THE FAQ’S OF CBD ANSWERED BASED ON REAL SCIENCE
CBD, short for Cannabidoil, is one of the 100+ cannabinoids (active compounds) found in cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive, and has become very popular to use for just about any reason you can think of. In fact, a 2018 study showed that over 60% of CBD users were seeking therapeutic relief for a specific condition. 1
How well the CBD works for each person is not an exact science, as there are many factors involved. We know that the way your body metabolizes CBD is unique and determined by your genetics (you can read more about CYP2C19’s role in cannabis metabolism here), which influences how long it takes for you to feel the effects of CBD, how long it lasts, and its intensity.
In addition to being able to test your CYP2C19 gene to determine your CBD metabolism rate, we’ve compiled the answers some of the most frequently asked questions about CBD, based on real science!
1) WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TAKE CBD?
There are several ways to get CBD inside your body and each of method of consumption has its own advantages. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular ways to take CBD.
SUBLINGUAL – putting CBD extract combined with a carrier agent under the tongue for a period of time before swallowing. These are most commonly sold as oils or tinctures with a dropper or spray attachment to measure how much you are taking and make it easy to target under your tongue.
VAPING – heating up high CBD cannabis flower or extract to a high temperature that vaporizes the CBD, but not to a point of combustion (which would be smoking). The vapour is inhaled through the mouth into the lungs.
CAPSULES / OILS / LIQUIDS – CBD extract combined with a carrier oil that is ingested through the mouth and swallowed so it can be digested. When the oil blends are contained in a pill form, they are called capsules.
SMOKING – burning high CBD cannabis flower with an open flame to the point of combustion, inhaling the smoke through the mouth into the lungs.
EDIBLES – CBD extract is infused in a food or beverage item, to be ingested through the mouth and swallowed so it can be digested.
TOPICAL – CBD extract is infused into products like lotions, balms, and bath salts to be applied directly to the skin.
As mentioned earlier, each of these methods of consuming CBD have a different onset and duration of effects, determined by your metabolism rate.
2) WHY DOES CBD TAKE LONGER TO KICK IN FOR SOME PEOPLE?
50% of the population have slower or faster than normal CBD metabolism rates 2. Your CBD metabolism rate is determined by which version of the CYP2C19 gene you carry, as this gene tells the liver to produce the enzymes needed to eliminate CBD from your body. Learn more about the metabolism process here.
Based on your CBD metabolism rate, you may experience different onset time and duration of effects for each product format.
Slower metabolizers may find it takes longer to notice the effects of CBD but it lasts for longer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a rapid metabolizer’s body eliminates the CBD from the body faster, so they may notice their desired effect from the CBD doesn’t seem last as long (compared to their normal metabolizer friends).
The likelihood that you are a normal metabolizer of CBD depends on your ethnicity. South and East Asians are more likely to carry the CYP2C19*2 and *3 variants for slower CBD metabolism. Caucasians and Africans are more likely to carry the CYP2C19*17 variant for faster CBD metabolism. 3
Knowing your cannabis metabolism rates can help you make informed choices when choosing a method and format of consumption, and minimizes the guesswork involved in managing the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects of CBD.
3) HOW MUCH CBD SHOULD I TAKE?
The answer to this question isn’t an exact science. Your body is only able to absorb a fraction of CBD you take, depending on your CBD metabolism rate and several other factors.
Its best to work one on one with a medical professional who can consider your CBD metabolism rate along with your therapeutic goals to determine how potent of a CBD product you might need or how often to take it.
However, science has shown that certain formats of CBD are better absorbed by the body than others. Research demonstrates a few additional factors things make a big difference in this process, known as bioavailability. 4, 5
4) HOW LONG WILL CBD’S EFFECTS LAST?
That depends several factors including your CBD metabolism rate, and the bioavailability of the product you chose, which we just learned is largely determined by your method of consumption, as well as the potency of your CBD product of choice.
The research on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidoil in Humans 4 does have some interesting findings:
Smoking allows for CBD to reach its peak concentration in blood the fastest (3 mins on average) and was shown to absorb 31% of the original dose. However, 1 hr after smoking the CBD levels were 10x less than they were at its peak.
Edible & digested products containing CBD take the longest to reach peak concentration in the blood, with an average 13%-19% of the original dose being absorbed by the body. Oral consumption methods are shown to accumulate in the body when consumed on a regular basis often lasting 2 – 5 days after the final dose.
When compared to oral sprays, oral capsules of the same dose resulted in 2x the CBD in the body and reached its peak 3x faster (1hr capsules vs 3hrs spray).
