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CBD Product Types: A Complete Guide

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Use this page to browse all types of CBD products available on the market. Click each product type icon to jump down the page and read more about it.

Core Product Types

Every CBD product on the market is created using either a CBD extract and/or an isolate or some combination. These forms of CBD are also often sold as standalone products. Understanding these two forms of CBD is extremely helpful before jumping down into the various sub-product types below.

CBD Extract

CBD Extract Syringes

CBD extract is an oily substance that ranges from a dark black paste to a honey color and consistency. This extract contains cannabis plant materials like cannabinoids and terpenoids and other plant material depending on how much processing it has undergone.

While most commonly used as an ingredient in other product types, you can find this extract sold as a standalone product. When sold directly, you'll most commonly find an extract packaged in a syringe or similar container. This packaging allows you to accurately dose the substance.

A high-quality extract will preserve the full range of components found in the plant. This form is also called full-spectrum which refers to the full cannabinoid spectrum maintained. Sometimes this extract is processed to remove the THC via chromatography which creates a broad-spectrum extract.

How is CBD Extract Made?

One of several available extraction methods is used to derive a thick, oily substance from the cannabis plant. What makes an extract a 'CBD' extract is the cannabis it is sourced from and the cannabinoid content. Extracts used to create CBD products are exclusively extracted from hemp sources that are high in CBD and low in THC.

Through further filtering and winterizing the plant material, waxes, and other fatty acids are further removed leaving you with a more purified form of extract. This process increases the concentration of CBD in the extract.

How are CBD Extracts Used?

As we mentioned, most commonly these extracts are used as an ingredient in the wide range of product types we outline below. Used as a standalone product, an extract is a potent form of CBD medicine. The extract can be used by placing it under the tongue via sublingual application or simply swallowed, though these applications are limited and good reason to seek out one of the end products we highlight below.

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CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate in a glass container

Even if you're new to CBD, chances are you've heard terms like 'CBD isolate', 'broad-spectrum', and 'full-spectrum'. These terms are used to describe the main forms of extracted CBD - often called spectrums. For more context on this topic, we also highly suggest reading our article defining the various CBD oil spectrums.

Isolate is exactly as it sounds - pure isolated Cannabidiol (CBD). This crystalline substance comes in either slab or white powder form and contains 99%+ potency of the single cannabinoid compound. Many people find comfort in isolates because they contain no THC which helps mitigate drug testing risks.

To create isolate, a full spectrum CBD extract is processed using a CBD crystallization technique similar to what is outlined here at Summit Research and finally distilled. The resulting CBD isolate is then used as an ingredient in many of the products we outline below or utilized as a standalone product.

How Effective is Isolated CBD?

Though a 'pure' form of cannabidiol sounds extremely effective, isolated CBD is actually less effective than full or broad-spectrum extracts. When you ingest the full cannabinoid and terpenoid profile that naturally occurs in cannabis you get many synergistic benefits that an isolate doesn't provide. This benefit from full-plant usage is known as the entourage effect.

Despite the fact that isolate features a limited effectiveness profile, many users still find isolate, especially when used as an additive to increase CBD potency, to be effective.

Benefits of Using CBD Isolate

The following are some of the most common benefits of choosing to use this product type:

  • No THC
  • Low Cost
  • Extremely Versatile

How is CBD Isolate Used?

Like CBD extract, isolate naturally binds to fatty acids like those found in oils like hemp, coconut, and MCT oil. This means that when mixed with water, this substance does not dissolve.

Isolate is commonly used in the following ways:

  • Mixed with a carrier oil to create an isolate-CBD oil tincture.
  • Added to Capsules
  • Used in Edibles
  • Smoked / Dabbed Alone
  • Added to Marijuana Products for Increased CBD Concentration

For a full list of ways isolate can be used, see our article on the subject.

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Sub Product Types

There are a wide variety of end products on the market. Each is made using an extract or isolate as an active ingredient providing CBD and other cannabis content. These product types and are designed for special applications or needs and all carry a unique set of properties that we discuss in detail in each section.

Beauty Products

CBD Beauty Products

Cannabidiol is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in existing and new beauty products. These products offer additional benefits to traditional products that help users reduce swelling, aches, and provide other relaxing properties.

