5 ways to take CBD

by for the Ageless Team April 08, 2024

How to Take CBD Oil-for the Ageless

One of CBD’s great strengths as a supplement is its versatility; it can be eaten, dropped, inhaled, applied and inserted. While this is useful, if you’re new to it, you may be left wondering which is the best way to take it for you.

Each method comes with different benefits and will best suit different people. Some can be used to enhance its effect, and others are ideal if you prefer steady amounts released over time.

To help you find the best way to take CBD for you, let’s take a look at the five main ways to take it and the pros and cons of each. We’ll also introduce you to key factors influencing your choice such as cost, bioavailability and how much you may need to take. 

The 5 ways to take CBD

There are 5 main ways to take CBD are:

  1. Sublingual
  2. Oral
  3. Inhalation
  4. Topical
  5. Rectal and vaginal

Countryside How to Take CBD Oil

1. Sublingual application

Sublingual application refers to the process where drops are placed under the tongue. The CBD then passes through the thin membrane in the bottom of your mouth and passes directly into your bloodstream. This is by far the most commonly used method of ingestion. This is because sublingual application is not only one of the most effective methods, but it is also easily completed and requires no specialist equipment.

The types of CBD that can be consumed sublingually include:

How to take CBD oil and CBD paste sublingually

CBD Sublingual applicationTo take CBD oil sublingually, the process is simple:

1. Fill the dropper, lift your tongue and whilst looking into the mirror gently squeeze out the desired number of drops.

2. Lower your tongue and hold the oil underneath for 1-3 minutes to ensure maximum absorption.

3. Swallow the remaining oil and take a drink or something to eat to wash away any aftertaste.

Taking CBD pasteTaking CBD paste sublingually is a similar process to taking an oil under the tongue. The main difference being the paste is much thicker so, rather than using a dropper or spray, you will need to put the paste on your finger or a spoon.

This is how you take a CBD paste:
1. Squeeze the desired amount of CBD paste onto your finger.

2. Smear the paste under your tongue or inside your back teeth on either side of the gums. Hold this for 1-3 minutes as you would with an oil.

3. Swallow the paste to absorb the remaining cannabinoids and take a drink if needed.

Sublingual application advantages

Sublingual art splash

  • Sublingual application is one of the fastest-acting methods of ingesting CBD. It can take effect in as little as 15-20 minutes. The only faster-acting method is vaping.
  • Taking CBD under the tongue is one of the best methods for increased bioavailability. Around 35% of the cannabinoids will be absorbed.
  • Oils are one of the most cost-effective CBD products. Working out cheaper per mg of CBD than edibles and e-liquids.
  • CBD oils are the most widely available product type in the UK giving you much more choice over strength and ingredients.
  • Utilising drops means you can take CBD in smaller increments than edibles, capsules and suppositories.

Sublingual application disadvantages

  • Taking accurate numbers of drops can be a little tricky as you will need to look in a mirror and count them as you do so.
  • By far, the worst thing about taking CBD sublingually is the taste. Some oils are mild in flavour, but unless you enjoy the taste of hemp, it can be a little off-putting.

On occasion, customers using CBD sublingually report experiencing a slightly strange ‘fuzzy’ or ‘sharp’ feeling on their tongue or the back of the throat. It’s invariably a mild experience caused by the oil's sometimes strong, earthy, or bitter flavour.

There are a few ways to deal with this; one is to have a drink or something to eat after you take your CBD. The other way to avoid this is to choose a different application method.

2. Oral ingestion

One of the most well-known ways of consuming CBD is oral ingestion of edibles. 


The types of edible CBD products available include:

How do you take CBD capsules and gummies?

CBD gummy in sunflowerCapsules and gummies come in pre-measured amounts so it’s as simple as popping one in your mouth and having a chew or swallowing it down with your drink of choice.

1. Remove the desired number of capsules or gummies from the pack.

2. Place the capsule on the tongue, swallow and wash down with a drink. If you choose to use a CBD gummy or other sweet, chew slowly so some of the CBD can be absorbed sublingually. This will increase bioavailability.

3. Eating after you consume a CBD edible will not only ensure your stomach starts to work on absorbing the cannabinoids but will also help to digest them more efficiently because they are fat-soluble.

    Advantages of eating CBD

    Eating CBD saladThere are a number of benefits to consuming CBD edibles. These include:

    • When eaten cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream at a much slower rate so they are longer lasting than other methods like vaping or taking the oil sublingually.

    • The serving is pre-measured. So, you do not need to count drops. 

    • They taste better than CBD oils, which can have quite a strong flavour.

      Disadvantages of eating CBD

      • When CBD is eaten, it is slow to take effect and can take between 1-2 hours to reach your bloodstream.
      • Eating CBD is the least bioavailable method of consumption. With somewhere between 4 and 20% of the CBD being utilised.
      • Capsules and gummies often use animal products such as gelatine so are not suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
      • Edibles often contain unhealthy sugars and fats.

