As doctors, scientists, and lawmakers continue to see the ever-growing list of benefits that medical marijuana provides, the likelihood of legalization on the federal level increases. And that’s a very good thing because medical marijuana—the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) in particular—can be used to treat a great many medical problems that were once thought to be well-nigh untreatable. From diabetes to nicotine addiction to fibromyalgia to anxiety and schizophrenia, CBD seems to be the wonder drug of the 21st century. Learn more about CBD strips here.
But it’s only been in recent years that CBD has become readily available for mass consumption. Now growers are producing high-CBD strains that can be used in a variety of different ways: smoking, dabbing, edibles, pills, tinctures, concentrates, and recently, dissolvable strips. This article will focus on that last method of consumption—CBD strips.
Along the way, we’ll answer questions such as:
- What are CBD strips?
- Why should you use them?
- How do you use CBD strips?
- Is it possible to make your own batch of CBD strips?
We’ll even talk a bit about CBD strips versus other delivery methods, and the science that makes the dissolvable strip possible (microencapsulation). So where do we start? At the beginning.
What Are CBD Strips?
The simplest analog, and perhaps the inspiration for the CBD variety, is the breath strips that became so popular a number of years back. Breath strips and CBD strips are both small squares of edible “paper” that have been infused with any of several ingredients. In the case of the breath strip, it’s menthol, eucalyptus, and other components that make your breath smell good. In the case of the CBD strip, it’s the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Regardless of what’s included in the strip, the “paper” itself is extremely water soluble. That means that is will dissolve quickly when it comes in contact with water—in this case, the saliva in your mouth.
What Are CBD Strips Used For?
At their most basic, CBD strips are a simple way to administer medicine into your body. The dissolvable CBD strips don’t require an injection. They don’t need to be digested. And they don’t carry with them the risk of causing stomach problems. CBD strips are a simple yet effective method for getting the medicine you need.
Why Use CBD Strips?
There are many different ways to get the CBD your body needs. Smoke or vape a high-CBD strain. Dab a CBD concentrate. Eat a CBD-laced edible. Or take a few drops of CBD tincture. Unfortunately, most of these methods draw a lot of attention. You certainly can’t smoke, vape, or dab at the office. Yes, edibles and tinctures are a bit more discreet, but they could still lead to questions from co-workers.
A CBD strip is an inconspicuous way to get a dose of CBD anytime, anywhere. That’s why many medical-marijuana users choose dissolvable CBD strips as their go-to method for pain relief, control of anxiety, and the management of other medical symptoms.
How Do You Use CBD Strips?
CBD strips are administered like the breath strips mentioned earlier. But unlike those breath strips, you don’t place the CBD strip on your tongue and swallow the dissolved material. Instead, you position the CBD strip under your tongue and allow it to dissolve. When the strip melts away, the CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream through the sublingual artery. This is the quickest, most intense method to get the CBD into your body. For a slower, more mellow, longer-lasting effect, you can try placing the CBD strip against the side of your cheek.
CBD Strips Vs. Other Types Of Delivery Methods
To push CBD into your system through your lungs, smoke, dab, or vape. Edibles and pills do it through your stomach. CBD strips bypass both of these systems and deliver the medication directly into your bloodstream. If we had to compare the dissolvable strip to any other consumption method, the most similar would be the tincture. But why is the CBD strip so different than edibles and pills? Because with edibles and pills, you have to factor in the acids in your stomach.
When you swallow a bite of CBD-laced cookie, your stomach acid has to break down the cannabinoids before they can be absorbed into your bloodstream. After they’re absorbed, they still have to pass through your liver before entering your bloodstream and being carried to your brain (where they do the most good). All of this takes time. And let’s not forget that the long trip through the digestive system serves to remove some of the potency of the CBD. This reduction in potency while traveling through the digestive tract is known as bioavailability. Edibles, smoking, dabbing, and vaping provide less bioavailability than CBD strips because of the destructive and filtering properties of the digestive and respiratory system.
