CBD Methods & Efficacy

CBD and the Best Ways to Consume

CBD is everywhere right now. You may have read about it in your favourite wellness blog, seen it offered in a latte at your local coffee shop, or even heard about it from your doctor.

With so much hype about cannabidiol and its seemingly miraculous ability to manage everything from achy joints to Parkinson’s, your curiosity may have you ready to give it a try for whatever ails you.

CBD is offered in so many different forms it can be confusing trying to navigate what is the best product for your specific needs.

So, let’s discuss the most common methods of taking CBD, the pros, the cons and anything else you might need to know before beginning your journey.


Vaping CBD involves inhaling it in a concentrated form, often from a battery powered pen. With this method, users use a CBD oil or tincture in the pen, which heats the liquid and turns the CBD into a vapor which is then inhaled.

The Pros

When inhaled as a vapor, CBD is absorbed through the lungs and reaches the bloodstream rapidly, where its effects are felt almost instantly, like within a minute or two of inhaling. This is helpful for people seeking quick pain relief and for people prone to anxiety or panic attacks.

This method of ingestion is also highly bioavailable, meaning that it has a high absorbency rate compared to other methods which lose potency due to its passage through the digestive system.

The Cons

While the effects of CBD are felt fast when it’s vaped, they don’t last as long as some other methods. If you are able to vape it when needed this shouldn’t be too problematic. However, if this becomes an inconvenience, a longer lasting method might be better for your needs.

Also, because CBD has existed in a legal grey area its regulation has thus far been limited. So, while the packaging for a product may say one thing, the lack of industry wide standards means that what is actually present in a product may be very different.

As with all CBD products, it is imperative that you ensure the product has been third party tested for potency and purity. If a CBD product is tainted with solvents, texturizers, preservatives and anything else, it may have undesirable side effects, ESPECIALLY when heated.

A common ingredient to beware of is propylene glycol which is often found in vape liquids but becomes carcinogenic at high temperatures.

Start Low and Go Slow

While CBD has few reported side effects and is generally considered safe to use, it can be difficult to dose when vaporized. So, once you have done your due diligence to choose a reputable brand free of toxins and impurities, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use, start with a low dose and increase it slowly as you feel necessary. Safety first!

Capsules and Edibles

Taking your CBD as a capsule like a traditional supplement, or as a pre-dosed edible like a cookie or gummy is an easy and convenient way to get your cannabidiol. You can buy products pre-dosed or make your own by adding oil directly to something that you ingest like a smoothie, a latte or any other snack or meal.

The Pros

Taking CBD in capsule form feels just like taking most other supplements or medications making it an easy way to add into your routine. It’s easy, subtle and each capsule has a set dose, taking out any guess work. Similarly, pre-dosed edibles make consistency user friendly.

Also, because it must be digested before its effects are felt, ingesting CBD in this manner means it has a slower onset but can have a longer lasting effect. This is beneficial for people who need long, consistent relief from conditions such as fibromyalgia.

The Cons

Despite its convenience, CBD that is ingested needs to work its way through the entire digestive system before being metabolized and released into the bloodstream. This means that it can take up to two hours for the effects to be felt, and much of the CBD can be lost during the digestive process.

Its absorption can also be affected by what it’s consumed with. The research suggests that consuming CBD with fatty acids may improve its absorption.

Consistency is Key

If you are looking for an easy way to get a consistent dose of CBD while skipping the guesswork, then taking a capsule or edible might be the choice for you. While you will lose some of the potency of CBD due to it having to go through the entire digestive system, you can take it as needed to ensure relief throughout the day.


When you take CBD oil sublingually it means that it is held below the tongue for at least a minute so it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the veins there.

The Pros

CBD taken sublingually is absorbed far better – up to 40% – than ingesting it as a capsule or edible because it is absorbed in a way that bypasses the digestive system. This means that its effects are felt much more quickly – in 30-90 minutes – and more of the CBD is absorbed.

Additionally, after the oil is held under the tongue for a couple of minutes, it’s then swallowed. This means that any CBD that was not absorbed below the tongue will then go through the digestive system and be absorbed after being metabolized by the liver.

When CBD comes in the form of a tincture, you can be precise with your dosing as it comes in a bottle with an easy to measure dropper. Its effects are usually felt in under 30 minutes and can last between 4-6 hours.

The Cons

While CBD taken sublingually is better absorbed and faster acting than swallowing it, it can still take 30 minutes or more for its effects to be felt. So, if you require instant relief, it may not be for you and vaping might be a better choice.

Check Your Concentration

Depending on how concentrated your CBD oil or tincture is, how many drops of liquid you place under your tongue to achieve your desired dose will change. As mentioned above, start low, go slow. It may take a few weeks of slowly increasing your dosage for you to feel any effects.

Once you find the right amount for you, it might be more convenient and cost effective to purchase a stronger product that you take less of to achieve the desired result.


Topical products come in the forms of lotions, massage oils and salves. They are CBD rich products that are applied directly onto the skin, often on parts of the body that are in pain such as achy joints, sore muscles, and for skin conditions too.

The Pros

Because these products are applied directly to the area that needs attention, the CBD interacts with receptors in that localized spot allowing for targeted relief. This method of CBD use doesn’t send CBD into the bloodstream. Instead, it interacts with CBD receptors in the area where it is applied. This means that its power is concentrated exactly where you need it.

This method can take up to an hour for its effects to be felt, however it can last up to five hours.

The Cons

Our skin is a pretty effective barrier against the elements and toxins. Therefore, it doesn’t readily absorb everything that’s applied to it. This means that in order for you to feel the benefits of a topical salve or lotion, the product being used needs to have a high concentration of CBD and be applied heavily which can be more expensive over time.

Additionally, CBD has the potential to treat a whole range of conditions from skin irritations and arthritis to anxiety and osteoporosis. When you use a topical treatment, the CBD will interact with the receptors in the area where it is applied, and those benefits won’t necessarily spill over to the rest of the body as it does when it is taken internally.

Apply As Needed

A topical CBD product is a wonderful solution for anyone who wants relief in a particular area or for a specific skin condition. Even though you won’t get the whole body benefits of taking CBD, you will get relief in your chosen area, and that relief will be long lasting.


In Summary

CBD is becoming more readily available by the moment, and in new forms too!

Whether you are giving it a try for the first time or are already on the bandwagon, be sure to assess what method of consumption is best for your needs and preferences.

For you it might be edibles, capsules or a sublingual tincture while others may prefer to inhale it or apply it directly to the skin.

Each method works for different people for different reasons, so make sure you weigh in on what you need before you get started.

And, always consult with your medical professional before making any changes to your health care regimen, especially if you are taking other medications