CBD Spray: How It Works, Types And Uses

With an anticipated sales figure surpassing $4 billion in the United States by 2023, the cannabidiol (CBD) market stands as a flourishing industry presenting consumers with a diverse array of products. These offerings extend from delectable edibles such as gummies to practical topicals, tinctures, and beyond.[1]

Among the multitude of choices, CBD spray emerges as a compelling product for those exploring the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol. Delve deeper into the realm of CBD oil spray to uncover its designated uses, various types, potential side effects, and gain insights from research regarding its efficacy.

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What Are CBD Sprays?

CBD sprays are a convenient and versatile way to administer cannabidiol, utilizing a spray top for application. This method typically involves spraying CBD under the tongue (sublingually), on the inside of the cheek (transmucosal), through the nasal passages (intranasal), or directly onto the skin (transdermal). Distinguishing themselves from traditional CBD oils, CBD sprays often incorporate additional ingredients aimed at enhancing efficacy and bioavailability. According to Erica Steele, a board-certified naturopathic doctor and certified functional medicine practitioner at Holistic Family Practice in Virginia Beach, Virginia, common additives include ethanol or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.

Mary Neubeck, a registered nurse specializing in cannabis at Acute on Chronic, an online cannabis consulting and education resource, explains that most CBD sprays are crafted by blending extracted CBD—whether it’s full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate—with a thinner carrier agent like hemp seed oil, coconut oil, or MCT oil. Flavorings or essential oils are often introduced to improve the overall taste or aroma of the CBD spray. The resulting mixture is then housed in a spray bottle, providing users with a user-friendly and efficient application method.

While oral consumption of CBD may yield a bioavailability of only around 6%, as suggested by a 2020 study in Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Steele suggests that sublingual, oromucosal, and intranasal delivery methods could potentially offer higher bioavailability due to the dense network of blood vessels in the mucous membrane lining. It’s important to note, however, that further research is required to substantiate this hypothesis regarding enhanced bioavailability.

Types of CBD Spray

CBD sprays come in various types, each tailored for specific delivery methods, such as transmucosal (by mouth), sublingual (under the tongue), intranasal (through the nose), and transdermal (through the skin) absorption. According to Mary Neubeck, a registered nurse specializing in cannabis at Acute on Chronic, the composition of these sprays may vary based on their intended use.

Oral CBD Sprays:
CBD sprays designed for oral administration, whether sublingual or transmucosal, often contain ingredients like medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, ethanol, lecithin, and more to enhance absorption through the oral mucosa. Dr. Erica Steele notes that applying a CBD spray under the tongue or on the inside of the cheek allows it to reach the oral mucous membrane, which has a dense supply of blood vessels. Limited research suggests that CBD may quickly enter the bloodstream through this route, potentially leading to improved bioavailability. CBD oil sprays offer a precise and consistent sublingual dosing method, particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility issues. However, further human trials are needed to assess the effectiveness of cannabinoid absorption through the oral mucosa.

Nasal CBD Sprays:
Nasal CBD sprays, administered through the nasal passages, facilitate quick absorption into the bloodstream. Dr. Steele highlights that these products are formulated to enhance nasal absorption and bioavailability, often containing mucoadhesive polymers or mucosal penetration enhancers to optimize CBD absorption on the nasal mucosal membrane. The high density of blood vessels in the nasal cavity leads to a belief that intranasal administration may enhance CBD absorption and bioavailability. Despite this potential, research on nasal CBD sprays remains limited.

Topical CBD Sprays:
Topical CBD sprays are applied directly to the skin for localized effects, such as pain relief, muscle relaxation, and reduced inflammation. Dr. Steele mentions that these sprays may include additional ingredients like lavender, menthol, aloe vera, or essential oils to complement the potential benefits of CBD. While individuals commonly use topical CBD sprays for targeted relief, comprehensive research is still needed to fully understand their efficacy.

CBD Spray Uses

CBD sprays, while showing promise, have limited clinical research on their potential benefits and effectiveness. However, existing studies suggest that CBD may offer positive effects for individuals dealing with various conditions, including:

Seizure Disorders: CBD has demonstrated potential benefits for individuals with seizure disorders.