When you place a CBD strip under your tongue and allow it to dissolve without swallowing, the CBD is absorbed directly into your sublingual artery. From there, the unfiltered CBD travels to the external carotid artery, to the internal carotid artery, and then to your brain. All in all, this is a very short trip when compared to the trek the CBD has to make through your lungs or stomach (through smoking or edibles respectively). And, really, that’s the usefulness of the CBD strip: sublingual absorption bypasses the journey through other parts of your body before reaching your bloodstream.
Can You Make Your Own Batch Of CBD Strips?
The simple answer is yes, you can make your own batch of CBD strips…but we don’t recommend it. “Why?” you ask. Because it is a complicated process. To give you an idea of what goes into those dissolvable strips, here’s a basic recipe.
- 22.4 grams pullulan
- 1.0 gram carrageenan
- 0.15 grams xanthan gum
- 0.15 grams locust bean gum
- 0.8 grams sorbitol
- 71.85 grams water
- 2.5 grams emulsified mint oil
- 0.5 grams herb extract
- 0.3 grams aspartame
- 0.25 grams citric acid
- Microencapsulated CBD extract (CBD oil)
- Measure pullulan, carrageenan, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, sorbitol, aspartame, and citric acid into a large mixing bowl.
- Mix well.
- While stirring, slowly pour water into the bowl.
- Continue mixing until you’ve created a gel.
- Add emulsified mint oil, herb extract, and THC extract.
- Combine ingredients until everything is homogenous.
- Cover loosely (doesn’t have to be airtight) and store overnight.
- Pour on a baking pan and spread to desired thickness.
- Dry in an oven set between 140 degrees Fahrenheit and 175 degrees Fahrenheit until the mixture is dry to the touch (about 3-8% moisture).
- Remove the large sheet from the pan, let it cool, and then cut into small strips.
Again, we don’t suggest that you try this at home. For one thing, some of those ingredients are hard to find. For another thing, they can be rather expensive. Then there’s the whole issue of getting everything just right (thickness, dryness, CBD content) so as to actually produce a viable product. We never want to discourage you from experimenting with your cannabis products. That’s where most of the new innovations came from. But this process may be beyond the average Mary Joe or Mary Jane in its cost and complexity. We recommend leaving it to professionals. Save yourself a lot of time and a major headache and just buy your strips from your local dispensary.
To highlight this point, let’s discuss a big part of the recipe that is beyond the mixing abilities of most people. Let’s discuss microencapsulation.
Microencapsulation Makes CBD Strips Possible
The word “microencapsulation” means to put a substance into a microcapsule. In this case, we’re putting CBD extract into those microcapsules. The thing about all this is that those microcapsules are very small vessels (invisible to the naked eye) suspended in liquid. When the liquid dries or evaporates, the microcapsules are left behind, in this case, on the dissolvable strip. Before it was used for the likes of breath strips and CBD strips, microencapsulation was, and still is, mainly used in the transport, administration, and targeting of therapeutic drugs for cancer treatment and other diseases. Here’s a simple diagram to give you a clearer picture of what microencapsulated CBD is.
As difficult as microencapsulation is, it provides a number of benefits over just adding CBD extract into the mix (e.g., dripping CBD tincture into your smoothie).
- Encapsulated CBD is protected against degradation (or spoilage) for extended periods of time.
- Encapsulation provides a means to control the release rate of CBD.
- Encapsulated CBD makes consumption simple with a variety of ingestion methods available.
In essence, microencapsulation is a way to control the dosage on the strip, makes the strip easy to consume, and helps the CBD last longer.
Give CBD Strips A Try
We highly recommend that you give CBD strips a try. It’s really the only way you’ll know for sure if this method of delivery is right for you. Talk to the professionals at your local dispensary. They will be able to point you toward the best product for your need. Keep in mind that you should always start small and slow when it comes to a new method consuming CBD. It’s also important to remember that sometimes the effects can take fifteen to thirty minutes (or more) to really make themselves felt. Try to resist the urge to pop another strip in your mouth to speed the process along. This will do nothing but make you feel worse than you already do.