, the better.
Topicals, like our massage oils are neither fast nor slow onset, but somewhere in between (~ 30 -120 minutes) (5). Their absorption depends on other ingredients in the formula, since some can influence the rate of CBD absorption. For example, some terpenes such as Limonene can boost the absorption of substances like CBD (6).
Gaia Guru Muscle balm uses additional terpenes such as Limonene for this reason, to allow the CBD to penetrate the skin effectively, and work its magic on the tissues within.
They have a high bioavailability since CBD doesn’t readily enter the bloodstream and is not processed by the liver. But that also means their effects are localised, so although the effects are concentrated, they are limited to one area. This is an advantage if you’re treating a specific area of your body.
A few examples of using topical CBD:
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Infections of the skin
Vaping is by far the quickest way to experience the effects of CBD. A puff on a vaporiser will have CBD circulating the bloodstream rapidly, and effects can be felt from as little as 2-5 minutes. But the only downside to this method is that the effects are pretty short-lived. Effects will peak before 1 hour, and will start to decline thereafter. The effects last in the ballpark of ~ 3 hours (2).
Vaping is great for rapid onset effects:
- During sports and exercise
- In social situations
Be careful about choosing CBD if you are going to vape it. I would personally steer clear of e-liquids, and go towards high purity concentrates.
For example, a full/broad spectrum CBD crumble or crystal is devoid of any of the chemicals that might be harmful that are associated with vaping (Propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine).
Perhaps the least practical but still useful, are suppositories. These are a more visceral way of experiencing the effects of CBD. They can be administered either vaginally or rectally, and effects are most noticeable in areas local to the vagina and rectum.
Suppositories don’t tend to enter the bloodstream, since the colon lacks the fatty carriers needed to transport cannabinoids across it into the blood. Instead, they may target tissues within the vagina or intestine for a local effect.
Suppositories are ideal for:
- Sexual arousal
- Lower back pain
Your Unique Complexion
The effects you experience from CBD are a result of your unique complexion, diet and lifestyle. Any existing medication you take may interact with CBD, and affect the way it works.
Genetics plays a role in how quickly, and to what degree you may respond to CBD. Cytochrome P450 Enzymes in the liver which break down CBD can vary genetically from person to person. This means some people may break down CBD faster or slower (7).
Genes in the endocannabinoid system also influence how you respond to CBD, such as CNR1, CNR2, PPAR, FAAH and TRPV1 (7).
Your body weight and composition may affect your response to CBD. Cannabinoids may accumulate in fat tissue (8). Greater amounts of body fat may enable CBD to hang around for longer periods of time. Doses in research are similarly calculated by weight, so you may see doses recommended by mg/kg of body weight.
Your nutritional status, specifically how many omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids you take in may influence your response to CBD. Endocannabinoids are made from omega fatty acids, and someone who lacks sufficient omega-3 (excess omega-6 and endocannabinoids) may expect are more pronounced effect (9).
CBD distribution around the body may also be affected by the ‘leakiness’ of barriers, such as the brain and gut (10). Like with many nutrients, a leaky gut may not absorb nutrients effectively.