Anxiety: Some research indicates that CBD may be beneficial for managing anxiety.

Pain and Inflammation: CBD is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential option for those dealing with pain and inflammation.

Chronic Stress: Preliminary studies suggest that CBD may help in managing chronic stress.

Sleep Challenges: CBD has been explored for its potential role in improving sleep quality.

Dr. Steele emphasizes that CBD sprays are often preferred over CBD oils for their ease of use and convenience. The portability of CBD sprays allows discreet on-the-go use, fitting easily into purses or pockets. Additionally, the spray bottle design eliminates the need for measuring or counting drops, ensuring a consistent amount with each spray.

However, it’s crucial to note that there is limited data on the safety of CBD, including CBD sprays, according to the FDA. While CBD is generally considered safe, potential side effects may include drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and mood changes like increased irritability and agitation. Rebecca Abraham, a registered nurse and founder of Acute on Chronic, advises caution, particularly due to potential interactions between CBD and pharmaceutical or supplement medications. Consulting with a cannabis specialist and healthcare provider before using any CBD products is strongly recommended to ensure safety and avoid any potential complications.

Does CBD Spray Work?

The effectiveness of CBD sprays is a topic with limited research, but existing studies indicate promising outcomes.

According to Dr. Steele, CBD sprays have shown effectiveness in their intended uses, yet their impact may differ based on various factors. These factors include an individual’s unique body chemistry, the quality of the CBD extract utilized, and the specific formulation of the spray. Dr. Steele emphasizes the need for additional research to comprehensively understand the full spectrum of effects and benefits associated with CBD sprays.

In exploring ways to enhance the bioavailability of orally administered CBD, research suggests that taking CBD alongside a high-fat or high-calorie meal, as well as in a fed state, may contribute to increased bioavailability. This finding underscores the importance of considering external factors that can influence the absorption and effectiveness of CBD when taken orally.

As the field of CBD research continues to evolve, a deeper understanding of the nuanced factors influencing the efficacy of CBD sprays will likely emerge, providing valuable insights for individuals seeking to incorporate these products into their wellness routines.

How to Choose the Right CBD Spray for You

Selecting the right CBD spray is a critical decision for both consumer safety and efficacy. Dr. Steele underscores the importance of prioritizing reputable brands that subject their products to rigorous testing, ensuring they are free of contaminants and accurately disclose CBD content and dosage information. Factors such as the extraction method, type of CBD, and adherence to FDA good manufacturing practices (CGMP) certification further contribute to the selection of a reliable CBD spray.

For those considering the use of a CBD spray, Dr. Steele recommends evaluating the following factors:

  1. Safety and Purity:

Opt for sprays made from organically grown hemp, as they are less likely to contain harmful pesticides or chemicals. Look for a certified organic seal on the product.
Reputable manufacturers often provide third-party laboratory testing results, known as certificates of analysis (COAs). These documents confirm the absence of contaminants such as heavy metals or residual solvents.

  1. CBD Content and Dosage Accuracy:

Choose products that provide clear information about the CBD and any additional cannabinoid content per spray or dose. This transparency enables individuals to accurately measure their CBD intake, ensuring consistent dosing for desired effects.

  1. Extraction Method:

Consider the extraction method used to obtain CBD for the spray. Carbon dioxide extraction is preferred, as it yields high-quality CBD extract without the use of harsh chemicals. This method helps preserve the beneficial compounds of hemp and cannabis sativa plants while minimizing the risk of contamination.

  1. Type of CBD:

CBD sprays may come in different formulations, including full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate options.
Full-spectrum sprays contain CBD and other beneficial compounds found in hemp and cannabis sativa plants, including additional cannabinoids and terpenes (with up to 0.3% THC by dry weight).
Broad-spectrum sprays contain CBD and other compounds but are typically THC-free.
Isolate products exclusively contain CBD.
Individuals should consider personal preferences and any specific requirements when choosing between these options.

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