Taking CBD oil under the tongue

by Tom Russell December 04, 2023

CBD Oil Under the Tongue Green Lips

Taking CBD oil under your tongue, known as “sublingual application”, may seem unusual, but it is by far the most common way cannabidiol is consumed. Placing substances under your tongue understandably sounds a bit odd because it’s not something we often do. So, what is it about this method that makes it so widely used?

The word ‘sublingual’ literally means under the tongue. When liquids are placed there, they can cross the thin membrane via the large blood vessel found here and enter your bloodstream.

Sublingual application of CBD oil is not only the easiest method of application but also one of the quickest ways to get the active ingredients into your bloodstream. It takes effect in as little as 15 minutes and is one of the most efficient delivery methods.

Benefits of taking CBD sublingually
Comparing the different methods
How to take CBD under the tongue

CBD under the tongue - Fast facts

  1. CBD oil is taken under the tongue because the cannabidiol can be absorbed into the bloodstream via a thin membrane found here.
  2. To take CBD this way, simply lift your tongue, squeeze out the required number of drops and hold.
  3. At for the Ageless, we recommend holding the oil under your tongue for 1-2 minutes so that as much CBD as possible can be absorbed.
  4. Once the time is up, you can safely swallow the oil with a sip of water so the remaining CBD can be absorbed in your stomach.

Benefits of taking CBD sublingually

Most of our customers agree that taking CBD under the tongue is quick and easy. It requires very little effort and can be completed in a couple of minutes without having to use any special equipment. Drops can be placed under your tongue discreetly, whether you are at home or work.

As a bonus, taking CBD under your tongue means that a higher amount of the active ingredients will be absorbed for use when compared to simply swallowing it or taking capsules/edibles. This results in a greater effect from less CBD, meaning that you could save money when compared to eating your CBD which has much lower bioavailability.

How does it compare with other methods of taking CBD?

Sublingual CBD oil application

Of the 5 main methods to take CBD, placing the oil under the tongue is one of the most effective. It isn’t as effective as vaping, but because it is so simple and safe it is still more popular.

The effectiveness of each method can be measured by the length of time it takes for you to feel an effect, and how much of the active ingredient reaches your bloodstream. Once CBD reaches your bloodstream it is unlikely to be broken down further and it will be transported around your body for use.

Method used

Uptake into your bloodstream

Time to take effect

Ingested (swallowed)

4 - 20%

30 minutes - 2 hours

Under your tongue (sublingually)

Up to 35%

15 - 25 minutes


8 - 50%

20 - 60 minutes

Inhaled or vaporised

Up to 56%

10 - 20 minutes

Rubbed into the skin  (topically)

Can be up to 45% but stays localised (enters local tissue & small blood vessels only).

25 - 45 minutes

Eating CBD is the least efficient method

CBD gummies

If you swallow CBD, it travels through your digestive system and your body automatically starts to break it down. This process can be slowed down by mixing the active ingredients with other substances such as fat or using an MCT oil carrier, but the difference is relatively small.

Most food and drink must take a ‘first pass’ through the liver, this removes toxins and breaks food into its component parts. Between 4% and 12% of the CBD will make it through and reach the bloodstream to be transported to cells for use. Because of the time it takes for your digestive system to process food, it can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours for that small amount of CBD to get to work.

More than two-thirds of our customers notice a difference when switching from edibles like CBD capsules and gummies to the sublingual application of CBD oil.

Topically applied CBD doesn’t travel in your bloodstream

Rubbing a balm or cream into your skin, unlike the other methods, doesn’t give you a whole-body effect. This is because it only goes to the cells, tissues and small blood vessels close to where you’ve applied it. It can have a localised effect within 25 - 45 minutes and up to 45% can reach the target area.

Vaping CBD is the most efficient method

Vaping involves heating CBD e-liquids in a device to produce a vapour you inhale. The CBD crosses the thin, moist membranes in your lungs directly into your bloodstream. This means that the effects can often be felt within 10 - 20 minutes and up to 56% of the CBD can reach your bloodstream.

Taking CBD rectally gives inconsistent results

Inserting CBD rectally is regarded as a quick and effective way of taking it. However, the speed of its effect and how much reaches your blood, depends on which of the rectal blood vessels absorb it and how the CBD is prepared. The effect of this method can also be reduced by health issues such as constipation and haemorrhoids.

It is currently seen to be a better method than eating CBD, but until CBD has been specifically prepared for rectal use it is not as consistently effective as taking it sublingually or using a vape.

Why sublingual application is the most best way to take CBD


While vaping CBD e-liquid is the most efficient method, it comes with extra steps. You need to buy a vape, keep it topped up, purchase specialised CBD vape oils, and use it only where their use is allowed.