Common CBD Beauty Products Include:

  • Moisturizing Gels/Creams/Lotions
  • Masks
  • Serums
  • Cleansers
  • Toners
  • Bath Bombs
  • Soaps
  • Beard Oil
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Lip Balm

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Oil-Based Capsules

CBD Capsules Header

CBD capsules are simply a pill-form of CBD extract that is swallowed like any other supplement. These capsules come in either softgels or in a two-piece capsule. There are a couple of main types of capsules - a liquid-containing oil-based capsule and a powder-containing capsule.

What is in these capsules?

The content of these capsules can vary from company to company and contain the following ingredients:

  • CBD Extract or CBD Isolate
    • The contents of the CBD concentrate in the capsule is the key to the overall quality of the pill. High-quality capsules should include an extract that comes from a high-quality hemp source. A full or broad-spectrum base will give you the maximum potential benefit because they utilize the entourage effect. Isolate-based capsules will be less effective as they only contain the single CBD cannabinoid.
  • Oil Carrier (Hemp, Coconut, or MCT oil)
    • These products use an oil carrier that works to increase the body's ability to absorb the cannabinoids contained in the capsules. CBD and other cannabinoids are fat-soluble - not water-soluble. This means they break down and bind to fats like the ones found in coconut, hemp, or MCT oil. Once stored in fat, CBD and other cannabinoids are more quickly and effectively absorbed by the body.
  • Optional Additional Ingredients
    • You may find other ingredients in some capsules including other herbs or supplement additives. These are all 'optional' in the sense that they simply provide additional benefits, but do not influence the benefits of the CBD content.

Benefits of Using CBD Capsules

The following are some of the most common benefits of choosing to use this product type:

  • Accurate Dosing
  • Ease of Use
  • Discreet
  • No 'Marijuana' Taste
  • Long-Lasting Effects

How Effective are CBD Capsules?

When taking CBD orally, the substance passes through the liver which reduces the concentration. Only a certain percentage then makes it through to the bloodstream to be used by the body. This concept is often referred to as bioavailability or the measure of how much and how quickly a substance is absorbed into the body to be used.

Taking oil-based capsules orally is actually one of the least bioavailable methods of taking CBD - meaning that a small amount (5-10%) of the compound actually makes it into the bloodstream when compared to other methods of ingestion. With that, the dosage recommendations will be higher for capsules when compared to a more effective means of taking CBD such as via a sublingual tincture or by utilizing a water-soluble product, which we cover later in this article.

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CBD Concentrates Header

CBD concentrates are high potency extracts of the hemp plant. These products come in various types depending on the extract source and method used. Though this product form has its roots in marijuana culture, the CBD community has taken to this method of ingesting CBD via dabbing.

How do You Use CBD Concentrates?

CBD concentrates are intended to be added to flower and smoked, or dabbed alone via a traditional dab rig or wax pen vaporizer. A small amount of the concentrate is heated and inhaled to quickly provide the benefits to the user. Some marijuana users add CBD concentrate to their smoking routine because it helps reduce the harsh high effects of high-THC use.

How Effective are CBD Concentrates?

Inhaling CBD is one of the most bioavailable forms of ingesting CBD. The effects come on in 2-5 minutes and last up to 3 hours. This quick and direct method of using CBD is preferred by many but also avoided by many due to having to inhale the substance. Concentrates vary in terms of cannabinoid and terpene profile depending on their extract source. You can find isolates, full and broad-spectrum concentrates.

Types of CBD Concentrates

There are many different types of concentrates available that vary based on the method of extraction used to create the end product:

  • Crumble is created by purging oils from a cannabis extract. The result is a moist concentrate that 'crumbles' into pieces.
  • Shatter is created by infusing terpenes into isolate slabs.
  • Wax is a general term used to describe CBD concentrates that feature a wax-like composure.
  • Terpsolate is created by infusing terpenes into isolate powder creating anything from a powder to a viscous mixture.

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CBD Drinks

In its natural oil or isolated state, cannabidiol is hydrophobic meaning it does not mix with water. Thanks to recent advances in cannabis extraction technologies, there are new types of water-friendly CBD being developed. These products, termed 'water-soluble' are opening a new world of possibilities and enabling CBD to be added to liquids in a stable form.

Today you can find a wide range of CBD-based drinks including:

  • Bottled CBD Water
  • Energy Shots
  • Powdered Drink Mixes

Beware as you shop that you're not purchasing drinks with a non-water-soluble extract inside. Not only do these extracts not dissolve in the water, but they also lack the effectiveness of a water-soluble alternative.

