• CBD orals, like CBD oils and gummies, and topicals are the most preferred forms by consumers(1).
  • Intravenous, vaping, and sublingual administrations allow faster absorption of CBD in the bloodstream(2).
  • Clinical trials reported that the half-life of cannabidiol (CBD) ranges from one hour to five days, depending on the method of administration and the dose(3).

Best Way to Take CBD Oil 

Cannabidiol’s lipophilic nature makes it easier to be dispensed as an alcoholic or oil formulation, oromucosal spray, liquid solution, and sublingual drops. 

There is no definitive research on the best way to consume CBD for anxiety.

 However, studies have shown that CBD may be administered along with a high-calorie and high-fat meal to increase oral bioavailability(4).

Oral bioavailability is the percentage of the drug absorbed by the body after administration. 

Still, it is best to consult with a psychiatrist before taking CBD for any mental health disorder.

There are no specific guidelines on the best time to take CBD during the day. The recommended dosage and the purpose for CBD use may determine the frequency of CBD intake. 

How to Take CBD Depending on the Product Type 

CBD products available on the market, such as tinctures, vapes, topicals, and gummies, may be taken through different consumption methods. There are currently no CBD dietary supplements available. 

1. Sublingual Oils

Sublingual oils are the most common form of CBD products. Tinctures, such as CBD oils, are placed under the tongue for 40 to 60 seconds for faster absorption into the bloodstream. 

The sublingual method allows the absorption of the CBD product in the tissue under the tongue to the bloodstream without going through the digestive system.

CBD oil may also be packaged in spray or dropper bottles and vials. An ingredient for CBD oils are CBD extracts, a carrier oil such as coconut oil, terpenes, and other cannabinoids

2. Vaping

There are different vape devices, such as disposable CBD vape pens, CBD oil cartridges, CBD pods, refillable CBD vape pens, and pod vapes, that may be used to inhale CBD.

 Each vaping device has its instruction manual. A pre-determined amount of CBD oil is added to the vape juice. 

According to studies, vaporization or smoking allows better delivery of CBD(5). CBD is transported to the bloodstream through the gas exchange in the lungs’ tiny air sacs.

The amount of CBD inhaled depends on the depth and duration of inhalation and the vaporizer temperature(6).

However, it is vital to note that smoking and vaping have been linked to the development of severe pulmonary diseases. Thus, caution is advised when considering this method of administration(7).

3. CBD Capsules

CBD may also come in capsule form. CBD capsules are an alternative for individuals who are not comfortable with taking CBD oil as is. 

Some CBD capsules are packaged in soft gels. However, CBD capsules may not be as highly concentrated as CBD oil.

The CBD capsules contain a pre-measured CBD sold in 10mg to 100mg forms. There are no distinct flavors associated with CBD pills.

4. CBD Topical Lotions

Some beauty and skincare products also contain CBD in their formulations. CBD-based creams, balms, and moisturizers may be applied to the skin.

A majority of the CBD lotions sold on the market are used for reducing pain and inflammation, such as in arthritis, muscle sores, and joint pain. 

CBD lotions and creams containing CBD may be used to improve the healing of skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, pruritis, and acne. 

There are also no allergic or irritant reactions observed upon application of CBD topicals during the compound’s clinical trials(8).

Research is currently ongoing on CBD’s antioxidant properties and therapeutic potential in treating other skin disorders. 

5. Concentrates

Another way to take CBD is through concentrates. Different examples of concentrates are wax, shatter, rosin, kief, crumble, and distillate.

CBD concentrates may contain higher concentrations of cannabidiol. According to a survey, the dose of CBD in concentrates may range from 0% to isolate 100%(9).

6. CBD Edibles

Another popular CBD product is edibles, such as CBD gummies

CBD edibles may come in different flavors like sweet, sour, citrus, apple, bergamot, baked ham, bacon, banana, blueberry, and other flavors derived from flowers, vegetables, and fruits.

CBD edibles may contain zero milligrams (mg) to greater than 200mg of CBD per piece(10).

CBD Tinctures: Pros and Cons

There are several advantages of using CBD tinctures

First, this CBD product is easy and convenient to use. Second, the sublingual application allows faster absorption into the bloodstream compared to other methods.

Lastly, there is a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to flavors. 

However, the disadvantage of CBD oil tinctures is that it has a strong and earthy aftertaste if bought unflavored. 

