CBD - it’s an ingredient that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue in both a literal and figurative sense. No doubt you’ve heard about it and had questions. How does it work? What are its benefits? How does one get started and find the right dosage?
Let this article serve as a helping hand in gaining confidence in using CBD as a beginner. We’ll sort out some of the basics, explain how CBD is measured, recommend dosing tips for beginners, and dive into general tips.
What is CBD & How Is It Different from THC or Hemp?
CBD, shorthand for cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It’s one of literally hundreds of phytocannabinoids found in the plant, another of which is THC (mostly used in large quantities for its psychoactive effect on the body).
Beginners, take note: CBD is not THC and doesn’t get the user “high.” What’s more, it’s completely legal to use within the USA.
Examples of the Benefits of CBD
CBD can be used for dozens of purposes, including:
- Helping both mind and body relax
- Helping to relax tight muscle
- Providing relief to chronic conditions like tennis elbow and arthritis
- Alleviating physical pain, like pulled muscles
- Helping to hydrate dry skin and neutralize skin irritations like rosacea
- Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and tightening skin
- Balancing sebum levels, helping to prevent acne
- Using antioxidants to shield skin from UV rays and other external damage
- Lessen the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
- Combatting full-body inflammation
- Lessening the symptoms of restless leg syndrome
- Assisting with IBS and similar stomach problems
What are the Different Types of CBD?
CBD oil comes in three types, differentiated another by the level of processing and extraction method, all of which lead to varying potency and efficacy levels. It’s important to note all CBD oil is harvested from the same type of plant and does not contain any significant amount of THC.
Full spectrum: Contains beneficial terpenes and other plant compounds that create an entourage effect for how well the CBD oil works per dose. In turn, it is more powerful than the other two options and is widely considered to be of the highest quality. While full spectrum has trivial amounts of THC, it’s not enough to impact mental faculties or produce a “buzz” or “high.”
Broad spectrum: Also contains other plant compounds, but is always completely THC-free. Please note that the entourage effect does not necessarily happen with this type, so the potency will not be as strong as if it was full spectrum.
Isolate: Pure CBD oil, with no other beneficial compounds from the plant. The efficacy and potency of CBD is noticeably reduced.
An important tip for beginners is that products with broad spectrum or isolate CBD may carry a cheaper price tag but may not help individuals save money in the long run. After all, more of the product would need to be used to receive the same level of benefits as a full spectrum CBD, meaning that the user would need to renew their purchase more often.
What are the Different Ways Beginners Can Take CBD?
Sublingual: When CBD oil is held under the tongue, it can be absorbed through specific receptors in the mouth, bypassing the digestive process needed for ingestibles. Note that ingestible and sublingual applications have a degree of bioavailability, which means the CBD is able to enter the bloodstream. Sublingual application is good for general wellness and addressing anxiety.
Topical: Creams, ointments, lotions, serums, and muscle balms are all examples of topicals, which are used a lot in beauty and skin care treatments. A topical CBD product is only used externally, enabling the skin’s receptors to absorb the CBD. However, topicals have no bioavailability. They do work with near immediacy for pain and inflammation associated with muscles, tendons, joints, and athletic recovery.
Ingestion: CBD oil or CBD-based products that can be ingested include: gummies, drink or food infusions, and pills or capsules. Because these are all swallowed, they go through typical digestion and metabolization, therefore, the CBD potency is reduced. There is also a delay between taking an ingestible and feeling the effects of CBD.
Important tip: Vaping CBD should not even be considered. Vaping in general exposes the user to many risks including lung damage. Factoring in the full range of alternative ways to start using CBD for wellness, vaping is unnecessary and counterintuitive.
Beginners’ Tips for CBD Dosages and Measurements
CBD oil is measured in mg, or milligrams. Considering the size of a product, CBD content will often range from 100mg-2000mg (anything higher is more than likely false advertising).
So, you know how much CBD in milligrams is in a bottle, but that still leaves two important questions: How does a beginner calculate a dosage, and how do you know what the CBD potency level is?
How to calculate the dosage
There’s a little math involved, but the basic idea is to divide the mg measurement and the bottle size. If you buy a 30ml bottle that says it has 300mg of CBD, you’re getting 10mg per ml. If your dropper or application spoon is .5ml and 6 drops is a full application, then you are getting 5mg of CBD total in those six drops.
How to determine the potency level
This is determined by the mg per ml. In the example above, there was 10mg of CBD per ml, this means the potency is at 10%. Ten and under percent is considered low potency. Medium potency can range up to 30%, and high or strong potency is 30-60%. Rarely, a product may have ultra strong potency, which is 60% or higher.
