A Simple Guide to the Different Forms of CBD

By May 12, 2017 January 4th, 2019 No Comments

Cannabidiol (CBD) is available in several different forms. CBD does not produce a high. With CBD, a little goes a long way, but taking a higher dose won’t harm you. The guide below will go through the different forms of CBD and how to use them.

Dry Flower

Dry CBD flower strains like Harlequin, Harle-Tsu and Charlotte’s Web are common in medical marijuana dispensaries. The dry flower can be ground and placed in a pipe, joint, bong or vaporized. Some may take the dry flower and make CBD butter with it for cooking, baking and to top popcorn with.

If you’re using dry flower, two to three pulls from a pipe (or the same from a joint) equals about a 10mg dose. This should help you for a couple of hours.

Topical Rubs and Lotions

Several balms, salves and rubs are available that contain CBD. Most also include essential oils to better promote skin health and relieve pain and inflammation. When using lotions and rubs, you don’t need a whole lot. Make sure you rub it into your skin completely. In some cases, you could experience relief for several hours or overnight.

What’s great about topicals is that you notice a difference in your symptoms almost immediately.


Oils are used to create vape cartridges for vape pens containing CBD only. Vaping is a popular way to ingest CBD without the smell of dry flower burning or waiting for your body to digest a capsule or edible. With vape pens, it can be a bit difficult to gauge your dose.

Inhale the same amount of time from the pen as you would from a joint, pipe or bong. The concentration of CBD in vape is higher than in flower since it is a pure extraction. It is hard to gauge dose with vaping since CBD concentrations vary, as do an individual’s “puffs” from the pen. Try two puffs and wait about 10 minutes. If you don’t notice any change, go ahead with another one or two puffs. Continue this until you’re comfortable or feel sufficient relief.


CBD oil is a common product for children, the elderly and those with swallowing disorders. Those with respiratory ailments may also find taking CBD oil easier than other forms. The oil comes in a syringe and allows for accurate dosing.

Start with smaller doses, around 2.5mg to 5mg, if you have never used CBD products. Your tolerance is likely low, so you may notice an improvement in symptoms of pain, anxiety or other ailments with smaller doses. It is okay to increase doses of CBD as it does not make you high, but do so in small increments.

With oil, you should start noticing a difference in your symptoms within about 20 minutes since it is in liquid form and enters your body faster. Even with small doses, relief can last up to four hours. Average doses tend to last about 6 hours.

Tinctures & Sprays

Tinctures are liquid CBD that come in a bottle with a dropper. This is pure CBD in higher concentrations. Tinctures often bring relief in as little as 5 minutes. The relief from tinctures can last several hours.

To use tinctures, place a few drops under your tongue and just hold it there for 30 seconds. Allow the medicine to ingest sublingually before swallowing it. The more CBD you can let into your body sublingually, the quicker the relief will be.

Simple dosing guidelines for CBD tinctures:

  • 2.5 to 15mg daily for overall health
  • 2.5 to 20mg daily for pain
  • 40 to 160mg for insomnia daily
  • 200mg to 300mg for epilepsy
  • 2.5mg THC plus 1mg CBD to increase appetite

Note: Those with smaller bodies may notice relief faster than individuals with larger builds. Those with larger builds may also require larger doses to notice sufficient relief.

It is always better to start out with a minimal dose first.

Sprays work very similar to tinctures. It absorbs fast. A single spray is likely all you’ll need for at least a couple of hours. Avoid drinking anything for about 20 minutes after using the spray to ensure that you’ve absorbed all of the CBD in the spray.

Bath Salts

Relaxing in a hot bath is a luxury in itself, but you can also add some CBD bath salts or crystals to reduce inflammation, relax or melt some pain away at the same time. It is ideal to follow the instructions on the package, as all manufacturers’ instructions are not the same. Your body is able to absorb CBD through the water, so your body will still benefit from the properties of CBD for a few hours afterwards.


CBD can be put into any edible offered. If it is a carb-based edible, it’ll take 45 minutes to an hour to start working. Chocolates and gummy candies are likely to start working within 30 minutes since they are not a solid once chewed. Beverages, hard candies, lozenges, gums and water additives will kick in rather quickly – within 10 minutes in most cases. Your body starts to absorb the CBD sublingually.

In terms of dosing with edibles, microdose with baked goods. Try a half of an edible first, give yourself an hour and see how well it works. A smaller dose may be ideal. Edible CBD concentrations will vary depending on manufacturer and size of product. Not all edibles are meant to be a single dose. Always read the label before ingesting any edible.


BHO and RSO are concentrated forms of CBD. They are thicker than typical oils. Sometimes BHO concentrate is referred to as honey oil because the finished product is a golden color. RSO can be a little difficult to take by itself, so consider mixing a small dose into a spoonful of yogurt, honey or something with a flavor you enjoy.  Easy does it! These are potent, and can be quite harsh. Many are more than 70-percent pure CBD. Try just a small amount, and wait a few minutes. You can use bigger pieces of the concentrate once you’re used to it.

Regarding RSO, make sure it is CBD only. Rick Simpson Oil is typically high THC, low CBD, but companies are making high CBD and low/no THC forms of it. Always read the label and ask if it’s not clear on the packaging.


Inhalers are newer products on the medical marijuana market. For absolute accuracy in dosing, inhalers are ideal. The inhaler is costly, but does last a long time. Up to 95% of the CBD in the vapor is absorbed in your body. It’s said to be the most absorption of any other CBD product.

When using a CBD inhaler, start to inhale and press the top of the inhaler down. Continue to inhale to ensure you’ve taken it all in. One inhalation is the equivalent of 10mg of CBD.


Capsules are available for those that want a simple way to reap the benefits of CBD. Capsules take about an hour to start working since your body does have to digest them. One to two capsules daily is a typical dose. Capsules tend to range in dose from 10mg to 25mg each. Relief for six or more hours is possible.


Closing Thoughts

Ideal doses for CBD products are going to vary by person. Children are likely to need less than adults, although children with severe autism and/or epilepsy may need more frequent and higher doses. It is okay to play with dosing a little bit with CBD since you won’t be high. You just need to determine where you’re comfortable and that will be your ideal dose.

You can combine a CBD dry flower strain with a THC marijuana strain to have more relief of symptoms chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and other conditions. Adding the CBD flower to THC flower is okay and often increases relief for medical marijuana patients.

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