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How to Take CBD Oil: 7 Forms of CBD

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Written by The CBD Insider

If you’re thinking about using cannabidiol (CBD), then you likely know there are a lot of options. With all of the products on the market, it’s a daunting prospect to figure out which one is best for you, especially if you’re new to trying CBD. In this guide, we’ll analyze all of the most common forms of CBD, including tinctures, capsules, vapes, topicals, and more. We’ll show you their advantages and disadvantages, how quickly they tend to work, how to take them, and how much people typically consume.

Ways to Take CBD Oil

These are some of the most popular ways to take CBD:

  • Capsules
  • Gummies
  • Isolates
  • Sprays
  • Tinctures
  • Topicals
  • Vaping

Here is some information on each form of CBD:

Isolate PowderModerateModerateHigh900-990mg/gram
TopicalsHighLow Moderate50-250mg/oz
VapingHighLow Low1-2mg/hit

CBD Capsules

Capsules are pills usually containing CBD oil in powder form or liquid CBD oil.

They are most useful for continual, consistent supplementation.

They are usually the slowest-acting form of CBD since they must go through the metabolism of the digestive system.

However, because they go through the GI tract, capsules are also one of the longest-lasting administration routes.

Additionally, since CBD capsules have no taste or smell, some people find them easier to take than oil.

Typical Serving Size

Typically, capsules offer serving sizes of 10-30mg of CBD per capsule.

However, some outliers exist, such as PlusCBD’s Maximum Strength Softgels, which contain 50mg/capsule of CBD.

How to Use CBD Capsules

As the easiest way to add CBD to your diet, take capsules orally with water like other supplements, according to the instructions of your product.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages to CBD oil capsules:

  • Long-lasting
  • Consistent servings
  • Convenient
  • Typically tasteless

Disadvantages to CBD oil capsules:

  • Slow-acting
  • Can’t fine-tune the servings

CBD Gummies

Gummies are CBD-infused candies, an increasingly popular product type on the CBD market.

These are easy to take and consumers seem to enjoy gummies more than other forms of CBD likely due to the taste and familiarity of a gummy.

CBD gummies may take about 30 minutes to work because they go through the GI tract.

Their bioavailability is also likely to be low since the gummy must bypass the digestive system.

Typical Serving Size

Serving sizes for CBD gummies are typically 1-2 gummies, usually containing 5-10mg per gummy.

Most gummies have low CBD concentrations but are often infused with herbs or melatonin, such as these sleep gummies from CBDfx.

How to Use CBD Gummies

Follow the instructions on your particular product and consume the number of gummies that equal a serving.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages to CBD gummies:

  • Easy to use
  • Flavored options often available

Disadvantages to CBD gummies:

  • Typically low concentration
  • Often contain added sugars

CBD Isolate Powder

Isolate powder is a crystalline form of pure CBD, a product with several potential uses.

Isolate powder is made after CBD oil has already been extracted from the hemp plant. 

The oil then undergoes a purifying process where all other plant material is extracted, leaving behind the crystalline CBD.

With such a pure form of CBD, isolates make it easy to ensure consistent dosing and allow for precise adjustments.

Typical Serving Size

Isolate powder usually contains 99% pure CBD. 

Isolate containers typically range from 1-5 grams, which means the concentration of CBD is about 990 mg per 1 gram; however, this can differ depending on the brand.

How to Use CBD Isolate Powder

CBD isolate powder is a versatile product.

You can place it directly under your tongue like a tincture and allow it to dissolve in your mouth, put the crystals into other CBD products for enhanced potency, make your own topicals with carrier oils like coconut oil, or add it to food and beverages.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages to CBD isolate powder:

  • Versatile
  • Highly concentrated

Disadvantages to CBD isolate powder:

  • Difficult to measure the serving size

CBD Sprays

cbd sprays

Sprays are perfect for those who require low doses of CBD. 

New users may also find sprays useful because a low concentration product may be all that’s needed to achieve their desired effect.

Sprays are also a practical and quick way to take CBD oil.

Some of the most popular cannabis- and CBD-based therapies are sprays, such as Sativex and Epidiolex.

Typical Serving Size

Sprays often have the lowest concentrations among CBD products, ranging from 1-3 mg of CBD per spray. 

