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What Are the Methods of CBD Consumption?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has so many wonderful things going for it. It offers a wide range of benefits and contributes to overall wellness. Its interactions with our natural endocannabinoid system can help regulate essential functions like sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and immune responses, and more [1].  Another great thing about CBD is the variety of ways one can take it. There are several methods of CBD consumption to fit different lifestyles and concerns. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, but the best one for you will depend on your needs and preferences. 


If you want to feel the effects of CBD almost immediately, inhalation is the way to go. In as little as three minutes, you will start to feel CBD’s effects. Inhalation is done in two ways — by smoking (also known as dabbing) or vaping. 

  • Smoking CBD can be done by placing the CBD concentrate on a dabbing tool and heating it. You can then inhale the vapor. 
  • Vaping is much simpler. All you need is a vaporizer pen or a similar device. Mix your CBD (likely CBD specific for vape) with a suitable vape liquid and use it as a regular vape product. With vaping, you get the same maximum effects of CBD without the smoke that the joints bring.

Sublingual absorption

The sublingual method is one of the most common and effective for consuming CBD. Next to inhalation, this method is the fastest way to feel the effects.

This method involves placing drops of CBD oil under the tongue. From here, it’s absorbed and diffused into the bloodstream. You should try to hold the oil for around 30 seconds to a minute or two before swallowing for maximum absorption. 

Because the product goes directly into the bloodstream, this method maximizes the effects of CBD. The shorter the journey CBD has, the more potent its effects are. With sublingual CBD, effects normally kick in within 10 to 15 minutes.


CBD can also come in the form of edibles such as gummies, capsules, and CBD-infused food and drinks. While this is certainly one of the most convenient methods of CBD consumption, it is not as fast as inhalation or sublingual administration. 

However, keep in mind, most orally ingested CBD products have lower bioavailability. 

* For context, bioavailability means, the extent to which a substance becomes available to its intended biological destination. 

When taken orally, the product has to travel through your digestive system, where it is broken down before it can move into your bloodstream. 

 Thus, to get an effect similar to what you would get from inhalation or sublingual administration, you would have to consume a greater amount of edible CBD.

That being said, you can look for products that specifically advertise nanotechnology. This breaks up the CBD content in products so your bloodstream can absorb it more effectively. 

Topical application

Topical CBD comes in the form of creams, ointments, or lotions. Topical CBD may help treat muscle soreness, pain, or skin conditions. This is a great method for when you want to direct CBD to a localized area.

Topical CBD does not enter the bloodstream because of the skin barrier, but it does interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin to modulate pain and inflammatory responses. 

CBD-enriched ointments have been found to improve inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. [2]

Another form of topical CBD is the transdermal patch. The transdermal patch is a convenient and discreet method of taking CBD. It releases CBD slowly and steadily into your system over eight to twelve hours.

The takeaway

With all of the options available, you can definitely find the right methods of CBD consumption that best suit your needs and lifestyle. 

A good note to remember is to read labels carefully to know how much CBD your product contains. 

It’s also wise to purchase CBD products from reputable marketplaces that require third-party testing. Therefore, you know you’ll have a quality product, no matter which type you choose.


  1. CBD Insider. 2020. CBD Research: A Look Into Current CBD Studies. Available at:
  1. Palmieri, B et al. 2019. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Available at: