If you’re wondering whether it’s time to jump on the CBD bandwagon, you’re not alone. But as with any new food, drink, or supplement that promises health benefits, it’s best to start slow—and smart.
The reason CBD is so compelling to consumers is due to a laundry list of promising purported health benefits, from reduced muscle pain and anxiety to help with nausea, insomnia, and inflammation. We're still waiting for clearance from the FDA (and more robust research on the proven perks of the ingredient), but in the meantime, many Americans are eager to test out the positive potential of CBD.
Topical forms of CBD
In other words, dosing should be determined on an individual basis, and consumers should be wary of high doses early on. If you’re curious what the right dosage of CBD is for you, read our guide here.
For ingestible products, like tinctures, capsules, gummies, and the like, the results are different. When kept under the tongue, tinctures typically absorb within 30 seconds and effects are felt within 15 minutes. When ingesting CBD (i.e., swallowing it or consuming a food that contains CBD), you can expect to feel the effects within about 45 minutes to two hours.
For those who are hoping to feel the effects of CBD as quickly as possible, Shcharansky recommends taking a tincture sublingually, meaning dropping it under your tongue, waiting a few seconds, and then swallowing.
The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) found significant evidence that cannabis was an effective treatment for long-term (chronic) pain. However, much of the research was done outside of the U.S. And the forms of cannabis studied in the U.S. were not the same as those commonly used.
Medical cannabis users reported they used cannabis with higher CBD and lower THC concentrations for their insomnia. They also reported a decrease in the time required to fall asleep.
The dosing of CBD for different conditions is still being studied.
CBD and Medicines
Topical cannabidiol oil was studied in 29 people with lower limb peripheral neuropathy. After using the oil for 4 weeks, the people had less intense and sharp pain and fewer other uncomfortable sensations.
Other oral forms of CBD are edible gummies and capsules. Topical CBD may also be a lotion, cream, or balm.
CAUTION: Since CBD may cause tiredness or drowsiness, people should be very careful when driving, using tools or other equipment, or performing other risky activities.
An app was used to measure changes in insomnia in over 400 people taking medical cannabis. The average symptom severity was reduced by 4.5 points on a 10-point scale, a significant improvement in insomnia.
Scientists believe that CBD reduces nerve pain by binding to glycine receptors in the brain that regulate the speed at which nerve signals pass between nerve cells.
Many of these interactions are mild and require no adjustment to treatment. Others may require a drug substitution or the separation of doses by several hours.
Potential drug-drug interactions with CBD include:
Proponents claim that CBD oil can treat a wide variety of health problems, including:
According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, rats injected with inflammatory chemicals in their hind feet experienced less inflammation and neuropathic pain when treated with an oral dose and spinal injection of CBD.
Medical marijuana is frequently prescribed to people with intractable (treatment-resistant) pain, including those with terminal cancer. There is some evidence that CBD contributes to this benefit.
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.