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CBD Gummies Contents

Edibles are the perfect product for those who want a fun twist on taking CBD. These products are created by adding an extract or an isolate into a wide variety of food products. Commonly these products come in the form of candies or baked goods. You'll find gummies, chocolate, suckers, cookies, brownies, and much much more.

The main benefit of a CBD in an edible form is the ease of use and masking taste. Very few people will have an issue eating a gummy bear, chocolate bar, cookie, or sucker. This means that almost anyone can give CBD a try without any hesitation. This is why we introduced our CBD gummies here at Big Sky.

How Effective are CBD Edibles?

CBD edibles span a wide range of effectiveness depending on the contents. Low effectiveness is caused by a couple of factors:

  • These edible forms must be processed through the liver which reduces the concentration. Edibles containing oils and fats will help more of the CBD absorb into the bloodstream.
  • Often these products are made from CBD isolate which lacks the entourage effect benefits of a high-quality full spectrum extract.

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Pet Products

Complete CBD Dog Supplement Contents

Humans aren't the only ones who can enjoy the benefits of CBD use. Dogs, cats, and other animals can too! There is a wide variety of pet-specific CBD products on the market from treats to tinctures designed to help improve your pet's life.

These products are specially designed for animal use, often carefully crafted for appropriate dosing or application methods for pets. There is a wide range of product types available specially designed for animal use. Some common examples include:

  • Tinctures
  • Capsules
  • Cookies / Treats
  • Sprays

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The suppository is probably the least glamorous method of taking CBD, but there are some good reasons that these products exist for those that really need it. Suppositories offer a highly bioavailable means of ingesting CBD and offer a long-lasting effect.

The product itself is a bullet-shaped pill that is inserted into the anus. The contents are then absorbed directly into the bloodstream. These suppositories are often oil-based which helps lubricate the application process.

Why Use a Suppository?

It all comes down to bioavailability - or the amount of the product and the rate that it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Of all the methods of ingestion, the suppository holds the crown for effectiveness.

When inserted, the product absorbs into the body in 10-15 minutes and effects last for up to 8 hours. The bottom line is that suppositories aren't for everyone, but those that do need and use these products can enjoy some significant CBD induced benefits.

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Oil-Based Tinctures

CBD tincture bottle and dropper

Often referred to simply as CBD oil, a tincture is an oil-carried form of CBD that is consumed sublingually by placing it under the tongue. This liquid product that usually comes in a small bottle with a dropper. The liquid inside is comprised of several components:

  • CBD Extract or CBD Isolate Base
    • This base gives the product it's medicinal properties by providing the phytocannabinoid and terpene profile of the tincture. An extract base will often include a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant material. An isolate will provide single-molecule CBD content.
  • A Carrier Oil
    • The carrier within a tincture mixes with the extract or isolate to balance potency and help deliver the CBD and other molecules to the user. These oils often include hemp oil or MCT oil. These oils help the CBD absorb into the stomach walls and membranes within the mouth. Some less common carriers include alcohol or vegetable glycerin.
  • Optional Additives (Sweeteners, Flavors, Terpenes & More)
    • Beyond the two key components listed above, you may find a wide range of additional additives in tinctures. These may be added for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include sweeteners or flavoring for those who do not enjoy the grassy flavor of an extract. These additives may also be used to provide additional health benefits - like in the case of adding additional terpenes or oils.

How Effective are Oil-Based CBD Tinctures?

CBD tinctures are consumed via sublingual administration. These oils are placed under the tongue and held for 1-2 minutes before being swallowed. The molecules carried in the oil are absorbed into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes found under the tongue making them quicker acting, with only a slightly shorter duration than swallowing capsules.

Sublingual application has an average onset time of 20-40 minutes before the effects are felt. The duration of the effects lasts for up to 6 hours. Compared to oil-based capsules, they are a great alternative.

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Topicals / Balms / Rubs

CBD Balm 30mg Stick Contents

Ingesting or inhaling CBD isn't the only way to enjoy the effects of the benefit-providing cannabinoid. There are endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, throughout the nervous system, and in the skin. Skin-based receptors mean that applying topicals directly to a sore or irritated area can provide localized relief.

CBD topicals come in a wide range of products including balms and salves. These products are designed to help in a variety of specialized ways.

What are CBD Topicals Used For?

