Guide to CBD Gummies
As people seek out alternative therapies to treat their healthcare woes, CBD is becoming an increasingly popular option. CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the cannabis plant. Researchers are finding that CBD can be uniquely helpful to a large range of health conditions, from chronic pain and anxiety to everyday stress.
Not only is CBD widely helpful, but it provides effective relief without the negative side effects of traditional medication. CBD can be ingested, inhaled, or massaged into the skin. One option that’s really caught on are CBD gummies, as they’re easy and sweet to eat.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis. These are called cannabinoids. CBD, like other cannabinoids, has a similar structure to the endocannabinoids your own body naturally produces as part of its endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for helping your body maintain a healthy state of homeostasis, so it plays a regulatory role in keeping various bodily functions in an optimal state, including your appetite, mood, pain response, immune function, and inflammation.
Taking CBD introduces more cannabinoids into your body, which helps boost the endocannabinoid system’s effectiveness. When you take CBD to treat a particular condition, such as chronic pain, your endocannabinoid system can do a better job targeting the inflamed area and reducing the sensation of pain.
Better yet, CBD does all this with minimal or no side effects. And because it’s distinct from THC, another compound found in cannabis, it won’t get you high. CBD contains no psychoactive properties whatsoever. This makes it a preferable alternative for many people who don’t like the severe side effects caused by medications they may be taking for anxiety, pain, and other conditions.
CBD can be sourced from either strain of the cannabis plant, both hemp and marijuana. However, we recommend products sourced from hemp because they are federally legal nationwide, and will only contain 0.3% THC or less.
Before purchasing CBD gummies, always check the source of the CBD. Hemp-sourced gummies contain 0.3% THC or less, are legal nationwide, and will not get you high. CBD gummies sourced from marijuana can contain higher amounts of THC, up to 20%, so they may not be legal where you live and will cause a “high” you may not want to experience.
What Are CBD Gummies?
CBD products come in many shapes and forms, from CBD topicals you apply to your skin to vape oils you inhale through a vape pen or vaporizer. There are also CBD edibles, which you eat. CBD gummies are a type of CBD edible. Other edibles include chocolates, baked goods, hard candies, coffee, and more.
Unsurprisingly, CBD gummies have a gummy texture. They may have a cube-shaped or gumdrop appearance, or resemble candy gummy bears. You’ll often find CBD gummies in 30 to 60 count packages, in a range of concentrations from 5mg to 25mg.
Naturally, CBD oil has an earthy hemp flavor. While some CBD gummies are available in a natural flavor, most companies add sugar or natural sweeteners to give their gummies a better taste. The tasty flavor of CBD gummies is a main reason most people prefer this method of ingestion over others.
Because most people take CBD gummies for a health reason, we recommend avoiding brands that add high fructose corn syrup and lots of dyes to create the color or flavoring of their products. Instead, we recommend CBD gummies that use non-GMO, organic sugars and natural flavoring. All of the gummies we review below only contain natural ingredients.
Like other CBD products, CBD gummies may be full-spectrum or isolate. Full-spectrum CBD includes other cannabinoids besides CBD, such as CBDA and CBDV. The idea is that including multiple cannabinoids allows them to work more effectively in engaging your endocannabinoid system, creating what is called the “entourage effect.” Full-spectrum products may contain higher amounts of THC as well, up to 3% (versus the standard 0.3% you’ll find in most CBD products sourced from hemp).
Some people prefer CBD isolates, which contain only CBD and nothing else. These can be a good option for people who are sensitive to THC, or worried about THC causing a positive on a drug test for marijuana.
CBD gummies can be purchased online throughout the U.S., and in many local drug stores as well.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Gummies?
The research is still developing, but thus far CBD appears to have beneficial applications for a wide range of health issues, including:
- Chronic pain, arthritis pain, or nerve pain
- Psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia
- Anxiety and depression
- Nausea and vomiting, particularly from cancer treatment
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis and other conditions
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Skin issues like acne and psoriasis
- Addiction withdrawal
The anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-bacterial, anticonvulsant, and analgesic properties of CBD make it suitable for treating all of these.
Because it comes from the cannabis plant, CBD offers many of the health benefits of marijuana, but without the high of THC. CBD has also been shown to provide certain health benefits that are not available with medical marijuana, such as seizure and migraine relief.
Who Should Take CBD Gummies?
CBD is effective no matter what type of product you use. However, many people prefer CBD gummies over other methods of ingestion because they like the sweet taste of the gummies, and they’re easy to eat and swallow. Some people simply don’t like the natural taste of hemp that’s experienced when using a sublingual tincture, so flavored CBD gummies are a preferable alternative.
CBD gummies are also a good choice for people who don’t like to swallow CBD capsules, apply skin creams, or smoke using a vape pen. And since the gummies are easy to chew fairly quickly, they’re also a more discreet option than some of the other methods, such as inhalation.
Also, since CBD gummies resemble chewable vitamins, it’s easy to remember to take your daily dose (and the delicious taste will have you looking forward to it). However, because they look similar to vitamins and have a pleasant odor, make sure to keep these out of reach of children and pets. (If you want to give your pet CBD, learn more here.)
While CBD shows promise for treating several conditions, most people use CBD gummies to help manage their chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety, as well as for general stress relief.Because they take longer to digest, CBD gummies are better for relieving chronic symptoms of these conditions, as opposed to acute symptoms like a panic attack. Acute symptoms are better served by faster ingestion methods, like sublingual tinctures or inhalation. General symptoms can find relief with gummies as the effects are longer-lasting, helping the individual cope with stresses throughout their day.
How Long Do CBD Gummies Take to Kick In?
Because they’re a type of CBD edible, CBD gummies do take longer to kick in than other types of CBD oils, such as topicals, tinctures, and vape oils. With those other methods, CBD enters your bloodstream almost immediately. With CBD gummies and edibles, however, the product has to pass through your digestive system first. Depending on your metabolism, this can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
This is one of the main downsides to CBD gummies over other types of CBD products. Some people take CBD and need to feel the effects immediately, if they’re taking it for acute anxiety or to deal with a specific trigger. For those using CBD gummies for more chronic issue like pain or generalized anxiety disorder, they may be able to wait a bit longer for the effects to kick in.
Fortunately, once they enter your bloodstream, the effects of CBD gummies are one of the longer-lasting methods, at 4 hours or more. How long the effects will last for you depends on your personal body chemistry.
How Well Do CBD Gummies Work?
The other downside to CBD gummies over other CBD oils is that you often have to take a higher dose than you would with the other methods, since some of the CBD will be lost during the digestive process. This is why it’s important to review the concentration of CBD in any gummies you purchase, and consider whether it may be more cost-effective to use another method.
Because they require a higher dose to be effective, some people find that CBD gummies are less effective than other methods. While we know that some of the CBD content is lost during the digestive process, the exact amount that is lost is unknown and can vary from person to person. It depends on your personal metabolism, which may be impacted by what else you did or ate that day. The efficacy of CBD gummies can also vary by brand.
If this concerns you, we recommend trying CBD oils instead. Oil tinctures provide the best way to consistently measure out a dose, and they also tend to have the highest rates of absorption by the bloodstream.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD Gummies?
CBD is growing in popularity because it’s a legal alternative to traditional medication, without the negative side effects. Studies show that CBD is generally well-tolerated among people, both with chronic use and in does as high as 1,500mg per day.
Most people who take CBD do not experience any side effects at all. When side effects are experienced, it’s most often among people who are taking other medications, and the side effects results from the interaction between CBD and the other drug. These side effects may include: tiredness or fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea, changes in appetite or weight, or low blood pressure.
Individuals taking other medications should always consult a doctor first before starting a CBD regimen, in order to avoid adverse side effects and ensure the CBD doesn’t negatively impact the effectiveness of your other medication.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid CBD. Not enough studies have been done evaluating the safety of CBD in these populations, but some research suggests CBD may affect the placental barrier in such a way that endangers the fetus. Children should also avoid CBD unless otherwise advised by a pediatrician.
Again, because CBD contains no psychoactive properties, and hemp-sourced CBD products contain 0.3% THC or less, you will not get high from eating CBD gummies.
How to Take CBD Gummies
Finding the right CBD dose is arguably the trickiest part of taking CBD. Because CBD is a newer therapy and not yet regulated by the FDA, there are no official dosing guidelines for CBD.
The general rule of thumb is to start with 1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight, and gradually increase from there until you find the desired effects. Once you find an effective dose, stop increasing, as you won’t develop a tolerance to CBD.
When it comes to CBD gummies, follow these tips to find the best dose for you (and reference our CBD dose guide for help).
- Consider what you are using the CBD for. Some conditions, such as severe chronic pain, require higher doses of CBD, while sleep issues may require a more moderate amount. Those using CBD to treat anxiety, mild pain, or temporary stress may find lower doses to be effective.
- Remember that some of the CBD will be lost through the digestive process. As a result, you’ll likely need to take a higher dose of CBD when eating gummies than you would when inhaling CBD or using a sublingual tincture.
- Calculate the cost per mg. CBD gummies tend to have lower concentrations of CBD than what you might find in a sublingual tincture. Calculate the mg in each gummy, and add up how many gummies you’ll have to take, in order to feel the desired effects. If you are taking several gummies in order to get the desired amount of CBD, it may be more cost-effective to use another method. You’ll find the cost per mg for all the gummies we review below.
To take a CBD gummy, you simply eat it like you would any other food. Make sure to fully chew the gummy before swallowing, in order to aid the digestive process. If you are taking CBD gummies for sleep, we recommend taking them around 30 to 90 minutes before your bedtime. For pain and anxiety, you may want to take one or two gummies daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon once the effects wear off.