Author: Luke Sholl
CBD has risen to prominence from a relatively unknown cannabinoid to one of the most popular compounds derived from the cannabis plant. A subsequent boom of innovation now offers users a multitude of ways to take cannabidiol.
Each route of administration provides different benefits and outcomes. Below, discover the most common ways to take CBD, the best products available, and everything else you need to know about each method.
There are many different ways to introduce this versatile cannabinoid into the body, from adding CBD oil to drinks and food to inhaling clouds of cannabinoid-rich vapor. Each method exists to satisfy the particular needs of individual consumers, as not every intake method will be ideal for everyone.
That said, experimenting with the vast array of CBD products in each category serves as the best way to find your preferred method. However, to help you along the way, this article covers all of the information you need to know to get started.
The four routes of administration below don’t just change how you ingest the cannabinoid, but also how it travels through the body. Plus, the diversity of intake options allow users to shake up their cannabidiol experience. You’re not limited to a single way of taking the cannabinoid. Combine different methods to alter how long the effects last and how quickly they set in.
Simple and discreet, oral CBD is an efficient way to dose the cannabinoid. Swallowing several drops of CBD oil serves as the easiest and most streamlined way to consume the molecule in this fashion. One can also add CBD oil to food and drink to mask the taste. However, there are more exciting and flavourful options out there—from gummy bears to infused desserts.
The Cibdol range offers multiple oral CBD formulas. Our products feature varying strengths of CBD, and many of them infuse additional nutrients that add unique elements to each blend.
• CBD Oil: Cibdol CBD oil is available in concentrations. Crafted from naturally grown EU hemp using state-of-the-art CO₂ extraction technology, this high-quality oil delivers an unadulterated dose of CBD and terpenes. CBD oil can come with varying carriers, such as olive oil, MCT oil or hemp oil.
• CBD Softgels: These capsules are one of the most efficient ways to consume CBD orally, both on the go and at home. Containing the same high-quality CBD oil from our range, these tasteless and odourless capsules are easy to incorporate into an existing supplement routine, and involve zero mess.
• Liposomal CBD Oil: Liposomes are a form of nanotechnology that deliver active ingredients to their target cells and ramp up bioavailability. These small “pods” carry cannabidiol safely through the throes of the digestive tract and directly to their site of action.
• CBD Isolates: The most concentrated form of CBD, these crystals contain 99% pure CBD. Use them to create your own CBD oil, sprinkle them onto food, or stir them into drinks for a high-quality dose of CBD, anywhere and anytime. They are intended for more advanced users who want to make their own natural blends.
Taking CBD orally sends the cannabinoid through the digestive tract and liver before it enters the bloodstream. In the liver—an important metabolic organ—cannabidiol undergoes the first-pass effect and gets partially broken down.
This lengthy route means it will take slightly longer to feel the effects—up to two hours. Plus, not all of the CBD you swallow will remain intact or become bioavailable. You’ll absorb around 20% of the cannabinoid in each dose (or more with liposomal CBD). However, the effects of oral CBD tend to last longer than other methods, making it a good trade-off.
The sublingual pathway involves placing CBD under the tongue until it absorbs into the oral mucosa. This route of administration offers rapid onset and involves zero preparation. It’s fast, easy, and discreet.
• CBD Oil: Place our full-spectrum CBD oil under the tongue for around one minute before swallowing. This is how most consumers choose to take our CBD oil.
• CBD Isolates: These 99% pure CBD crystals dissolve rapidly under the tongue, sending large quantities of CBD into the bloodstream, though they do not carry the benefits of a full-spectrum oil.
• Meladol: This unique blend combines the soothing power of CBD with the regulatory influence of melatonin. Aimed at helping support a healthy sleep cycle.
• CBD Nasal Spray: Although applied to the nostril, this nasal spray passes through a mucous membrane in the nose and into systemic circulation. Much like sublingual administration, it essentially delivers cannabidiol straight into the bloodstream. The Class 1 medical device also contains eucalyptus and capsaicin to help clear the airways.