CBD drops collection
Placing CBD under your tongue might not be the top method when it comes to absorption, but it's a close runner-up and it’s certainly safer and simpler to use than vapes. When you put oil under your tongue it is absorbed directly into the blood vessels. Because the vessels there are very close to the surface it allows the CBD’s journey to the bloodstream to be quick and uneventful. Substances taken this way are absorbed quickly, take effect in about 15-25 minutes and because they don’t have to pass through the liver you can expect as much as 35% to reach your bloodstream.
Another advantage of taking CBD oil orally is that it stays in your system for up to 10 hours. When you vape, the effect is faster, but CBD stays in your system for only up to 2 hours.

How do I take CBD under the tongue?


How to take CBD under the tongue

Taking CBD oil sublingually is a simple process, lift your tongue and place the recommended number of drops in the space behind your teeth. Place your tongue back down and hold the oil there for one to two minutes, making sure it stays in contact with the membrane beneath your tongue the whole time for optimal absorption.

If you are having trouble with this process, there are a couple of tips that can aid you:

1. Stand next to a mirror or ask a friend to help you position the dropper and count out the drops. Once you’ve done this a couple of times it gets much easier.

2. CBD sprays are a great way to apply the oil directly under your tongue with no fuss. Brands like CannabiGold have specially designed pump dispensers that make it easier to take a specific amount without any guesswork or the use of a mirror.

Do I swallow it?

After one to two minutes under your tongue, most of the CBD will have been absorbed into your bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system where much of the CBD gets broken down before it can become effective. You can then swallow the remaining oil to ensure no CBD is wasted.

Why does CBD oil burn under my tongue?


When you first take CBD, you might be struck by a distinct, bitter undertone. This strong grassy taste often comes with unfiltered, high-quality oils that use the entire hemp plant (This is why they’re called “whole plant CBD oils”.) It’s not the most pleasant sensation, but it's not harmful. A sip of water or some food can help neutralise the aftertaste.

green rolling stones tongue

If you get any reaction that goes beyond this slightly bitter taste, stop using it immediately. These reactions are usually due to:

  1. Using inferior quality oil. Sadly, not all oils on the market meet the high standards set by responsible companies. Some could contain harmful contaminants.
  2. Because you are allergic to one of the additional ingredients. This is unlikely as great care is taken to choose natural ingredients with low risk of reaction, however, it is always worth checking the label before you purchase.
  3. Having purchased a tincture rather than an oil. A CBD tincture uses alcohol rather than an oil as the carrier and this can cause a burning sensation when held under the tongue.

Why should I take CBD under the tongue?

CBD is commonly taken under the tongue because it is effective, convenient and can save you money. If you are just starting to use CBD oil it is an ideal consumption method. With a little bit of practice, you will soon be able to deliver a precise amount wherever you are.

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Woman dropping CBD under tongue

Tom Russell
Tom Russell


Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.

8 Responses


December 12, 2022

Hi John W. Sullivan, the answer you're looking for is in several of our articles including "How to take CBD oil" but I'm happy to answer it here. One can take CBD oil any time of the day but we've found it most effective when taken under the tongue before meals. Why? Cannabinoids are fat soluble, so any amount that doesn't get absorbed sublingually will then attach to its own carrier oil and the lipids from your meal and be absorbed that way. Also, the CBD oil taste won't stay in your mouth if you've had a meal (or a small snack/drink) right after taking it. Please let us know if you have any other questions. All the best, Daniel (contactfortheageless.com)

John W. Sullivan
John W. Sullivan

December 12, 2022

You seem to answer all questions but one. WHEN TO TAKE IT. Is there a best time to take it.. take it before or after you eat, take it on an empty stomach or what? Yes, I know it’s placed under the tongue but some of it you swallow may have the CBD and the oil or just the oil. On an empty stomach this may cause some people.. well.. you get the picture. Or do you randomly take it when you please, at any time.


October 05, 2022

Hi @Jenine, to find out more about how long does it take to feel it check out this article: https://www.fortheageless.com/blogs/cbd-oil-uk-blog/cbd-bioavailability And to find out about the type of feelings you may expect: https://www.fortheageless.com/blogs/cbd-oil-uk-blog/does-cbd-get-you-high Let us know if you have any other questions by contacting us (see details on the footer below).


October 05, 2022

This is my very first dose of the CBD oil and I put it under my tongue. How long does it take to feel it, and what type of feeling am I expecting.


September 24, 2020

Hello @Sergio! A good rule of thumb is to start with the minimum dose recommended on the product’s label for a week and see how you react, whether or not you need to increase it the following week, and keep doing so gradually until you find your ideal dose. Kim


September 23, 2020

Ibought a bottle of cbd oil of 2ooomg how many drops shall i take ?this is my first experiense


August 16, 2020

Hi Jean, check out this post; it answers your question: https://www.fortheageless.com/blogs/cbd-oil-uk-blog/how-to-take-cbd-oil


August 16, 2020

Why do people take CBD oil rectoraly and what is the dosing for that?

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