CBD Product Type Comparison: Which is Best For Me?

Today, CBD products are some of the most popular natural health aids used in Australia and worldwide. Their immense demand and growth in usage have resulted in more product innovation than ever before. In turn, a tremendous, innovative range of CBD products has been brought into the market for every type of consumer. Many CBD tinctures, oils, edibles, vapes and topicals (skin) products are out now. Each of these products has its unique benefits and drawbacks. This comprehensive guide aims to thoroughly examine these various CBD products, evaluate their specific applications and effectiveness, and offer personalised recommendations on selection. We strive to help you pick the item that best meets your situation, health needs and tastes.

Types of CBD Products

There are types of CBD products now available for everyone’s unique taste, consumption method preferences, formulation, and target aim. You’re not limited to CBD oil anymore. Which product type you choose is a personal question. It’s similar to asking someone what their favourite ice cream flavour is. Many people will have similarities, but there’s a massive variance in people’s overall fondness for specific flavours.

The main CBD product categories include: 

  • CBD oils ( taken orally) and tinctures (similar to oils but often mixed with other ingredients) 
  • Edibles include gummies and chocolates 
  • Capsules for easy and convenient ingestion 
  • Topicals like creams and lotions for localised application 
  • Vapes designed for inhalation 
  • Concentrates are highly potent products typically used for dabbing or vaporisation.

Let’s explore each type further to understand their distinctive characteristics and recommended usage better.

Oils and Tinctures

CBD oils and tinctures are today’s most sought-after and versatile CBD products. These products are produced by diffusing pure CBD into liquid carriers like olive, almond or MCT oil as a medium. Carriers help with absorption and provide complementary health benefits such as supporting heart health.

Pros:

  • Sublingual Dosing Option: One significant advantage of CBD tinctures is that they can be used under the tongue for swift absorption. This is known as ‘sublingual’ dosing. It’s a great way to accelerate the onset of CBD’s effects, helping with more rapid calmness or pain alleviation.
  • Dose Accuracy: Because the drop can precisely dose them, CBD oils are a very high accuracy, flexible way to take the cannabinoid. It’s easy to control and titrate your daily consumption, which is ideal for preventing overconsumption. Precision dosing capability ensures users can tailor their intake to meet their needs.
  • Adaptability: CBD oils and tinctures are adaptable, allowing for various consumption methods. They can offer relief quickly or over longer time spans.

Cons:

  • Strong Taste: Many people dislike the taste of CBD, but this can be circumvented by adding CBD drops to coffee, sweet drinks, desserts, or other flavourful snacks. Consuming doses with food makes it far easier to meet your daily CBD intake needs and stay on track with your overall dosage plan.
  • Effort to Measure Out: For some people, though, liquid CBD products are more difficult to use than gummies or capsules. Using a dropper to measure doses may be less convenient for some users than other delivery methods.

Yet their ability to offer fast relief with accurate, customisable dose control is robust. They’re great if you need adaptability and flexibility in how you take your CBD. As an entry point to CBD products, oils or tinctures are optimal. Integrating them into your wellness stack is straightforward today.

Edibles

CBD edibles come in various options, including gummies, chocolates, pastries, and beverages. While more expensive than oils, their drawcard is tasty and more accessible to ingest. They let you avoid the ‘grassy’ or musky flavour commonly reported by CBD tincture users. Many edible options are also more discreet and transportable than oils. There’s less risk of leaking fluid or strongly scented tinctures being detected in your bag. These reasons are what underscore the growth in popularity of products like CBD gummies amongst consumers.

Pros:

  • Convenience: CBD edibles are portable and can be consumed without any special equipment, making them an excellent option for use on the move.
  • Discreet: Resembling regular snacks, CBD edibles allow users to consume CBD without drawing attention, which can be valuable in specific social settings.
  • Long-Lasting Effects: Due to edibles’ slow metabolism, their effects typically last longer than other methods of CBD consumption, offering sustained relief over an extended period.

Cons:

  • Delayed Onset: The effects of CBD edibles may take longer to manifest, with onset times varying. Depending on your metabolism and digestion speed, they can take up to 2 hours to work. This necessitates planning for the desired effects.
  • Variable Dosage: Unlike oils or tinctures, accurately adjusting the dosage for CBD edibles can be more challenging, as the concentration of CBD in each serving may differ.

CBD edibles provide a delightful and practical way for individuals to incorporate CBD into their wellness routine. They are especially advantageous for those seeking long-lasting relief and discretion in their CBD consumption.

Capsules

CBD capsules appear similar to fish oil, encapsulating CBD oil in a gelatin cap. Each capsule has a pre-defined amount of CBD oil inside. Encapsulation makes porting the capsules and taking them more discreet, convenient, and fast. Plus, it facilitates consistent and precise dosing, ensuring reliable effects per capsule.

