CBD 101: What to Buy

Chief Smoke 'n Brew

Oils. Salves. Vape pens. Gummies. Capsules. Flowers. The options are daunting and it’s hard to pick the right hemp product type, let alone brand. So, what is the “best” CBD product out there? The answer is… well, it depends.

We’re not going to pit brands against each other. We think it is helpful to have some explanation of the many delivery methods for CBD and their respective pros and cons before you walk into the store. Which hemp product you buy depends entirely on your preference: whether you prefer sublingual, ingestion, or inhaling, the regularity of your CBD intake, and what you want to get out of it.

We won’t be making any health claims in this post. We encourage you to take a look at outside sources for claims about benefits. With that in mind, here are some of the most common hemp products found in our store.

Oil Tinctures

Oil tinctures are the most common CBD products on the market. They are generally sold in glass bottles with built-in droppers. Tinctures come in a wide variety of dosages, with an equally large variety of additional ingredients like essential oils. Most tinctures are made with MCT (coconut) or olive oil.

Oil tinctures are administered sublingually, or by putting drops under your tongue. This allows for rapid absorption into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach and preserving the integrity of many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Oils are also often added to food and drinks like coffee. Some consumers complain about taste, however. A grassy taste is especially common in ethanol extraction products, which contributes to the popularity of other administration methods.


Capsules are swallowed with a glass of water to help wash them down. They eliminate the taste concern with oils. These products are generally a vegetable cellulose capsule filled with powder or hemp oil and some filler ingredients. Each capsule is consistently packed with the same dosage, so customers don’t need to worry about measuring out oil droppers to get the same amount of CBD each time. Capsules are also easier to transport than liquids in glass containers.

The downside of capsules is that they are absorbed through the stomach. Stomach acid breaks down many of the compounds in hemp extract before they’re absorbed into the bloodstream, so users may not get the full effect they would receive from a tincture.


CBD gummies are the typical edible products, although some companies make brownies and other food products. These edibles are easy to take on the go, have specific milligrams per product, and generally taste pretty good.

The most notable drawback for edibles is that they contain additives like sugar and have a much more significant caloric impact than a dropper of oil. Edibles are also affected by stomach acid before absorption, just like capsules.


CBD Creams are applied topically. They are generally crafted with a combination of CBD extract and a carrier like shea butter, blended with essential oils or other aromatic ingredients. To use them, you typically rub the cream into the affected area of skin a couple times a day.

CBD creams are one of the areas in which the least amount of research has been done. While there are many people who say they’ve received a wide variety of benefits from creams, there hasn’t been enough scientific study to validate any of their claims.


Vape juice is inhaled with the aid of a vaporizer, sending CBD directly into your lungs. It is a popular delivery method because it is fast-acting and comes with higher bioavailability (the amount of CBD that enters the circulatory system) than other methods on the list. Vaping is generally viewed as more favorable than conventional smoking because it doesn’t give off a lingering smell.

Vaping is cleaner than smoking, but it still isn’t recommended for people with lung conditions, as it can cause coughing fits and nausea. Although there’s still some debate on the point, some studies show common thinning agents in vape oils like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol may break down into carcinogens when exposed to heat. If that’s a concern for you, it’s important to check labels before you buy a particular vape oil.

Whole Flower

Buying whole flowers is your best bet if you want hemp in its natural state without any industrial processes or additional chemicals added. Hemp flowers have a number of uses, whether it’s in a whole-plant vaporizer, smoked like traditional loose-leaf tobacco, or used to make your own oils and edibles at home.

Unlike other products on this list, whole hemp flowers are sold by weight, not by milligrams of CBD. That means it’s impossible to deliver an exact dose of CBD using hemp flowers, only a rough estimate based on past experiences. This makes hemp flowers the least desirable solution if you have a specific routine in mind. However, it’s your best bet if you’re worried about the purity of other ingredients added to manufactured products or want to take a hands on approach to making your own oils and edibles.

Finding the Right CBD Product for You

When selecting a type of CBD product, you need to determine what delivery method works best for you. Carefully consider the pros and cons of each product type and think about what you want to accomplish with hemp. We will continue to explain how CBD works in this blog, and we encourage you to do independent research and try a couple different products types to familiarize yourself with them.

If you want to check out some hemp products, come by Smoke N Brew.

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