Sometimes it seems like CBD has taken over the world. It’s in chocolate and soda and colorful gummies of every variety, from the classic bears to sour peach rings. It’s in water and jerky and energy bars and peanut butter and granola, for heaven’s sake. You could probably provision a Pacific Crest Trail hike with nothing but CBD products, and someone has probably tried it.
But if you’re looking to get the benefits of CBD for pain relief, mood, and general wellness, do these products actually work?
The answer, as it turns out, is “eh… kind of?” And since CBD in a snack food usually means a hefty markup, you’ll probably want to do better than “eh”.
To find out why you might not not be getting the best value with CBD gummies and other edibles, it’s worth taking a quick look at the science involved.
THC vs CBD: How About Them Brownies?
CBD edibles may be so popular partly because cannabis edibles have been popular since, well, forever. Everybody has a story about the “special” brownies that took out their entire freshman dorm. And since CBD is a cannabinoid, like the psychoactive THC that gives Alice B. Toklas’ “haschich fudge” its legendary kick, adding CBD to food might seem like the next logical step.
But THC and CBD are digested differently. Both compounds break down when processed by the liver, and we end up excreting most of what we consumed. Half the THC that remains in the body after being eaten, however, has been converted by liver enzymes into a highly potent variant called 11-OH-THC. That metabolic process explains why pot brownies have a famous tendency to glue people to the sofa for hours.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t undergo a comparable transformation. When you eat or drink it, most of what you paid for ends up in the toilet – and the effects of what’s left over can take a very long time to kick in.
Isolate vs Broad-Spectrum
How did CBD get into that can of energy drink, anyway? We’ve already talked about the benefits of broad- or full-spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate, but in a nutshell, whole-plant hemp extract works substantially better than CBD alone.
Many edible products incorporate broad-spectrum CBD, but many more use isolate, especially the cheaper chocolates, gummies and sodas. Be sure to check labels, so you know what you’re getting.
Quick side note: we’re not going to tell you what to eat, ever – but most of us could stand to consume less sugar. Junk food is still junk food, even if it has CBD in it. There, lecture over.
CBD Oil: Less Fun, More Effective
So if CBD edibles don’t give you the best bang for your buck, what does? The answer is broad-spectrum CBD oil, tonic, or tincture, like Wellness Tonic with CBD, that’s intended to be swished in the mouth before you swallow it.
It won’t taste like candy, but it’ll get the job done much faster and more effectively.
This is because CBD is easily absorbed through mucous membranes, including those in the lips, cheeks and tongue (and other places).
When taken this way, the CBD heads straight to your bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process altogether. Swish for a minute or so before you swallow, and enjoy rapid results.
The Right Fats Matter
The carrier oil makes a difference too. CBD, like THC, is fat-soluble, so pairing it with any oil improves absorption; however MCT oil absorbs especially well – passing easily through mucous membranes during swishing.
Even after being swallowed, MCT oil is absorbed faster than any other type of oil, skipping the digestive process and passing directly into the bloodstream via the portal vein in the liver.
Capsules: Pop, Pop, Swish, Swish
If you buy CBD oil capsules, like Wellness Gel Capsules with CBD, chew them first and then swish. And if you’re really in a pinch and there’s nothing around but gummy bears, you can chew them up and tuck them in your cheek to get some benefits.
Daily CBD: Avoiding Sugar Shock
CBD edibles won’t hurt you, but the junk food ingredients in many of them certainly don’t benefit your health.
It’s important to note that for the best results with CBD for overall wellness, you need to consume it regularly so it can build up in your system — and a daily soda habit probably isn’t what you’re aiming for.
Stick with clean, pure CBD products, so you have room in your sugar budget for the next time someone bakes up a big batch of brownies – “special” or not.