Tip: Finding the right CBD dosage has nearly no risk
CBD is non-addictive and does not cause a high, or overdose. No one has ever been known to die from CBD. It’s a safe substance to take for many of issues that include severe and chronic pain and inflammation. Therefore, understand that finding the right dosage will be a personal process that is overall quite safe.
Finding the right dosage for you
The CBD you buy should have dosing instructions on the packaging or bottle, but remember that they are general instructions based on averages, and do not always take into account specific differences individual consumers may have. Your weight and biochemistry can change how well you metabolize a dose, or even how effective the dose will be. Keep both in mind when making determinations on how much CBD you take in each dose, and even what type of CBD you decide to go with.
Don’t lose sight of the desired effects
Since there is no mandated serving size for CBD, you will have to think about the reasons why you want to take CBD, and what symptoms you are hoping to overcome. Though you should try to make sure the full effects of whatever dose you do take are reached, there may be reasons to take a higher dosage from the start.
One example: if you decide to take CBD for anxiety, you may need to adjust the dose if you are having a panic attack, or have a chronic anxiety disorder, as opposed to just wanting to release tension and general worry.
Additional Beginners Tips for Starting to Take CBD
Take doses consecutively, not concurrently
Try to wait until the CBD has fully worked to see if you need to increase your dosage amount. There are quite a few aspects that can affect how quickly or how well a dose will work, so layering them when your body is just being introduced may not give you the results you require or expect.
As a CBD beginner, start small
Because there are so many varieties of CBD-based products that will all have their own dosing instructions, try something out at its lowest dose first and then work your way up. You may find the lowest works for you, but you may also find that you need to take a higher dose. In that case, gradually increase the amount you take until you find the “sweet spot.”
Look for red flags and false promises when shopping for CBD
For a beginner, knowing which CBD brands to trust can be quite intimidating. Never fear! We talk about this subject in its entirety in Understanding What Makes a CBD Oil High Quality. However, as some general tips, look for CBD sourced from USA-grown hemp free from chemicals and GMOs, verified by third-party labs. And remember this key tip when starting with CBD: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is!
Tip: CBD and hemp oil are two very different things
A common beginner’s mistake is to confuse CBD and hemp oil. After all, they both come from the same plant! Remember, these are two very distinct products that yield different results.
Beginner-Friendly CBD Products from Botanika Life
Firstly, welcome to Botanika Life! We are a wellness brand that utilizes the power of CBD and other plant-based ingredients to produce products that combat pain, elevate skincare, and lead to overall greater health. Our top picks for beginners just starting with CBD include:
ILLUMINATING MINI SKIN ELIXIR TRIO - This three-in-one set lets you sample multiple CBD-based serums. They include our Elite Elixir (CBD-oil you can apply sublingually, ingest, or apply topically), our Vitamin C + Squalane + CBD Elixir (perfect for nourishing and shielding your complexion from UV rays and external stressors) and Plant Stem Cell + Marula + CBD Elixir (the ultimate anti-aging solution).
In short? This set lets you try multiple CBD skincare solutions while also providing you with a simple, two-ingredient CBD elixir you can use in three different ways.MINI PAIN RELIEF ROLLER - We’ll be honest, our entire CBD pain relief collection is beginner-friendly. However, those just getting started may appreciate the smaller size of the mini pain roller.
It’s practical to take wherever and enables mess-free usage, delivering CBD, lidocaine, and menthol when you need it most. In turn, you can provide targeted relief, address inflammation, and expedite healing.
CBD SLEEP SPRAY - This is one of our most popular products for a reason (who couldn’t afford a better night’s sleep?). Combining CBD with other ingredients like melatonin, magnesium, and GABA, it helps to relax the body, gradually tire your mind, and lead you into a deeper sleep with less interruptions.
FAQ for Beginners to CBD
Can minors start using CBD?
Yes! In fact, teens in particular can benefit from CBD, whether it’s to help them with acne or social anxiety. Our advice is that it be used with adult supervision and the approval of a medical professional. And always follow the guidelines on the packaging.
Are there downsides to using CBD?
Every product has its disadvantages, and CBD is no different. As we explore in Pros and Cons of CBD for Pain, it is neither the cheapest nor the strongest product on the market. Plus, the lack of regulation means that beginners need to do their due diligence to thoroughly research a CBD brand prior to making a purchase.
What’s the best way to store CBD?
A general tip is to store CBD in a dark place away from direct sunlight (so placing it on a table by a window would not be advisable). Such actions will help extend the shelf-life of CBD.
Can you drink water after applying CBD under your tongue?
While we have a full article dedicated to this subject, our general advice is to wait one minute after sublingual application before drinking water.
Can I fly with CBD on planes?
As long as the CBD products adhere to general TSA guidelines for liquids, you should have no problems. However, if traveling internationally, make sure to check the local laws’ attitude towards CBD.