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CBD guides: What’s the best way to take CBD?

Confused about how to start taking CBD? Our helpful guide will help you choose the right method for you.

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The best way: A vape, a brown bottle of oil and a yellow oil lie on their sides surrounded by cannabis leaves on a white background

There are a lot of different ways to take CBD so it can be hard to know which method is right for you.

Here is our guide to choosing the best CBD to suit your needs.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference but there are a few things to know before you start choosing your first CBD product.

CBD oil

CBD oil is a really easy way to take CBD. Pop it under your tongue then wait a few minutes for the mucous membranes to absorb it. It can help to wash the remaining oil down with a sip of water.

When choosing an oil, be careful to select a brand or product that has clear labelling, easy to find lab reports and clearly states how much CBD is in the product. Products can be labelled full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate.

Here is what those mean

Full-spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD includes small amounts of all compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes and flavonoids. Full-spectrum CBD products may contain up to 0.03 percent of THC.

Broad-spectrum: This is CBD without THC in it. It still keeps the other compounds such as terpenes.

Isolate: This is just CBD without any other compounds in it. CBD isolate is a crystal version of CBD, and it is usually ground up to be sold as a powder.

What is the entourage effect?

Some studies suggest that the therapeutic effects of CBD are stronger when combined with other compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids or other cannabinoids.

Best way to take CBD: a yellow pot of CBD oil next to a bunch of green cannabis leaves

Patches

Patches are the best way to get a discreet dose of CBD throughout the day. Some people prefer to apply patches as they can forget to take a follow-up dose or they can release CBD throughout the night as someone is sleeping. Patches can also be applied directly to the affected area where the pain is felt.

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One of the biggest benefits of patches is that the skin absorbs CBD easily and quickly. However, the patches are developed to be slow-release so they can be kept on for several days.

Sometimes the adhesive used in patches can cause irritation or allergies for people along with reactions to chemicals used to penetrate the skin. They also create a waste product that cannot be recycled.

Tinctures

Tinctures are an alternative to CBD oils. The best way to take them is to pop a drop or two under your tongue and allow it to sink into the lining of the mouth.

The main difference between tinctures and oils is how the CBD is extracted. Oils use while tinctures use alcohol. Tinctures are more likely to have a flavour added to them so can be a good choice for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of hemp.

Vape

Vaping is a quick and easy way to get some CBD on the go. CBD enters the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and lungs. It’s one of the fastest ways to get a dose as it does not have to travel through the digestive system first.

It’s also perfect for anyone who isn’t fond of the taste of oils or tinctures. Vape e-liquids come in a variety of flavours.

The best way to take CBD; A small jar of CBD topical gel on a yellow background. The lid off the jar and it has a cannabis leaf on the top of white cream

Topicals

Topicals are the best choice if the problem is skin or muscle-related. CBD is thought to help with conditions such as acne, rosacea or eczema. It is available in many different forms from lotions, balms, gels or creams.

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The product can be applied directly to the affected area making it great for targeting specific painful areas. It is absorbed through the skin.

CBD may be particularly useful in the treatment of acne. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed CBD inhibited sebum production while having an anti-inflammatory effect. If sebum builds up in the skin then it can lead to acne or breakouts. CBD may help to not only control oil production but soothe any irritated skin

It could potentially offer relief for arthritis pain. Results from a pre-clinical study showed a reduction in arthritis pain in rats. Male rats with arthritis were given CBD and results revealed that there was a potential difference in the inflammation level when treated with a localised CBD treatment. Although there are human studies needed.

Edibles

An edible is a piece of food with CBD infused in it. This could be anything from gummy bears to chocolate chip cookies or brownies. CBD is fat-soluble so is perfect for adding to most foods. 

Edibles do take longer to work as they have to travel through the body. It enters the hepatic portal system which is a series of veins that carry blood from the capillaries of organs such as the stomach, intestine, spleen and pancreas to the liver. The liver then metabolises the molecules which is referred to as the first-pass effect. From there, the CBD can travel to the bloodstream. 

Some of the CBD is lost due to the metabolic system and can vary depending on the person’s height or weight. It’s not the best option for someone looking to avoid sugar or watch their weight.

The advantage of edibles is that they can be taken easily, discreetly and offer a slow release of CBD. Another great option for anyone who dislikes the taste of hemp oil.

Read more: How medical cannabis could help with skin conditions.

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Epilepsy

BPNA publishes new guidance on prescribing medical cannabis in epilepsy

The updated guidance has been described as ‘unethical’ by medical cannabis experts.

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The BPNA has been accused of trying to “block private access” to cannabis-based medicines

New guidance published this month by the BPNA on the prescribing of medical cannabis, has been described as ‘unethical’ by experts.

The British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) this month updated its guidance for clinicians on the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines for children and young people with epilepsy.