CBD Gummies: Pros and Cons 

There is a wide variety of CBD gummies sold online. There are also CBD gummies that may be concocted at home. 

Some of the ingredients used for DIY CBD gummies are lime juice, CBD oil drops, white sugar, dried fruit powder, water, and tea. 

Individuals who prefer to make CBD gummies may tweak the ingredients according to their preferences.

However, the downside of purchasing CBD gummies is their high sugar content, which makes these gummies an unhealthy option for those who are monitoring their sugar levels. 

Moreover, the absorption takes longer since CBD has to pass through the digestive tract and liver. Thus, it also takes a long time to experience the effects of CBD.

Through oral administration, the body absorbs only 20 to 30% of CBD(11).

CBD Topicals: Pros and Cons 

CBD topicals are typically used to relieve sore muscles and joint pains. These products are easy to apply and are offered in different doses.

CBD creams can also be used on specific areas of the body where there is pain or inflammation.

The disadvantage of using CBD topicals is that doses are difficult to measure. Moreover, CBD topicals also are not as fast-acting as CBD tinctures in terms of absorption. 

There is also a high chance of wiping or washing the product off before it gets fully absorbed by the skin.

Do Gummies, Tinctures, and Topicals Have the Same Characteristics? 

What CBD products such as gummies, tinctures, and topicals have in common is the presence of CBD in every formulation. 

Using CBD topicals will not result in systemic blood levels after application compared to oral administrations, such as gummies and tinctures(12)

The effects experienced upon using a CBD product will vary depending on the dose of CBD present in the product formulation. 

CBD products that contain full-spectrum CBD may contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). On the other hand, CBD isolate contains a purified form of CBD.

However, the side effects may also be more significant for consumers who are using CBD isolates

The preparation of CBD extraction is the same but packaged differently. The potency of each CBD product may also differ from one another.

Studies have shown that long-term administration of 10mg per day to 400mg per day of CBD does not create a toxic effect(13).

Researchers also indicated no reports of fatal overdose in CBD use. 

How Long Does Each Method Take to Kick In

The fastest way for the body to absorb CBD is through ingestion. Studies reported cannabidiol’s half-life between 1.4 and 10.9 hours after oromucosal spray use(14)

CBD’s half-life is 2 to 5 days when taken through chronic oral administration.

In addition, the half-life of CBD is 24 hours when administered intravenously and 31 hours after vaping.

The half-life of CBD varies, depending on the form of administration and the dose. 

According to clinical research, 65% of CBD remains unchanged in the feces and 20% in urine excretions(15).

How To Boost Absorption Of CBD Oil

According to a recent study in 2020, one possible method to increase the oral bioavailability of CBD is to administer the compound alongside a meal containing high calories or fat(16)

An Introduction to CBD: What Is CBD? 

The industrial hemp industry has been using hemp for several years for medicinal and nutritional purposes and fiber production. Hemp is a derivative of Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC.

Marijuana is another derivative of the cannabis plant which contains high amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the compound responsible for the “high” sensation or intoxicating effects derived from marijuana. 

A hemp plant consists of several phytocannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is only one of 500 cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant(17)

CBD is one of the predominant compounds from the industrial hemp plant. Hemp contains less to no THC, depending on the variety of the cannabis plant. 

Terpenes are essential oils responsible for the color and flavor of CBD extracts. Other types of plants that contain terpenes are peppermint, broccoli, and lemon.

Moreover, CBD may be extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant through carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction(18)

CO2 extraction is the preferred method for extracting CBD from hemp. Supercritical CO2 is non-toxic, easy to remove, non-flammable, low-cost, and abundant(19).

CBD extracts are classified into full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. 

Full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, essential oils, and less than 0.3% THC

Meanwhile, broad-spectrum CBD contains the same components as full-spectrum CBD without THC.

Lastly, CBD isolate is 100% pure CBD

How Does CBD Work? 

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), depending on the dosage and administration. 

The ECS modulates various bodily functions, including emotional processing, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses, learning, sleeping, and eating.

An expansive network of cellular receptors and chemical signals comprises the ECS. CBD helps regulate cannabinoid receptors and the ECS overall due to the compound’s anxiolytic and nonpsychoactive effects.

Current research explores the vital role of the ECS in drug development(20).

CBD Benefits

Clinical studies showed that the potential health benefits of CBD may alleviate symptoms of different medical conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, insomnia, and addiction(21).

