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CBD Oil Vs. CBD Capsules—Which Is the Best?



Now that the legislation has started to ease up, awareness of cannabidiol (CBD) uses is gaining even more traction everywhere in the U.S. Yet mainly because of misinformation in a mostly unregulated market, many consumers find that their CBD products are not living up to the hype. This could have nothing to do with a deficiency in the cannabinoid, but everything to do with the CBD product you choose.

Here, we will take a look at the different CBD forms and products as well as other considerations when you look to buy.

First, clarity on an important point—any product on a shelf claiming to be a “CBD medicine” should be given a wide berth. Read on for more about that.

Anyone can benefit from the many CBD uses, as this cannabinoid is available in several preparations. There are as many CBD labels and brands as fish in the sea, so be careful to choose a reputable brand, preferably with a full-spectrum CBD oil, and experiment till you find one that works best for your purposes.

RELATED: What Does "Full Spectrum CBD" Mean?

CBD Products at A Glance

CBD Preparation Pros Cons

Oil:

Extracted from hemp or cannabis, the oil can comprise concentrated CBD, trichomes, and terpenes, depending on extraction method. Extraction for commercial use is usually done via the CO2 method, and using olive oil. [1]

CO2 Extraction:

Retains most of the trichomes and terpenes and is free from harmful chemicals. Produces the safest, purest, and most potent CBD oil for consumption.

Olive Oil:

Extra benefits of olive oil, CBD product is pure.

Both:

1. Oil is easily administered (with a dropper), so the dosage can be easily managed. 
2. Taken under the tongue, it is more readily available for uptake in the body and therefore works quicker. This is because the so-called first-pass metabolism is bypassed.
3. It can be flavored to mask the taste.
4. It allows for creative ingesting, as it can be added to food, drinks, a bath, etc.
5. Great variety also in terms of dosage on the market, so many options to choose from and experiment with.
6. Easy ingestion and administration for the elderly and children.

CO2 Extraction:

Expensive.

Olive Oil:

Quickly perishable, short shelf life.

Both:

1. Expensive.
2. Tastes unpleasant, texture can be off-putting to some.
3. Oil containers can often not be conveniently transported (think leaked oil in your handbag).
4. Dripping oil in your mouth can be conspicuous.
5. Effects not long-lasting when taken sublingually.

Capsules:

Also called softgels, it comprises a soft or hard gelatin capsule with CBD oil inside. 

1. Liposomal capsules make for excellent CBD bioavailability. Liposomes can be a “controlled-release carrier or simply as a biocompatible solubilizing vehicle for poorly soluble agents.” [2]

2. Easy to ingest with a bit of water.

3. Easy to carry around and take inconspicuously.

4. Taste not an issue.

5. Effects often longer- lasting because it is ingested via the gut.

6. Easy dose control.

1. With the exception of liposomal capsules, bioavailability not great, so the CBD oil potency needs to be very strong to have an effect.

2. Takes much longer to take effect—up to two hours.

3. Especially the elderly and children cannot always swallow capsules.

4. CBD products mostly sold in oil form, so capsuled not as readily available.

Vaping Oil with Vaporizers:

This is a CBD oil preparation, but administration is via inhalation method. Specialized vaporizers and vape pens are used.

1. Excellent bioavailability.

2. Takes almost instant effect.

3. Gentler on the lungs compared to smoking, as no heat is inhaled.

4. Often pleasant and convenient to use. 

5. Vape oil can be flavored, so it has a pleasant taste.

6. Vaping pens come in sophisticated shapes and sizes and are easy to carry around.

1. Expensive initial layout for equipment. A high-end vaporizer is always recommended, as it can make all the difference to CBD benefits.

2. Not all CBD vape oils are equal. Some are substandard and can even be toxic.

3. Quality vape oils can be expensive.

4. Vaping looks like smoking, and users can find it is difficult to use vape pens everywhere.

5. Effects don’t last long.

6. Slightly difficult dose control.

Tinctures: 

Cannabis or hemp plants or macerate gets infused in ethanol to extract cannabinoid acid forms. 

1. Terpenes are preserved together with CBD.

2. Is usually taken sublingually, so easy administration. 

3. Fast effect due to good bioavailability.

4. Can be flavored to mask CBD taste.

5. Good dosage control.

6. Easy administration and ingestion for children and the elderly.

1. Unless high-quality ethanol, an alcohol, is used, tincture can contain harmful chemical residue.

2. Not ideal for the hepatically impaired or alcoholics.

3. Dripping under the tongue makes for conspicuous use. 

4. Containers are not that convenient to carry around.

Powders:

Finely ground desiccated hemp

1. Can be added to food and drinks like smoothies.

2. Whole-plant ingestion, so most of the trichomes and terpenes are preserved.

3. One of the most natural ways to take CBD, which is easily absorbed by the body.

1. Difficult dose control, as there’s no easy way to say how much CBD a hemp plant contains.

2. Not everyone likes the taste of the powder.

3. A large quantity has to be ingested for the necessary effect to be felt.

RELATED: CBD Dosage 101

CBD Medication—What You Need to Know

Also, it is very important to know that no cannabidiol product can be called a “medicine” unless it has been registered with and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA-registered drugs are mostly available only by prescription, as they are not safe to use unless under medical supervision.

There are a number of CBD medicines available internationally, but currently, the only one approved in the U.S. is for intractable epilepsy. Indicated for patients from age two and older, this cannabis-based medicine, an oral solution, helps to curb seizures in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). It is an expensive, very strong CBD medicine with contraindications for people with liver impairment. [3]

Another oral tablet containing pure CBD has been developed by a pharmaceutical company in the Netherlands and is intended to be registered in the treatment of disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report. The medicine is still undergoing clinical trials and is not yet available as a medicinal product.

Per the same report: in 2015, the FDA granted a pharmaceutical company fast-track designation for intravenous CBD to treat neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (NHIE). The European Commission also granted orphan designation for CBD to be used in the treatment of perinatal asphyxia.

NHIE and perinatal asphyxia are forms of acute or subacute brain injury due to asphyxia caused during the birth process and resulting from deprivation of oxygen during birth (hypoxia). Currently there are no other treatments available for these conditions, but there is evidence of the effectiveness of cannabidiol in animal models.” [4]

It is unclear at this point whether CBD is also due for FDA approval for use in perinatal asphyxia, but it is not inconceivable.

CBD Medication—What You Need to Know

RELATED: CBD Oil Vs. Hemp Oil: Don’t Mistake Hemp Oil for CBD Oil

So, CBD medicine is limited for very regulated distribution and use, and any CBD products making medical claims are breaking lawful regulations. This can have consequences, as proven recently again.

In March this year, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to three companies—Advanced Spine and Pain’s Relievus, Nutra Pure, and PotNetwork Holdings—for allegedly making unproven claims about their CBD products, such as helping to treat cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a CNBC report. [5]

So, the many CBD uses often depend on how it is taken and by the quality of the products you use. Don’t fall for labels that claim to be any type of CBD medication, and make sure the best extraction method was used.

Sources:

  1. http://cannabis-med.org/data/pdf/en_2013_01_1.pdf
  2. http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/5/7/1639
  3. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy
  4. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/fda-sets-first-hearing-on-legalizing-cannabis-compound-cbd.html

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