If you guys have learned anything about me by now, it’s that I’ll do basically anything in the name of Beauty Science. For me, Beauty Science extends to health and wellness too (after all, I can’t be beautiful if I’m not also healthy and relaxed, right?)
One of the most unfortunate things I’ve realized through my CBD-related Beauty Science is that very few brands focus on actually helping customers understand how CBD works and why it’s helpful. Instead, they tend to focus more on why their CBD works and why only their CBD is the most helpful. While I understand that from a marketing standpoint, it’s not great as a consumer.
After all, CBD has many different potential benefits, which means that you have to know why you want to take it before you can decide which brand or what form to take it in. So today, we’ll talk about what CBD is, what it can do, and how you can add it into your wellness routine.
CBD has many different potential benefits, which means that you have to know why you want to take it before you can decide which brand or what form to take it in.
CBD vs. THC
As a quick refresher, CBD stands for “cannabidiol” (say “cannah-bid-EYE-ahl”). THC stands for “tetrahydrocannabinol” (say “tetra-hydro-can-AH-bin-uhl”). Both of these substances come from the cannabis plant, but only THC can get you high.
CBD has become so popular recently because it offers many of the same therapeutic and medicinal benefits of THC without causing any of the “stoned” feelings that go hand-in-hand with THC. This means that it can be safely taken at any point in the day without much worry of it disrupting your ability to function.
What CBD Can Do For You
I know that I said CBD has a lot of the same benefits as THC, but if all you know about THC is that it gets you high (don’t worry, I did too at first), then that’s not really a helpful explanation.
Researchers are still studying everything that CBD can potentially do for us, but so far there is good evidence to support the benefits of CBD for:
- Helping to manage anxiety (the study I linked is about social anxiety, but it can potentially help with other forms of anxiety too)
- Alleviating chronic pain and muscle aches
- Possibly improving sleep (the jury is still out on this one, but it does help me!)
- Supporting healthy skin
A Quick Aside: Broad-spectrum vs. Full-spectrum CBD
If you’ve shopped around for CBD at all, you’ve seen these terms. Honestly, they sound basically the same, and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that they were.
The only difference is that full-spectrum contains trace amounts of THC (well below the legal 0.3% limit, no worries!) and broad-spectrum doesn’t. If you work somewhere that requires drug tests, or you’re super sensitive to THC, I’d say stick to broad-spectrum, just to be safe. Otherwise, those tiny traces of THC actually work synergistically with the CBD to make it more effective.
I usually prefer full-spectrum CBD, but I have friends who get good results with broad-spectrum as well, so it all comes down to what you’re comfortable with.
The Biggest Question of All: How Do I Choose the Right CBD?
The answer to this is a little tricky. There are drops, sprays, lotions, gummies, vapes, chocolates, pills, bath salts … it gets overwhelming pretty quickly.
So, I think the better question to start with is: “What am I trying to treat with CBD?”
If you have localized pain, inflammation, or skin issues, topical CBD products (lotions, roll-ons, bath bombs, etc.) are a good place to start. I have chronic pain and swelling in one of my ankles, and using topical CBD in that area is way more effective for me than if I try to treat it with an oral dose of CBD.
If you’re looking for general mood improvement, sleep enhancement, or relaxation, oral CBD is a better starting point. In terms of how they function, tinctures and gummies from reputable companies are equally effective. Capsules can work for some people, but you may lose some of the potency since your body has to work harder to absorb the CBD.
CBD vapes are supposed to be pretty potent as well, so if you don’t mind inhaling your dose, that could be a good introduction to CBD as well.
In short, the question largely comes down to personal preference. For localized issues, try a topical product. For general health and mental wellness, try an ingestible. Oils and gummies are functionally the same, and capsules tend to be a bit less effective.
A Few Tips About Dosing
I still don’t have a single, “perfect” dose of CBD figured out for myself, but I have developed a baseline dosage chart. If I want to sleep better, I take one dose. If I’m feeling on edge, I take a different dose. If I’m in pain, I double my dose. This part is all about trial and error. Fortunately, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not the dose you started with will be enough for you.
The key is to always start low and slow (just like with skincare acids!). Everyone has different levels of CBD sensitivity, and it’s best to use the minimum effective dosage.
1. Base your dose on bodyweight
Start with a dose that’s about 10 percent of your weight. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you’d start with a dose of 15mg of CBD. (Don’t worry. Whichever product you choose will tell you how many milligrams of CBD are in one dose. No complicated calculations necessary.)
2. Don’t be afraid to combine products
The good news is that almost everyone can tolerate high doses of CBD with few side effects. This means that you can experiment a bit! You can soak in a CBD bath and follow it up with a few gummies to see how it affects you, or you can take a gummy and a dropperful of oil.
3. Try microdosing
Instead of taking a full dose at once, try splitting your dose into smaller increments throughout your day. For some people, this works even better than a single, larger dose.
4. Be consistent
The best way to get the most out of your CBD is to use it consistently. Spend some time figuring out a dosing schedule that works for you, and stick to it as best you can.
CBD 101: The Final Exam
Just kidding, no exam today. Hopefully by now you’re feeling more informed and confident about trying CBD. I’ll be talking about a few of my favorite brands in my next post, so stay tuned if you want to know more!