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How to Use CBD: 4 Different Methods and Types

How do I take CBD?

What Are The Different Types of CBD Products?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is making headlines as a natural, holistic way to support your overall health and wellness. Utilized by placing a few drops under your tongue, CBD-rich hemp oil is the most popular type of CBD product.

However, this is far from the only way to enjoy the benefits of CBD. It can also be taken orally, applied topically, and inhaled.

Furthermore, there are many different types of CBD products, such as capsules, edibles, creams, vape oils, isolates, and even infused beverages.

What are the differences between the various methods and types of CBD? Which one should you choose? Here’s what you need to know.

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How to Take CBD

The simplest way to break down CBD product types is to look at the different ways of taking CBD.

Generally speaking, there are four main methods of using CBD: sublingual (under the tongue), oral (ingested), inhaled (vaping or smoking), and topical (on the skin). 

All of these methods will do their job of getting CBD into your body where it can interact with the endocannabinoid system to benefit your health. 

However, each comes with its unique characteristics, such as time of onset (how long it takes for you to feel it) and duration.

There’s isn’t necessarily a “best” method of using CBD since they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

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1. Sublingual

Popularized by CBD oil, the sublingual method is the most common way to use CBD.

In this administration method, drops of CBD-rich hemp oil are placed under the tongue and held for about 30-60 seconds, allowing the cannabidiol to absorb directly into the bloodstream through tiny capillaries.

This method is popular because it’s relatively easy to use, allowing you to control dosages, has long-lasting effects (about 2-6 hours) and most importantly leads to effective absorption.

Aside from standard CBD oil tinctures, there are many other types of CBD products that can be taken sublingually, such as oral sprays, isolates, and even CBD-infused coconut oil.

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2. Oral 

Thanks to its convenience, the oral method remains the most popular way to take supplements and medicines.

This method is fairly straightforward: the preparation is taken by mouth — typically in the form of capsules — allowing it to pass through the digestive system.

As such, oral CBD is subject to what clinicians call first pass metabolism: the breakdown of therapeutic compounds in the digestive tract and the liver before they reach the bloodstream. 

Due to this, much of the CBD you take in oral form gets lost before it can take effect, explaining why oral preparations aren’t as popular as sublingual ones.

Additionally, oral CBD can take a long time to kick in. While you may feel its effects within 30 minutes on an empty stomach, it can easily take an hour or even two if you recently ate. 

Having said that, the oral route also has one key advantage: long duration of effects.

CBD taken in this way can typically be felt for about four hours or longer, which means you get a beneficial effect that stays with you for a significant portion of the day.

In addition, oral preparations provide you with exact CBD doses and are even easier to use than sublingual tinctures.

Capsules are the best example of an oral CBD product, but it can also be taken in the form of edibles such as gummies and even CBD-infused beverages.

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3. Inhalation

In the inhalation method, cannabidiol is breathed into the lungs, allowing for its rapid, efficient absorption into the bloodstream.

Historically speaking, inhalation through smoking has been the main method of using cannabis.

With CBD products, however, this route of administration has taken on a new, safer form: vaping.

Rather than igniting the therapeutic substance, vape devices turn CBD-containing e-liquid (also known as vape oil or juice) into a vapor that can be inhaled.

The standout property of this administration method is rapid onset. Simply put, the effects of vaping CBD can be felt almost instantaneously.

This is great for people who need immediate relief, such as those suffering from sudden anxiety attacks.

Furthermore, inhaling CBD tends to have absorption rates that are similar to or even greater than the sublingual route.

Another advantage of vaping CBD is that it’s convenient. You can take your vape with you on the go and use it discreetly when needed.

It’s also arguably the most enjoyable way to take CBD since you can use produce big clouds of vapor and use tasty flavors. 

On the other hand, the main weakness of vaping CBD is that its effects don’t last very long. In most cases, you will only feel relief for about one to two hours.

Also, vaping requires more investment, upkeep, and knowledge, especially if you buy a standalone vaporizer device.

The most common types of inhaled CBD products are disposable CBD vape pens, cartridges, and e-liquids.

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The last major method of using CBD is topical: applying directly to the skin. Topical CBD is a relatively slow method, taking up to an hour to be felt but also providing relief for three hours or longer. 

Unlike the previous three methods, topical application of CBD has localized effects. This means it only works where you applied it, such as the hands, knees, or back. 

As such, topical CBD works best for site-specific relief of muscle and joint pain or discomfort, making it popular among workout enthusiasts and professional athletes.

Besides, this CBD method is useful for skin-related issues, such as acne and inflammation.

Topical CBD products come in many forms, including creams, lotions, roll-ons, ointments, lip balms, massage oils, and gels. 

Also, some companies sell transdermal CBD patches that are claimed to continuously deliver CBD into the bloodstream.

However, there isn’t much evidence that these patches can penetrate deep enough into the skin to reach systemic circulation.

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Types of CBD Products

All in all, there are dozens of different forms of CBD, including tinctures, oral sprays, edibles (gummies, chocolate, and other foods), capsules, vape e-liquids and disposable pens, creams, isolates (solid, 99% pure CBD), and even infused beverages. 

However, all of these different CBD product types are still used in the four main methods described above. In fact, many of these CBD forms can be used in multiple ways. 

For example, although tinctures are meant to be taken sublingually, you can also use them orally and topically.

Similarly, CBD isolates can be added to foods or used to formulate your own CBD oils, creams, and other preparations.

Which Type of CBD is Best for You?

The variety of available CBD products can be a little overwhelming. Generally speaking, sublingual CBD oil is still the optimal route, but as with most things in life, individual context matters.

If you’re not sure about which type of CBD is ideal for you, we recommend looking for the administration method that best suits your needs.

For example, if you have back pain, a topical product would be the ideal choice.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a subtle boost of daily wellness, oral products work well.

On the other hand, if you require immediate relief, vaping CBD can be the better option.

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