Photographed by Megan Madden.
For some people, taking CBD is part of their daily wellness routine, akin to taking a morning vitamin or medication. Others prefer to enjoy the many CBD foods out there, or soak in a CBD bath at the end of the day. There’s almost an overwhelming array of options available for the CBD connoisseur. But, the question is, what’s the best and most effective way to experience the effects of CBD? Well, it’s tough to say.
The key to understanding the effectiveness of the delivery mechanism for CBD is recognizing that each person is different, explains Rick Weissman, president of High Falls Hemp, a New York-based CBD company. “There are clinical studies which suggest that inhalation and sublingual transmission are the most effective,” he adds. Vapes and sublingual (aka under the tongue) tinctures tend to be the most effective methods because they put CBD right into your bloodstream, he says. A CBD gummy or even a supplement, on the other hand, would have to be absorbed through the digestive tract, which may take longer or result in a less potent effect. And a CBD cream or lotion would be absorbed topically through your skin.
But, even though we know these methods tend to be the most effective, some people might not like the habit of vaping or putting an oil tincture under their tongue, which would make them not want to engage with CBD at all. As a result, they might not find any benefit from the CBD product they’re using. “Hence, any other form that person favored would be better, because CBD consumption would increase in those other form factors,” Weissman says. In other words: the best way to take CBD is whatever way that you could actually see yourself using it.
The tricky thing about CBD in general is that there’s no published guide or clinical study that breaks down the appropriate dosage for each individual, or for various conditions, Weissman says. On top of that, everyone responds differently to different doses and supplements, so there’s no telling how much you’ll need and in what form. Figuring out the right CBD product for you and your needs is often a matter of experimentation.
If you’re just beginning your CBD journey, Weissman suggests starting with a tincture, because it’ll give you the full CBD experience. (To take it, place a dropper-full of oil underneath your tongue, and hold it for at least a minute before swallowing. Even though it might feel a little weird or gross, this allows the oil to absorb in your bloodstream.) Most CBD products should include information about dosage, which you can use as a starting point.
“From there, it is a matter of seeing if that dosage works and then to increase or decrease the frequency and amount accordingly,” Weissman says. While we’re all in favor of self-exploration, if you’re not sure if a CBD product is right for you, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor or healthcare provider.
Once you know the dosage that “works” for you, then it’s up to you to figure out the products you want to use. For example, maybe you find that having CBD gummies at your desk is more convenient than, say, heading outside to vape. Perhaps you like holding a tincture under your tongue while you get ready for work. Or, maybe you just like keeping a CBD supplement in your purse to have in case of emergency.
And if none of those products or methods really do it for you, the good news is there’s pretty much a new CBD product on the market everyday. Chances are, something will work for you.