When eaten or consumed in a drink, CBD from hemp in particular may have an aroma or a flavor of “newly cut grass,” Earleywine says. But flavors in some cocktails or coffees might overpower CBD so that it’s undetectable, while other food products, such as cookies and brownies, may try to feature it. Most pills will be tasteless, Earleywine says.
Still, the legality of CBD remains murky, particularly when it comes from hemp, which has kept the compound from being more widely studied and available to consumers. (See “What is CBD? What to Know Now About This Cannabis Product.”)
Pro: Tinctures are the second-quickest method to absorb CBD, after smoking, Earleywine says, typically taking about 15 to 30 minutes. The quick action could make it especially useful in treating pain or anxiety.
Topical Rubs and Balms
Shake the bottle well before using, Backes says, because CBD often gets stuck on the side of the bottle.
Pro: Topicals aren’t absorbed into the entire body, as other forms can be. That could make them safer—which could be important if you use CBD on a regular basis—considering how little is known about the long-term safety of CBD and other cannabis products.
Ashley Garris, 28, of Wilmington, N.C., says she started using CBD three months ago to treat her fibromyalgia, anxiety, and headaches. “It was a complete life-changer for me.” She says she prefers vaping or rolling cigarettes using hemp flowers, and she has had good success with CBD topicals for immediate pain and muscle cramp relief.
Good to know: Earleywine suggests you drop a dose of tincture under your tongue and hold it there for 30 seconds before swallowing, or apply a single spray of the tincture on the inside of your cheeks. Doing so speeds up the effects of the CBD. If you put the tincture on the top of your tongue, you’re likely to swallow it sooner, sending it into your digestive tract, which will absorb the CBD more slowly. If you add a CBD tincture to foods or drinks, it could take up to 30 minutes for it to enter your bloodstream.
Cannabis topicals are ideal for treating muscle or nerve pain, arthritis, inflammation, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Excellent results have also been noted for menstrual cramps, headaches, and migraines, although scientific validation for treating these issues through the use of topicals has not yet been confirmed.
Your skin absorbs the topical after it is applied, leading to a reduction or elimination in your pain or discomfort. This happens because the cannabinoids in a topical bind to the cannabinoid receptors present throughout your body.
Before you rush to your local dispensary or other shop that sells cannabis-based products, read on to learn the facts about topicals.
Which Conditions Are Topicals Good For?
Also, we recommend that you apply topicals during times where you aren’t exerting much physical energy, such as when resting at home or at your desk in the office. This allows the topical to fully be absorbed instead of being sweated out or accidentally rubbed off.
For those who do want to start with a CBD-isolate topical, it is important to note that the best results tend to be achieved with a moderate dose. Applying too much or too little of the topical to your affected areas may result in somewhat less relief of your symptoms. As with all cannabis-based products, we strongly recommend starting with a small dose. If that is effective, great! If not, try gradually applying more of the topical to your affected areas until you experience relief. If you would benefit from tracking your results, consider one of our Patient Journals.
CBD (alongside THC) is the most popularized of the many cannabinoids present within the cannabis plant. However, that does not mean it is the only cannabinoid that will provide relief of your medical symptoms. Depending on the particular health-related challenge, other cannabinoids may be more appropriate to treat your condition.
Regardless of your medicinal issue, a full-spectrum topical is usually a better option than a CBD-isolate topical. One of the main reasons this is so is because of the entourage effect, where different cannabinoids work together synergistically to amplify the benefits of each.