One of the most common, and often daunting, questions someone new to CBD and Delta 8 asks themselves is: "How am I supposed to take this stuff? What is most effective?" Though I wish I could offer a simple answer - the reality is often that it depends entirely on your personal needs, what you are hoping to accomplish, and what fits your lifestyle. In our last blog we discussed the most common reasons people generally seek out cannabis products as an alternative option to traditional pharmaceuticals, or simply for recreation. Namely: pain, anxiety, sleep, and just to relax and unwind. That being said, lets unpack what may or may not be a good option for you. I want to also emphasize that we are painting with broad strokes here, and there are always exceptions to the rule.
In deciding how a person wants to take CBD or Delta 8 we need to understand the concept of bioavailability. This refers to the effectiveness of any given substance's ability to enter our bodies according to the method of application. For example, smoking cannabis is a method of intake that has very high bioavailability. Meaning that your body will absorb a majority of the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) that are present in the cannabis. For example, using a topical cream will have much less bioavailability due to the fact that it has to absorb through the skin and reach the body's receptors that allow cannabinoids to have an effect. So, depending on your reason for using cannabis, and what is acceptable to you, you have a variety of choices.
As a quick aside, I want to touch on what the main differences are - generally speaking - between CBD and Delta 8 THC. Currently in Nebraska, both are legal to use and do not require any prescription. There are more cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG, but that will be discussed in a later blog. CBD (Cannabidiol) is a not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the "high" associated with using THC. Products containing CBD - such as CBD oils - are legal federally so long as they do not contain more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC, which is still federally illegal. Delta 8 THC is regarded as legal for the very reason CBD is legal. The 2018 Farm Bill allows up to 0.3% Delta 9 THC, and allows for Hemp extracts that do not exceed that limit. As such, Delta 8 THC does not violate this stipulation as it is a different compound than Delta 9, and it is derived from Hemp, not marijuana. However, Delta 8 THC is psychoactive and does produce a "high." This will be explored further in a later blog.
First, let's start by looking at the most "bioavailable" way to consume cannabis: smoking and vaping. Smoking and vaping have very high bioavailability and rapid onset. As such, smoking CBD or Delta 8 infused flower (cannabis buds) is a method of intake that will provide quick results. The same can be said for vaping. The lungs are ultra effective at taking compounds and allowing them to go straight to the brain. Smoking/Vaping CBD or Delta 8 might be right for you if you need immediate effects, as is often the case for those suffering from anxiety. The downside would be that the effects do not last as long and that is something to consider. Additionally, smoking CBD flower smells and tastes like any other cannabis - so depending on your situation perhaps that is not right for you. Vaping bypasses this issue, as it is largely odorless.