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New to CBD Oil Capsules? Here are the Pros and Cons



Cannabidiol (CBD) is the go-to natural remedy for thousands of Americans. Currently, it is a bit of a challenge figuring out which CBD oil product to buy, though, because the market is still choc-n-bloc full of unregulated products.

That's why we'll be unpacking the pros and cons of CBD capsules in particular. We’ll also discuss why you should buy CBD oil and what to look out for when you do.

Contents

1. Definition of Capsules
2. Pros and Cons of Softgel Capsules
     2.1 What Consumers Say
     2.2 What Research Says
     2.3 The Disadvantages
3. Dosing with CBD Oil Capsules
4. What about THC Content?
5. How to Find a Good-Quality CBD Product
6. Health Benefits of CBD Oil

 

Definition of Capsules

Depending on the discipline, "capsule" can mean a few things. In pharmacology, MedicineNet explains that capsules are "a solid dosage form in which the drug is enclosed in a hard or soft soluble container, usually of a form of gelatin." [1]

The CBD capsules on the shelves of shops, virtual or otherwise, are not classified drugs, but the principle remains the same. The oil is captured in a cylindrically shaped membrane, and some are referred to as softgels. 

Capsules have certain undeniable consumer advantages.

CBD capsules have certain undeniable consumer advantages.

RELATED: CBD Health Benefits: Separating Fact from Fiction

Pros and Cons of Capsules

1. What Consumers Say

The Pros and Cons of CBD Capsules: What Consumers Say

A 2009 consumer survey by a pharmaceutical company looked at the public's preferences regarding solid oral dosage forms. Their data revealed that people cite ease of swallowing as the most important attribute, particularly of softgel capsules. (Ease of consumption is a big consideration among certain populations, such as children and the elderly.) Users also perceived capsules to work faster and to be gentler on the stomach. 

There was, furthermore, a clear preference for medications available in a specific dosage form, and consumers were willing to pay more for this attribute. [2]

Other advantages include the following: 

The advantages of CBD capsules

2. What Research Says

The Pros and Cons of CBD Capsules: What Research Says

The research echoes consumer preferences:

In many cases, a softgel can be the ideal delivery system that improves the bioavailability of a poorly soluble API [Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient]. After the initial setup costs and formulation development, softgels are relatively inexpensive to mass produce. In addition, they can minimize the amount of excipient required, deliver precise dosages, and make otherwise unpalatable medicines easier to swallow, aiding patient compliance. 

An excipient is the inactive ingredient or "carrier" inside a capsule. The enhanced bioavailability of encapsulated products is due to the fact that a solution, such as oil, ensures that some substances are more readily absorbed by the body. It can also reach the site of action more easily than solid-form APIs, according to research. 

Gelatin softgels, in particular, are water-soluble, so they dissolve very easily and quickly in the intestines. [3]

The cost of manufacturing obviously impacts the final product cost, so this is an important consideration.

3. The Disadvantages

The Pros and Cons of CBD Capsules: The Disadvantages

Capsules are also associated with a few disadvantages, however.

These include:

  1. Hard-shell capsules can be challenging to swallow for some.
  2. Softgels' shelf life can be short, making storage an issue. Usually, these products have special storage requirements.
  3. If the capsule membrane is hygroscopic, meaning it tends to absorb moisture from the air, humidity could affect the integrity of the product.
  4. Chrominfo also reports: Concentrated solutions requiring previous dilutions are inappropriate for the capsule since irritation of the stomach. [Capsules are] Not appropriate for highly efflorescent. [4]
  5. Because the product is ingested via swallowing, it is subject to metabolic and digestive processes in the body. This means that a large amount of CBD is lost, and it won't be as fast-acting as taking a tincture under the tongue, for instance.

Dosing with CBD Oil Capsules

Any dosing for CBD, especially with OTC (over the counter, meaning it's not prescribed by a doctor) products is still somewhat problematic. This is because there are no scientifically validated dosing protocols available yet. 

Here are a few pointers for dosing with CBD capsules:

DO RESEARCH AND GET A QUALITY PRODUCT

Not all CBD oils are created equal. Especially with the still-unregulated industry, CBD product quality is not standardized, and it may be a while still before that happens. Put in the effort to research manufacturing processes, extraction methods, full-spectrum vs. pure CBD, sourcing of cannabis material, etc. to ascertain that you're getting the best product for your money. Many of the high-end products are a bit more expensive, but you will be sure to get good results. Read on for a few tips in this regard.

START WITH A LOWER DOSE

Unless prescribed by a doctor, avoid starting out with very high-dose CBD. Depending on the strength of the product, start taking a capsule at night with oily or fatty food. (This will increase its bioavailability). Then titrate the dose till you can feel desired effects, and stick with that amount. 

SPREAD OUT THE DOSE

If you're not satisfied with the effects, consider spreading out the CBD dosage. Take it in the morning and at night, or experiment with a dose midday too.

    CONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT

    Don't just quit after a week or two of use. A good full-spectrum CBD product's effects are cumulative, which means you'll probably only notice the real benefits after a while.

    ASK A FRIEND

    If you know someone who is pleased with the results of taking CBD capsules, ask them for tips. Or search platforms like Twitter and Reddit for consumer advice based on personal experience. Also, consider searching out a qualified healthcare provider who specializes in cannabis medicine where you live or on the Web. Their numbers are growing. 

    CHANGE THE ADMINISTRATION METHOD

    If you're not pleased with results you get after using capsules, consider switching to tinctures under your tongue or liposomal CBD that can be mixed in water. These may not be the tastiest options, but the taste can be masked and gotten used to.

    If you're not pleased with results you get after using capsules, consider switching to tinctures or even dripping the oil under your tongue.

    What about THC Content?

    Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) content matters for a number of reasons. First of all, it determines the legality of your product. 

    From the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA)’s website: [5]

    At the federal level, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (the 2018 Farm Bill) was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018. Among other things, this new law changes certain federal authorities relating to the production and marketing of hemp, defined as "the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. 

    These changes include removing hemp from the CSA [Controlled Substances Act], which means that cannabis plants and derivatives that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis are no longer controlled substances under federal law. 

    The takeaway from this is that Cannabis sativa L. with low levels of THC is legally considered hemp. Hemp-derived products (such as SOLCBD capsules, that have over 150 5-star reviews) are therefore also legal, as long as the THC content doesn't exceed the prescribed limit.

    Hemp-derived products, such as CBD capsules, are legal as long as the THC content doesn't exceed the prescribed limit.

    RELATED: THC & CBD: The Differences You Need to Know

    THC is also a cannabinoid and has numerous well-established health benefits. However, in higher amounts, it causes the characteristic high marijuana is known for. For most, this is a very relaxing experience, and marijuana is a popular recreational drug. However, it can be addictive, and chronic marijuana use is associated with health risks for certain populations. For instance, people with a history of psychosis should avoid taking high-THC cannabis. Therefore, weed is still on the CSA list of controlled substances. 

    CBD, in high doses, can cause somnolence and lethargy, but it definitely won't have you feeling high. In low doses, THC will not alter your mind at all.

    So don't ditch this cannabinoid completely—because THC and the other compounds found in cannabis work together in what is known as the "entourage effect." 

    This basically refers to the synergistic interaction between these phytochemicals. In layman's terms, it means that cannabis compounds tend to work together better than in isolation. For instance, dosing would be easier with a full-spectrum CBD oil than with a CBD isolate. (Pure CBD needs to be taken in exactly the right amount for it to have the optimal effect.)

    Dosing would be easier with a full-spectrum CBD oil than with a CBD isolate.

    RELATED: Understanding the Entourage Effect of Cannabinoids

    How to Find a Good-Quality CBD Product

    As mentioned, not all cannabis products are equal in terms of quality and even safety. With the market still so unregulated, it is unfortunately possible to be fooled by snake-oil vendors. However, knowing what to look for can well help buyers to avoid this pitfall.

    1. Advertising Health Claims

    The FDA has strict regulations in terms of what can and cannot lawfully be attributed to CBD. These rules need to be adhered to by producers and are in the best interest of public health. For instance, any product with labels claiming that the substance can cure cancer and save the world should probably be avoided. If the producing company cares so little about sound and lawful labeling practice, it's difficult to imagine that they really care about your health.

    2. Organic Hemp

    This one is easy to understand—if the product has "organic" certification, you can be reasonably assured that you won't be ingesting harmful substances together with your CBD oil. And you won't be supporting hemp farmers with unsustainable, harmful farming practices.

    Not all cannabis products are equal in terms of quality and even safety. Knowing what to look for can help.

    3. Laboratory Testing

    Third-party lab testing to determine the exact content of a product is also indicative of ethical and good manufacturing. The lab report should furthermore be easily accessible to the public. On it, you will be able to see exactly how much THC a product contains.

    4. Extraction Process

    CO2 is an extraction process that offers very pure compounds.

    5. Full-Spectrum CBD Capsules

    Opt for CBD that contains a bit of THC, and preferably other ligands, too. As explained, the cannabis crew works better together than each component on its own.

    Health Benefits of CBD Oil

    Cannabidiol health benefits are well-documented, and abundant data is available at the click of a button. We're taking a look at the main applications for this cannabis compound, but before we do, this is important to note—CBD is not an FDA-approved medication for any health condition (apart from treatment-resistant epilepsy) yet. 

    So what follows is based on pre-clinical and some clinical medical investigation. CBD still has to pass much more rigorous testing on human subjects before it can officially be registered to have any of the following properties. This process is determined by government health policies. 

    So far, CBD appears to offer the following medicinal benefits, as indicated by research and as listed in the World Health's Organization's Pre-review Report of 2017: [6]

    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Anxiolytic
    • Antidepressant
    • Neuroprotection
    • Antioxidant
    • Antipsychotic
    • Analgesic
    • Anti-asthmatic
    • Antitumor

    CBD appears to offer several medicinal benefits.

    RELATED: CBD For Depression: CBD Can Help Improve Your Mood

    Therefore, CBD has shown some activity against conditions such as:

    • Alzheimer's disease
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Multiple sclerosis 
    • Huntington's disease
    • Anxiety disorders such as SAD (social anxiety disorder) and PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder)
    • Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia
    • Arthritis
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Infection
    • Diabetic complications

    RELATED: How CBD May Help with Inflammation and Allergies

    As far as safety and toxicity or tolerability is concerned, the WHO reports that CBD:

    ...does not produce the effects that are typically seen with cannabinoids such as THC. It also failed to produce significant effects in a human study of abuse potential discussed below. Across a number of controlled and open label trials CBD of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD it is generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile.

    However, CBD capsules are metabolized in the liver via the same enzymatic pathways as many prescription medicines. This means the potential for drug-drug interactions exists and in some cases, this can pose a danger. Before taking CBD, consult with your prescribing doctor if you are on chronic medication.

    RELATED: CBD Health Benefits: Separating Fact from Fiction

    In low to medium doses, CBD should be side effect free and can safely be experimented with. 

     

    Sources:

    1. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11933
    2. https://s3.amazonaws.com/cpsl-web/kc/pdfs/consumer-preferences-solid-oral-dosage-forms.pdf
    3. https://tabletscapsules.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/tc_20180901_0037.pdf
    4. https://chrominfo.blogspot.com/2018/07/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-capsules.htm
    5. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd#farmbill
    6. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf

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