November 27, 2020

What Is The Best Way To Take CBD Oil?

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

You've heard of CBD oil, and how it can benefit you, and now you turn to trusty old Google to find a product. 

Here's where it gets confusing. An overwhelming amount of products pop up, and it's available in ways that you probably hadn't even thought of yet.

So what is the best way to take CBD oil?

Well, that's going to depend on you, the condition you are using it for, and whether or not the oil is even a good fit for your situation.

There are several ways that you can take CBD, and we will go over each one so you can decide on what is going to be your best option.

For the people who are just learning about CBD oil and how it can help them, here is a quick breakdown for you.

Cannabidiol(CBD) is one of the over 100 cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis or industrial hemp plant. This cannabinoid works within the Endocannabinoid System to provide relief from numerous diseases and disorders, some of which are:

  • Inflammation
  • Skin disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • MS
  • IBS
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain

An incredible amount of research is being done on the subject around the globe right now.

There are different types of CBD available as well.

  • Full Spectrum - This has absolutely every possible beneficial part that the plant has to offer in it, including small amounts of THC, as well as terpenes and vitamins
  • Broad Spectrum - This has the majority of the terpenes and vitamins still present, but the THC and some other things are have been removed
  • CBD Isolate - 99.9% pure CBD, this has only that and nothing more

It is incredibly important to know which kind you are taking. For people who are drug tested through work or another organization, Full Spectrum oil can cause a fail. Even though the amount of THC that it contains is very small, and comes with no chance of feeling 'high' from it, it can still be detected.

For this reason also you need to make sure the company that you decide to order from has third party independent testing and lab reports easily accessible on their site. This is the ONLY way you are going to know what is actually in your CBD oil.

For people who are not drug tested, a Full Spectrum product is always going to be your best option, regardless of what you are taking it for. Having that little bit of THC in there, as well as all the other beneficial stuff, produces an "Entourage Effect", where all the parts work together to boost each other, and provide greater relief than just any one part alone.

Bioavailability - What's That?

It's important to understand bioavailability when it comes to CBD. This is the rate and degree at which the CBD is absorbed into the body.

When you take CBD orally, which is the easiest and most popular method, the CBD gets broken down and metabolized by the liver, digestive tract, lungs, and blood.

The amount of CBD you are actually receiving is reduced after these processes occur, so you may think that you are getting the full mg amount you are taking, but you're actually not.

Different delivery methods are going to produce different results, and is going to matter in terms of how much actual CBD you are getting.

Some of the different ways you can take CBD have way better bioavailability rates than others, so don't be scared to play around with different ingestion methods.

What is the best way to take CBD oil?

Sublingual CBD Oils and Tinctures

sublingual cbd oil

One of the most popular ways to take CBD oil is sublingually, or under the tongue.

CBD oils, or tinctures, comes in small bottles that are normally equipped with a dropper so you can easily measure out one drop at a time.

You place the oil under the tongue, place your tongue down, and hold it there for about a minute and then swallow.

Using this method, the CBD gets absorbed by the blood vessels and sublingual glands that are present underneath the tongue. By taking it this way you are mostly bypassing the digestive system, and the first pass through the liver.

Sublingual delivery is pretty fast, with the effects being felt after about 20 minutes.

With sublingual ingestion, the bioavailablity has been reported to be 12%-35%. Taking it by this method offers long-lasting effects, approximately 4-6 hours.

With this long of an effect, it is easy to see why this is the most popular way to take CBD oil. It can be taken multiple times a day, and is extremely well tolerated, even in high doses.

There are several types of CBD sublinguals, such as oil, lozenges, sprays and concentrates, and they come in a wide variety of flavors. Be aware that some brands definitely taste better than others.

CBD Gummies

cbd edibles

This is another way that you can take CBD. There are several products out there with regard to edibles, the most popular one being CBD gummies. Others include hard candies, chocolate, beverages, and more.

These products are chewed up and then swallowed, and are an option for people who do not like the taste of CBD oil, or for children who struggle with taking the oil sublingually.