Dosing can be slightly inconsistent because of the nature of spraying.

How to Use CBD Sprays

Spray orally and hold the contents in your mouth for at least a minute, then swallow.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of CBD sprays:

  • Great for new users
  • Convenient, easy administration
  • Flavored options are often available

Disadvantages of CBD sprays:

  • Inconsistent serving sizes

CBD Tinctures

Another form of oral administration, tinctures are the most common way of taking CBD oil. 

Tinctures generally contain CBD with a carrier oil, such as MCT Oil.

Tinctures are applied sublingually (under the tongue) using a dropper.

The oil absorbs into the blood through tissues in the mouth. 

Sublingual tinctures allow you to feel the effects of CBD sooner than digesting a capsule because the oil begins absorption in the mouth.

Some brands add flavors like mint to improve the taste of the oil.

Typical Serving Size

Tinctures usually range from 250mg to 2,500mg of CBD; however, tinctures of 5,000mg or more exist, including this one from CBDistillery.

As for the serving sizes, they have a large range of around 10mg to 50mg per dropper.

Since tinctures use a liquid dropper, it is relatively easy to make subtle serving size adjustments. 

For example, if you only want to change your serving size by 1-2mg of CBD, it can be easily done by adding or subtracting drops from your normal serving.

How to Use CBD Tinctures

Put the drops underneath your tongue. 

Keep the drops there for as long as possible and then swallow.

You can also add the oil to other food items.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of CBD oil tinctures:

  • Wide range of concentrations
  • Easy to fine-tune the serving size
  • Faster-acting than typical capsules
  • Flavored options are often available

Disadvantages of CBD oil tinctures:

  • The taste may be prohibitive for some
  • Servings may not be as precise as capsules

CBD Topicals

In topicals, CBD oil is infused with other ingredients that are typically found in lotions, salves, and balms.

You can apply topicals to external areas of the body, such as joints and muscles for quick relief.

Typical Serving Size

Most topicals range from 50-250 mg of CBD per one ounce of product, but higher concentrations can be found, such as Charlotte’s Web 750mg, 2.5 oz hemp cream.

Some topicals have such low concentrations that it’s fair to wonder how much of a role CBD plays in its efficacy.

However, the concentration will not matter if the topical cannot penetrate the dermal layers. 

Thus, we recommend that you look for terms like “nanotechnology” and “transdermal technology” that indicate the product will be effective for more than skin.

How to Use CBD Topicals

Apply the topical directly upon the desired area.

Rub in the topical thoroughly.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of CBD topicals:

  • Quickly effective
  • Allows for targeted relief

Disadvantages of CBD topicals:

  • Some have negligible CBD concentrations

CBD Vape Liquid

cbd vape

Other than smoking CBD, vaping is the quickest way to obtain its effects. 

Vaping is one of the quickest-acting and most bioavailable ways to use CBD.

However, the effects from CBD will also dissipate more quickly than oral administration.

Typical Serving Size

Vaping concentrations have a wide range of concentrations, typically between 50-250mg per vape pen, but they can be much higher (e.g., 1000mg or more).

CBDfx offers pens with as little as 30mg total, while premier vape pen maker Social CBD offers up to 250mg.

The amount of CBD you inhale will depend on the concentration of CBD and how long of a hit you take.

A standard three-second hit delivers approximately 1-2 mg.

How to Use CBD Vape Liquid

You will need a vaporizer, vape pen, or e-cigarette and a cartridge of CBD vape liquid.

Vaporizers use heat to turn the liquid into an inhalable vapor. 

Take hits until your desired effect is achieved.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of CBD vape liquid:

  • Fastest acting form of CBD
  • High bioavailability
  • Wide range of flavor options

Disadvantages of CBD vape liquid:

  • Effects are short-lived
  • Potential health concerns from vaping

Which Type of CBD Should You Take?

Choosing the “right” form of CBD does not have to be intimidating. 

It boils down to what works best for your personal needs, personal preferences, and trial-and-error.

What is your favorite way to use CBD? What do you use CBD for? Share your experience with us in the comments!

Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and nothing should be construed as medical advice. Be sure to speak with your physician before taking CBD or any other treatment.


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