Pros:

  • Pre-measured Dosages: A big draw of CBD capsules is their reliable dosing. Each capsule contains an exact CBD dose, making tracking your intake easy and ensuring consistent effects. Additionally, capsules are convenient and easy to incorporate into a daily supplement routine, offering a seamless way to integrate CBD into your wellness regimen.
  • No ‘Grassy’ Taste: The central tenet of CBD capsules that makes them attractive is their absence of taste. Consuming them means you can get your CBD doses without having any oil touch your tastebuds. If the flavour of tinctures is scaring you away from CBD products, capsules might be just what you need. As unflavored options, they provide even better convenience and discreetness through their small, portable size.

Cons:

CBD capsules also have some disadvantages.

  • Delayed Digestion Absorption: One drawback is that they have delayed effects compared to other forms of CBD. This is because capsules must pass through the digestive system before the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a more prolonged onset of effects.
  • Oral Ingestion Only: CBD capsules are less versatile than oils or tinctures since they are designed for oral consumption only. This limits their applications compared to other forms of CBD products.

In summary, CBD capsules are recommended for individuals seeking consistency and convenience in their CBD consumption. These items are a godsend for the growing number of people who hate how tinctures or oils taste. Being unflavoured and not having a greasy or oily texture makes them a ‘cleaner’ consumption experience.

Skincare (Topicals)

CBD skincare products will be your best bet to improve your skin’s appearance and well-being. These are designed for ‘topical’ use (on the skin’s surface). Many forms of these items can be seen on shelves right now. Some examples include CBD balms, lotions, balms, serums, and moisturising salves. Each is specifically formulated for direct application and absorption via the skin. These products are intended to alleviate localised pain and inflammation, providing targeted relief to specific body areas.

Pros:

Advantages of CBD topicals include their ability to target relief to specific areas, their non-systemic nature (as they are not absorbed into the bloodstream), and their availability in various forms, such as moisturisers and pain-relief lotions.

Cons:

  • Limited Bioavailability: However, it’s important to note that CBD topicals may have limitations. They may not penetrate deeply into the skin, potentially limiting their effects to the surface. Some CBD can be lost or not used in the body when this occurs, dampening overall bioavailability.
  • Inconvenient: Some individuals may find topicals less convenient than oral medications. Applying them and massaging the liquid into your skin can take some care and time. It’s less straightforward than dropping a few CBD capsules, for instance.

CBD topicals target a specific area of the body or skin. They effectively alleviate localised (to one particular point) pain, inflammation, and skin irritation. While less effective for ‘overall’ well-being and delivery of CBD to internal tissues, they’re optimal for relieving issues in peripheral regions.

Vaporisers

CBD vaping has gained significant popularity as a quick way to experience its effects. Vaping involves inhaling vaporised CBD oil through a vape pen or vaporiser, allowing the CBD to swiftly enter the bloodstream and be directly absorbed into the lungs.

Pros:

  • Rapid absorption: Inhaled CBD quickly hits the bloodstream due to quick lung absorption. This is helpful if you need CBD’s stress—or pain-relieving effectiveness on short notice. Plus, if you already vape, it might be a straightforward transition.
  • Enhanced Bioavailability: Inhaling CBD through vaping results in higher bioavailability than other methods, meaning the body can absorb more CBD, leading to more pronounced effects.
  • Convenience: Vapes are fundamentally small and easy to carry. They fit in your pocket, don’t smell, won’t cause legal problems, and don’t need a prescription. They can offer upsides if you’re always on the move or don’t have space to carry around oil.

Cons:

  • Shorter Duration of Effects: Although vaping CBD provides rapid results, the effects may not last as long as other consumption methods.
  • Health Considerations: Vaping has raised health concerns, particularly about lung health, and may not be suitable for individuals with pre-existing lung conditions.

It’s essential to understand that the top CBD vapes are ideal for individuals seeking immediate relief and are comfortable with vaping. They are also suitable for those who prioritise high bioavailability and are mindful of the potential health effects associated with vaping.

Concentrates

CBD concentrates are highly potent extracts that contain a high concentration of CBD. They are available in various forms, including wax, shatter, and crystals.

Pros:

  • High Potency: Concentrates offer a hefty dose of CBD in a small amount, making them an efficient option for those seeking solid effects.
  • Fast-Acting: When consumed through dabbing or vaporisation, concentrates provide rapid results, making them suitable for individuals seeking immediate relief.
  • Cost-Effective: Despite their initial cost, concentrates can be cost-effective in the long run due to their potency, as a small amount can go a long way.

