American consumerism has a way of overhyping things the moment they become popular. We’ve seen it play out over and over again:
- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte’s ubiquity was cemented when it earned the nickname “PSL,” and the flavor started appearing in everything, with products becoming increasingly questionable as time went on: pastries, candles, lotion, air fresheners… and eventually hummus, potato chips, and even toothpaste.
- Closer to home for us was the recent essential oil boom, particularly when multi-level marketing companies (i.e. pyramid schemers) like doTERRA and Young Living entered the fray. They’ve been touting essential oils as a cure-all, in some cases even for cancer.
- And on a much smaller scale, we had the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who truly believed that Windex® was the solution to all problems.
I think we’ve hit that tipping point with CBD.
I’ve seen ads for CBD gimmicks like infused water, candy, and even burgers. Not long ago, I was in an airport when I saw a Brookstone store carrying a pillow that touted it had been “infused with CBD.” How would that even work!?
While CBD has therapeutic properties proven to relieve certain conditions, it is not a cure-all, and it is not the best option for everybody.
Like that pillow, many new CBD products don’t make sense scientifically. A CBD facial cleanser is pointless, because it can take up to 20 minutes for a topical chemical to enter your bloodstream. You are literally sending the CBD down the drain.
To help discern which CBD products will actually be effective in your body, it helps to know the science behind how your body absorbs it.
Cannabinoid Absorption Methods
There are 4 main ways to administer cannabinoids:
- Topically, products are rubbed into the skin at the desired site (e.g., where there is pain or inflammation). The CBD is absorbed locally, not systemically. [Slow onset, moderate duration]
- Transdermal delivery (typically via a patch applied to the skin) delivers cannabinoids systemically (into the bloodstream). [Fast onset locally / moderate onset systemically, moderate to long duration]
- Putting products under the tongue or against the tissues of the cheek for absorption via mucous membranes. [Moderate onset, moderate duration]
- Ingesting products results in a slow onset because the CBD must first pass through the stomach for absorption into the intestine, and then metabolization by the liver, before becoming bioavailable. This systemic absorption throughout the body makes the CBD’s effects long-acting. [Slowest onset, longest duration]
- Vaporizing or smoking products results in a rapid onset because the CBD is absorbed through the lungs directly into the bloodstream. [Quickest onset, long duration]
In my experience I’ve found this old adage to be mostly accurate: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never hesitate to consult a medical professional with your questions about CBD — or anything you’re thinking about putting into your body! While CBD has a variety of proven medical benefits, a trustworthy maker of CBD products will be the first to tell you that it is not a cure-all.
In hemp health,
We want to hear from you! Do you have any questions regarding cannabis-related products? If so, post you comment below and I’ll respond as soon as possible.