Cannabidiol (CBD) products come in a wide variety of product types. While CBD oil remains the most discussed product, you can also find creams, pills, waxes, drinks, and even edibles.
You will find our article titled What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? very helpful with understanding CBD.
The variety of CBD based products seems overwhelming. It’s even harder to find accurate information.
So how do I know which type is best for relieving skin irritation or which type to use for relieving anxiety?
After some research, this is what I found.
Overview of the Most Used CBD Product Types
With the legalization of hemp in the United States and the decriminalization of cannabis in many states and countries, CBD products are flourishing in the consumer health market. The following CBD-based products are readily available online at select health stores:
- Topical products (creams and ointments)
- Pills and capsules
- Vapes (including waxes)
Analysts expect the annual CBD market to reach $16 billion by 2025. Companies rush to produce new products to meet demand and capture a share of the growing market. However, not every product offers the same results or benefits.
The legality of the products also varies. Most states and the US Federal Government legalized hemp-derived CBD products. However, marijuana-derived CBD products, which include THC, remain illegal under federal law.
Currently, 47 states allow marijuana-derived CBD products for medicinal use. In some areas, it is only legal for specific medical conditions.
CBD oils are the most used CBD-based products and provide the fastest delivery method.
You simply place several drops under your tongue and hold in place for about 60 seconds. When consuming CBD oil, capillaries below the tongue absorb the substance. The body absorbs the CBD quickly and efficiently, with minimal loss.
CBD oils also provide the base for most of the other types of CBD-based products. Farmers extract the oil from the cannabis plant, typically using a distillation process to produce the raw oil. Manufacturers then add a carrier oil to produce the final product.
CBD oil also has a long shelf life. When stored in a cool, dark spot, the oil may retain its active properties for 14 to 24 months. After this time, the compound starts to break down and the oil loses some of its potency.
- Provides the most efficient source of CBD
- Taking CBD oil is easy and quick
- CBD oil often provides a more affordable option for long-term use
- The effects can last for four hours or longer
- Some people do not like the taste of CBD oil
Overall, CBD oils are often the first entry point for consumers interested in the healing properties of CBD. It is easy to take and absorbs quickly, but if you do not like the taste, there are other types of products.
CBD topical creams provide a simple method for applying CBD to your skin. Due to the topical nature of these products, they provide the fastest relief for skin conditions but take longer to reach the bloodstream.
To create these products, manufacturers combine the extracted CBD oil with other ingredients. CBD creams include various lotions, balms, and gels that you can rub into the skin.
Many people enjoy the discreet use of these products, as they appear as any other body lotion. You can also add the use of a CBD cream into your daily routine, making it easier to use it each day.
With a topical cream, you also avoid the need to send any chemicals through your digestive system. Bypassing the metabolism eliminates any risks of digestive distress.
The CBD compounds may also help fight inflammation, providing relief for pain related to arthritis or multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Creams provide faster relief for skin irritation
- Studies show that CBD creams may relieve joint pain
- Creams take longer to enter the bloodstream
- Difficult to estimate dosage
When using creams for treating internal issues, keep in mind that dosing is difficult. It is difficult to tell how much CBD you are spreading on your skin.
For some, CBD pills are the easiest solution for taking CBD. No matter if you call them pills or capsules, you simply swallow them and wait for your body to absorb the compounds.
One of the main benefits of the pills is the dosage. Assuming the product labels provide accurate information, you know exactly how much CBD you get with each pill.
With the other CBD-based products, there is a risk of over-dosing or under-dosing. While you do not need to worry about overdosing, some pills may not contain the amount of CBD listed on the label.
Studies have looked at the CBD concentrations found in various pills, comparing the concentrations to the amounts the manufacturers claim to include in the products. As with other health supplements, there is a risk that some CBD pills may not contain the advertised dosage.
While these pills rarely contain other active ingredients, they need additional ingredients to form the pill. Some people experience digestive distress or stomach pains after taking any type of pill, due to the ingredients used to make the shell.
- Pills provide an easy way to consume CBD, as you simply need to swallow one or more pills
- Pills reduce the risk of receiving too much or too little CBD with each dose
- A wider selection of pills increases the risk of buying a weak CBD product
- Some people respond negatively to pills, experiencing digestive issues
Pills are convenient and provide results that may last for several hours with each dose. However, those who suffer from gastrointestinal issues may want to avoid taking another pill.
For those who do not like the taste of CBD oil or do not want to take pills, edibles provide a suitable alternative. The original edibles are gummies, providing a juicy, chewy way to consume CBD.
You can now find edibles in a variety of flavors and foods. Companies sell edible snacks and gourmet meals containing CBD. You can even get CBD-infused teas and beverages.
The biggest drawback to the edibles is giving yourself too much CBD. Companies cannot accurately determine the exact dosage in each individual CBD gummy or brownie.
Additionally, the CBD compounds may not evenly mix through the ingredients, resulting in a higher concentration in some parts of the edible. If you only eat part of the edible, you do not know whether you are getting more or less of the CBD.
- Edibles come in a variety of tasty flavors
- The effects of the CBD can last for several hours
- Edibles have the greatest risk of overdosing or under dosing
If you purchase edibles, pay attention to the recommended serving size. Avoid eating or drinking more of the product than the manufacturer recommends.
CBD Waxes and Vape Oils
Vape oils are quickly becoming the preferred choice for younger CBD users. These products work with vape pens and other vaping devices to vaporize the oil, producing a vapor.
You inhale the vapors into your lungs, delivering the CBD almost instantly to your bloodstream. Vapes provide the fastest solution, but they do have the shortest duration of effects.
In some cases, the effects of vaping CBD oil may only last an hour compared to several hours for the same dosage of CBD oil.
Companies have also released CBD waxes. These waxes provide the same benefits as vapors. They typically require a device that heats the wax, allowing users to inhale the vapors directly or through the distribution of vapors throughout the room.
- Vapes work faster, giving you almost instant results
- Vaping remains the most popular choice for younger users
- Vape oils and waxes come in a variety of flavors
- Vaping requires inhaling substances through your lungs
- The effects may only last an hour
Isolates vs Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD
Besides the different delivery methods, CBD-based products come with varying levels of CBD. Some products may even contain THC. The main categories include:
- Full spectrum
- Broad spectrum
Isolates contain pure CBD without any other cannabinoids, such as THC. With these products, you only get CBD.
Full spectrum products come from the whole plant. They contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. With broad-spectrum CBD products, you get CBD and most of the other cannabinoids, with only trace amounts of THC.
Summary – Which Is the Best CBD Product Type?
After completing this research, the best CBD product types is not that clear cut. Well, like all things, it depends.
It appears that CBD oil offers the most efficient method for delivering the compound to the bloodstream. The tongue absorbs the substance without losing much of its bioavailability.
Pills and capsules take a little longer to absorb, and they provide the easiest method for consumption. You can also avoid the taste of the CBD oil.
Edibles also take longer to digest, as they need to travel through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream. It is harder to ensure accurate dosage when consuming edibles, which may create a potential health risk when dealing with larger doses.
Topical creams may be most effective for treating skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, or general irritation. Some studies also suggest that topical creams provide an effective treatment for joint pain and inflammation.
Vapes and waxes are the least studied of the CBD product types. Some people enjoy the various flavors that these products come in, but the idea of inhaling a substance isn’t very appealing. Keep in mind, these are just the currently available types of CBD-based products. As more companies look to make money from this growing market, we can likely expect many more products or variations of the existing products.