The popularity of CBD products has propelled the hemp cannabinoid into the forefront of many self care routines. But, with the vast array of CBD products available on the market today, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you, let alone the best way to take it.
With each CBD product requiring a different delivery method, it can be tricky to determine the most effective way to consume your cannabinoid of choice.
Here, we’ll explore the different ways to take CBD so that you can make an informed decision about which product and delivery method is best for you.
CBD Oil vs CBD Products
There is a lot of confusion surrounding terms related to cannabidiol (CBD) products. To help clear the air, let’s first explore the difference between CBD oil and CBD products.
CBD hemp oil is a concentrated liquid extract with high levels of CBD. It is created using extraction methods (CO2 or ethanol) on matured, dried hemp plants and then diluting the solution with a carrier oil, such as grapeseed oil, MCT oil, coconut oil or hemp seed oil.
CBD products, on the other hand, are CBD-infused items that come in many different forms. Some popular examples of CBD products include tinctures, gummies, topicals, capsules, and vape cartridges.
So the main difference between CBD oil and CBD products is that the oil is a concentrated extract, while other products are infused with CBD. Now that we have that out of the way let’s look at how to take CBD oil and CBD products.
What Products Contain CBD Oil?
CBD oil gets infused into a lot of different products. As it’s hydrophobic and doesn’t mix well with water, it is commonly used in products like gummies, capsules, topicals, tinctures, and vape cartridges.
Often, pure cannabidiol isolate is used to create CBD supplements. This form of CBD has been isolated from all other cannabinoids and compounds found in the cannabis plant, including THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils.
CBD isolate is often preferred by those who want to avoid any traces of THC in their products. However, while CBD isolate is quite versatile as an additive in CBD products and won’t fail a drug test, CBD isolate does not offer the same entourage effect as full-spectrum products.
The entourage effect is the synergistic benefit you get from consuming all the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including CBD, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil containing essential phytocannabinoids (excluding THC) and terpenes is often used in products as it offers a similar entourage effect to full-spectrum CBD oil, without any side effects of CBD oil with THC.
How Do I Take CBD Oil?
All products with CBD oil have different consumption methods, dosing instructions, and bioavailability. Regardless of whether they are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate products, you’ll want to make sure you follow some general guidelines to ensure an optimized CBD experience.
CBD Oil Tinctures and Oral Sprays
CBD oil tinctures and mouth sprays absorb sublingually, which means under the tongue. Sublingual absorption offers some of the fastest saturation of CBD into the bloodstream.
CBD oil tinctures can be taken in one of two ways: as liquid drops directly under the tongue or by mixing the CBD oil with food or drink.
CBD drops are measured using a dropper included with the tincture bottle. Droppers typically measure 1mL, and the number of drops to take will depend on the desired dosage. Once the dropper has been filled to the desired level, simply dispense the CBD oil drops under your tongue and hold for 60-90 seconds before swallowing. Keeping CBD oil under your tongue for at least a minute is necessary for allowing the cannabinoids to be absorbed fully.
For those who don’t like the taste of CBD oil or want to take it with food or drink, simply mix your desired dosage into whatever you’re eating or drinking. Note that this will slightly delay how quickly the CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream as it first needs to be digested.
CBD oral sprays are for those that want a quick and easy way to take CBD oil. Simply spray the CBD oil into your mouth as desired and hold for 60-90 seconds before swallowing. The bioavailability of CBD is lower with oral sprays compared to tinctures, but they are still an effective method of consuming CBD – especially if you like sublingual absorption but don’t want to fuss with droppers.
CBD tinctures and sprays offer saturation of the bloodstream within 15-30 minutes, with peak CBD levels being reached within an hour or two. The effects of CBD oil tinctures and sprays typically last about 2-5 hours, depending on the type of CBD and the amount of CBD you consume.
CBD Capsules and Pills
Capsules and pills are one of the most popular ways to take CBD oil as they offer consistent dosing and are easy to take. Simply swallow the capsule or pill with water as needed.
CBD capsules and pills are for those that want a no-fuss way to take CBD oil but note that the effects will take longer to kick in as the CBD needs to be digested before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. For this reason, it can take 1-2 hours for CBD capsules to reach peak levels in the bloodstream. However, the effects of CBD pills can last 6-8 hours – making them a good choice for those that want longer-lasting effects.
