The 3-step guide to CBD
The number of people using CBD is growing at a very fast rate. It’s in the news almost every day, and there are now 1.3 million daily UK users, but where does the truth lie? If you’re on the lookout for a simple step-by-step process to talk you through the world of CBD, then look no further.
Key facts first! CBD is safe and legal in the UK. Don’t just take our word for it - check out this report by the World Health Organization. Whatever your reason for taking CBD, our extensive batch testing means you’ll always be safe and secure.
At CBD Giant we understand that everyone has different levels of expertise and knowledge about CBD. That’s why we’ve put the whole process into an easy-to-understand 3 stage program, going from learning about CBD all the way through to buying your first oil:
- Step 1: What is CBD?
- Step 2: How do I take CBD?
- Step 3: What's my dosage?
Completely new to CBD? Then just start at step one and follow the journey through to the very end. Feel like you know enough about what CBD is, but nervous about the right way of taking it? Then hop on at step two. Each section is designed to be both standalone, and feed into the sections around it, so you can take in the information whichever way you feel is best.
Talk to us
If you have any questions throughout, you can head over to our contact page to send us an email, or just pop up on our web chat at any point. Our CBD experts are available there 9am-6pm Monday-Friday. Just click the icon in the bottom left corner of the page and one of our CBD experts will help with whatever question you have.
Right then. Let’s get started!
Step 1: What is CBD?
What is CBD? It’s a question that people across the world have been asking more and more year-on-year. You may have heard it being described as a cannabinoid and cannabidiol, and confusingly those are both correct. Thankfully CBD Giant are here to outline the basics and do some jargon busting.
The first and most important thing you need to know is that CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s one of over one hundred different cannabinoids that have been identified so far, so-named because they were first discovered in cannabis. Cannabinoids have since been discovered in many, many other biological systems including our own, but we’ll get to that later.
Where CBD comes from
To understand what cannabinoids are, and why they matter, we first need to discuss CBD’s relationship with cannabis. Cannabis is actually the term for a whole family of plants, which are usually split into two distinct categories: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These terms are in turn used as overarching titles for different strains.
Traditionally sativa refers to the tall European plants, and indica to the bushier, shrub-like Indian varieties. For our purposes there are two terms that have far more practical use:
- Hemp refers to strains of cannabis grown for industrial use. These applications include biofuel, rope, paper and CBD.
- Marijuana refers to plants grown for recreational use i.e. getting high. This is why marijuana is often used to refer to cannabis as a drug.
We already know that there are lots of different cannabinoids you can find in the cannabis family, but there are two key ones that help distinguish between hemp and marijuana. The first, and most famous, is THC. This is the compound that induces most of the effects typically associated with smoking cannabis, and is found in high amounts in marijuana.
The second most prevalent cannabinoid is CBD. Research has consistently shown that CBD will not get you high, and is provenly safe for human use. CBD is typically found in high percentages in hemp, whilst there will be very little THC. It is the balance of these two chemicals that largely dictates a cannabis plant’s purpose. All of our oral oils and topicals contain absolutely no THC.
The human body and CBD
What’s most significant is that CBD is very similar to chemicals your body already produces. These endocannabinoids (a cannabinoid the body produces internally) are part of a network of chemicals and receptors known as the endocannabinoid system.
The ECS acts as the body’s assistant manager, with receptors throughout most of the major organs, the nervous system, and the immune system. Essentially it ensures that the body is operating in a state of balance, known as homeostasis. This involves checking that everything is working between key parameters, such as temperature, metabolism and pressure.
When we introduce CBD into the body, the ECS is its sole means of interacting with us. In fact, because it’s so similar, CBD is able to support the ECS quite easily. That’s why we’re so confident in CBD as a natural compound that you can safely introduce to your body. You can read a more in-depth breakdown of the endocannabinoid system here.
Due to the current state of legislation of CBD surrounding businesses selling it, it’s very difficult to discuss CBD and how it interacts with the body. That’s why at CBD Giant we make no medical claims, and no reference to CBD and its effects. However, we do encourage you to undertake your own research from respected sources in order to get a fuller picture.
Step 2: How do I take CBD?
There goes step one! You’ve either learned what CBD is, or skipped ahead (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you cheated), and now you’re wondering: what next? It’s all well and good knowing what CBD is, but now you need to figure out how to take it.