      Hemp tea for an extra boost

      CBD Hemp tea cuppaDrinking hemp tea is another way of ingesting cannabinoids in their raw form, such as CBDa and CBGa. CBDa is the precursor to CBD and is transformed into CBD by applying heat.

      We recommend hemp tea as a complementary product to an oil, paste or edible. CBDa and the other cannabinoids found in freshly brewed tea work in conjunction with CBD to provide a stronger effect.

      How do you make hemp tea?

      Hemp tea is made in the same way as you would a fruit or herbal tea.

      Here is how to brew it at home:

      1. Boil the kettle and add the water to the mug. Allow water to sit for one minute.
      2. Add the hemp tea bag or infuser filled with leaves and allow it to steep.
      3. Brew for 5 minutes for a mild flavour and up to 10 minutes for a stronger flavour.
      4. Remove the bag or infuser and add honey or lemon juice if desired.
      5. You can reuse the tea bag or leaves a second time (steep them for a little longer).

      Advantages of hemp tea

      • Hemp tea tastes delicious.
      • It is rich in CBDa and antioxidants.
      • Can be used to complement other CBD products.

      Disadvantages of hemp tea

      • Hemp tea does not contain CBD.
      • Takes a little time to brew so is not a quick method of ingestion.

      3. Inhalation (vaporisation and smoking)

      Hemp vaporisingVaping is very popular with those wanting to stop smoking tobacco.

      There is barely a high street in the UK that is without a vape lounge and a handful of e-liquid retailers. This makes vaping CBD very accessible as the method is familiar and the equipment is widely available.

      How to vape CBD?

      You will need:

      • A vape pen or mod box.
      • If using a vape pen you will also need cartridges.
      • A CBD-rich e-liquid.

      The process:

      1. Prepare your e-liquid and vaporiser. Screw the cartridge into your pen or top up the tank on your mod box with a CBD e-liquid.
      2. Turn the device on and take one small puff. Hold it in for a second or two and exhale. Do this 2-3 times and repeat as required throughout the day.

        Advantages of vaporising

        CBD vaping smoke
        • Vaping is one of the quickest ways to deliver CBD to your bloodstream, arriving in as little as ten minutes.
        • Vaping offers the highest level of bioavailability of any CBD product, with up to 56% being utilised.
        • Available in a range of flavours.

          Disadvantages of vaporising

          • The effects do not last as long as other methods such as eating or sublingual application.
          • There are lots of low-quality isolate-only products that are not tested for safety like many oils and other hemp CBD products.
          • We do not yet know the long-term effects of vaping.
          • You will require specialist equipment.

          4. Topical or subdermal application

          CBD balm armApplying CBD topically is something that has been done all over the world for centuries. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it is packed with endocannabinoid receptors. There are many different types of CBD products that can be applied to the skin. These include:
          • CBD lotions, creams and balms
          • CBD lip balm
          • Transdermal patches

            How to apply topical CBD?

            Topical CBD balmsThere are slight variations in how CBD can be applied when using a topical product. The simplest method is using a transdermal CBD patch. This is applied to your arm and you’ll absorb the cannabinoids as you go about your day. To apply a cream or balm is slightly different. You will need to:

            1. Clean the area of skin where you intend to apply the topical.
            
2. Take a small amount and warm it in your fingers.

            3. Apply liberally to the intended area and massage or rub in until you see it has been absorbed. Applying after a shower or bath increases absorption because the pores are open.

              Advantages of topical CBD products

              • You can apply directly to a chosen body part for localised relief.
              • Transdermal patches are easy to use and discreet.
              • The cost per mg of CBD is lower than some other products.

              Disadvantages of topicals

              • A little slower to take effect than other methods (25-45 minutes).
              • Often contains inferior CBD isolates rather than full-spectrum extracts.
              • Not all CBD topicals can cross the transdermal barrier to the bloodstream. This is because they often have heavy oils, waxes and butters.

              5. Vaginal or rectal insertion

              Woman tulipsThe 5th and least common way to administer cannabinoids is either vaginally or rectally. 


              There are two main methods of application here:

              • Suppositories for rectal insertion.
              • CBD-infused tampons, which can be used for period relief.

                Advantages of CBD suppositories

                • Up to 50% of the cannabinoids can reach the bloodstream, almost matching vaporising for efficiency.
                • The effects are felt quickly (around 20 minutes) and can last up to 8 hours.

                Disadvantages of CBD suppositories

                • In the UK, there are very few options for suppositories and CBD tampons.
                • Not everyone is comfortable with this method.

                Things to consider when choosing your method

                When choosing which method of application is best for you, you need to consider a few key points such as bioavailability (how much CBD reaches your bloodstream), how long it takes to take effect and, of course, the price.

                Bioavailability

                CBD bioavailability

                Bioavailability is the term used to describe how much and how quickly CBD will be absorbed into your bloodstream. A product with a higher bioavailability can work out much cheaper in the long term as you need to consume less to get the same effects. For example, taking a CBD oil under the tongue has a bioavailability rate as high as 35%, whereas eating a CBD gummy can be as low as 4%. So, you may need to take 8x the amount if eating a gummy when compared to taking an oil sublingually.

