How to Choose the Right CBD Product(s) – for YOU

What’s the best way to take CBD?

The short answer is: there is no single “best” way. 

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! 

It just means that we need to invest some care into the process of finding our optimal personal solutions. And once we’ve fine-tuned that, the benefits can be tremendous.


Personalized Effects

CBD’s effects are very individualized, with a lot of variation between different people. One person can consume the same amount of the same exact product and have a very different experience than another person.  

This variety in effects is due to the unique configurations of each of our bodies. Factors at play can include genetics, metabolism, and the fact that CBD works through multiple different pathways in the body. 

So the key takeaway is that the optimal products for YOU are those that give you the particular benefits you’re seeking – as well as easily integrating into your lifestyle. 

Your personal “best products” will be those that are most effective, convenient, pleasant, and reliable – for YOU.


Identifying Your Star Products

To get started, determine the following foundational factors – beginning with what you are hoping to accomplish with CBD products.

Step 1: Purpose – Why?

  • Why are you taking CBD? 
  • What is the issue you are looking to address?
  • Examples: sleep quality, stress, comfort, energy

Step 2: Location – Where?

  • Where is the source of the issue? Is in your body, mind, and/or emotions? 
  • Localized or systemic? Is the issue focused in a specific area of the body, or is it felt throughout the body / mind / emotions? Tip: Discomfort that’s caused from inflammation is a systemic issue.
  • What is the most effective path to “reaching” the affected area(s)?
    Tip: There may be more than one! Some people get their best results by using two or more different consumption methods – for example, taking a tincture for systemic effects and also using a topical on a localized area.

Step 3: Formulation – What?

  • What spectrum of active compounds would suit me? Full-spectrum products offer the widest range of potential benefits; broad-spectrum products have a reduced range; and narrow-spectrum products (such as those made from isolates and distillates) are limited to the smallest range.
  • Am I okay with any THC in the product? Full-spectrum products contain small amounts of THC as part of the plant’s natural spectrum – which is a beneficial agent. However, people who want to use CBD products but avoid THC completely can seek broad- or narrow-spectrum formulations with THC-free lab results, and/or topical products (which do not go into the bloodstream).
  • What other ingredients or additives are in the product and could affect me? (Don’t forget to look at added sugars!)

Step 4: Activation and Duration – When?

  • How quickly will you feel the product’s effects? What is your desired activation time?
  • How long will the effects last? Are you looking for a shorter experience, or an extended period of effects?

Step 5: Consumption Method – How? 

  • Portion sizing: Do you want a product with a set portion size or one that is versatile in amount? (Either could be beneficial depending upon what you need and like!)
  • Do you have any medical restrictions that rule out particular consumption methods?
  • Any strong personal preferences towards or away from product types? (The “most effective” product is one that you will actually use, consistently!)
  • Convenience and discretion of consumption are other major considerations. 


This grid provides some examples of how the factors above play into various consumption methods.


Onset and Duration

Consumption Method

Example Products 

Rapid onset (1-10 min), typically lasts 2-4 hours

Inhalation (smoke, vapor in lungs) – systemic

Flower, pre-rolls, oil extracts 

Rapid onset (1-10 min), typically lasts 2-4 hours

Sublingual (absorption under tongue / in mouth membranes) – systemic

Drops, sprays, tinctures

Longer onset (30-120 min), typically lasts 4-8+ hours

Oral consumption (swallowed and digested) – systemic (+ localized for edible oils that touch the GI tract)

Foods, tinctures, capsules, edible oils

Rapid onset (1-10 min), lasts up to several hours

Topical (on the skin, does not go into bloodstream) – localized

Oils, balms, salves, soaks, gels, lotions


Others (less common methods: transdermal, rectal, vaginal, nasal) – varies

Transdermal patches and gels; suppositories; nasal sprays; inhalers


Identify the top factors that matter most to you, and hone in on the methods that offer you the most ideal experience.


Verify Product Quality

Once you’ve thought through which consumption methods attract you, you can identify and short-list some product types that speak to your needs.

But don’t forget to verify that your potential CBD products are made with acceptable quality. Some basic minimum standards include:

  • Certifications: Is it USDA Organic certified?
  • Transparency: Does the product maker provide information about where the plant source material is grown, how it is processed, and what other ingredients are in the product?
  • Test Results: Does the product maker provide accredited lab testing results for each batch of their product, including both potency and purity data?

Product quality is an important health issue that you shouldn’t overlook.


Notice and Track Your Effects

When you’ve found trustworthy CBD product makers, it’s time for the fun part: trying some different product types! 

As you get going, try to be as systematic as you can. It can be helpful to make notes or journal about the effects: what you took and how you’re feeling, changes that occur, likes and dislikes, etc.

You also may need to practice patience, as some people need up to 30 days of consistent use before feeling CBD’s full effects. 

Although finding your optimal CBD regimen is a process, it is a valuable one that can open doors to new levels of wellness. 


The information provided here is for educational purposes only, and is not medical advice. For advice specific to any health conditions, consult a medical professional before consuming CBD products. 

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