What’s the best way to take CBD?
Hemp and CBD products pictured laying flat on a green background

From individual needs to lifestyle habits and budget, there is no one size fits all when it comes to CBD. Here, we break down the different delivery formats and their unique benefits.

CBD Oils

Benefits for the user: Discreet, with a wide range of choice on flavour and strength

Also known as tinctures, oil drops are easy to take, discreet for storing and provide fast delivery of CBD to the body compared to some other methods. CBD oil drops are intended to be taken under the tongue (sublingually), where they are held for a short time before swallowing.

The sublingual method has long been used for administering herbal remedies and medicines in situations which demand a fast onset of the active ingredient, or in cases where swallowing is not an option.

The results of one clinical trial published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found the sublingual method to be particularly effective in delivering solutions to prevent asthma attacks. 

How does this happen without swallowing? A thin wall of tissue – the mucosal membrane – lines the inside of the mouth and this lends itself to absorbing active components from a substance.

In the case of CBD, a carrier oil is added and a food safe flavour like citrus or peppermint is often selected to offset any aftertaste.

Available in every flavour imaginable, many of these oils can also be used in baking or DIY beauty routines. For ease of administration, oil drops typically come in a resealable bottle with a pipette dropper or a handy spray top.

As the industry grows to meet consumer demand, there is a tincture out there for all budgets, strengths and tastes.

Is vaping the best way to take CBD?

Benefits for the user: Fast absorption of CBD when its needed most 

CBD e-liquid is vaporised at approximately 175 – 200°C, producing a cloudy vapour inhaled into the lungs. On the inhale, absorption happens from the first breath, allowing for the fastest onset compared to other delivery methods.  This begins in the mouth, as the vapour travels down through the throat, into the lungs and from there, to the bloodstream via the pulmonary tract.

This quick process allows for fast uptake, with little to no effort on the consumer’s behalf.

Unlike smoking or vaping cannabis herb (which is illegal without a prescription) CBD e-liquids come in a variety of flavours but will not get you high.

Are CBD vapes safe?

In 2019, reports dominated the American press of serious lung damage occurring in a percentage of CBD vapers. The culprit was found to be vitamin E acetate used in black-market cannabis oils. It is therefore widely recommended that those who want to vape buy a reliable product from a reputable provider.

In the UK, CBD vape products must comply with General Product Safety Regulations 2005 which states:

“No producer shall supply or place a consumer product on the market unless the product is a safe product”


Benefits for the user: Delivering small amounts of CBD, a good choice for first time users

CBD edibles are food and drink items which have been infused or sprayed with CBD. The most popular and widely available kind of CBD edibles is the gummy.  If CBD gummies don’t whet your appetite, there are other forms of edibles out there, like CBD-infused chocolate or protein powder.

The main difference with edibles compared to oils or vapes is the uptake time. As edibles are swallowed into the stomach, they must go through the body’s natural metabolic process. Researchers say this may result in some of the CBD content being lost in the process.


Benefits for the user: Low cost introductory product for first time users

CBD-infused beverages work in a similar way to edibles and capsules. Usually alcohol-free, this is the cool category of drinks. From trendy coffee to energy drinks and performance support, there is a cup or can of CBD out there for every taste! 

Capsules & Gummies

Benefits for the user: Suited to those who can’t use or don’t like the taste of oil drops

Like gummies and drinks, capsules are easy to use and could present a solution for those who want a slow release or small dose of a supplement on a regular basis. Capsules are convenient because they can be taken as part of your multivitamin or supplement routine. You can also find capsules which are vegan and contain other effective health boosting ingredients like magnesium and turmeric.

Always look for the ‘per capsule’ guideline on the packaging. 

CBD Topicals

Benefits for the user: Discreet, may provide targeted care to support the body and skin

Skin-friendly CBD applications penetrate the layers of the dermis, working on a localised area of the skin. How? The Endocannabinoid System, key to the central nervous system and maintaining homeostasis, bears cannabinoid receptors which can be found throughout the body, including in the skin, the human body’s largest organ.

Clinical evidence is lacking in this area of CBD research. But there is anecdotal evidence to support the application of creams, gels, salves and dermal patches as being effective in targeting muscle and joint discomfort as well as inflammation.

Most patches can be worn for several hours at a time, with some manufacturers claiming relief of up to 72 or 96 hours.

Skincare creams are also emerging as popular in this category, from those strong enough to rehydrate the driest of skin to everyday lotions like hand cream.