Tried CBD but not impressed by the effects? There’s a good chance you’re using it the wrong way, or you’ve not selected a product that’s right for your needs.
The thing is, CBD works in a multitude of ways. Moreover, it works differently for each individual – depending on their metabolism of cannabinoids, the natural level of endocannabinoids they have in their body, their weight, age and blood volume and of course, the reason for use.
But, while it’s key to find your own unique dose and preference of product, there are a number of things every CBD user can do to enhance the effects, and their user experience as a whole.
Consistency is key
Many people around the world find CBD oil to be a god-send, whereas others say they’ve tried it and saw no results. While it’s true that not all CBD oil is made equal, most of the people who found their product had little to no effect also say they were inconsistent with taking it.
It is possible to feel immediate effects from using both CBD and whole plant cannabis, usually for acute stress, but the way that CBD interacts with the body means that you need to allow a little time for the cannabinoids to accumulate (particularly if you are endocannabinoid deficient), therefore supporting your endocannabinoid system in a more meaningful way and giving your body a chance to rebalance.
Taking your CBD oil daily is a must, taking it multiple times a day (microdosing) is even better. And be sure to use it for at least 6 weeks, gradually upping your dose as you go until you see positive results.
CBD oil is actually pretty hard for the body to absorb, as we are made up of such a high percentage of water and oil and water don’t mix! Because of this, we lose around 95% of CBD oil when we take it, unless it’s in an effective, water-soluble solution. But there are ways to enhance bioavailability (the amount that actually gets to work in your body).
If taking sublingually (drops under the tongue):
- Take drops directly after eating or brushing your teeth. Both of these things increase blood flow to the mouth and make absorption up to 5 times higher.
- Hold under your tongue for at least two minutes. Be patient, and give the oil time to absorb as much as possible.
- Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet.
Choose the right product
There are many, many CBD products on the market – so how do you even begin to choose which to buy? This all boils down to your unique requirements which will dictate the cannabinoid and terpene profile you need. If you’re serious about finding a CBD oil to help a very specific ailment, it’s well worth doing your research first (or speaking to a CBD consultant, like me!) to figure out if there are certain things you should look out for in the lab reports – which should be found on most CBD brand websites or on request.
You can buy CBD products as CBD isolate (the CBD molecule alone), broad-spectrum (a range of cannabinoids) and full spectrum (whole plant). There are now also CBG and CBN oils thrown into the mix too! If you’re unsure what you need and you’d rather make your decisions alone, your best bet is to opt for full-spectrum to avoid missing out.
Boost bioavailability with food
Using CBD edibles or capsules loses bioavailability on one hand, as the product has to go through the digestive process before it gets to work in the body. However, there is some evidence to suggest that when cannabinoids go through the digestive process they can bind with a glucuronide compound, which gives them the ability to diffuse with ease across the blood-brain barrier and travel faster throughout the body. This can be further enhanced by taking alongside foods in healthy fats such as avocados, oily fish, olive, hemp or coconut oil, and nuts.
There’s also a theory that taking CBD with caffeine (or enjoying a CBD infused coffee) can increase bioavailability as caffeine moves through the body very quickly, and certain cannabinoids may ‘hitch a ride’. But more research is needed to determine if this is true or not.
Target with terpenes
More and more studies are surfacing revealing the immense therapeutic potential of terpenes – the aromatic compounds found in cannabis and every other plant in nature. Cannabis has a particularly high concentration of terpenes, and plenty of experts believe this is a large part of the reason why it has so much medicinal benefit. With this in mind, it’s key to ‘get to know’ the major terpenes and familiarise yourself with the ones which may help you. Myrcene, for example, is well known for its sedative properties, whereas caryophyllene (which we now also know interacts with the endocannabinoid system) can work wonders on pain.
As well as checking out the terpene profiles of your CBD products (and opting for whole plant or terpene infused where possible), you can also give terpene levels a lift when you take your CBD by including terpene-rich spices in your diet, like turmeric, black pepper and rosemary.
Get a prescription
Over the counter CBD products are not suitable for everyone. If you’re dealing with complex health issues, you may be better off looking into getting a medical cannabis prescription. There are a variety of cannabis-based medications to choose from, under the guidance of a clinician, and some of those are very high strength CBD oils.
Unfortunately, most people in the UK are extremely unlikely to get a cannabis prescription on the NHS – but it’s always worth asking your GP. failing that, there are numerous medical cannabis clinics up and down the country, as well as the Twenty21 subsidiary programme for those who need help with costs.