                This could see you spending significantly more or less money depending on your chosen method.

                CBD absorption rates

                Method used

                Bioavailability

                Time to take effect

                Ingested or eaten

                4 – 20%

                30 minutes – 2 hours

                Under your tongue

                35%

                15 - 25 minutes

                Rectally

                8 50%

                20 – 60 minutes

                Inhaled or vaporised

                Up to 56%

                10 – 20 minutes

                Rubbed into skin

                Up to 45% but stays localised

                25 – 45 minutes

                CBD Oil Bioavailability

                Budget

                Hemp Plant

                Budget is one of the most important considerations. Different product types have varying production costs, meaning those with extra steps and ingredients can be more expensive per mg of CBD. If you have limited funds, choosing an edible may be a bad choice because of its low bioavailability and higher initial costs compared to e-liquids and oils.

                If budget isn’t an issue, you can make the decision based on other factors such as ease of use (not everyone likes counting drops and may prefer a capsule or edible containing the entire daily serving) and taste (oils can also have a slightly bitter aftertaste and e-liquids can come in a range of pleasant flavours).

                This chart shows the average cost per mg of CBD for oils, balms, vapes and edibles:

                Product

                Cost per 500mg

                Cost per mg

                CBD oil

                £24 - £33

                4-6p per mg

                CBD edibles

                £14 - £45

                3-9p per mg

                CBD balm

                £23 - £30

                4-6p per mg

                CBD e-liquids

                £15 - £50

                3-9p per mg


                How much CBD oil should I take?

                CBD dropThe answer to this question is dependent on several variables. Firstly, you should be aware that no two people are the same, so the amount required to achieve the same effects will vary.

                A good rule of thumb is to start with the minimum recommended amount (this will normally be on the bottle or accompanying information) for a week and see how you react. If it works stick with that amount, if not, you will need to increase it.

                CBD oil journeyLike with anything new, starting slowly is always the best way to go. Be patient, CBD can take time to have any effects and sometimes has no evident effects at all. Treat CBD products like you would any other food supplement, as a complement to a healthy lifestyle.

                In the first week, we would recommend taking no more than 10 to 20 mg per day. This can be broken down as 10mg in the morning before breakfast and 10mg in the evening before you eat. Most manufacturers also recommend a 10-20mg start dose and suggest increasing it by 50%, week by week, if needed.

                Which method and product to choose

                Choosing the right CBD product depends mainly on what you need it for and how you'd like to use it. Consider how much you can spend and which method is most convenient for you.

                CBD oil is a good choice for most because it is available in many strengths, has high bioavailability, is cost-effective, and can be taken in different ways: you can swallow it, put drops under your tongue, or mix it into food.

                A combination of products is also an option. Many of our customers like to take CBD oils and complement this with hemp tea. Some prefer vaping during the day when they’re out and about and taking a paste right before dinner in the evening.

                If you're not sure which CBD product is best for you, send us an email, give us a call or use the live chat option and we’ll happily guide you.

                Join us to get updates and special deals monthly:

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                for the Ageless Team
                for the Ageless Team

                Author

                We are a small but mighty team of experienced natural health researchers. We follow strict selection criteria and test everything we retail: from ground-breaking food supplements to natural skincare products. Our main area of expertise is CBD.


                4 Responses

                for the Ageless
                for the Ageless

                December 27, 2021

                Hi Sylvia,

                Yes, you can use OSI Magnesium CBD Cream on your face.

                This is its suggested use (as listed under the product’s description):
                “After a shower at night or 30 minutes before sleep, gently rub the OSI Magnesium CBD cream all over your face, neck and décolleté. We’ve also tested it on feet, legs, torso and arms and it is very pleasant. A thin layer goes a long way on the face before your regular night serum and moisturiser.”

                Please let us know if you have any other questions by contacting us via email, chat or phone.

                Sylvia Meredith
                Sylvia Meredith

                December 26, 2021

                I have purchased magnesium CBD cream + melatonin (300mg CBD) can this be used on the face.? Iam looking to improve very poor sleep, and help osteoarthritis.
                Thank you.

                Kim
                Kim

                August 16, 2020

                Hello Anne, the drops can indeed be massaged onto your skin with a base oil or mixed it with your favourite balm/cream or you can get a ready-made CBD balm/cream. The amount you take orally depends on many factors. Our recommendation is to start with the lowest recommended amount and increase the intake gradually, until you find the ideal amount to suit your needs. You can read more about how to take CBD orally and topically here:
                https://www.fortheageless.com/pages/cbd-oil-uk-guide#jump4

                Anne Thomas
                Anne Thomas

                August 16, 2020

                Dear Gavin- for the first time I’ve purchased 10ml of Reach CBD 500mg strength. The directions suggest 3 drops under the tongue.
                My question is can is this: can the oil be massaged into muscles; should the three drops be mixed with a base oil, such as olive oil?

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