Updated: Jun 23
I was very confused about CBD at first. The first time I ever heard of CBD was when my sister told me she was going to start her own brand of it. She seemed a little concerned that I might think she was insane. I didn’t – but only because I had no idea what it was. My initial response? CBD? What’s CBD? I had to google it to find out what it was (lest I admit to my sister I had no idea what she was talking about). As I am sure you have noticed, there is a huge amount of information out there about CBD and other cannabinoids (cannabis plant compounds). It’s often confusing, frequently overly technical, sometimes contradictory, and almost always sounds too good to be true.
Not long after that initial peek on google, I began my own in-depth study and experimentation with cannabis (hemp) and have found it helpful for a wide variety of ailments.
I soon joined my sister and voila! We are the proud owners of a Wellness and CBD Boutique!
After studying for countless hours, obtaining multiple certifications, reading 1000s of lab reports and testing 100s of products and dozens of brands – we developed the series of questions below to help clients get started with CBD.
Keep in mind that the FDA has not approved any CBD for the treatment or cure of any disease (except in the medication Epidiolex). This information is based upon extensive study, firsthand product trials, and the feedback of 1000s of clients. It should not be considered medical advice and should never replace consultation with your physician. That said – hopefully you will find this basic guideline helpful.
STEP 1: ANSWER A FEW IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
ARE YOU TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS? IF NO, MOVE ON
Blood thinners like Coumadin, Warfarin, and Xarelto (and others, but not aspirin) are the only medications that are potentially contraindicated with CBD. That is, not recommended to be used together. These can build up in the blood with frequent CBD use. We strongly suggest consulting with your physician prior to use as he or she may wish to monitor your PT/INR more frequently.
Other medications - if you generally have concerns about using CBD in conjunction with other substances, it is always a good idea to consult your physician. The ideal physician will be educated about it or refer you to someone who is.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ALLERGIES OR SENSITIVITIES?
Hemp Extracts containing CBD do not generally cause reaction but added ingredients can. Note other ingredients when choosing a product. For example, MCT oil is commonly used and is usually coconut based.
WHAT CONDITION ARE YOU HOPING TO IMPROVE?
Localized pain – such as joint and shallow muscle pain may respond to a topical. This is the easiest method and the one with the least information needed before trying it. See “Topicals” in Step 3. Note that if topicals do not help, it could be that the pain is too widespread or deep for the topical to penetrate. This does NOT mean that an ingestible product won’t work either.
Anything else – mood issues, widespread pain, sleep disturbances, neurological concerns, etc. will require an ingestible or inhalable product. The CBD needs to get into your bloodstream. See “Systemic” in Step 3.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE TYPE OF CBD YOU WANT
Incorrect use of terms is one reason many people become confused about CBD. The terminology below is fairly standard throughout the industry. However, there are still some companies that do not use it consistently. You should always read the full product description before purchasing CBD.
PREFERRED - FULL SPECTRUM - CONTAINS THE MOST PLANT COMPOUNDS
BUT - CAN YOU HAVE ANY THC?
Don’t “knee-jerk” respond no to this. The research shows that products containing the “full spectrum” of plant compounds from the hemp are more effective at lower dose.
They will NOT make you high.
The chances of drug test failure are very small, but not absolute zero (except for topicals). Therefore, if your career depends on regularly passing drug tests, choose a “broad spectrum” product. These have the THC filtered out. Otherwise, weigh the risk versus benefits and, if possible, choose a “full spectrum” product.
NEXT BEST – BROAD SPECTRUM – THC FILTERED OUT
Manufacturers filter out the THC. However, a few other things get filtered out as well.
You may need to take 50-100% more of a broad spectrum product for full effect.
Adults with extraordinary negative sensitivity to THC may prefer broad spectrum products.
OK IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES – ISOLATE – NOTHING BUT CBD
Isolate is isolated CBD. It has been completely filtered and contains no other cannabis components.
Parents often choose Isolate products for children. Isolate gummies taste like candy and children need smaller doses than adults.
Note: Higher dosing is almost always required with Broad Spectrum and Isolate. For example, most (not all) adults we work with find effective doses in the following ranges:
Full Spectrum – 10-25mg
Broad spectrum – 25-50mg
Isolate – up to 100mg per dose (or more).
STEP 3: CHOOSE HOW YOU WISH TO USE CBD
When we talk to people who are confused about CBD, a common misunderstanding is that topicals absorb into the bloodstream. While some element like essential oils may penetrate, cannabinoid molecules are too large to make into your blood.
