CBD has been one of the most prominent buzzwords over the past few years and there has been an absolute explosion in popularity around CBD products recently.
In terms of the raw numbers, the US CBD market was worth $2.8 billion in 2020 and most estimations expect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2% over the impending 5-year period. While the US market is in a more advanced position than most as a result of more lenient existing cannabis laws, we are seeing Europe catch up at an increasing rate.
As a result of this surge in popularity, we have seen the variety of available CBD products reach mind-blowing levels of diversification. This has also happened in a very short space of time, which means that many are still catching up on exactly what each of these products can offer.
Undoubtedly the most common of these CBD products are CBD oils, which is the typical entry-level product for the majority of first-time users. That said, there a number of difficulties when it comes to using oils and with alternative products now more established within the industry, many are trying other products as their entry point.
CBD patches are one of these products that have seen a steep rise in popularity across 2020. There are a number of reasons for this that will be discussed in this article.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the most prominent active components found within the cannabis plant. Unlike its close cousin THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the plant. This means that CBD does not produce the ‘high’ often associated with cannabis in your stereotypical stoner film. Moreover, many studies since have stated that CBD actually combats the psychoactive effects of THC.
The tipping point for many was the World Health Organization’s assessment in early 2018 that there is “no evidence of public health-related problems” associated with the usage of CBD.
The novel nature of the industry has meant that medical research has only really ramped up in the last few years. The rise in research has led to exciting innovation in terms of CBD delivery methods, with perhaps the most exciting of these being transdermal CBD patches.
What are CBD Patches?
While the concept of transdermal patches, in general, is a fairly straightforward one, the efficacy and bioavailability of CBD patches specifically are what excites most.
CBD patches look like a small plaster and can be placed on a venous area of the body in order to diffuse CBD through the skin and into the user’s bloodstream. The amount of CBD is obviously dependent on how the patches are manufactured, but doses are typically between 10mg-20mg. Once inside, the CBD is then carried around the bloodstream and endocannabinoid system and gets to work.
What is CBD Oil?
As previously mentioned, CBD oil is by far the most common entry-level CBD product for the majority of first-time users.
CBD oil comes in a small bottle with a dropper, that allows you to easily consume the correct dosage. CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil such as MCT oil or coconut oil.
There are three main types of CBD oil. The type of extraction method that is used dictates the type of CBD oil that you end up with. The three types are as follows:
- Full-spectrum CBD – This contains a variety of active components found within the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Trace elements of THC are included in full-spectrum CBD, but this must be below the legal limit of 0.2%. This is not substantial enough to have any psychoactive effect but can provide added health benefits such as pain relief.
- CBD isolate – CBD isolate is as it sounds – pure CBD. All other components, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and THC are removed during extraction. CBD isolate comes in either powder or crystal form.
- Broad-spectrum CBD – Broad spectrum is often regarded as the ‘happy medium between the two. It contains many of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that are found in full-spectrum but crucially do not contain THC.
How to use CBD Patches
CBD patches are incredibly easy to use. You can either apply to a venous area of the body, such as the top of the arm, or inside of the wrist, or you can apply to a particular area that is causing you pain, such as a bad lower back.
You then simply leave the patch on for the stated duration of time, which is usually 24 hours.
How to use CBD Oil
CBD oil is a little more complex in terms of its usage. Working out the required dosage can be a pain for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there are many individual differences that impact your required dosage, including metabolism, weight, lifestyle, etc. Furthermore, the strength of the CBD also means that you will need to adjust your dosage accordingly.
Usually, you will have to take CBD oil drops between 3-5 times a day in order to maintain its efficacy. You can increase the efficacy of CBD oil by taking it with food – namely those that contain long and medium-chain fatty acids.
Why choose CBD patches?
There are a number of reasons why someone may choose CBD patches over other forms of CBD products. For example:
- They are more discreet than most other CBD products, so you are unlikely to be quizzed by uninformed acquaintances.
- They are easy to use. All you need to do is apply one every morning and leave the patch to work its magic.
- They are long-lasting. The 24-hour delivery method within CBD patches means that they are incredibly effective over longer periods of time. They are perfect for those with busy schedules.
- Great for sleep. The slow burn nature of patches means that they will help you sleep uninterrupted. The ailment that you are treating will not impact you in the middle of the night as a result of the CBD wearing off. This is the case with most other CBD products.
- High bioavailability. CBD patches naturally deliver CBD dermally, meaning that it does not have to pass through your digestive system. Any ingestible CBD products will have a large percentage of their CBD broken down by the digestive system, thus reducing their bioavailability.
- More control. If you do not like the effects that CBD has, then it is easy to simply remove the patch.
Why choose CBD oil?
CBD oils have become the most popular delivery methods for good reason. Here is why you should choose CBD oil:
- Easy to alter the dosage. If you have not taken a sufficient amount to deal with your specific ailment, it is easy to take more as and when. While getting the dose correct is more difficult with CBD oil, it is easier to alter.
- Sublingual bioavailability. The area underneath your tongue is incredibly rich in capillaries, so holding the CBD under your tongue for 60 seconds is imperative. This is because a lot of what you swallow will be broken down by your digestive system.
- Wide variation. The customisability of CBD oils is way ahead of any other delivery method. There are a plethora of flavors, formulations, and strengths to explore.
- Can be consumed in other ways. CBD oil is versatile in that it can be added to food or drink and consumed orally, so as to avoid the often unpleasant earthy taste. While this reduces efficacy, it can improve the consumption experience.
As can be seen from this article, there is an overwhelming number of products that are now available as a result of the CBD boom. This innovation shows no signs of slowing down, which is ultimately great news for the consumer.
There really is no ‘best’ CBD product on the market, it is more about experimentation and finding the product that best fits your lifestyle and needs. While a few of the pros and cons of CBD patches and CBD oils are outlined above, the best course of action is to try both for yourself.
It is absolutely vital to be aware of how CBD works, in that it builds up in your system over time. CBD needs to be taken consistently for an 8-10 week period for its effects to be accurately experienced by the user.
Before we come to an end, it is important to note that you should always seek an independent third-party lab report when buying any CBD product. Any self-respecting, legitimate retailer will have these to hand. Not only does this highlight the quality of the product, it also confirms the absence of harmful additives such as heavy metals or pesticides.