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Consumption Methods: To Inhale, Ingest, or Use Topically?

Given the exponential growth in the popularity of CBD as an alternative to traditional medicine recently, there's been a flood of new product assortments entering the space ranging from your typical tincture and gel caps all the way to lip balms and infused toothpicks (seriously). Although this is exciting, some new products are sophisticated and sometimes confusing. As a result, we are often asked: "How do I know which product to buy?" "Which is the most effective?" "How do I take it?" "When will I feel it?" "How long do the effects last?"  

In this post, we take a quick look at the various delivery methods in an effort to help you determine which products are right for you. 

5 Ways to Take CBD:

1. Inhalation

A method that's been practiced for ages (and most well-known), users will smoke cannabis (via joint or pipe) or vaporize cannabis flower or liquid. CBD enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs. 

Onset: Immediately

Duration: 2 - 4 hours 

Pros: Quick, highly effective, inexpensive relative other product types, discreet (if vaping)

Cons: possibly harmful effects on lungs (depending on product and source -- always do your research), smoking flower will produce a strong order that lingers (not discreet)

Products: Pre-rolls, vape pods, hemp flower


2. Ingestion

Emerging as one of the most common methods. Since CBD is fat-soluble, the extract can be mixed with oil, butter and added to batter, candy, etc. CBD is slowly absorbed by the digestive system / enters the bloodstream through the stomach. The slow onset often misleads users, who may end up taking more than necessary because they don't feel the effects (more of an issue with edibles that contain a high concentration of THC). 

Onset: 1 hour (gel caps) - 3 hours (infused food) 

Duration: 6 - 8 hours

Pros: Quick, more effective (possibly four times as effective according to new studies) when mixed with food/drink, gel capsules allow for accurate dosing

Cons: slow absorption, edibles can be rather expensive, possibly inconsistent (difficult to measure accurately)

Products: Gel capsules, edibles 


3. Oral/Mucosal

A method that involves dissolving either an oil, an infused strip, or lozenge in the mouth (not swallowed). CBD enters the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. Oil infusions are the most popular because CBD is easily infused into oil (referred to as the "carrier oil"). CBD extract can be mixed liquid coconut oil, hemp seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and others.  

Onset: 2 minutes (sublingual uptake) - 60 minutes (lozenges)

Duration: 4 - 6 hours 

Pros: Quick, accurate dosing (dropper, candy), highly effective, consistent  

Cons: Strong hemp taste 

Products: Drops, lozenges, sprays


4. Topical

Studies show that CBD products can be applied topically to relieve muscle and joint pain, soreness, and inflammation. This is the most non-invasive way to use cannabis and best for ailments that are within an inch of the skin's surface.

Onset: 15 - 30 minutes

Duration: 2 - 4 hours 

Pros: Localized, rapid relief 

Cons: Difficult to accurately measure dosage, could be inconsistent if homemade, application is sometimes messy, could irritate or sensitize skin

Products: Cream, salve, balms, lotions 


5. Transdermal 

CBD infused adhesive patches that can be placed somewhere on the skin. This method releases small amounts of CBD into the bloodstream over an extended period of time. They're different from topicals because they can reach the bloodstream through the epidermal layers of the skin and have a whole-body effect rather than a localized effect. 

Onset: 15 - 30 mins 

Duration: 10 - 12 hours 

Pros: Highly effective, quick to apply, smooth and continuous delivery 

Cons: May irritate or sensitize skin 

Products: Patches 


If you still have questions about which products are best for you, please email us: hello@tryhempulse.com

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