CBD 101: How to Take CBD

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Since the early 2000s, the CBD industry has taken the United States by storm. With hundreds of different product types, spectrums, cannabinoids, and terpenes, it can be quite overwhelming for people starting out. If you’ve decided to give CBD a try, you’ve come to the right place! While we can’t make recommendations for conditions or health issues, we can help you understand the different products available in the CBD industry so that you can make an informed choice about how to take your CBD.  

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that can be found in both the hemp and marijuana plants, two major strains of cannabis. However, due to the hemp plant being naturally high in CBD and very low in THC, it is the strain most commonly used for extracting CBD. This allows you to experience the benefits of CBD without the “high” associated with marijuana.

To learn more about what CBD is and where it comes from, please see our Types of CBD Knowledge Page.

How Does CBD Work?

Whenever you ingest or apply a CBD product, your endocannabinoid system (ECS) translates the signals from the CBD through to your receptors in your brain, central nervous system, and immune system. ECS is responsible for regulating many daily functions in our body like sleep, pain, immune response, etc. It also produces its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. Whenever you take CBD, the cannabinoids from it enter your system and interact with your ECS similarly to endocannabinoids.

To learn more about endocannabinoids and cannabinoids, please see our What is The Endocannabinoid System Knowledge Page.

Four Methods to Take CBD

Currently there are four ways in which to consume CBD:

  • Tinctures/Oils
  • Capsules/Edibles
  • Vapes
  • Topicals

You’ll find that each has a different absorption rate and effectiveness due to how it’s used. There’s some debate as to which kind of CBD product is the most efficient in terms of CBD absorption, and this isn’t surprising given that research on humans is still in its infancy. That said, more research is being conducted into CBD and its effects every day.

Using CBD Tinctures and Oils

Currently, using tinctures and oils is the most popular way of taking CBD. To take CBD sublingually, you simply hold a dropper with a set amount of CBD oil—usually from a tincture—in your mouth under the tongue. In doing so, the mucous membranes inside your mouth have time to absorb the active ingredients of the cannabinoids. 

Many researchers and users of CBD think taking CBD sublingually is the best way to take CBD because you can absorb more of the CBD concentration before it passes through the body. The absorption rates will vary between 12% and 35%, but these rates are significantly better than oral consumption through the use of capsules.

You can take CBD sublingually with CBD oil and tinctures, which contain a concentrated source of CBD mixed with a carrier oil, like hemp or coconut. It can be helpful not to take CBD on an empty stomach to ensure that your body absorbs more of the cannabidiols. 

Pros of CBD Tinctures and Oils:

  • Fast Absorption Rates
  • Versatile Consumption (can be consumed directly or added to foods and beverages)
  • Most Common Way to Consume CBD Oil
  • large variety of strengths and flavors 

Cons of CBD Tinctures and Oils:

  • Typically Has Hemp Taste/Aftertaste
  • Lengthy Application

Using CBD Capsules and Edibles

Many people enjoy taking CBD orally because it’s an incredibly easy and versatile way to consume CBD. It’s also a great option for when you’re on the go. While convenient to take, consuming CBD orally may be the slowest way for CBD to take effect in the body since it has to pass through the digestive system first. Nevertheless, it does have decent rates of absorption but should be taken with fatty foods and not on an empty stomach to aid its bioavailability (i.e.,how much is absorbed once it’s passed through your system). This will ensure that more CBD hits your bloodstream and isn’t lost when being digested. Between 4% and 20% of the CBD will be absorbed via this method. Although taking CBD orally may not provide as instantaneous of an effect as you are seeking, you will likely feel the effects over a longer period.

Pros of CBD Capsules:

  • Versatile Consumption (can be consumed directly or taken with foods and beverages)
  • Tasteless and Odorless
  • Exact Dosages (each capsule is already prefilled with an exact amount of CBD)
  • Easiest Way to Consume CBD
  • Large Variety of Strengths, Flavors and Types
  • Convenient Application

Cons of CBD Capsules:

  • Low Absorption Rates
  • Long Lead Time for CBD Effects
  • May Include Artificial Ingredients
  • May Not Adhere to Certain Dietary Preferences/Restrictions (e.g., vegan, celiac disease, etc.)

Using CBD Vapes

Vaping has been all the rage for some time now for those trying to quit smoking, but did you know that you can also vape CBD? Some say that inhaling CBD is the fastest way to get the effects of CBD because it bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed straight into the bloodstream through the lungs. It’s estimated that the rate of absorption for inhalation of CBD is around 34% to 56%.

Many feel the effects of CBD instantly when using this method, but the effects tend to last the shortest amount of time. If you’re looking to get your CBD into your system ASAP, vaping is the best method to try, and you can use it in combination with CBD products designed to be taken orally or sublingually for a more tailored plan of action throughout the day.

Pros of Vaping CBD:

  • Fastest Delivery Rate
  • Highest Absorption Rate
  • Large Variety of Strengths and Flavors
  • Convenient Application

Cons of Vaping CBD:

  • Inaccurate Dosage (depending on how much you inhale will determine the how much CBD you’ll receive)
  • Shortened Effect Duration
  • Additional Vaping Gear May be Required

Using CBD Topicals

Applying CBD topicals is an incredibly popular and easy method; simply massage the topical on a desired location. Particularly popular among athletes, topicals are a great way to feel the concentrated effects of CBD in a targeted location. However, because CBD isn’t absorbed straight into the bloodstream, it may not be as effective as the other three methods discussed above.

Pros of Topical CBD:

  • Fast Delivery Rate
  • Targeted Relief 
  • Increased Formulation (can contain moisturizing and other beneficial ingredients like arnica and menthol)
  • Large Variety of Strengths, Scents, and Applications

Cons of Topical CBD:

  • No Absorption Rate (topicals cannot enter bloodstream)
  • Potentially Messy Application (Some topicals need to absorb into the skin)

The Bottom Line

No matter which method—or combination of methods—you choose to take your CBD, be sure to start slow and with low dosages. Work upward, as you may not feel the results immediately. We suggest keeping a journal to track your method, dosages, and how you are feeling after each dose to help you figure out what works best for you. And, don’t forget to speak to your doctor about incorporating CBD into your life.

At Serenity Store, you’ll find a variety of quality CBD products along with excellent customer service. Browse our products today.