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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. Those plants were used as medicine for centuries, brewed into tea to promote pain relief or to treat illnesses in ancient societies. Cannabis extracts even made their way into more “modern” medicines, with many examples of elixirs proudly proclaiming cannabis on their labels in the early 20th century.

That all changed a little over 100 years ago, when 29 states outlawed the plant between 1916 and 1931. In 1937, the U.S. federal government adopted the Marihuana Tax Act, which kicked off the long era of cannabis prohibition which continues today. This restriction was only recently lifted for industrial hemp, which is the cannabis plant with ultra-low percentages of intoxicating THC (and where Core Roots CBD comes from).

Thanks to prohibition, the millennia-old knowledge of cannabis and hemp as medicine was driven underground, with many simply not knowing anything about the healing potential of cannabis extracts like CBD. Fortunately, it seems that knowledge is making a comeback today, with CBD products leading the charge. However, with this new world of knowledge comes many questions, including the types of CBD products available and how they should be consumed. In this blog, we demystify these basics so you can best navigate the myriad options out there and select the product that’s best for you.

How does CBD work?

CBD is one of more than 100 compounds known as phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants. When absorbed, phytocannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors which play a role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. The most commonly-recognizable interaction between phytocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system involves the intoxicating feeling associated with delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, while CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a similar way, you won’t feel intoxicated after taking CBD.

Researchers are continually examining the interactions between phytocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system to determine exactly how these compounds affect the human body. Early studies suggest that cannabinoids, including CBD, could influence the central nervous system to govern bodily functions in a vast range of different ways.

The interactions between phytocannabinoids and the human endocannabinoid system influence neuromodulation, synaptic plasticity, and the development of the central nervous system. These interactions can affect bodily functions including muscle spasms, appetite, and sleep patterns, to name a few.

What types of CBD products are there?

The popularity of CBD and its potential for treating many conditions has led to a boom in CBD products. Not only is CBD more prevalent than ever, but the types of products that are available to consumers are varied to suit different needs and tastes. Some of the most popular CBD products available today include:

  • CBD oil: CBD oil is possibly the most recognizable CBD product on the market. Typically taken by tincture, CBD oil can be ingested sublingually (put under your tongue and held there for approximately 30 seconds before swallowing).
  • CBD edibles: CBD edibles come in all forms, just like their THC-based cousins. Whether its baked goods, candies, drinks, or gummies, CBD edibles provide a tasty and discreet way to ingest CBD.
  • CBD topicals: CBD topicals like creams, gels, or balms, and more unique items such as transdermal patches, can be applied directly to the skin for fast-acting relief to affected areas.
  • Smokable CBD products: In addition to CBD oils, CBD vape additives can be introduced into any tank, or dedicated cartridges can be purchased and vaporized. CBD flower is also available for those who wish to have a more traditional smoking experience.

With so many options, it can be difficult to know which CBD products to choose. Understanding which product is right for you depends on your needs, your preferences, and how your body reacts. (It is always wise to consult with your primary care doctor before adding any herbal remedies to your diet, CBD included!)

Oral ingestion of CBD

When it comes to ingesting CBD products, the specific route of absorption varies depending the type of product used. Arguably, the most common method of administration is oral, as seen in the use of sublingual and edible CBD products.

When a CBD edible is consumed, it’s absorbed by the digestive system. From there, the compound is carried to the liver where it is metabolized in what is known as the “first pass effect.” This ultimately reduces the concentration of the compound before the remnants are ultimately passed to the bloodstream and carried throughout your entire body. Plus, consuming a CBD edible allows for exact and discreet dosing.

When using sublingual tinctures, however, you may be able to increase absorption prior to the first pass effect, thereby increasing the concentration of the compound that enters the bloodstream. If held under the consumer’s tongue for 60 to 90 seconds, the mucus membranes in the mouth have a chance to absorb much of the compound. Rather than going through the digestive system and liver metabolism, which takes longer to have an effect, CBD absorbed through mucous membranes is rapidly broken down by enzymes, entering your bloodstream more quickly.

Inhalation of CBD

When administered through inhalation, the compound is absorbed through the lungs and then immediately transferred into the bloodstream. This offers faster absorption of more CBD than oral administration. Consumers can grind up CBD flower and place it in a smoking device or a dry herb vaporizer. They can also purchase a cartridge of concentrate for use with a vape battery or buy a separate CBD vape additive and mix it into their favorite e-juice.

Topical application of CBD

CBD can also be applied topically. This method involves applying CBD cream, gel, or ointment directly to the skin. This method never delivers the compound to the bloodstream, but rather absorbs it directly through the epidermis to interact with local cannabinoid receptors. Human skin generally has a low absorption rate, so the application of CBD topicals needs to be generous enough to overcome this barrier.

Whichever application of CBD you choose depends on your specific needs and preferences. As always, it’s wise to consult with your primary physician to determine whether CBD products are right for you.

It’s also important to fully vet the products you intend to ingest prior to using them. High-quality CBD products can be verified by third-party lab testing results, which a reputable retailer should be willing to provide you with upon request or have them publicly available on their website.

Choosing the product that’s right for you

The type of CBD product you choose depends greatly on the desired effect and personal taste. Whether you prefer the delicious journey of a CBD-infused edible or a quick-to-administer vaporization method, there’s a CBD product out there which can help you achieve the desired effects. No matter which product you choose, however, always check for signs of a quality product, including top-level manufacturing standards, transparent ingredients, and third-party lab results to back up their claims. After all, your CBD should be of outstanding quality, no matter which form you prefer.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult a medical professional before taking any herbal supplement.

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