CBD capsules and pills are typically made with a CBD isolate rather than full- or broad-spectrum CBD. This is typically because the digestive system breaks down some of the cannabinoids and terpenes in full-spectrum CBD oil, which can reduce its potency for the endocannabinoid system (ECS). So with a CBD isolate, you can be sure you’re getting a consistent dose of CBD each time you take a capsule or pill.
Edible products like CBD gummies, chocolates, and candies are a great way to get your CBD fix. Like CBD capsules, edible CBD infusions offer precise and convenient on-the-go dosing – making them an another choice for beginner and experienced CBD users alike.
Edibles are usually the go-to choice for CBD users seeking longer-lasting saturation of CBD in their bodies. Because edibles need to be digested, it can take up to 2 hours for the effects to be felt – but once they kick in, they can last 6-8 hours.
The best part about consuming CBD edibles is their flavour. Many do not like the earthy taste of natural CBD products. So, gummies with tropical fruit flavours or chocolates with different fillings are a great way to get CBD without enduring the hempy or bitter taste.
CBD topicals are lotions, balms, salves, and other products applied directly to the skin. With some studies suggesting that the endocannabinoid system also exists in our skin, topicals provide a unique opportunity to target specific cannabinoid receptors in a localized way.
CBD topicals should be used in small amounts and rubbed into the skin until they are absorbed. CBD creams are among the most complex CBD products to dose accurately, which is why it’s recommended to use them sparingly – especially if you are new to CBD.
With many topicals made using the same natural ingredients in muscle rubs, cooling gels, and heat creams designed to soothe sore, aching muscles or support healthy skin, these products remain a popular choice for those seeking topical wellness solutions. CBD topicals usually kick in within 15-30 minutes, and their effects can last up to 4 hours.
CBD Vape Liquids
Vaping CBD oil is an excellent choice for those wanting to “top up” their cannabinoid levels throughout the day or for those that want the quickest onset of CBD. Many users report feeling the effects of CBD within seconds or minutes of taking a hit from their vape pen.
The effects of CBD vape oil can last anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on how much is consumed. However, note that the effects of vaping CBD are not as long-lasting as other methods like capsules or edibles – so you may need to vape more often to maintain consistent levels throughout the day.
CBD vape liquids can be made using either CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum vape liquids are usually preferred for their comprehensive range of inhalable cannabinoids, terpenes, and hemp compounds found in the plant. However, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate vape juices are also popular as they allow users to get their CBD fix without any THC.
CBD Beginners vs CBD Aficionados
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to finding the best way to take CBD. Different methods work better for different people – it just depends on individual needs and preferences.
Avid CBD users have a pretty good idea of what works best for them and tend to stick to their favourite products. They may even use multiple CBD products at once – like combining a topical CBD cream with a tincture or vape liquid – to get the most out of their cannabinoid therapy.
But even CBD aficionados should remember to switch up their routine every once in a while to keep their endocannabinoid system guessing (and working at its best).
So regardless of how long you have been using CBD products, it is always important to keep an open mind and be willing to experiment until you find the perfect method (or combination of methods) for you.
What CBD Dosage is Best?
Knowing the best way or time to take CBD doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how much CBD to take. And finding the perfect dose of CBD can be tricky since everyone metabolizes cannabinoids differently, and there is no official “recommended dosage” for CBD products.
Your preferred dose, like your preferred consumption method, will be specific to you.
As a side note, you’ll also find high doses of CBD in FDA-approved cannabis products like Epidiolex or NHS-approved products like Sativex. These are the only two cannabidiol products approved in the US or UK for medical use for conditions such as:
- chronic pain from multiple sclerosis
- epilepsy (like Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome)
- MS-related numbness and tingling
- MS-related involuntary muscle spasms, stiffness, or tremors
Note that taking CBD at any dosage level may cause side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, or light-headedness – especially in new users or those taking higher doses for the first time. This is why it’s always a good idea to start slow and increase your dosage gradually until you find the sweet spot.
Using CBD products can be confusing for both new users and CBD aficionados alike. The best way to take CBD is the way that works best for you and your individual needs.
Regardless of your preferred method of consumption, always buy from reputable brands and sources, start with small doses, and increase gradually until you find the perfect dose.
1. Cannabinoids and the Gastrointestinal Tract, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11358910/
2. Sublingual Route, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/sublingual-route