These topicals are used for a wide range of applications. Some of the most popular include:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Massage Oil
  • Skin Conditions

For more information on topicals, see our complete guide.

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Transdermal Patches

Transdermal CBD Patch Header

Similar to topical solutions, transdermal patches are an effective way to apply CBD through the skin. For users with chronic issues, patches have the benefit of providing long-lasting relief when compared to a traditional balm or salve.

These stick-on patches feature CBD infused strips that are placed onto veinous areas of the body like the wrist. These patches are designed to provide slow-release, long-lasting effects for the user. These patches are effective because they hold the cannabinoid against the skin for such a long period of time when compared to a rub-on topical.

How do Transdermal Patches Work?

The secret to these patches is that they must provide a home, but not a great home, to CBD and other cannabis materials. When placed against the skin, the contents of the patch must prefer to leave the patch and enter the skin layers. This is accomplished by using permeation carriers and enhancers. These additives in the patch help push the cannabinoids in the direction of the skin.

Once the contents of the patch reach the skin, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and the effects take hold from there. Many users find that the slow release and easy method of use make these patches a great solution.

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Vape Products

Vaping CBD is similar to any other type of vaping - a CBD extract or isolate is vaporized via a traditional vape pen or mod and inhaled. Of all the methods of taking CBD, inhaling has the quickest onset thanks to the high bioavailability of inhaling the molecule. There are a variety of CBD vape products available on the market including:

Disposable Vape Pens

Disposable CBD Vape Pen

Disposable CBD vape pens are one of the easiest ways to start vaping CBD for someone with no experience. These pens come pre-filled with a CBD vape oil. The all-in-one unit features a battery directly attached to an atomizer or clearomizer. Simply vape until the tank is empty and dispose of the pen. These disposable pens are a great way to see if vaping is right for you.

Vape Cartridges

CBD Vape Cartridge

Vape cartridges are pre-filled with a CBD extract / thinning agent combos, or distillate. Screw the cartridge onto the end of your battery and start vaping. Most commonly these cartridges use a standard 510 thread, compatible with standard pen style batteries. You'll find both refillable and disposable cartridges on the market.

Vape Oil / eLiquid

CBD Vape Oil

Also called vape juice or e-juice, a CBD vape oil is the liquid content that is heated, turned to vapor, and inhaled when vaping. This liquid is sold as a standalone product, commonly in a squeeze bottle or tincture dropper. You can use this liquid to load refillable cartridges for use in a vape pen or vape mod. These products contain:

  • CBD Isolate or CBD Extract
    • The CBD content is provided via a cannabis extraction either in the form of an isolate or extract oil.
  • Thinning Agents
    • You'll commonly find traditional vegetable glycerin & propylene glycol mixes. MCT oil is also growing in popularity as a carrier thanks to preliminary research pointing to its viable use as a thinning agent.
  • Flavoring 
    • To improve the flavor of these vape juices, some companies add natural and/or artificial flavors to their juices. You'll also be able to find unflavored products in which you can add your own flavoring too.

If you're interested in giving CBD vaping a try, check out our beginner's guide.

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Water Soluble / Emulsified CBD

As a hydrophobic compound, CBD and other cannabis molecules separate from the water just like any other oil. New advances in technology have enabled companies to produce water-friendly CBD products.

These new products use a variety of methods to create various types of CBD products including liposomal emulsions, microemulsions, and nanoemulsions. For more details on this process, see our article explaining how water-soluble CBD is made.

There are a few primary types of water-soluble products being created today:

Water Soluble Capsules

Water Soluble CBD Softgels

These capsules are created using a water-soluble CBD extract. The result is a product that improves the low bioavailability issues of traditional oil-based CBD capsules. Water-soluble capsules feature up to 5x the effectiveness, meaning less product is lost and the onset time is reduced.

Water Soluble Hemp Powder

Water Soluble Hemp Powder

Water-soluble hemp extract powder is a versatile product that allows the user to mix CBD into nearly anything. Because the powder dissolves into water and not just oil like traditional CBD extract, it can be combined with foods, liquids, and more. This creates one of the most versatile products on the market and makes CBD extremely accessible.

Water Soluble Tinctures

Water Soluble CBD Tincture

These tinctures are created using a water-soluble CBD extract. The result is a product that improves the low bioavailability issues of traditional oil-based CBD tinctures. Water-soluble sublingual administration features up to 5x the effectiveness, meaning less product is lost and the onset time is reduced.

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