CBD ingestion methods can actually have a surprising impact on how it interacts with your body. That’s why we’ve broken this section down into even smaller steps just to keep things nice and clear. First off we’ll discuss bioavailability and why it matters, before walking through your CBD options, including sprays, drops, e-liquids, cosmetics and edibles.
Have you ever considered why hospitals will generally administer drugs intravenously straight into your bloodstream? It’s due to something known as bioavailability. Essentially, the bioavailability of any given chemical compound is the percentage of it that the body effectively uses. The higher the bioavailability, the more efficiently the compound has been utilised.
The main factor that affects bioavailability is how quick the compound’s path to the circulatory system is, hence why IV drips are typically the most effective method. As part of our discussion of each of your options for consuming CBD we’ll also provide an outline of each method’s bioavailability.
There are plenty of other additional details that can alter how your body processes any given compound, including your weight, age and metabolism, but the ingestion method is a big deciding factor that you have complete control over. Read on to see which method is right for you.
Sprays & drops
One of the most popular and widely recognised methods of using CBD are CBD oral oils. This classification covers oral drops and oral sprays, both of which are used to apply a CBD oil underneath your tongue. As such, they’re usually just a hemp extract blended with a carrier oil.
The reason for applying the oil beneath the tongue (known as using it sublingually) is, you guessed it, bioavailability. Rather than swallowing your CBD oil and sending it through the digestive system, let it soak into the blood vessels beneath the tongue for around 90 seconds. That way it gets into circulation much faster.
The effects will generally be felt within around thirty minutes, and last roughly six hours. This makes oral oils a great way to dose if you only want to use CBD intermittently. You can take half your recommended dosage in the morning, and the other half in the evening, ensuring you get a full day’s coverage.
The only real difference between most CBD drops & CBD sprays is the applicator. Our Oral Spray products turns the CBD tincture into a smooth fine mist, perfect for an easy application. Meanwhile, our Oral Drops keep things simple with a pipette, meaning you can better taste the oil’s flavour.
When comparing oral CBD options it’s also worth considering the carrier oil. Our Oral Spray & Oral Drops actually contain different oils to give you a greater choice. The MCT (coconut) oil in our spray helps mask the taste of the hemp for those who don’t like its earthy tones, whilst the hemp seed oil in our drops work great with CBD to provide a full-bodied hemp experience.
In much the same way as CBD has blown up recently, vaping blew up about six years ago, and since then has only continued to grow exponentially. The two industries actually have a strong relationship, since vaping is one of the most efficient means of taking CBD.
The reason for this is, once again, bioavailability. By turning the CBD into vapour you increase the dispersion of molecules, therefore making it more easily absorbed. Since you’re also inhaling it into your lungs where there are a huge number of blood vessels, the CBD has a simple, fast route to your circulatory system.
If you want to use an e-liquid, but aren’t familiar with vaping, first thing’s first: you’ll need a vape device. Our Full Spectrum E-liquid can be used in any vape device, either by itself or as an additive. However, you cannot mix a CBD vape juice with nicotine due to the way nicotine and CBD act as catalysts for one another.
For some CBD vape oils like our Whole Plant E-liquid, the thickness of the juice that comes from the additional natural waxes and oils will mean you’ll need a sub-ohm device (a device that can reach higher temperatures). That’s why our Whole Plant E-liquid is our premium vaping experience, designed for CBD and vape lovers alike.
Due to the higher bioavailability when vaping CBD, the effects come on in around 5 minutes, but only last 4 hours. This is due to the speed with which the body is able to process the compound when vaped. That means vaping is for users who enjoy the process of taking CBD and want to dose semi-frequently throughout the day.
It’s important to note that in some instances bioavailability isn’t the be-all and end-all, largely due to the prevalence of the endocannabinoid system throughout the body. A great example of this would be when looking at CBD cosmetics, such as moisturising creams and balms.
When applying a cream to your skin the bioavailability is greatly reduced since the compounds must first make their way through the epidermal layer. That means the amount of CBD that actually reaches your circulatory system is very low. However, if you’re looking for a localised external release then the CBD will still reach the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin.