5) SHOULD CBD BE TAKEN WITH FOOD OR BEFORE?
The research shows that the bioavailability of CBD is increased when taken with food, especially food rich in healthy fats.
CBD is a fat-soluble compound that is better absorbed by the body when taken with food. Compared to a fasted state, CBD peak concentration is 3x higher and is reached sooner in a fed state (that consisted of a high fat breakfast in this study).
Similar results were shown when food is in the body before, at the same time, and shortly after the CBD is administered. 4
6) WHAT KIND OF CBD SHOULD I TRY?
There are many different ways to describe the kind of CBD that is inside the bottle that can be confusing to navigate. Isolate, full-spectrum, raw, cold-pressed, and organic are just some of the terms used to classify the differences in where the CBD came from, with each type associated with unique features.
Determining which kind of CBD will provide you with maximum benefits is another one of those questions with an answer that isn’t an exact science. Working with an expert who can help determine what type and potency of CBD product fits your budget and goals is the best first step.
However, what the science has shown us, is that the way CBD is extracted from the plant (often hemp varietals of cannabis) has a big impact in how much CBD the body can absorb and thus increases its bioavailability.
This study demonstrated that oral capsules that contained non-heated CBD were better absorbed by the body.
Participants who took RAW CBD and CO2 Extracted CBD oral capsules had 4x the amount of CBD in their blood compared to those that contained CBD extracted using traditional methods of heat and solvents. 4
7) WHAT ARE THE ADVERSE/SIDE EFFECTS OF TAKING CBD?
CBD is generally well tolerated by most people. Most people reported that CBD improved the severity of their symptoms effectively with non-serious adverse effects. 1
Although CBD is believed to improve wellness and alleviate various health-related symptoms, like all things, it isn’t completely without risk.
8) WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF TAKING CBD?
CBD is metabolized by enzymes in the liver. The efficiency of that process depends on your CPY2C19 gene (you can learn all about the metabolism process here). The CYP2C19 enzymes also metabolize several other over the counter and prescription medications as well as other plant based/herbal supplements. 6,7
Much like grapefruit, when CBD is introduced into the body, the enzymes are so busy breaking it down, that they may not be able to metabolize other drugs that are in the system as efficiently. This can change the concentration of the drug in the blood, increasing the risk for adverse effects 8,9
There is a risk of potentially harmful drug-drug interactions by taking CBD when these other drugs are in your system. It’s important to update your pharmacist and medical professionals if you are taking CBD, or any other cannabis products.
9) HOW CAN I FIND CBD PRODUCTS NEAR ME?
Check with the laws where you are locally to ensure CBD is legal for purchase and consumption. Here in Canada, cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use, and CBD products are available at retailers across the country. The CBD products available at recreational cannabis retailers in Canada do not require a prescription from a doctor, and can be purchased with and without THC depending on your personal preferences and goals.
If you’re in Canada, head to LoboJane.com to check out CBD products in stock near you! If you’ve taken a Lobo Genetic Test, you can log in at LoboJane.com to get personalized CBD product recommendations based on your results.
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- Corroon (2018). A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043845/
- Hashemizadeh, Z. et al. (2018). Prevalence of CYP2C19 Genetic Polymorphism among Normal People and Patients with Hepatic Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839627/
- Martis, S. et al. (2013, August). Multi-ethnic distribution of clinically relevant CYP2C genotypes and haplotypes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396745/
- Millar et al. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Front. Pharmacol. (26):1365 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275223/
- Ujvaŕy et al. (2016). Human metabolites of cannabidiol: a review on their formation, biological activity and relevance in therapy. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 1.1: 90-100. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576600/
- Hirota et al. (2013). Impact of genetic polymorphisms in CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 on the pharmacokinetics of clinically used drugs. Drug Metab. Pharmacokinet. 28(1): 28-37. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23165865/
- Wanwimolruk, S., & Prachayasittikul, V. (2014, April 2). Cytochrome P450 enzyme mediated herbal drug interactions (Part 1). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463967/
- Kiani, J., & Imam, S. (2007, October 30). Medicinal importance of grapefruit juice and its interaction with various drugs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2147024/
- Peter Grinspoon, M. (2020, April 22). Cannabidiol (CBD) – what we know and what we don’t. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
- FDA. (2018) EPIDIOLEX (cannabidiol) oral solution prescribing information https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/210365lbl.pdf
- MacCallum CA et al. (2018). Practical considerations in medical cannabis administration and dosing. Eur. J. Intern. Med. (49):12-19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29307505/