Sublingual administration offers a fast and effective hit of cannabidiol. CBD molecules pass through the thin layer of tissue under the tongue and immediately diffuse into the capillaries, bloodstream, and cells, resulting in a high bioavailability of 40–50%.
Because sublingual administration bypasses the digestive system, it doesn’t take long to start feeling the effects. However, they won’t last as long as with orally ingested CBD. Although speedy, sublingual CBD lacks the flavour and creativity of oral cannabidiol. You’ll trade cakes, gummies, and smoothies for simplicity and efficiency.
You will find the use of most CBD oil combines sublingual and oral, as you start with holding oil under the tongue, then swallow the rest—combining benefits of both.
Topical CBD doesn’t reach the bloodstream, instead, interacting with receptors in the skin to keep our largest organ balanced, healthy, and supple. Topical formulas contain a myriad of other molecules that help to maintain skin health and keep visible ageing at bay.
• Medical CBD Creams: These are Class 1 medical devices that utilise CBD as an additional supportive ingredient. CBD is suspended in liposomes to help penetrate deep into the skin while other ingredients nourish and rejuvenate to help combat redness and dryness.
• CBD Beauty Creams: Aimed at helping support beauty regimes, CBD beauty creams blend CBD with the proven powers of various cosmetic ingredients to keep skin young, soft and supple. CBD Beauty creams often target a specific area—predominantly the face, but also places like hands or feet.
• Other CBD Topicals: CBD topicals can also include products like CBD lip balms or CBD eye gels. Much like creams, these are aimed at supporting the skin and helping keep it healthy and balanced - but can offer greater supportive layers, or faster absorption for their targeted areas.
Topical CBD exclusively affects the skin. The cannabinoid—and other natural ingredients—won’t pass into the bloodstream. However, topical CBD does penetrate the epidermis of the skin to produce deeply nourishing effects via the receptors of the skin (ECS of the skin).
Tasked with keeping the skin functioning properly, the cutaneous ECS dictates the delicate balance of proliferation, growth, and cell differentiation.
Inhaled CBD passes into the lungs and diffuses into the bloodstream via the alveoli, producing near-instant effects. Although not always the healthiest ways to consume CBD, many users favour the relaxing actions of smoking and vaping, not to mention their increased bioavailability.
• CBD Flower: Breeders have developed cannabis and hemp strains with high levels of CBD and low quantities of THC to produce a clear-headed effect without a high. Flower can be smoked or vaporized as desired.
• E-liquids and Extracts: These products contain high concentrations of CBD in a single hit. They are highly refined and most often used in a vaporizer.
• Inhalers: These devices offer a clean, instant, and accurate way to deliver CBD directly into the bloodstream via the lungs.
Inhaling CBD largely involves smoking or vaporizing. The former creates combustion, which leads to the creation of carcinogenic chemicals. As such, most CBD users will bypass this method for the more reliable vaporization.
Vaporization utilises lower temperatures to release cannabinoids and terpenes without burning them, leaving a lot of unwanted chemicals behind. High-tech vapes allow users to select specific temperatures to maintain full control over the experience.
On the other hand, modern CBD inhalers utilise aerosol technology to deliver a cool extract into the lungs, free from carcinogens and any molecular degradation.
Inhaling CBD gives users great control over their experience, not to mention a high bioavailability of 50–80%. With a fast onset, users can take one hit at a time and work their way up to their unique sweet spot. As you might expect, the effects of inhaled CBD do not last as long as with oral administration.
As mentioned earlier in this text, personal experimentation serves as the best way to find which CBD products work best for you. Try different routes of administration and different products in each category to see what offers you the best results. Just keep in mind that if you are mixing products, you should record your total daily intake in milligrams. This way, you can use the data to track your progress and find your sweet spot, instead of just taking a shot in the dark.
To get started on your CBD journey, or to try something new, head on over to our store and check out our high-quality product line. We cover almost every route of administration and have something for everyone. If you want to learn more about CBD and how the molecule acts in the body, check out our extensive CBD Encyclopedia.
 Bíró, T., Tóth, B. I., Haskó, G., Paus, R., & Pacher, P. (2009). The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2757311/ [Source]