That means that topicals definitely have a place in your CBD routine. Our Skin Cream and our Muscle Balm both contain a carefully curated blend of essential oils and skin-care ingredients designed to support the hemp extract. The key is to be savvy and explore your options thoroughly.
Since the bioavailability of topicals is low, it’s a slower release means of consuming CBD. Effects will be felt in around an hour and last for about five hours. Regardless of duration, if you’re looking for an external application then topicals are the obvious way to go.
Edibles & pills
One of the most common forms of CBD (particularly for novelty items) are edibles and pills. This is where you’ll find CBD chocolates, CBD coffee and even CBD protein bars, alongside more traditional ingestion methods such as gel capsules.
At CBD Giant we don’t stock any form of CBD that goes into the digestive system because research has shown that it dramatically reduces its bioavailability, which is only worthwhile if you want to activate the endocannabinoid system receptors in the stomach.
However, there are some reasons to use pills and edibles, largely surrounding ease of intake. It means that you can just carry a bag of CBD gummies wherever you go, and dose more discreetly in public, for example. That makes them perfect for being on the go and keeping your CBD intake subtle.
With the edibles and pills it’ll usually take at least an hour to feel the effects, which will then last for around six hours. However, since the CBD first passes through the digestive system this can fluctuate massively depending on the person and their metabolism rate.
We also sell CBD drinks including CBD tea and coffee, be sure to check out our review of the best cbd tea currently available in the UK, it's the easiest way top incorporate CBD into your routine.
Step 3: What's my dosage?
You know what CBD is, and you’ve managed to decide on a means of taking it. All settled right? Well you actually still have to choose the strength of your CBD, arguably one of the most important factors to decide before purchasing your CBD product.
It’s also one of the most difficult areas to discuss as a CBD seller since we’re limited by legal restrictions in the UK that prevent us making any claims of potential health benefits. Since CBD hasn’t been classified yet, no statement can be made about what dosage is appropriate for a specific purpose. Working within these limits, we're here to provide as much information as we can.
Find your dosage
Fortunately at CBD Giant we can provide more general advice about dosages. Generally we recommend that first-time users begin with a 300ml oil, such as our Oral Spray. Regardless of what dosage you start with, we further recommend that you use it consistently for about 30 days before adjusting. That way your body has time to acclimatise to the CBD.
Because of factors that can affect dosage, such as weight, metabolism and age, we suggest starting at 300mg before adjusting to a higher dose. Charting your own CBD journey is something that requires time and consistency, but with our help we’re sure you’ll find the right path.
Using multiple products
Some of our users also find that using multiple low dose products simultaneously best serves their needs. It’s perfectly safe to use our Oral Drops and Muscle Balm at the same time for example, or indeed any combination of CBD oils, so long as you keep within our suggested dose. Finding the right method is part and parcel of your journey.
These CBD combinations are so popular in the CBD Giant office that we’ve actually written an article on two of our favourite product combos. Give it a read here, and see if you can find two products that suit you.
It also bears repeating that CBD has been shown to be demonstrably safe, even at very high dosages. In a comprehensive report that you can read here, the World Health Organization made a definitive statement on CBD:
The evidence from well controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential.
Each of our oils comes with a recommended dosage clearly outlined on the box. We suggest you match this dose, but it’s worth noting there will be no potential for harm even at much higher dosages. You can slowly adjust your dosage beyond our recommendations on the box - everyone has a different optimal CBD point.
You now know everything you need to know about CBD, including what it is, how to take it, and where to start with your dosage - all that’s left now is to buy some CBD. Our core recommendation is to look for companies that prioritise testing and quality control.
The CBD market is very new, which also means it’s poorly regulated. That’s why we send all of our product batches to a third-party independent lab in order to ensure they meet the quality we expect. In fact, our central belief in user transparency is why we’ve made all of our lab reports available right here. That means you can match the exact report to the product in your hand.
We’re clearly biased on the matter, but we truly believe that our own product range caters to the full range of CBD users, from beginners to experts. Our years of research and development have resulted in a range of CBD products sourced only from well-established brands.
If you feel like you’re still confused on anything regarding CBD, reach out to us on our contact page, or give us a message on our web chat (available 9am-5pm Monday-Friday). Just click the icon in the bottom right corner of each page and one of our CBD experts will be on hand to answer any queries.
You can see the full range of products we stock here.