Only one drug containing CBD is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for reducing seizures: Epidiolex(22). Epidiolex is administered to patients two years and older who have Dravet syndrome (DS) or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). 

LGS and DS are epilepsy disorders that begin during childhood(23).

In 2018, the Farm Bill was enacted into law, which legalized hemp-derived products, including CBD, under stricter restrictions.

All CBD-based products must contain less than 0.3% THC, as stated by federal laws(24)

Clinical studies showed that CBD is generally safe and does not cause changes in blood pressure, heart rate, blood tests, and neurologic testing(25).

CBD may also help reduce alcohol drinking among individuals who have alcohol use disorder (AUD)(26).

Therapeutic properties of CBD are currently being explored to reduce the cravings and drug-seeking behavior of individuals with heroin use disorder(27)

Ongoing research is also being conducted on the potential of CBD as a promising anti-cancer drug and as a preventative treatment for COVID-19. 

Side Effects of CBD 

All CBD-based products do not cure any medical condition. Cannabidiol also has side effects such as irritability, nau$sea, and fatigue.

When taken in high doses, CBD may cause abnormalities in liver-related blood tests(28). CBD also has contraindications with some heart medications and antibiotics.

Other individuals also noted experiencing malaise, diarrhea, weight loss or weight gain, and decreased appetite after taking CBD.

Pregnant women are also advised not to take any product that contains cannabidiol

Research showed that CBD may add certain complications to pregnancy and affect the immune function of the developing fetus(29).

How to Choose the Right CBD Product: What CBD Product Is Best for an Individual?

Choosing the right CBD product will depend on the consumers’ preferences and needs. The proper dosage and CBD potency also have to be taken into consideration.

Individuals considering taking full-spectrum CBD products should review the levels of THC included in the product formulation.

Broad-spectrum CBD may be an option for beginners who do not want THC in their CBD products and also want to avoid the side effects of taking CBD isolates.

It is advisable to consult a physician before purchasing any CBD product

First-time consumers should also check the CBD products for mislabeling and false medical claims. 

According to a study conducted by the FDA, some CBD products contain less CBD content than what was indicated on the label(30).

Some CBD products contain high THC content and contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, fungus, and solvents. 

The presence of contaminants in CBD products may cause serious health risks. Lead, for example, can cause language problems, reproductive problems, neurologic toxicity, and poisoning(31).

There should be a certificate of analysis on the product’s website to verify the authenticity of a CBD product. An accredited third-party laboratory performs CBD lab testing. 

The FDA also suggests looking for a “statement of identity,” nutrient content claims, health-related claims, composition, and function claims on product labels(32).

CBD products are available online, in pharmacies, convenience stores, veterinary offices, and cannabis dispensaries.

  1. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals
  2. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans
  3. Ibid.
  4. Towards Better Delivery of Cannabidiol (CBD)
  5. Ibid.
  6. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment
  7. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products
  8. A Therapeutic Effect of CBD-Enriched Ointment in Inflammatory Skin Diseases and Cutaneous Scars
  9. Exploring Cannabis Concentrates on the Legal Market: User Profiles, Product Strength, and Health-Related Outcomes
  10. Ibid.
  11. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment
  12. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals
  13. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
  14. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans
  15. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals
  16. Towards Better Delivery of Cannabidiol (CBD)
  17. Cannabidiol: Science, Marketing, and Legal Perspectives
  18. Development of Cannabinoids in Flowers of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.): A Pilot Study
  19. Processing and Extraction Methods of Medicinal Cannabis: A Narrative Review
  20. The Endocannabinoid System: Essential and Mysterious
  21. Cannabidiol (CBD) – What We Know and What We Don’t
  22. Emerging Use of Epidiolex (Cannabidiol) in Epilepsy
  23. Treatment of Seizures Associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndromes: A Focus on Cannabidiol Oral Solution
  24. Cannabidiol: Science, Marketing, and Legal Perspectives
  25. Cannabidiol (CBD) as a Promising Anti-Cancer Drug
  26. Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabidiol for Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol-Related Damages on the Liver and the Brain
  27. Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
  28. Cannabidiol (CBD) – What We Know and What We Don’t
  29. Cannabinoid Exposure During Pregnancy and Its Impact on Immune Function
  30. Medical Fraud, Mislabeling, Contamination: All Common in CBD Products
  31. Ibid.
  32. Labeling of Cannabidiol Products: A Public Health Perspective
CBD Clinicals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more