Topicals are best where tissue is thin
They often work very well for hands, feet, elbows, knees.
Sometimes they work well on back, head and neck, and other areas.
Look for a topical that has at least 250mg per ounce (about 1% CBD).
Exceeding 840mg per ounce (3% CBD) does not usually enhance results.
Widespread inflammation, discomfort, mood concerns, sleep disturbances etc. will require an ingestible method. The most common Methods of ingestion are listed here in order of bioavailability (how much CBD your body can use) and speed of onset. Details for each can be found below.
Vape / Smokable Flower
Gummies / Candies / Other Edibles
VAPE / SMOKABLE (INHALATION)
Choose “clean” products only with no additives and cutters. Or choose organically grown flower.
Rapid Onset / High Dose (felt within 10 minutes)
High bioavailability – a little goes a long way
Excellent for “acute” or rapid onset symptoms
Can irritate the throat and lungs
Potential health concerns – especially smokable
High learning curve for those with no smoking / vaping experience
SUBLINGUAL OILS (AKA TINCTURES)
Dose can be varied easily to find your optimal amount.
Absorption starts in the mouth and onset is faster than edibles and capsules.
Can be messy – not very portable.
Taste can be quite strong (some say icky). Most people can tolerate the earthy, slightly bitter taste of a quality product. If you are taste sensitive, you may have more success with an edible or capsule.
Many brands do not include a calibrated dropper, so precise dosing can be difficult. Look for marked droppers for easiest dosing.
GUMMIES / CANDIES / OTHER EDIBLES
Most of them taste good. Although a slight “hempy” aftertaste is normal for full spectrum edibles.
Usually easy to carry and dose anywhere (beware of melting potential).
Difficult to vary dose. You can eat half of one or 2, but for first timers, it is not as easy to dial in your optimal dose.
Sugar content, added ingredients
Onset can take 1-2 hours
CAPSULES / SOFTGELS
Portable and easy to take
Impossible to vary dose except to take multiple pills
Least bioavailability (unless formulated with emulsifiers, which may not be healthful)
STILL CONFUSED ABOUT CBD? - TRY AN OIL
THE BASICS - JUST START WITH AN OIL
If you are still confused about CBD, or if you are ready to try ingestible CBD and don’t have a particular preference from the information above, we suggest the following:
First time users should try a sublingual oil so you can vary your dose over time and dial in your optimal dose. Exceptions are people with strong taste aversion or those who know consistency or compliance will be a challenge with an oil. - In which case, try a gummy.
Choose full or broad spectrum based on Step 2 above. We recommend full unless drug testing is a major concern.
Choose a product with at least 750mg of CBD in the bottle. This is enough to do step-up dosing for a 2 week period of time. It will last longer if you find an optimal dose is the low to medium range.
Like all other anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety compounds, there is a cumulative effect over time, so once you start, don’t stop until you have found your ideal dose or decide CBD is not right for you. Occasional use may be helpful for some people, but consistency is the key to maximizing the benefits.
Find the complete “find your optimal dose” guideline here. The goal is small increases in dose every few days until you feel better or the bottle is gone.
Example: Dosing CBD – 750mg in a 15ml (1/2 oz) bottle. 50mg per ML
Start small and stop increasing doses when you feel better. Once you find relief, increase once more. If you don’t feel better, drop back to previous dose.
Start with 5-6 drops 2x per day for 2 days
.25ml 2x per day for 2 days (day 3 and 4)
3/8ml 2 x per day for 2 days (between the .25 and .50 lines)
.5ml 2 x per day for 2 days
5/8ml 2 x per day for 2 days (between the .50 and .75 lines)
.75ml 2 x per day for 2 days - Stop OR
1ml 2 x per day for 2 days
Depending on how you feel midday, an option is to add a third dose rather than increase your first 2 doses.
WHEN YOU ARE CONFUSED ABOUT CBD – FIND A TRUSTWORTHY SOURCE
All of the above information is based upon the assumption that you have already found a reliable source – and we certainly hope you will consider Blue Lotus Wellness & CBD Boutique as that source.
The reality is – you don’t need to learn to read lab reports, decipher extraction methods, understand the regulatory environment or worry about whether there is actually CBD in your bottle of CBD.
That is, of course, if you have found a company you can trust to make sure all those things are taken care of.
Thanks for reading and come see us if you are in Orlando, or feel free to call with questions if you are not - 407-235-0653!