Cons:

  • Complex: Utilising concentrates typically requires specialised equipment and knowledge, which may be challenging for beginners.
  • Intensity: The potency of concentrates can be overwhelming for individuals new to CBD products, and starting with smaller doses is essential.
  • Not for Beginners: Most CBD concentrates are ideal for experienced users who require high doses of CBD and desire immediate and potent effects to manage their well-being. Beginners taking them, be warned. They can be too strong if you have little tolerance.

How to Select the Right CBD Product

Understanding your needs and goals is the first crucial step in selecting the right CBD product. To help determine which product is best for you, carefully consider the following questions:

  • What specific health concerns or symptoms are you looking to alleviate? Different CBD products may be more effective for treating other issues.
  • How quickly do you need relief? If immediate relief is a priority, options like vaping or tinctures may be preferable. For longer-lasting effects, edibles or pills could be more suitable.
  • Do you have a preference for how you consume your CBD? Consider your lifestyle and personal preferences. Are you looking for something convenient and discreet, like capsules or edibles, or do you prefer vaping or using a dropper?

Bioavailability and Absorption

Bioavailability refers to the amount of CBD absorbed into the bloodstream and available for use by the body. Different methods of CBD consumption result in varying levels of bioavailability:

  • Vaping: breathing in your CBD through a vape is strongly bioavailable due to the porous tissue of the lungs being an excellent ingestion medium. CBD will enter the bloodstream rapidly and be transported to where needed.
  • Oils and tinctures (when used sublingually): Oils and tinctures are bioavailable when administered under the tongue. Why? The mouth is full of blood vessels, a great absorption site for CBD molecules. The skin in the mouth is porous and designed to allow for nutrient absorption. This mechanism enables sublingual CBD doses to reach the body quickly, acting much more rapidly.
  • Edibles: CBD products like gummies and other edibles have lower bioavailability because the CBD must pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream, resulting in slower absorption.
  • Capsules have lower bioavailability and delayed absorption because of the digestive process. It can take up to a few hours for complete digestion to occur. If other food is consumed first, this timeframe might be extended further. Keep in mind, too, that the gelatin capsules containing the CBD extract need to be broken down as part of
  • Topicals: These products have minimal systemic absorption, meaning that the CBD primarily interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin and muscles, leading to localised effects without entering the bloodstream.

Dosage and Potency

When starting with CBD, it’s essential to carefully consider the correct dosage and strength that suits your requirements. If you’re beginning with CBD, don’t overdo it. Using small quantities when you’re starting is wise. A common mistake is taking much more than your body needs. Most people only need up to 50mg daily; even less is quite effective.

Opting for easy dosage management products, such as tinctures or capsules, can help here. They’re ideal for more accurate and consistent intake, plus preventing overdosing on your product. Sticking to your planned dosages ongoingly is crucial to both safety and success. Considering how easy and precise a product allows you to do, this should be part of your assessment here.

Quality and Transparency

When purchasing CBD products, you need to verify that they are great quality and come from reliable sources (do your research). Look for the following indicators of quality:

  • Third-Party Lab Testing: Trustworthy brands provide third-party lab test results to ensure purity and potency.
  • Clear Labeling: Product labels should include information on CBD content, ingredients, and dosage guidelines.
  • Organic, non-GMO: Opt for organically grown, non-GMO hemp products to minimise pesticide exposure and other harmful toxins.

Legal Considerations

Verify that the CBD products you choose comply with Australian regulations. In Australia, CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC are permitted. Purchasing from licensed retailers is also essential to ensure product safety and regulation compliance.

Conclusion

When faced with the vast array of available CBD products, choosing the right one for your circumstances can be tricky. There’s a dizzying number of choices, product variations, flavours, formulations and strengths to consider. Getting informed is the first and most crucial step to making the right call on your CBD product.

Take time to understand what’s available and the attributes of differing product types. Obtaining this understanding is crucial to weighing the different characteristics of each product type, plus their specific benefits and drawbacks. This knowledge will empower you to make better, smarter decisions regarding CBD to achieve optimal health results.

Author

Steve Jacobs Author Headshot

Originally from Byron Bay (Australia), Steve Jacobs is a writer and expert on the world of hemp. His passion for hemp products developed from working with organic hemp cultivators and sustainable skincare brands in Byron. Inspired by these eco-friendly approaches to crafting superb products, Steve realised the opportunity at the intersection of aromatherapy, natural skincare and the magic of hemp. He founded Bondi Hemp to bring this dream to life, bringing rejuvenating hemp extracts, refreshing botanical hemp topicals and revitalising essential oils to everyday Aussies. True to his Byron roots, Steve infuses every drop of his responsibly produced hemp products with the rich terroir of the Byron Region, resulting in unsurpassed quality without harming the earth. Today, Steve continues to write and speak about hemp, skincare, and aromatherapy from his family’s home in Northern NSW.