Have you been curious about the best ways to take CBD explained by doctors? You’re in the right place! Using cannabis as medicine isn’t as simple as popping an Advil or taking a Z-pack. There are so many applications, uses and ways to take all forms of cannabis, and CBD in particular. Whether you’re vaporizing to help remedy insomnia, using a tincture for chronic pain relief, or eating a gummy to alleviate anxiety, you’ll quickly realize that different deliveries have different effects.
There are certain deliveries of CBD that provide quick relief, but they use different systems in the body. The quickest method seems to be vaporizing or smoking — the medicine is able to go directly to the respiratory system and thus enter the bloodstream.
Similarly quick, but without needing to smoke, is a sublingual tincture. The medicine absorbs sublingually through the tiny capillaries under the tongue, and the rest of the medicine is swallowed and digested.
And then digesting — whether it’s capsules, gummies, or food — is a slower delivery, and can create a different effect within the body. We chatted with doctors to see what the healthiest options were to ensure you’re treating your body the best you can while opting for an all-natural supplement.
Pros and Cons of Smoking CBD or Vaping CBD
“The data on long term cannabis smoking are surprising in that they are different from what we’d expect from the tobacco literature,” says Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, a cannabis expert. He continued, “Donald Tashkin, a pulmonologist from UCLA, has followed recreational ‘heavy users’ for about 25 years and found no increase in cancer or emphysema,” so that’s good news!
Keep in mind, that there are still variables to this study, and it’s not definitive. “It is worth noting that ‘heavy user’ was defined as one gram per day (or one ounce per month, so we know some users are above that level) and that 25 years really isn’t long enough to conclude it’s safe,” said Dr. Tishler.
“Burning any substance and inhaling can be detrimental to your health,” said Dr. Herve Damas, MD. “Not only do you have to consider the deleterious effects of any toxins or carcinogens in any of the papers or wrappers that you may use, but also the effects of inhaling smoke itself.”
These reasons are why many CBD users opt for vaporization. “If done correctly, vaporization should be free of all carcinogens and particulates associated with smoke,” said Dr. Tishler. “The key is proper temperature control,” he explained, noting that 350ºF is the optimal temperature to deliver medicine without products of combustion.
However, it’s a bit trickier than that. “At 400ºF we start to get products of combustion,” he said, so “the window is pretty narrow, and many flower vaporizers and all oil vaporizers fail to control temperature precisely enough.” This means you still have to be extremely careful when it comes to vaping.
“Vaping is relatively new and there aren’t long-term studies, but is proposed as a ‘safer’ alternative,” said Dr. Damas, but he did note that there isn’t “enough scientific evidence to corroborate any of those claims.” Do keep in mind, that while it is viewed as a safer method currently, “Vaping puts you at risk for ingestion of solvents that you wouldn’t typically in the flower,” (read: the cannabis flower). “The long term effects of these solvents have not been investigated, although the most popular propylene glycol is considered to have ‘low toxicity,’” which means it is most likely safe.
Pros and Cons of Tinctures and Capsules
So let’s say you want to get a quicker absorption, but don’t want to smoke or vaporize. A CBD tincture might be a great solution for you. “Sublinguals allow you to get absorption faster than eating, but slower than inhalation,” said Dr. Damas. Additionally, this method has “none of the risks of smoking.”
Keep in mind, the duration of something edible or sublingual is different from smoking as well. When explaining the best ways to take CBD as explained by doctors, Dr. Tishler noted that “Inhaled products and oral products should not be thought of as swappable.” He continued, “Inhaled are rapid onset and modest duration — thus best for acute, episodic treatment like a migraine. Oral is slow onset, but prolonged duration — thus best for chronic pain where by using it by the clock we can achieve best stable pain control.”
As for sublingual tinctures efficacy and safety, there isn’t a ton of research just yet to claim anything major. Dr. Tishler believes that “Both tinctures and capsules are absorbed poorly in the gut,” and that “Edibles are more effective.” Keep in mind, that’s just one opinion on the best ways to take CBD explained by doctors.
Pros and Cons of Gummies, Chocolates and Edible CBD
Speaking of edibles (think: CBD gummies and chocolates), Dr. Tishler expressly advised that it’s important for CBD newbies to “Start under the guidance of a cannabis specialist,” to ensure you’re taking an optimal dose for your particular ailment.
Edibles (foods with CBD as an ingredient) are indeed an effective delivery of the medicine itself, but are broken down differently — and it varies based on the person taking it, their metabolism, and what they’ve consumed before eating the CBD treat or food.
“What you have eaten prior to ingesting the edible and your personal metabolism and liver function all play a role,” said Dr. Damas. “Meaning, unlike inhalation (where you can begin feeling the effects in a little as 90 seconds), when you eat cannabis, you can feel the effects in a little as 30 minutes or as long as two hours.”
Now you have heard from a few experts regarding the best ways to take CBD explained by doctors. As you can tell, each has it’s own benefits and you can explore which one is best for you!