This method of taking CBD has a low bioavailability rate, 6%-15%. When consumed this way the CBD tends to collect in the fatty cells, and is slowly released throughout the day. Because it collects like this, if you take it consistently it will build up in your body over time and can be a good option for people suffering from chronic pain, as it is constantly being released by the cells.

Edibles can take up to two hours to take effect, so for somebody who is looking for quick relief this may not be the best option for them.

CBD Capsules

cbd capsules

This method comes in the form of pills, or oil filled capsules that you swallow. Much like edibles, it has a low bioavailability rate, 6%-15%.

It also works in the same way as it collects in the fatty cells, and has the advantage of having zero taste whatsoever as you don't chew them before swallowing.

Capsules can also take up to two hours to feel the effects from it.

It's good to remember that just because a certain method has a low bioavailability rate it doesn't necessarily mean it's not a viable option. Choosing a product with a higher rate may not always be cost effective in the long run.

Vaping CBD 

vaping cbd

This method involves either heating and inhaling CBD flower with a vaporizer, or by using CBD e-juice. This can be with a disposable or refillable vape pen, or other vape device.

To get started with this method, you can either visit a local vape store, or shop online for a device. Many companies offer vape setups that come with everything you need to get started, including CBD e-liquid.

*IMPORTANT* CBD e-liquid is NOT CBD oil!!! You would not vape straight CBD oil, it was not designed for this. If you are considering vaping CBD, you must get the proper product in order to do so. Failure to follow these instructions could cause serious harm!

Vaping CBD has a very high bioavailability rate, estimated at 35%-55%.

By directly entering the lungs, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and the effects from this method are felt almost immediately, within minutes.

The effects of vaping CBD last around 2-3 hours. This method has the shortest effect time, but the best bioavailability rate.

There are also tons of options for CBD e-liquid, and comes in may different flavors, strengths, and types. Some companies offer liquid that is tasteless, and can be added to any juice you currently own.

The long term effects and safety of vaping in general are not known or well studied as of yet, it is up to you to decide whether this is the best option for you or not.

Vaping CBD can also be used alongside another method, for example, you can take a sublingual or edible product, which has a longer effect time, and use a vape as a "top up", for immediate relief.

CBD Topicals

cbd topical

This method is available in several forms, including creams, balms, lip chap, beauty products, etc.

CBD taken in this form does not enter the bloodstream, which is great to know for anyone who is drug tested, as Full Spectrum topical products will include THC.

CBD topicals can be used to treat numerous ailments, as the skin contains many cannabinoid receptors. It can offer localized pain relief when applied directly to the area, or can be used to treat conditions such as eczema, or psoriasis.

More and more companies are coming out with CBD topical products. When looking at the products, try to get one that has a higher concentration of CBD, as CBD applied in this manner has an extremely low bioavailability rate. CBD used in this manner needs to be applied liberally.

CBD Suppositories

Research into the bioavailabilty rates of this method is hard to come across, but there are claims that it can be up to 70%!

This is also one of the methods that is quite rare, but can provide very effective relief. It enters the body and blood stream through veins that are located in the anus.

This method is usually considered when all other options have been deemed unavailable for whatever reason. One example of this may be for a person who has IBS, and has difficulty processing CBD when taken orally.

By ingesting it this way it does not enter the digestive tract at all. There are some companies that offer vaginal as well as rectal suppositories, and there are claims that these methods can provide very localized relief, such as from cramps, pelvic pain, etc.

Unfortunately there is no real research to back this up just yet, but it is something that is being studied right now.

What Is The Best Way To Take CBD Oil - Final Thoughts

When looking at the hundreds of products available, you need to do the research into the different kinds, and weigh the pros and cons of each.

Looking for something that will provide immediate relief? Vaping will be your best option.

Looking for a long-lasting effect? Your choice here is going to be a sublingual oil.

Can't stomach the taste of either of those methods? Try out the many edibles or capsules that are available on the market.

Regardless of what method you choose, always make sure you are looking at the lab reports and testing that are done by third party companies.

This is to ensure that you are getting the amount of CBD in your products that they are claiming, and also that is doesn't come tainted by heavy metals or toxins. Fully organic is the only way to go when it comes to CBD products.

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


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  • Thanks for such an informative article! CBD is such an incredible medicine and its important to continue to inform people!

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