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Every CBD product on the market is, or is created using a CBD extract and/or an isolate. These forms of CBD are often sold as standalone products. Understanding these two forms of CBD is extremely helpful before jumping down into the various sub-product types below.
These product types are designed for special use cases. Each product is made using an extract or isolate as a base 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 which we discuss in detail in each section.
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 fatty acids, cannabinoids, and terpenoids. This compound designed to provide the maximum medical benefits.
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.
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. Similar extracts could be sourced from marijuana but would different cannabinoid levels.
When a low-temperature extraction method like supercritical CO2 extraction is used, the resulting raw extract will contain the acid form of the cannabinoids including cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). These acid forms are not 'activated' and thus do not interact with the body the same way that the non-acid forms do.
Through the process of decarboxylation, the cannabinoids are heated and 'activated' which removes the acid molecule from the cannabinoid. In the case of cannabidiol, this turns the acid form (CBDA) into the active CBD form. These activated molecules interact differently than acid forms. For example, THCA is actually non-psychoactive, unlike THC which is.
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.
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.
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 prevents any potential drug testing issues.
To create isolate, a full spectrum CBD extract is processed using a CBD crystallization technique similar to what is outlined here at Summit Research. The resulting CBD isolate is then used as an ingredient in many of the products we outline below or utilized as a standalone product.
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.
The following are some of the most common benefits of choosing to use this product type:
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:
For a full list of ways isolate can be used, see our article on the subject.
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:
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 main types of capsules - a liquid-containing oil-based capsule and a powder-containing capsule.
The content of these capsules can vary from company to company and contain the following ingredients:
The following are some of the most common benefits of choosing to use this product type:
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 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 nanoemulsified product, which we cover in this article.
Despite this downside, there is a range of benefits that make this method of ingesting CBD highly viable. Capsules are often the easiest method of taking CBD and the effects are long-lasting and the benefits associated with capsule form are high. A user can also simply increase the dosage and receive the same benefits as a more bioavailable method - the only difference really then becomes a slightly higher cost per dose.
CBD concentrates are high potency extracts of the hemp plant which contain a high level of cannabidiol. 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.
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 both isolate and full spectrum products.
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.
There are many different types of concentrates available that vary based on the method of extraction used to create the end product:
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:
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.
CBD edibles span a wide range of effectiveness depending on the contents. Low effectiveness is caused by a couple of factors:
Humans aren't the only ones who can enjoy the benefits of CBD use. Dogs, cats, and other animals can too! There are 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:
The suppository may be 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
These topicals are used for a wide range of applications. Some of the most popular include:
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.
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.
Vaping CBD is similar to any other type of vaping - a CBD extract or isolate are 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 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 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.
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:
If you're interested in giving CBD vaping a try, check out our beginner's guide.
As a hydrophobic compound, CBD and other cannabis molecules separate from 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:
These capsules are created using a water-soluble CBD extract. The result is a product which 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 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.
These tinctures are created using a water-soluble CBD extract. The result is a product which 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.
Originally published: October 11, 2018 | Last Updated: March 12, 2019
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