It’s the first time the framework has been updated since 2018 and comes following the amendments to the NICE guidelines earlier this year, clarifying that clinicians can prescribe medicinal cannabis in appropriate cases.

The BPNA’s view that it must be a paediatric neurologist who prescribes, is not supported by national guidance, with the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS) recently highlighting that it is “legal and acceptable” for a paediatrician with an interest in epilepsy to prescribe, under a shared care arrangement with a trained cannabis physician. 

This, along with its insistence that there is “no evidence” for the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis products and “concerns” about the effect of exposure to THC on the developing brain, is widely blamed for the lack of access to NHS prescriptions for children with epilepsy. 

Blocking private access

But while many would hope any new guidance would make things easier for doctors wishing to prescribe cannabis-based products, the BPNA has been accused of making things worse for patients and even trying to “block private access”, as well as that through the NHS.

The BPNA has now put the onus on the prescribing doctor to ensure families can afford to carry the financial burden of accessing this medicine privately.

“If a paediatric neurologist prescribes an unlicensed CBPM in private practice they should also be certain that the family can sustain the cost of ongoing private prescriptions,” the BPNA states.

We consider it unethical to initiate a treatment in private practice for which funding is not available in the longer term. The NHS is unlikely to meet the cost of future prescriptions of an unlicensed medicine that has no Level 1 evidence of efficacy and safety.

It comes following reports of parents being forced to sell their home and rely on fundraising to pay for these medicines privately, an average cost of £2,000 per month.

The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS) has slammed this move as “totally unacceptable” and accused the BPNA of driving patients to the black market with its “outdated” stance. 

Professor Mike Barnes

Its chair, Professor Mike Barnes, told Cannabis Health: “It is not in any way standard practice for a doctor to enquire whether a family can support funding in the long term. Such an inquiry is unethical and such a situation would of course not arise if a doctor prescribed it on the NHS, as is legal. 

“The stance of the BPNA is driving patients and their families into private practice and in some cases into the black market.”

Hannah Deacon, director of the MCCS and mother to Alfie Dingley, agreed, saying this would leave patients denied access in every avenue. 

“The BPNA now appears to be trying to shut down private access as well as NHS access,” she said.

“This new guidance is placing all the onus onto the private doctor to be responsible for ensuring that families can afford to pay for the prescriptions before they’re issued. There would be no way that any private doctor would do that for any other medication. This guidance causes harm and all it’s going to do is push people to the black market.”

Real world evidence

The BPNA claims that the prescribing of cannabis medicines is “largely untested”, despite the fact that there are now over 10,000 patients prescribed for in the UK including around 200 children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. 

The MCCS also points out that there is a “significant volume of efficacy and safety data” in the form of real world evidence. 

Members of the BPNA have been trained in the prescribing of pharmaceutical products which have RCT data behind them,” Deacon said.

“What we would urge them to understand is that this is a botanical medicine with many hundreds of compounds which cannot go through the randomised control trial process effectively, and real world evidence very much has its place here to prove safety.”

The impact of not prescribing

Prof Barnes added that the new guidance has failed to recognise the “downsides of not prescribing” which include a poorer quality of life, brain damage and even death.

“There is no recognition of the fact that these children have uncontrolled, drug resistant epilepsy by definition. They have a poor quality of life, often difficulties in school and in play and at home and the whole family suffers from the consequences,” he said.

“Recurrent seizures are damaging to the developing brain and such severe seizures are associated with a risk of status epilepticus and death. Every avenue must be explored in an attempt to alleviate the seizures. Cannabis is not a cure-all and is not the right medication for every child (or adult). However, it has been shown to have efficacy in many cases and is generally remarkably safe.”

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Pain

71% of CBD users self-determine dosage without professional help

A large percentage of of those who use CBD for pain determined the dosage through trial and error

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A new survey has revealed that 31 per cent of respondents use CBD to treat pain – but found that 71 per cent of those do not check the dosage with professionals first.

The dosage survey conducted by industry watchdog, Leaf Report, reported that 22 per cent of 1360 respondents did not check their dose before taking CBD.

Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said they do not seek professional advice while 29 per cent did. A further 44 per cent decided the dosage themselves based on trial and error.

Dosage: A banner advert for Medical Cannabis Clinic

CBD-infused gummies, edibles, and beverages were the most popular method of taking CBD with a further 26 per cent preferring oils or tinctures. Vapes were the least favourite method of consumption at 10 per cent.

The survey asked a series of eleven questions about dosage and use. Among the findings, it revealed that 48 per cent of participants took the same dosage every time while 26 per cent do not check the concentration of their CBD products.

Just over half the respondents used CBD for pain with 31 per cent using it every day.

Lital Shafir, head of product at Leafreport said: “After our team reviewed the findings from the dosage survey, we realized that most users are not seeking out the opinions of professionals when trying CBD, which can lead them to negative experiences.”

“Our mission at Leafreport has always been to educate consumers on the many aspects of the CBD industry, and we want to offer educational tools like extensive reports for those who want to get away from ‘trial and error’ tactics when taking CBD.”

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Correct dosage and misinformation

This survey findings are similar to another conducted on cancer patients earlier this year.

The earlier survey of 100 cancer patients at an oncology care clinic revealed they are interested in trying CBD to allievate symptoms but lack information about how to take it. Both set of findings highlight the need for more education around CBD. The main symptoms listed were uncontrollable pain, depression and anxiety.

The survey of 100 patients at an oncology care clinic showed participants were interested in CBD as a way to alleviate symptoms. They listed their main symptoms as uncontrolled pain, depression and anxiety.

When asked about their understanding of CBD, 45 percent said they were unsure if there were any risks. A further 17 percent believe there was no or low risks but 25 percent “reported uncertainty of the alleged benefits of using CBD.”

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Events

Menopause: Could CBD offer relief from symptoms?

Increasingly women are finding cannabinoids helpful in managing some of the menopause symptoms.

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Menopause: A small bottle of oil on a surface surrounded by cannabis leaves

Ahead of a new webinar on cannabis and menopause, we share the stories of women who have found cannabinoids helpful in managing symptoms.

Rachel’s story

At first, Rachel had struggled to conceive naturally and was delighted when her first round of IVF was successful and went on to give birth to her son. A year later, after going to the hospital for a routine check-up, she was surprised to have received a call asking her to come for an emergency scan. She then found out she had a 12cm tumour on one of her ovaries. She then had surgery to remove it and was left with half an ovary.

“After my initial surgery, I was advised to get a hysterectomy to fully deal with the tumour. At first, I had resisted, but eventually, I felt I needed to go through with it. Having the hysterectomy meant that I went into premature menopause. I had really struggled to come to terms with this as I wanted to have a second child. But I knew I had to carry on and help other women who have had the same experiences as me.

Rachel had already been using CBD to help her deal with poor sleep and anxiety. She found that CBD was really helpful in dealing with her menopausal symptoms such as low mood and hot flushes.

“The CBD was transformational, I found that I could sleep through the night and my anxiety levels had gone way down. It has completely changed my life helped me to deal with my symptoms and the stress and anxiety associated with menopause.”

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Cannabis medicines and menopause

Cannabis Health, Integro Medical Clinics and Cannabis Patients Advocacy and Support Services (CPASS), PLEA and Primary Care Cannabis Network present a webinar that will focus on the challenging experiences of women who have found cannabis medicines helpful in managing the symptoms of menopause.

Menopause: An event image advertising a panel discussion around women's cannabis and menopause

Menopause and perimenopause symptoms are chronically poorly managed in the modern healthcare system.

Many women are simply told to ‘manage their stress better, lose some weight’ or ‘do more exercise’ when seeking medical treatment for symptoms that can have a huge impact on their day to day lives, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, low libido, headaches and hot flushes.

This is due to several factors, both cultural and medical. While women often feel ashamed to speak openly about their experiences due to stigma, many doctors lack the training and time to treat symptoms effectively.

Increasingly women are finding cannabinoids helpful in managing some of the menopause symptoms.

Since the legalisation of cannabis-based medicines two years ago, female patients have been able to discover that the rebalancing of their endocannabinoid system can be incredibly helpful in the management of conditions ranging from endometriosis, bladder and nerve pain, gynaecological pain and PMS to mental health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.

Aimed at both the general public and caregivers, the event will explore the experiences of women who have lived with perimenopause and menopause symptoms and how they have found cannabis-based medicines helpful.

We will discuss openly and candidly the realities of the transition and the stigma surrounding it in society.

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Expert speakers include:

 

Menopause: Dr Sally Ghazaleh

Dr Sally Ghazaleh – Female Health Consultant at Integro Clinics. She specialises in managing patients with lower back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain, abdominal pain, cancer pain and complex regional pain syndrome.

 

Menopause: Dr Mayur Bodan

Dr Mayur Bodani – A neuropsychiatrist with over 25 years of experience, he has successfully treated many patients with psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, psychosis, dementia and many other conditions.

Patient speakers include:

Lauren

Lauren CB – having been a successful mental health nurse for 30 years, Lauren had to give up her career after being diagnosed with primary progressive MS. She has found cannabis medicines helpful in dealing with her MS symptoms and menopausal symptoms.

Rachel Mason

Rachel Mason – founder of ‘Our Remedy‘, a wellness brand for women. She has found CBD to be very helpful in dealing with her menopausal symptoms.

The webinar is completely free of charge, click here to register 

 

For more information visit www.integroclinics.com

Email: Contact@integroclinics.com

Twitter: @clinicsintegro

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Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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